Everyone wants to lead a more environmentally friendly existence. Unfortunately, many of the important ways to reduce your carbon footprint involve large upfront investments or drastic lifestyle changes. While there is certainly something to be said for those who are able and willing to spend the money and do the work to be more sustainable, these options are pretty much out of reach for the common individual. Not everyone can buy a new electric car, install rooftop solar panels or live off the land.
With that in mind, we started thinking about things that result in a more eco-friendly existence without breaking the bank or disrupting your life. Considering how much time we spend at home, we decided to focus on eco-friendly solutions within this framework to optimize your time/footprint ratio. Little things like home exercises instead of driving to the gym are worth double because your car stays off and you don’t sit or contribute to traffic, it’s a win-win! With that in mind, we wanted to compile a list that consists of other simple steps rather than expensive or complicated projects.
Here are six easy ways to be greener at home:
Buy eco-friendly pet products
The increase in pet ownership is great news for those concerned that all furry creatures need a good home. However, many aspects of pet ownership leave a lot to be desired when it comes to a sustainable life. For example, while your household may be split on the clumping vs non-caking litter argument, there is merit in opting for litter made from recycled newspapers and other sustainable materials. There is also room for improvement when it comes to the Rosco and Rover schemes. The simple act of buying sustainable litter and organic pet food can do wonders for reducing your household’s collective carbon footprint (or paw print, in this case!)
Eat less meat
There is little debate about the ecological devastation caused by the ranching industry. Between contaminated water supplies and the immense amounts of methane released into the atmosphere, going meatless is a simple and effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. Listen, we know you probably like a good steak and your kids only eat chicken tenders. Fair enough. We’re not saying you should give up meat altogether, but try cutting back. Start with “Meatless Monday”.
Opt for cooler winters and warmer summers
Unless you live in one of the few places where the climate is always good, HVAC systems are an essential part of home life. However, most people have a bad habit of turning up the heat in the winter and running the air conditioner non-stop in the summer. Given the large amounts of energy used for climate control, consider ways to reduce your dependency. For example, start wearing sweaters and woolen socks indoors, rather than relying on the furnace when it’s cold outside. When temperatures rise, stick to shorts and t-shirts while keeping windows open. While it’s unlikely you can live without your HVAC system, running it less will use less energy, reducing your carbon footprint.
Eat more local foods
Have you ever thought about what it takes to get an article from where it came from to where you are? The fuel used to transport products by air, land and sea represents the vast majority of fossil fuel expenditure. While we may not be expecting locally sourced iPhones or shoes anytime soon, we can aim to eat more locally sourced fruits, vegetables, and even meat. That means you’re not supporting supply chains that rely on huge amounts of fossil fuels to get food products from source to shelf.
Use paper products made from bamboo
Since toilet paper paper towels, bamboo offers a more renewable and environmentally friendly alternative to tree-based standards. There is even bamboo-based printer paper available for purchase. Although deforestation is less of a problem than it was in the past, any effort to reduce reliance on logging will help protect the environment.
Buy quality appliances and electronics
We have all been there. You’re at the department store, comparing various blenders, televisions, and other appliances and electronics, and it’s hard to argue against the cheapest or cheapest option. We can’t deny the immediate value, but the long-term cost of buying lousy household products is sure to be unsustainable – in more ways than one. Rather than shelling out for inferior items year after year, do yourself and the planet a favor and buy quality products. Although price is never a guarantee of quality, a little research will confirm what we already know; better brands tend to be better made.
Who doesn’t want to be more eco-responsible? The problem is finding effective ways to do this within our budget and lifestyle. Fortunately, there are several simple yet effective ways to lead a more sustainable life from home. Who knew? Now you do!