If you want to do your part to protect our environment, you really don’t have to try to hard. There are many small simple changes we can make in our daily activities that have a huge impact on the planet. Living eco-friendly is of top priority in our house and so I thought I would share with you some of the things we do to work with mother nature.
- Use fabric bags. Opt out of paper and plastic bags at the grocery stores. Use bags that are made of cotton and are durable and washable. Put a few fabric bags in your car so that you have them handy for when you stop in at the store. I even carry one in my purse so I am always prepared. You can make your own or your can [amazon asin=B000XSEZFU&text=buy] them for cheap.
- Don’t buy bottled water. Use reusable water bottles. We have a few made out of [amazon asin=B0019N2DO8&text=stainless steel] that keep our drinks cold and are very durable. They work great for going to the gym, out running errands, and camping.
- Cancel your subscriptions. Magazines and catalogs are some of the biggest offenders. There are online versions for anything you receive in print, so sign up for the email versions instead. By doing this you save money and over 53 million trees and 56 billion gallons of water a year.
- Use natural detergents and cleaners. Choose detergents that are plant based, concentrated, and biodegradable. They work really well in cold water and get your clothes just as clean. We make our own using a few simple ingredients of [amazon asin=B0018B15FE&text=washing soda], soap flakes, and borax. You can also add a few drops of your favourite essential oil for fragrance.
- Use cold water. Switch to washing your clothes in cold water. This helps keep your colours from fading and reduces the amount of energy you use per load by 90%. I have been washing this way for over 10 years and I have never had an issue.
- Hang your clothes to dry. Dryers are huge energy consumers. Instead of drying, hang clothes on hangers and let them dry naturally. Get a [amazon asin=B002E3KYTS&text=rack] from the store that has a rod for hangers and you are good to go. We hang all of our clothes to dry and it never takes more than one night for the clothes to fully dry out. This saves our energy consumption as well as over $70,000 in our lifetime.
- Check for leaks. Perform a DIY energy audit in your home to see if you have any leaks. This will tell you what you need to fix so that your home runs more efficiently. Make sure to check for water leaks too with toilets and sinks. A leaky toilet can waste 30-500 extra gallons of water a day.
- Use recycled toilet paper. By switching to recycled toilet paper you can help save 1 million trees a year and 1.35 billion litres of water. And don’t worry, the paper is just as soft as the commercial stuff so your ‘bottom’ won’t mind.
- Use rags. Instead of paper towels, use clothes and rags for cleaning and spills. They can be thrown in the wash and reused again for next time. We find the [amazon asin=B000Y28KKQ&text=microfiber] one’s work the best. They even dust well. By switching to cloth, you can save over 500,000 trees.
- Use your dishwasher. Running a fully loaded dishwasher is way more energy efficient than hand washing. You can save up to 20 gallons of water a day. If you want to get really frugal, you can make your own dishwasher detergent too. Click here for the recipe.
- Lower your fridge and freezer temp. Many of us run our fridges and freezers cooler than they need to be. This wastes energy and costs us money. A fridge will protect your food from spoiling at a temperature between 38 and 42 degrees F. For your freezer, keep it at 0 degrees F.
- Keep your house in the 2 degree range. In the winter keep your house 2 degrees colder. This can save a ton of energy. If you are cool, snuggle under a blanket or put a sweater on. The ideal winter temperature for a house is 68 degrees F in the day time and 55 degrees at night. In the summer, keep your house 2 degrees warmer. If you get hot, put a cooler shirt on or run a fan. This is way more efficient than running your air conditioner. The ideal summer temperature for your house is 78 degrees F.
- Don’t waste gas. Use your car less and use your legs more. If you can, walk or ride a bike to where you need to go. If that doesn’t work, use public transportation. Limit the use of your car and you will save money and limit your carbon footprint. I walk to and from work every day. I also walk to my pilates studio, my esthetician, and even to the mall.
- Recycle and reuse. There is always a second use for something. Save your jars and use them to keep spices and flours in. Save toilet paper rolls and donate them to local day cares. If you can’t reuse something, recycle it using your local program. Try to limit as much waste as you can. If you really have to trash something, make sure to at least use biodegradable garbage bags.
- Use LED bulbs. Switch the bulbs in your house to LEDs. They emit bright light using a fraction of the energy a incandescent bulb would. They also turn on immediately; you don’t have to wait for them to warm up. Plus, so many manufacturers have jumped on board with this technology, that you can get a bulb in any shape, size, or colour, so finding one to fit your sockets shouldn’t be a problem.
You see, we can all do our part to protect mother nature without too much effort. Just small changes are required on our part to make large positive change for the environment. We all want a bright future for the next generation right?! So lets work together to ensure that happens by living a greener life.
What have you done to limit your eco-impact? Please share your tips.
Great points Miss T.
We do a ton of stuff to be green.
One note: I find LED light bulbs to still be a bit cost prohibitive. I read that there is a newer lower cost one available but the analysis showed over time it still cost the same as using CFL bulbs.
We really look forward to LED bulbs coming down in price the next few years as they are easily the best option.
@SPF Strange that you find them expensive. We find where we live there isn’t much price difference from the other bulbs. If there is, it isn’t enough to make us not buy them. Hopefully your supply of LEDs improves.
Miss T I never even thought of making my own detergent! What a great idea, I do think that the residue issues are probably relating to newer dishwasher models as you have suspected. In reading this blog, I am a little happier that I can actually say in my household we do all these things! Except making our own detergent…But every little bit helps and I hope the rest of the wold catches on and does their part too.
@ Dino. I hope so to. All it takes is some small changes to make a big impact. I am glad to hear you are doing so well in your household.
Thanks for the awesome tips! Used the information here for a research essay. This was lots of help. 🙂
I came across this article while looking for ways to have a positive impact on the environment, not just ways to lessen my negative impact on the environment. I’m already doing all of these suggestions to reduce my negative impact, but what next? I’d love you to write a follow-up article on what I can do, other than planting trees, that improves the environment. Thanks!