To be eco-friendly means to be respectful, or not harmful, to the environment. In today’s world being eco-friendly is a hot topic of conversation. Many people are curious about or interested in helping the environment, but they may not be sure where to start. Yes, trying to create a sustainable home and to make your home more eco-friendly can be a little overwhelming at first, but it can make for a fun and educational DIY project for the entire family. Lets go room-by-room:
An obvious place to start is in the kitchen, where there are a ton of opportunities to be environmentally conscious. From smart grocery shopping, to recycling, to water conservation, there is a long list of things that one can do to take better care of the environment in the kitchen.
You can start being eco-friendly from the get-go. When grocery shopping, here are some important things to think about:
It’s much better for the environment to bring your own reusable grocery bags as well as smaller reusable bags for items such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Some places in the U.S. and around the world have already banned single-use plastic bags to cut down on waste.
An easy way to reduce waste is by shopping for foods that have little or no packaging. Fruits and vegetables are clearly great options for this. Of course, in some cases you’ll just need to find the most eco-friendly option.
A simple thing that you can do to help is to buy less food. Buying less food will ensure that it doesn’t spoil and go to waste. Although overbuying at the grocery store is very common nowadays, buying what you need, or even buying less than what you need can
- save you a lot of money,
- cut down on food waste, and
- keep your kitchen more organized.
The most important thing when shopping for groceries is to be conscious of what you’re buying and to try to reuse as much as possible.
Speaking of reusing, recycling is another great, and easy, way to help the environment. Of course, recycling should be done throughout the entire house, but a large amount of recycling can always be done in the kitchen.
Keeping your plastic, paper, and glass separate is easy and will reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill. It is also an excellent idea to keep your organic waste, such as fruits and vegetables, dairy products, grains, coffee, egg shells, etc. together so that you can utilize it for composting in your garden.
Finally, water conservation is another thing to focus on, especially in the kitchen. You can save a bunch of water by opting to wash dishes by hand, instead of using a dishwasher. When washing pots and pans you can let them soak instead of keeping the water running for long periods of time. If you want to go the extra mile you can also reuse cooking water to water the garden.
There are more opportunities than you might think to be environmentally friendly when designing a bedroom. It all comes down to the products you use and how those products are made. For example, with bedding, it is important to do your due diligence and to find mattresses, sheets, and comforters that are made out of sustainable materials.
When researching eco-friendly products, it is necessary to keep in mind that you should be looking for both environmentally friendly raw materials and production processes. Some of the most eco-friendly fabrics are hemp, linen, and organic cotton. The most ethical production processes conserve water an reuse and recycle waste.
A habit that’s even better than purchasing new environmentally ethical products is to buy vintage or used products that you can continue using or upcycle into something stylish. Visit your local thrift shop or vintage clothing store to limit buying new clothes. Then, when you finished with an item of clothing you can give it away to someone you know or donate it.
Just like in the kitchen and the laundry room, water conservation is one clear way to be more sustainable in the bathroom. Taking showers instead of baths will save you water and money. Obviously, taking shorter showers will help you conserve even more. You can also install water saving toilets, low-flow shower heads, and low-flow faucets to really do your part.
When shopping for bath towels, remember, organic cotton and hemp are two very sustainable options. After showering, you can use a bath towel multiple times before sending it to the laundry room.
Finally, when it comes to health and beauty products, you can reduce a lot of waste by cutting out one-time use items like wipes, Q-tips, paper towels, etc. You can replace these items with reusable products like washcloths and towels. An easy rule of thumb is that toilet paper should be the only disposable in the bathroom.
In the laundry room, we can start off with the washer and dryer. If drying your clothes on a clothesline is an option for you, it really is the best route. You’ll save money on electricity and you’ll be helping the environment as well. For washing, there are many eco-friendly washers these days that will use less water and electricity per load than washers of the past. If you are in the market for a new washer, you could donate or recycle your old one, and look for a more sustainable replacement.
Detergent is another area of opportunity in the laundry room. Like with many other consumer products, you’ll want to do a little research before choosing a detergent that is less harmful to the environment. In general, eco-friendly alternatives won’t use certain chemicals like chlorine or phosphates, which will reduce the environmental impact.
A common place to start in the backyard is to start an edible garden. Starting an edible garden can be great fun for you and the entire family. An edible garden will help you save money while having your very own healthy food resource right at your house. This will reduce the amount of grocery shopping that you need to do, as well as the amount of packaging that you are responsible for throwing away. As mentioned earlier, composting will help you fertilize your garden, while reducing the amount of waste that goes to the landfill as well.
If you live in a small apartment and don’t have a yard, don’t worry, you can still start your very own indoor edible garden. Container gardening is great for growing herbs and certain vegetables.
To go along with your edible garden you can add to your green oasis by planting trees that are common in your area. Trees will help the environment by providing oxygen and help you by providing beauty and shade for years to come.
Do Your Part
While practicing a completely zero waste lifestyle might be next to impossible for most people, we can all try to help and do our part by starting small and going from there. You can start room-by-room, or try to do the whole house at once. Regardless of how you start, you’ll be saving money, helping the planet, and being more healthy all at the same time.