When it comes to climate change, or going green in your home, little changes can have a huge cumulative impact. One of the first places to going green is to start in your home. Here are some easy changes you can make to make your home more green.
We all know about reduce, reuse, recycle. Here are some other ways to go green in your home.
Have you ever noticed that most people congregate in the kitchen at gatherings of friends or family? It has always been the core of the home, and a perfect place to start to make your home more green and efficient.
- Invest in good cookware
In millions of kitchens around the world, a cast iron frying pan is an essential kitchen item. It is naturally non-stick, lasts for ages with a little TLC, offers even heating and can go from kitchen to a camping trip over open fire and back. (although it’s heavy to lug in a backpack). Keep an eye out for cast iron frying pans at garage sales and thrift stores. Even rusted ones can be rejuvenated with a bit of work.
Alternatively, a good set of stainless steel pots and pans will last you ages. It’s durable, easy to clean, heats evenly and while it may not be non-stick, it’s easy to take care of.
It can be an investment to buy quality cookware, but cost per use and durability make it worth your while.
- Buy and shop local
One way to reduce your carbon footprint is to make mindful choices when it comes to consumer purchases. Many of our popular food items travels a great distance before it reaches food shelves, which increases gas emissions and contributes to climate change. Whenever possible, source, shop and buy locally grown fruits and vegetables. Not only are you supporting your community, food will be fresher and have a smaller impact on the environment.
Many farms offer “share” programs where consumers can purchase “shares” in the farm operation and receive weekly or monthly boxes of produce. Farmers get a cash infusion, produce doesn’t go to waste, and you get fresh, locally grown food. Win-win.
- Buy in Bulk
The OECD estimates that only 9 percent of plastics produced in the world is recycled. Approximately 30 metric tonnes of plastic is estimated to have made its way into oceans and waterways. In addition, 50 percent of all plastic produced is for single use, either as a shopping bag, to bring vegetables and fruit home from the store or for takeout containers.
One of the easiest changes you can make to go green is to start buying in bulk. Not only is it more economical, but it also creates less waste.
Cooking in bulk and freezing leftovers for later saves time, energy and money. Instead of ordering takeout, you can just pull out dinner and heat it in less time than it takes to order dinner for delivery.
- Food storage
You can recycle glass jars to hold dry goods like rice, pasta or beans. Jam, pickle and mason jars work perfectly and you can see the contents.
Thrift stores are a great source for home storage items such as canisters, baskets, and bins at a fraction of the cost.
Ditch the plastic storage bags in favor of reusable containers. Stretchable silicone lids fit a variety of containers, and you can use beeswax wraps, foil or parchment paper.
When you need to replace appliances, make sure they are energy-star-rated. While it’s always better to repair than replace, very old, inefficient appliances should be replaced.
Wait until you have full loads of clothes before washing. And wear your clothes more than once before throwing them in the wash.
Take advantage of the power of nature and line-dry your clothes. Not only is it better for your clothes, nothing beats the smell of freshly line-dried clothing. In the winter, hanging your clothes to dry can cut down on wrinkles, especially if you skip the final spin.
Wash your clothes in cold water, or hand wash and hang or lay flat to dry. Most delicate clothing can be safely handwashed so skip the dry cleaner.
Ditch the fabric softener or dryer sheets that just put chemicals on your clothes. A cup of vinegar will soften clothes and get the detergent residue out. You can also use wool dryer balls, that pull moisture from the clothes so they dry faster.
Bring your own shopping bags and bins to the grocery store. Use mesh bags for produce, ask the butcher to wrap meat in butcher paper rather than plastic, buy large cuts of meat and separate it into meal-sized portions at home to save packaging.
Plan your meals for the week and only buy what you need to limit food waste.
Grow your own fruits and vegetables, shop at farmer’s markets.
Shop at thrift stores, barter or swap clothes with friends, shop your closet and challenge yourself to create new outfits with clothes you already own. Sell or donate clothes you don’t use.
Use a reusable water bottle, bring your own travel mug if you are purchasing takeaway beverages, invest in reusable drinking straws and invest in reusable cutlery to keep at the office. Bring your lunch from home in reusable storage containers.
Invest in energy-efficient light bulbs, and turn off lights when you leave a room. Unplug any appliance you are not actively using since they continue to draw energy when they are plugged into an outlet.
Combine errands into one trip, or better, walk or bike. Use rideshares or public transit. Drive the speed limit.
Little changes can add up to a big impact, and many of these changes can be made right away.