How to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

Did you know that 2020 was the warmest year in documented history?

Worse yet, Arctic ice sheets are quickly decreasing, losing nearly 150 billion tons of ice annually.

It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of climate change. Fortunately, there are many ways to fight global warming, and the fight starts right in your own home.

Furthermore, you can enjoy the added health benefits of eco-friendly living!

Transforming your house into an eco-friendly home is a crucial first step. Follow along to discover more tips for green homeowners.

Install Solar Panels

Solar panels are leading the sustainable living revolution.

Solar power itself isn’t new.

People have been harnessing the power of the sun for centuries. Early agriculture, laundry, and cooking wouldn’t have been possible without the sun. In fact, sunlight was the first water distiller and sterilizer!

Solar cell technology isn’t new, either.

Solar cells were actually invented in 1883. Nearly a century later, the University of Delaware built the first solar-powered building. Instead of solar panels, the building’s roofing material featured a mix of photovoltaic and thermal power.

Today, more than 2 million homes have solar panels in the U.S. alone. Plus, you don’t have to use panels to enjoy the benefits of solar power. Solar shingles are also available, and they better complement home designs.

Solar roofing can cost anywhere from $13,000 to $30,000. Costs depend on housing size, materials, rates, and more factors.

Plant a Garden

Gardens are more than landscaping. They’re a very real eco-friendly solution.

Think about the waste you generate from the grocery store. Disposable bags, food waste, expired products, and packaging adds up.

Where do they go?

Anything you can’t recycle ends up in the local landfill. Landfills emit their fair share of greenhouse gases. Thankfully, you can contribute less landfill waste by planting a simple garden.

Growing your own food drastically reduces packaging waste. Healthy eating also encourages less consumption of packaged processed foods. Packaged hot dogs, lettuce bags, condiment packets, and snack wrappers go straight to the landfill.

What To Grow In Your Backyard

Here are a few foods you can grow in your own backyard:

  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Strawberries
  • Bell peppers

You can also plant fruit trees. Lemon, fig, apricot, orange, and apple trees are great for beginner gardens. However, fruit trees flourish in some areas more than others. Choose produce and seeds that can thrive in your backyard.

Indoor herb gardens also cut down on packaging waste. Instead of buying herbs at the grocery store, grow and dry your favorite herbs at home. Popular herbs like basil, thyme, and rosemary flourish in sunlit window sills.

Composting

Gardening and composting go hand-in-hand.

Organic waste like banana peels, rotten fruit, and old vegetables are entirely compostable. Microorganisms break down these materials, creating nutrient-rich soil. This soil goes right back into your garden.

Besides fruits and vegetables, many kitchen staples are compostable, as well.

Here’s a quick rundown

  • Eggshells
  • Bread
  • Grains and cereals
  • Used coffee filters
  • Coffee grounds
  • Soiled paper towels

Used napkins are compostable, but only brown, unbleached paper napkins. Biodegradeable packaging can go in the compost bin. Even lint is compostable.

Most of your garden waste is also compostable. Tree trimmings, grass clippings, fallen leaves, pine cones, and wood mulch are perfect for composting.

Bathroom waste like hair and used tissues work, but these items may take longer to break down.

Don’t add meat, pet waste, or dairy to your compost pile, either.

Composting bins are available at hardware stores, but any sealed bin will work. Some cities provide residents with free compost bins.

Throwing waste in a bin is called cold composting. This method is also the easiest.

Hot composting is a bit more involved, but it’s much quicker. You also need enough air, nitrogen, carbon, and water to work.

You can also purchase worms that compost faster!

Switch to Reusable Items

Do you have a cabinet dedicated to plastic grocery store bags?

Plastic bags are convenient when you need a last-minute lunch bag for work. Unfortunately, this practice isn’t so great for the environment.

Get in the habit of bringing reusable bags to the grocery store. Grocery store chains sell their own reusable totes at the register. Some stores even give them away for free.

Take this same approach to moving boxes.

Moving back and forth generates a lot of waste. Save your cardboard boxes and bubble wrap instead of buying new supplies for each move.

Old blankets and bed sheets are great for packing fragile items. Large plastic storage containers are an eco-friendly alternative to traditional cardboard boxes.

Plastic storage boxes are stackable, saving you space at home and in your storage unit.

Sustainable Tips for Your Wardrobe

How often do you cycle through clothes?

Green living is also minimalist living.

Donate whatever clothes you don’t want. Don’t throw any wearable clothes away.

Do you have a creative side?

Breathe new life into unwanted clothes. Take this opportunity to learn simple sewing, a necessity for sustainable living.

You can also transform your old clothes into real items for the home.

Turn your old flannel pajamas and pillows into dog beds. That old summer dress would make a lovely end table cover too.

Eco-Friendly Home Building Materials

Solar panels aren’t the only kids on the green living block. Plenty of green building materials are taking over the market.

Eco-friendly homeowners love the look of bamboo. It also grows fast. You can harvest bamboo for building material after five years.

Yes, you can grow bamboo in your own backyard too!

Cork is another popular eco-building material. It also regenerates pretty quickly after cultivation.

Many eco-friendly homeowners avoid traditional plywood if it’s not cultivated sustainably. If you want to be sure the plywood is sustainable, look for an FSC certification. If you see this seal of approval, you’re good to go.

Reclaimed or salvaged wood is a growing trend among green homeowners. This eco material also creates a cool, vintage look for the home. Salvaged driftwood is ideal for nautical style homes.

Use ceramic tiles are a hidden gem. You can find plenty of tile colors and designs at used supply stores. They’re also perfect for bathroom wall murals and gardens.

Green Insulation Alternatives

Old insulation is another problem for the environment. Luckily, there are alternatives for conscious homeowners.

Did you know that you can use old denim as insulation? Now you don’t have to throw out your old blue jeans. Shredded denim works perfectly fine in attics and crawl spaces!

The shredded newspaper also doubles as wall insulation. However, you have to treat the newspaper first with a fire retardant. Shredded newspaper is also compostable.

Old milk cartons are another sustainable insulation alternative. Plastics also work; this is a great idea for plastics that can’t normally be recycled.

Sheep’s wool batt is one of the better alternatives to fiberglass insulation. This type of insulation is more expensive than traditional insulation. However, it absorbs more moisture and controls indoor humidity better.

Make Recycling Fun

Recycling is so critical for green living. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget.

Busy homes need plenty of reminders to get in the habit of recycling. You could even make a game out of it! Create characters for each recycling bin so the kids think they’re feeding each character.

It’s important to wash recyclable items, as well. Many recycling plants won’t process dirty items. It’s up to homeowners to wash these items before they go in the bin.

Leave reminders to wash empty cans, bottles, and containers before tossing them in the bin. To save space, reuse glass bottles and mason jars. These jars are great for holding kitchen utensils, flowers, and pantry items.

Do you have a more sophisticated kitchen style?

Buy sleek steel recycle bins. You may be able to find bins with engraved letters for each material.

Rustic green homeowners can hide recycle bins in cute burlap sacks. You could also disguise them in wooden boxes with lids. These ideas are great for hiding your compost bucket too.

Adopt Sustainable Hygiene and Cleaning Habits

How long do you take in the shower?

You’ll be surprised at how much water you can waste in 30 minutes alone. That’s why it’s crucial to get your shower time to 15 minutes or less.

Conserving water is one of the easiest and most effective things homeowners can do for the environment.

Showers aren’t the only culprit. Think of how much water you waste washing dishes, running the dishwasher, and doing laundry?

Remember to pack the dishwasher before running it. Don’t waste full laundry cycles on just two clothing items, either. Eco-friendly laundry soap is also available.

Do you rely on a residential cleaning service?

Learn how companies like Green Maids & Co reduce their carbon footprints through organic cleaning methods. You can also do your part by avoiding harmful drain cleaners and chemicals.

Make the Most Out of Sustainable Living

True green living begins with an eco-friendly home. Remember these tips as you adopt new sustainable habits, eco-friendly building materials, and more.

Are you looking for more lifestyle tips and tricks?

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