With temperatures rising, glaciers melting and weather patterns changing, everyone across the globe is affected by global warming due to human activity. While we cannot turn back time, if each person makes a few simple changes, it can have a large cumulative impact. Here are some green solutions and eco-friendly gadgets.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has spurred lots of innovation in the home. Smart thermostats, for example, connect with your heating and air conditioning system, and then uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to “learn” your family’s habits by recognizing your temperature settings, and when you typically turn the thermostat up or down.
You can operate smart thermostats from a smartphone or tablet, so you can program the thermostat to activate the HVAC system when you leave work, so that the house is ready when you return home, instead of running the furnace or air conditioning all day to keep the dust bunnies comfortable.
Well not a “gadget” perse, solar panels can make a huge difference to your energy consumption and costs by harnessing the power of the sun. While the upfront costs can be significant, there are often grants available, and in many US states, you can sell your excess energy to the grid through a program called net metering.
Silicone Stretch Lids
People use 5 trillion single-use plastic bags per year. PER YEAR. Only 1 per cent ends up being recycled, and it takes 1000 years for a plastic bag to disintegrate. There are better options.
Silicone stretch lids are affordable, come in a variety of sizes, stretch to fit pretty much everything and are washable and reusable. Instead of plastic wrap, place a lid around the cut side of fruit or vegetables, or over leftovers instead of plastic cling wrap. You can also use them in the freezer and to cover hot food.
Small change, big impact.
Residents of the U.S. use 500 million plastic drinking straws every day. While some recycling programs accept plastic drinking straws, the majority end up in landfill.
Instead, switch to reusable straws. They come in a variety of sizes, you can find options made of metal, silicone or bamboo, they come with a cleaning straw, and you can find collapsible options that you can pop in your purse or backpack to use on the go.
Reusable Produce Bags
Many countries around the world, including Canada, the United Kingdom, China and the European Union have banned single-use plastics. States including California, New York and Hawaii have followed suit. Days are numbered for those rolls of plastic produce bags in the grocery stores.
There are a number of better options. You can shop like a Parisian and use a reusable net or string bag, you can leave larger produce items loose, and you can purchase a variety of sizes of mesh produce bags with drawstrings. All of these options are washable, reusable and replace plastic.
And when it comes to bagging your groceries, use reusable shopping bags, market bags or paper bags. There are lots of options in a variety of options.
550 million empty hair product bottles make their way to landfills every year. Did you know that there are shampoo bars available? Most come in a reusable metal container, they are easy to take on holiday, and there is zero waste.
Instead of conditioner, reach in your pantry to condition your hair. Coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice are all great for your hair. Tea tree oil can stimulate hair growth, if you have school-aged children, it acts as a natural repellent for lice; they hate the smell! You’ll never have to panic when the school letter comes home again!
Wool Dryer Balls
Fabric softeners and dryer sheets soften your clothes…and leave chemical residue on them. A better alternative is wool dryer balls. Made from natural compressed wool. Dryer balls bounce around in the dryer with your clothes, separating them to prevent static. They retain heat so they dry your clothes faster. They last an average of 1000 loads, can you get that from a dryer sheet?
If every person makes a couple of small changes in their habits, it can have a significant cumulative effect on our planet. So get in the habit of making eco-friendly choices!