All of us want to do what’s right for our home planet, because otherwise it’s going to kill us in spectacular fashion. The problem is that installing miles of solar panels, spending thousands to buy nothing but energy star compliant appliances, decorating our back yards with wind turbines, and never again taking a shower are tough orders for the average person. We prefer a few little eco-friendly hacks that we can do easily, on the cheap, preferably in our underwear. The key here is to think small. Miracles happen in small doses. Doing a little actually helps a lot, even if it doesn’t seem like it.
If you’re looking to save money, save time, and help save the planet, all without wasting a bunch of your precious resources, then look over these 21 easy ways to make your home green.
Go Meatless 1 Day a Week
We’re serious carnivores who love a good steak, but we also recognize that the choice is sacrifice a little meat now, or have none later. Raising livestock is a drain on natural resources when compared with plants. Bumping the beef, losing the lamb, or pulling the pork just a single day helps prevent cancer and heart disease, reduces water consumption, and saves you money.
Buy Sustainable Meats
For the other 6 days a week, when it’s time to dig into that pot roast or those ribs falling off the bone, we humbly suggest getting sustainable meats. These are less destructive to the environment and utilize farming methods that do less damage to the environment. This way, even when you’re eating meat, you’re helping the planet.
Donate Stuff You Don’t Need
This is simple: Less stuff in the trash means less stuff in landfills. Also, the more your stuff is moved back into circulation, the more people can use it instead of buying new items that require costly and environmentally unfriendly manufacturing.
Never Microwave Plastic
Microwaving plastic not only releases dangerous chemicals into the air, it leaches into your food. Even microwave safe plastics drop small amounts of BPA and harmful chemicals. For your own health and that of the Earth, stick to ceramics or glass in the magic cooking box.
Get Digital Statements
Even today we all get too much junk mail. Cut that down by getting your bills and bank statements sent to your via email. Going paperless saves trees and reduces the garbage in your home. It’s a double-winner.
Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs are chemicals released by paints, glues, and many manufacturing compounds which are dangerous for you as well as bad for the air. Buying products marked no-VOC will reduce pollutants in your air, helping you live longer, and pollutants on the planet, helping it live longer.
Make the LED Change
Many of us like the glow of an incandescent bulb, but the cost of making and maintaining them is way out of whack. If you hate the way LED lights look, take a gander at the Consumer Reports bulb buying guide. It will help you find a warm, cozy look while still using an LED light.
Get a Filter and a Decent Water Bottle
Bottled water is a ridiculous waste of money. Plus, it leaves tons of garbage around that won’t decompose for the next few hundred years. Find a BPA-free bottle and install a quality water filter in your home. You’ll actually get cleaner water that way than you do out of those bottles.
Recycle Your Batteries
Batteries are commonly disposed of in landfills, and their harmful metal components get into the groundwater, thus infecting everything you eat, drink, or swim in. Whole Foods and IKEA both will recycle your batteries, or you can just do a Google search to find who can take your worn out power cells. Then, buy rechargeable and save money over the long run.
Insulate On The Cheap
A tube of caulk or even cardboard put into cracks around windows and doors can drop your heating and cooling costs and save energy. If your house needs serious insulation installed, might we recommend that folks at Green Fiber who insulate with recycled paper at the cost of 25 cents a square foot. You’ll recoup the cost in heating or cooling bills in a few seasons.
Switch To Biodegradable Trash Bags
Our favorite biodegradable trash bag is a company called BioBags who offer fairly good deals on bags that work like normal, but only survive three months in the wild.
Get a Rain Barrel
Watering plants from a rain barrel adds natural minerals that helps nourish them, and will cut down on your water bills. All you need to do is stick it outside.
Go For Reusable Towels
You’re burning money if you’re buying paper towels to clean up messes. Businesses have known this for years, which is why bars and restaurants – the messiest places on the planet – save their pennies and get rags. Do what they do and buy a bunch of bar rags for easier cleanup.
Get Rid of Your A/C
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We’ve given you several ways to keep cool without air conditioning. Your A/C is a money suck, and environmentally unfriendly. Stop using it unless you absolutely must. There’s better ways to stop the scorch.
Wear More Clothes
When winter arrives, throw on a comfy sweater or get yourself a robe to reduce heating costs. Cranking your smart thermostat is just lighting money on fire and mauling the planet in the process. Keep it comfortable and then layer up.
Avoid Toxic Cleaners
This is particularly important if you have children or pets. Toxic cleaners harm all living things, both inside and out. To kill germs, baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide are all you need. Those other caustic chemicals are just poisoning you, your family, and the rest of the world.
Rather than relying on an automated watering system, which wastes water, take the time to hand-water your lawn after the sun goes down. It’s a nice way to end the day and will stop your bills from climbing just so you can see green when you look outside.
Keep Sustainable Grocery Bags On Hand
We all forget those damn reusable grocery bags, but we found the key is to keep a load of them in the car or have a few that can fit in your glovebox. They prevent ripped bags, are easier to carry, and you don’t need to recycle them.
Go Low Flow
The world of low-flow showerheads has come a long way. They not only offer tremendous pressure thanks to better engineering, but can halt your water usage by up to 25%, reducing the guilt of a long shower to start your day.
Put Your Lights on a Timer
There’s no need to let your power bills get out of hand over a few bulbs. Take control of your home and get the right ambience at the right time without wasting a moment of power. This can also work for thermostats and other devices, if your house is wired for it.
Aerate Your Faucet
A faucet aerator adds air to your water so that it has more pressure and moves faster out of the spigot. It uses less water, so you don’t need to go full blast to get a decent water flow.