You may not realize it, but the amount of wood and paper we dispose of each year is enough to heat 50 million homes for 20 years, and rainforests are being cut down at a rate of 100 acres per minute. Coming across information like this, it’s easy to feel powerless in the face of environmental injustice. When you live a busy life and do what you can on a daily basis to take care of your home and family, you probably feel like it isn’t much you can do to help. This feeling is common, but there are small, manageable ways to make a difference without having to drastically alter your daily routines. Below are some quick tips to improve the environmental footprint of your home, and the long-term health of our environment.
Convert to Reusable Grocery Bags
Everyone has that drawer or cabinet in their kitchen, overflowing with the never-ending supply of plastic grocery bags. The average American accumulates on average, about six shopping bags per week, and while it is great to reuse these, only about two percent of them end up getting recycled. The rest can end up in landfills, and our precious eco-systems, and can take more than 15 years to decompose. Switching to canvas bags and bags made from recycled materials is an easy way to reduce pollution, and you can order eco-friendly shopping bags online or find them at almost any grocery store. Once you get your hands a few bags, keep them in your car and home for use at any moment.
Get Creative with Recycled Decor
With helpful sites like Pinterest at our fingertips, it’s easy to research home decor options that are both affordable and eco-friendly. Some DIY favorites are shelves made from reclaimed wood, and organizational bathroom containers made from mason jars. There are also, many companies today that make eco-friendly products for every room in your home, so you can mix your DIY and reclaimed pieces with an organic sofa or artisan dining set made from sustainable materials. Another great tip is sprucing up your decor with greenery and plants. By incorporating plants into your space, you can naturally freshen up and improve air quality. This is a much healthier option than air sprays and diffusers that add to air pollution and greenhouse gases.
Conserve with Low-Flow Options
An easy way to save water and energy in your home is to look into purchasing low-flow showerheads, faucets, and other appliances. Based on current U.S. regulations, a normal shower head uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute. When investing in low-flow options, take note of how many gallons of water per minute they are using and try to find an alternative that uses less. If every household in the country installed a low-flow head, we could save more than 250 billion gallons of water a year. Use the Waterpik water calculator here to see how much water you could conserve in your home. You can also find low-flow options for your toilet and faucets that will help you reduce the amount of water your family is using while making a difference for both the earth and your wallet.
Banish Energy Vampires
Did you know that your appliances could be using up energy in your home even if they are turned off? Leaving your devices, lamps, and appliances plugged into the wall could be using what is known as vampire power or phantom load. This phenomenon is what happens when energy and electricity are wasted when an object is plugged in, but not in use. For example, even if your phone charger isn’t attached to your phone it could be siphoning energy, and while this may seem like a small scale issue, in homes across America, it is costing a combined 3 billion annually. By simply being aware, and unplugging appliances and chargers after we are done using them, we can banish these energy vampires from our homes, and save money and energy in the process.