Small actions done everyday can have a huge impact on the environment. Often times we become disenchanted that we aren’t making more of an impact, when the best place to start is at home. Waste represents a loss of resources, both in the form of materials and energy. The treatment and disposal of waste causes environmental pollution. In essence, everything we consume and bring into our home ultimately becomes waste in some form. We may think of waste as just ‘something we throw away’, however the majority is simply moved out of sight – into a landfill or poured down the drain. Making your home more Eco-friendly can have a large impact over time with a these five very simple changes.
- If You Don’t Use it, Lose it!
Try embracing a minimalist philosophy. Every time we move we are overwhelmed by how much stuff we have acquired. Donate to a local charity shop or a cause close to your heart and make a habit of doing it seasonally. This not only simplifies your life and your home, it encourages you to focus on quality over quantity. Take note of what you use daily verse items that sit at the back of your closet or cupboard.
- Just Say NO to Plastic
Swap out single use plastic items in your house with more durable solutions. Replace plastic food containers, which can leach toxic chemicals for glass or another Eco-friendly alternative. While you’re doing this try also swapping paper towels for cloth napkins and hand towels, and always reuse glass jars. In our home, we use glass mason jars for canning, preserving or storing food. Trust me, you won’t miss plastic one bit.
- Buy in Bulk
Bring your own bags to the grocery store so you don’t have to use the plastic ones provided. Use cloth bags for dry bulk goods such as flour and sugar. Use mesh bags for vegetables and produce. With bulk, you can buy as much or as little as you and your family need, plus it eliminates all of the packaging that goes almost immediately into the recycling or landfill.
- Adopt the No-Junk Rule
Put a ‘No Junk’ on your mailbox. Nobody wants that crap anyway and they go directly into a landfill. Better yet, go paperless for all your bills, you probably pay them online anyway, so skip the middle step and save a tree or two. By carefully considering what you bring into your home you will begin to be more discerning favoring quality over quantity.
- Grow your Own Food
Start small with a herb garden and then focus on high-yield vegetables such as leafy lettuce, mesclun salad and stir-fry greens. Look at what’s expensive in your local area and you can use your garden to offset the cost of groceries. This is something that has created a lot of joy in our home; we grow kale and all our own leafy greens. Having a garden has provided a stronger connection to the food we eat and given us a better appreciation for the amount of work that goes into nourishing us daily. If you can’t grow your own veggies because you live in an apartment or don’t have the space join a community garden. You can meet other like-minded people in your community as well as learn some new gardening skills.
We are just at the beginning of making our home as sustainable and Eco-friendly as possible with the goal of getting as close to a zero-waste as possible. Please share your thoughts and comments below if you have some tips and tricks that you use in your own home. Each day I remind myself that although it may seem small, that small action done everyday can have a huge impact on the environment.