Do you want to leave a lighter footprint on the environment to conserve resources and reduce carbon emissions? There are many steps that governments, companies, and individuals can collectively take to minimize harmful environmental impacts. For us as individuals, sustainability starts at home.
Did you know that many eco-friendly practices and sustainable home products can also help you save money in the long run? There are even some simple and low-cost or even free things you can do today that take minutes to implement. Read on for more tips and ideas for making your home more eco-friendly.
1. Use Sustainable Home Products to Clean Your House
When it comes to using green home products, take a three-pronged strategy:
A. Use or switch to products made with eco-friendly ingredients
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it might take some digging to find out what makes a green home cleaning product. In an NBC News article on choosing green cleaning products, experts recommend looking for an Environmental Protection Agency “ecolabel” certification that ensures a product meets specific criteria. For example, the Safer Choice™️ certification covers products with chemical ingredients and Design for the Environment covers antimicrobial products commonly used to clean kitchens and bathrooms.
You can also make your own cleaning products, like a 50-50 vinegar/water mix to use as a surface cleaner for areas of the home that don’t require disinfecting, such as windows and end tables.
B. Choose products that use less packaging
To create less waste and reduce the amount of products you purchase, go with brands that are committed to using green packaging or less packaging—or both. Additionally, choosing concentrated products allows you to make fewer purchases, thereby recycling fewer containers.
C. Cut down on the amount of products, energy, and water you normally use
A simple switch from paper towels to cloth napkins and reusable cleaning cloths can eliminate the environmental impact of using paper towels. Buying concentrated detergents and other cleaners also means using less product and packaging overall.
2: Eco-friendly Laundry Tips
The tips mentioned above can all apply to laundry, which is a major use of water and resources in the home. According to ENERGYSTAR, another EPA certification standard, the average American household does 300 loads of laundry per year.
In addition to using eco-certified concentrated laundry detergent, you can:
- Line dry clothing (with a tip from a Curbed guide to greener laundry: To mitigate the tendency for line-dried items to feel stiffer, run laundry in the dryer for 10 minutes before hanging them out to line dry)
- Wash laundry in cold water instead of warm or hot
- Use reusable dryer balls (cuts down on waste and mystery chemicals from fabric softeners)
3: Bigger Ticket Sustainable Home Solutions
If you have room in your budget, there are various pricier upgrades you can, such as installing solar panels or replacing appliances, flooring, or windows.
- Replace windows – According to BobVila.com, if your windows are over 15 years old, it’s time to replace them. This is a pricey upgrade, but the good news is that the return on investment for new windows is at least 70%.
- Upgrade appliances – This is a good move especially if your appliances are older. For example, ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers use about 25% less energy and 33% less water compared to regular washers.
4: Eco-friendly bedding products
Yes, sustainable bedding products are a thing, and they’re becoming more common as people prioritize eco-consciousness. You can find sustainable sheets, blankets, pillows, mattresses, mattress toppers, and mattress pads and covers.
Tip: Look for certifications that ensure your bedding product was produced or harvested according to sustainable practices and under human working conditions. For example, GOLS certification is a global standard for organic latex, and GOTS certification covers textiles such as cotton and wool. Note that if you’re looking for eco-certified memory foam bedding products, you won’t find them, because memory foam is made from petrochemicals, which are not biodegradable.
Psst! If you’re looking for sustainable home products for your bedroom, look no further than the Naturally Nestled shop.
5: Green changes You Can make at Home for Little to No Cost Right Now
Here are some final eco-friendly practices that you can implement today:
- Install “low flow” faucets and toilets to reduce water consumption
- Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater
- Adjust your thermostat to reduce the amount of heat or air conditioning you use (smart thermostats can be programmed to do this for you)
- Use power strips throughout your home and turn them off when not using small appliances and electronics, which can be energy drains even when not operating
- Switch to cloth napkins and reusable cleaning cloths (old t-shirts and pillowcases can be recycled for this purpose)
- Water plants using water recycled from rain barrels