As we welcome a brand new year, it's an excellent time to commit to being more green in and around the home. Whether you rent or own and live in a small space or a big one, there are plenty of simple but effective actions that just about anyone can do. Here are a few ideas … and please share your own in the comments!
- Make your own cleaners. Simple ingredients like baking soda and vinegar are not only effective but also better for the environment, your health, and your wallet. Check out these tips for eco-friendly carpet cleaning plus Re-Nest's recipes for homemade kitchen and bathroom cleaners.
- Use cloth napkins. Replace disposable napkins or paper towels with cloth ones and bring a bit of elegance to your table! Make or buy a few sets so you always have plenty on hand. I often find nice ones on Etsy.
- And towels, too. Paper towels may be convenient but they are wasteful. Fortunately, there are some great reusable options out there. I especially like SKOY cloths, which are absorbent, durable, and 100% biodegradable.
- Eliminate plastic bags. By now many of us are carrying reusable grocery bags and the next step is reusable produce bags and trash bags. I use organic cotton produce bags from Reuseit.com and World Centric bags for trash.
- Banish vampires. Energy vampires, that is. Appliances can suck electricity even when they're turned off, so unplug them when not in use or get a smart power strip. Learn more about vampire power and various other solutions at Worldchanging.
- Switch to CFLs. An ENERGY STAR Qualified Compact Fluorescent Light bulb (CFL) uses 75% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and lasts up to 10 times longer. If you rent, ask your landlord about using CFLs in common areas or entryways (it'll save them money, too!).
- Save water. Install low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators. At our house, we also converted our toilet with a HydroRight dual flush – no handyman skills required!