Spring is in full bloom and everything is green again — everything except your home that is. If you’d like to improve your sustainability and reduce your environmental impact, you have no shortage of eco-friendly options. Any one of a hundred improvements will help you make a positive change.
Whether you’re new to green living or you’re a long-time environmentalist, you can always make an extra effort to eliminate waste and decrease your carbon emissions. Even a small adjustment has the potential to make a big difference, and you don’t always need to spend a substantial sum of money.
We’ll guide you in the right direction with five suggestions for an eco-friendly home.
1. Dry Your Laundry On Hangers
It may seem old-fashioned, and it is to some extent, but when you dry your laundry on hangers you can decrease your energy usage by a serious margin. The average household reduces their carbon footprint by as much as 2,400 pounds a year when they ditch their machines and switch to clotheslines.
Then again, you have to remain aware of possible storms and watch for clouds. Even with this small inconvenience, making the switch is well worth the effort. It’s easy to schedule your laundry during a stretch of sunny weather, as long as you take the time to check the weekly forecast and plan in advance.
2. Digitize Your Paper Documents
Your spring-cleaning routine is a prime opportunity to file documents. It’s likely you have your fair share of receipts and paperwork, a pile which slowly grows with each passing year. Instead of adding to the mess, you can digitize your documents by scanning and storing them in a labeled folder on your computer.
Not only is this a great way to reduce paper waste, but it’s also a strategy for organizing your accounts. Any time you want to access your important documents, you can search through your folders for digital files instead of searching through a filing cabinet. You’ll save time and the planet.
3. Create Your Own Compost Bin
It costs next to nothing to create your own compost bin. In doing so, you’ll save money, produce a natural fertilizer and divert waste from ending up in a landfill. Concerning the process itself, you’ll see it’s simple to repurpose your waste into “black gold,” as those in the farming community call it.
That said, not all organic material is compost-friendly. Meat, fish bones, diseased plants, yard trimmings and other forms of waste aren’t compatible with your compost bin. As long as you know which types of organic waste to dispose of separately, you’ll enjoy the many advantages of compost.
4. Invest In Energy-Efficient Windows
If you’re in the market for more significant home updates, energy-efficient windows are an eco-friendly solution which could save enormous amounts of energy. They may also provide additional health benefits, as they block UV radiation. In short, they’re one of the top improvements for eco-conscious homeowners.
You might even find that energy-efficient windows pay for themselves in a year or less, depending on your region’s climate. In areas that see extreme temperatures — where the energy consumption of a heating and cooling system is high — these windows are exceptionally beneficial.
5. Purchase Reusable Towels
If you depend on paper towels for most of your kitchen messes, you’re not alone. They’re a convenient, low-cost solution for cleaning spills and dabbing stains. Many homeowners don’t give their paper towels a second thought when they wipe them across a countertop and toss them in the trash.
Of course, these same homeowners are contributing to landfills, whether or not they’re aware of their waste. You don’t have to contribute. In place of paper towels, consider an eco-friendly alternative like reusable towels, which are just as effective and far less detrimental to the environment.
Make a Change Today
As you move forward, consider some of the suggestions above. Whether you dry your laundry on hangers, create your own compost bin or invest in energy-efficient windows, you can feel secure in your choice. With that in mind, evaluate your options and make a change today!
Emily is a freelance writer, covering conservation and sustainability.