Nowadays, most people who are concerned about the environment are at least recycling. Most areas and cities now have recycling programs that are easily accessible, making it easier than ever to take steps towards leading a greener lifestyle. However, recycling only goes so far, especially if it’s something you only do at home. Here are a few easy ways to keep moving forward on your path to a greener lifestyle.
- Go paperless: Even if you recycle papers at home, you might not keep track quite as closely at the office. If you haven’t gone paperless yet, you’d be surprised how much paper you might be wasting at the office regularly. Estimates show that the average office worker in the U.S. uses about 10,000 sheets of paper per year. Rather than printing out that next report, see if you can go paperless and email it instead.
- Watch your water use: One of the easiest forms of consumption to forget about is your water use. Most people don’t pay attention to this vital resource on a daily basis, but that can lead to significant waste. A typical family of four uses 400 gallons of water per day. Keep track of how much water you’re using for showers, laundry, washing dishes, and so on, and if you can, invest in low-flow water fixtures.
- Keep up with home maintenance: Having kids at home can keep your schedule full, meaning it’s likely been a while since you’ve taken care of routine home maintenance. However, this can have a large impact on your energy consumption, particularly when it comes to your heating and cooling bills. Consider the facts that 90% of homes have HVAC systems and as much as 25% to 40% of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. This is because contaminants build up in the HVAC system over time, forcing it to work harder. The more often you maintain this system, the more efficient it will be.
- Purchase reusable alternatives: Even when you’re recycling what you can, a good amount of your home waste probably can be avoided. Why? Many homes purchase disposable items for convenience but forget the impact it can have on your waste creation. Look for simple alternatives to common disposable items in your home: use reusable water bottles instead of plastic, use fabric towels instead of paper towels, and so on.
- Be mindful when shopping: If you’re looking to buy something new, whether it’s furniture or clothing, there are likely eco-friendly options you haven’t considered. Try shopping at a thrift or second-hand store instead of a department store. You’ll be surprised by the prices, and you’ll be keeping perfectly good items from going to a landfill. Just be sure to pay it forward by donating your gently used items when you’re done with them, rather than throwing them away.
- Share resources: If you have friends that are also making the effort to go green with their families, try working together for certain tasks. Arrange a carpool for group outings, or agree to share certain items between homes that you don’t use every day. This way, you’re cutting down on resources spent between families, with as little impact as possible on your own daily life.
These switches will have little impact on your daily life but will go far when it comes to saving the environment. Just a few small adjustments on a day to day basis can be huge when trying to go green. Which of these tips do you see yourself and your family using?