Postconsumerism is as tied to your state of happiness and mental health as it is to the health of the planet. So it should come as no surprise that, when Earth Day rolls around each April, we like to devote an ample page space to encouraging and guiding you on your eco-friendly journey. Today, we’re going big with a list of ten things in your home that could easily be more eco-friendly.
1.Your Coffee Maker!
Chances are that no matter how you’re making your coffee there’s room for improvement. If you’re using a single-use coffee maker, we’ll just point out that it’s better to use the reusable cups instead of individual K-cups. For drip makers, be sure you’re not leaving them running all day long and wasting electricity. Your best eco-option is always a French press. No matter what your coffee making situation is though, be sure to compost the ground coffee after!
2. Your Toilet
We’re not going to suggest that you install a low-flow shower because we know that opinions on those are passionate! But installing a low-flow toilet (or asking landlords to install) is something that very few people have done and that can have significant water conservation benefits. It doesn’t impact usage at all, and it saves water and money on water bills. Put it on your wish list!
Pro Tip: Learn more about water conservation in our Water Conservation Resource Center.
3. Your Landscaping (If You’re Lucky Enough to Have a Yard)
We know that many of you don’t have yards, urban living is on the rise. But we also know that in America, no matter where you live, the standard for a beautiful yard is green grass. If your yard isn’t landscaped with native landscape (and yes, for many that means beautiful sand and rocks), then chances are high that your landscaping could be a lot more eco-friendly. Look into embracing the beauty of your native environment.
4. Your Medicine Cabinet
Even if you take the cruelty-free element out of personal beauty and health products, they’re one of the least eco-friendly and most toxic industries around. And even the eco-friendly ones can do a mile of damage with packaging for small size products. There are some easy fixes. First, use the Environmental Working Group database to ensure that what you are purchasing aligns with your eco-friendly values. Then refer to our handy list of plants to grow in your bathroom to replace some of the more toxic elements in there. Finally, be sure that you’re up to speed on the best ways to recycle those tricky cosmetic containers.
5. Your Laundry Room or the Laundromat
Not much about the American laundry process is eco-friendly, but there are some quick and easy changes that you can make that will improve the environmental friendliness of your laundry room. Firstly, wash your laundry on cold. Up to 80% of the energy involved in laundry is in heating the water. Also switch to an eco-friendly laundry detergent. If you’re in the camp that they “don’t clean as well,” just consider which you’d rather have next to your skin: a little extra dirt or serious toxins.
6. Your Laundry Room Again!
Washing is only half of the equation! There’s also a significant amount of energy wrapped up in drying. Whenever you can line dry or air dry instead, opt for that. Also, dryer sheets are some of the most toxic home products out there. Let your addiction to them go if possible!
7. Your Windows
And we don’t mean the huge expense of installing energy efficient ones! Most people decorate their windows and then forget about them, but there are so many ways to increase your eco-friendly quota with them. Cover them with drapes to keep heat or cool air in. Open the drapes to let natural instead of electric light in. Open them all the way to get a natural breeze! Your windows can go a long way to making you more eco-friendly.
8. Your Sheets
Organic cotton may have a price tag, but it also has a huge eco-benefit. Cotton accounts for 25% of the world’s insecticide use – and we don’t need to tell you how much of an impact insecticide can have.
9. Your Winter Social Activity
We love this one! If you live in a winter climate, you know that many people tend to go into social hibernation as soon as the bad weather hits. But hosting a party at your house can actually be eco-friendly in the winter. Did you know that each person in a room can generate the same amount of heat as a 100-watt heater? Heat with love and conversation instead of fossil fuels!
10. Your Outlets
By far one of the easiest eco-friendly fixes that you can make! Use power surge strips or similar and turn them off when you’re not going to be home. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, but you’ll also reduce your electric bill. Even when appliances are turned off, they’re drawing electricity from the outlet that they’re plugged into.
Did we miss a key area in your home that could be more eco-friendly? Tell us about it on the social media channels below.
Photo Credit: Smokey Combs via Flickr