You likely do not need any more environmental facts and figures to persuade you that living a sustainable lifestyle is the only way to live.
Yes, governments and big businesses have the most power to affect change on a global scale. But we can all do our bit by opting for sustainable home ideas over unsustainable ones.
Plus, the cost of sustainable homes is a huge benefit because they are often cheaper to run. The eco-friendly living will improve your wellbeing and physical health, too.
So, are you convinced but don’t know where or how to make sustainable choices in your home? Here are some great eco-friendly lifestyle tips to get you started!
1. Install Solar Panels and Switch Energy Provider
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Go big or go home (in the literal sense) by choosing an environmental and renewable energy source. If you own a south-facing house and have a tilted roof then solar panels could be a big step toward green living for you.
You will likely need to ask for permission to install solar panels from your local government authority. Solar panels can cost around $10,000 for a basic kit and takes around two to five days to install.
Depending on your climate, solar panels could provide around 50% of your energy supply and solar panel warranties cover 25+ years. In the long run, you will save a ton on your energy bills!
If solar panels are not an option for you, consider switching energy providers to one that uses 100% renewable energy sources like solar and wind.
2. Take Your Recycling to the Next Level
Many homeowners and renters have a recycling system to a certain extent, but recyclable things end up in the trash now and again. These sustainable home ideas will help you recycle better.
First, become an expert in how your local government handles recycled waste. Do they collect everything in one can or do you need to split out the materials? If your city does not pick up glass for recycling, is there a depositary nearby?
These are some common recyclable materials:
- Some plastics
As a general rule, black or dark-colored plastic is not recyclable but clear plastics often are.
Then, identify where you store waste in your home. You likely have one in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. Replace these with separate bins for each of the materials you need to separate so you do not have to split them up later.
Make your recycling process as easy as possible so you don’t end up throwing something recyclable in the trash.
It is a pain to go out of your way to recycle materials that your government does not pick up. But if you have the means, you can feel good about making the effort to help the environment.
Food waste is a huge issue and makes up around 30-40% of the total food supply in the USA.
Plan your meals weekly to cut food waste. If you can, make smaller and frequent trips to the market instead of huge shops once a month.
But food waste is inevitable. Instead of throwing it in the trash, consider investing in a composting system. Composting breaks down your organic food waste so it becomes fertilizer.
Even if you do not have a yard, you could donate your composting waste to a local community garden.
3. Swap Out Your Cleaning Products
Cleaning products are often stored in non-recyclable bottles and have harsh chemicals. The ingredients can be overkill for everyday mess and can irritate your eyes, throat, and lungs.
One of the advantages of sustainable homes is not only helping the environment but helping your own health too.
Instead, consider making your own cleaning products. Or, hire eco-friendly cleaning services if you would rather leave it to the experts.
You can make most cleaning supplies out of the following ingredients:
- White vinegar
- Essential oils
- Baking soda
Need an all-purpose cleaner? Mix white vinegar and water in a reusable spray bottle and add your favorite essential oil to cover the vinegar smell.
Have some mold you need to remove? White vinegar and tea tree oil are all you need. Water and some lavender essential oil make a great air freshener, too.
When you need more cleaning equipment, opt for wooden mops and use old shirts as rags. There is no need to throw out all your plastic right now if it still works! But in the future, use these sustainable home ideas.
4. Ditch Anything That Is Single-Use
Single-use plastic is the main offender hitting the headlines most weeks. But single-use anything does not make a sustainable home!
If you need to switch bad practices for sustainable home ideas, here are some easy swaps:
- Saran wrap and tin foil = beeswax wraps
- Paper and plastic bags = bento boxes and canvas tote bags
- Plastic water bottles = stainless steel water bottles
- Takeaway coffee cups = Reusable coffee mug
- Plastic straws = Metal straws with a brush cleaner
- Paper napkins = cloth napkins
Where you cannot avoid a single-use item, choose a more sustainable alternative. Recycled toilet paper or bamboo toilet paper is far better than toilet paper from unsustainable sources.
Gift wrap can also be very unsustainable and single-use. At your next birthday or holiday event, save all the paper and gift bags you can. If you have to buy new, choose kraft wrapping paper and avoid glitter which is bad for the environment.
So many beauty products are single-use and do not have recyclable packaging. Instead of using shampoo, conditioner, and soap in plastic bottles, consider swapping to bars.
And did you know there are items in your local grocery store that are also sustainable beauty products? Instead of buying make-up wipes, buy a glass tub of coconut oil and use bamboo products from Ecoy.
Mix coconut oil with coffee grounds and you have an effective (and delicious-smelling) body scrub.
Use These Sustainable Home Ideas Today
There are so many sustainable home ideas and there are many others that are personal to your lifestyle and living situation.
The next time you buy something, ask yourself if it is sustainable, reusable, or recyclable. Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and all your small sustainable changes will make one big difference.
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