Greening up your lifestyle at home is relatively simple when you take the time to consider choices. Two central approaches are reducing your energy consumption and reducing consumer byproducts, such as waste.
The bonus to living with greener habits is you could end up cutting your electric and grocery bills.
1. Clean green. Swap out chemical cleaning products for more eco-friendly versions. Look for cleaning agents like Simple Green and Mrs. Meyers, and similar ready-made concoctions that will put the shine back on your countertops without harmful side effects.
Simple Green is available in a few different strengths and is appropriate for just about any surface and level of cleaning. Save money by using this all-purpose formula to pretreat laundry, degrease your stove or remove grime from the bathtub.
Mrs. Meyers is also a natural cleaning combination and it comes in a variety of fragrances. It uses essential oils and vegetable protein extracts to cut through dirt and film. Because there is no chlorine in the mixture, you can spray the multisurface everyday cleaner on carpet, bedding and door handles without damaging anything.
Side note: Natural household staples are also good grime tacklers. For example, baking soda plus vinegar will help unclog a bathroom or garbage disposal drain. The combo produces a fizz that helps move along particles stuck in the pipes without damaging the metal or plastic plumbing.
2. Disconnect. Unplug chargers when you're not using them. Any appliance, lamp or device charger connected to an outlet will cause a phantom charge. It's a small amount of electricity, but that current is continuously engaged.
3. Change the lights. LED lights reduce heat and energy consumption, and are now available in shades other than fluorescent terrible. That's not a color, just an opinion. Replacing daily-use lightbulbs with LED lights as the regular bulbs expire will help keep the room cooler, use less electricity and contribute to your efforts toward green living.
4. Reuse and repurpose. Recycle all that you can, and buy products made from recycled materials. Trash dumps are an ecological ordeal, and the less we contribute to the mountains of waste, the better off we all are.
5. Use the sun. Go solar when possible for accessories like outdoor lighting and decor. You'll save money on landscaping costs, materials, labor and electric bills when you choose solar lights over traditional electric lamps.
6. Change power habits. Buy rechargeable batteries and a good charger. Batteries are not biodegradable, but if you buy the right kind, they can be recharged repeatedly.
7. Be clever with appliances. Run heat-producing appliances at night during the summer and throughout the day (if possible) in the winter months. Clothes dryers and dishwashers use a lot of electricity and produce a lot of heat. Use those side effects to your advantage.