How To Make Your Home More Environmentally Friendly
STORY: Priyanka Elhence
26 May 2021
Despite all the negative that COVID-19 has brought, it’s also been a wakeup call on the impact of our carbon footprint on earth and threat to having a sustainable future. Practicing good green habits start from home and there are many small things we can do to make homes more eco-friendly. Plus involving the kids in these habits from a young age helps them become conscious eco-warriors as adults too.
While not all of us can install solar panels on our roofs to take advantage of natural solar power, give some of these practical environmentally-friendly tips a go:
1. Be more water-wise
Reduced water consumption at home is one of the easiest ways we help converse this precious resource. Washing laundry in cold water instead of hot; taking shorter showers; fixing leaky faucets immediately instead of letting them drip for days; turning off taps while brushing your teeth; and capturing excess running water from the kitchen sink to be reused in watering plants, all help reduce the overall amount of water consumed in a home.
2. Use eco-friendly alternatives to plastic bags
Grabbing a plastic bag is convenient, but try consciously switching to greener reusable cloth bags or your own DIY upcycled bags.
3. Switch to LED lighting
Although eco-friendly LED lights are initially more expensive than regular fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, they become much more cost-effective in the long run. In addition to being toxin-free, energy-efficient LED bulbs are proven to be up to 80% more energy efficient than their traditional counterparts, emitting very little heat, and lasting up to 10 times longer than conventional lighting, minimising the number of times you need to change your lightbulbs. While enjoying the same beautiful bright lighting, you’ll see immediate cost savings on your electricity bill. Investing in the right light bulbs makes a huge difference. You will not only use less electricity but you will also make your home more environmentally-friendly. No matter how tempting incandescent bulbs are, LED bulbs are the better alternative. They last longer, are eco-friendly, and they help you save money in the long run.
4. Use homemade or eco-cleaning products to clean the house
Mainstream cleaning products, especially detergents and foaming agents, usually contain dangerous chemicals that can cause severe damage to the planet and its biodiversity. Although eco-friendly cleaning products are more expensive than regular options, switching to natural products that contain sustainably grown ingredients and are non-synthetic are not harmful to the environment when expelled back out, and they are just as effective as regular cleaners. Or opt for simple and inexpensive homemade cleaners such as mixing together vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice for a general purpose cleaner.
5. Unplug when unused
Even if electronic devices are shut off or in sleep mode, they are still using energy. Being away for too long wastes a lot of energy that could otherwise have been plugged off. So, before going on vacation, make sure to unplug your devices from the wall sockets, in order to save electricity when electric devices are not in use. Use natural light for as long as possible and then turn off lights when you leave the room.
6. Reuse everything possible
Stay away from adding to landfills for as long as possible. Before you throw away that old tattered and stained t-shirt, think about upcycling it into a cleaning rag, a recyclable bag (see above) or even a contribution to a patch quilt. Likewise, for other products around the house, buy better quality which turn out to be cheaper in the long run as they don’t need to be replaced as often.