Protecting the environment is something we all want to do better. I simply cannot imagine that anyone wakes up in the morning and thinks to themselves, “ok, how can I pollute as much as possible today?” By and large, we all want to be good environmental stewards, especially when given the opportunity to do the right thing. For most of us, it is just a simple matter of eduction and being offered choices.
I’ve read a lot of articles in my life that provide tips for making your daily routine a little bit greener and a little bit safer for the environment. Some offer some pretty obvious solutions, like bring your own bag to the grocery store, and a great many offer solutions that just simply aren’t practical for everyone (just go buy solar panels, duh!!). So I’ve compiled a short list of less obvious solutions that I find useful in my own day-to-day activities. This is by no means the be all and end all of going green lists as there are tons of tips and ideas out there, but I do hope a few people reading this might find some inspiration.
Take Off Your Shoes!!
Going green and making your home a safer more eco friendly environment for you and your family doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it can be as simple as kicking off your shoes! Did you know that according to the University of Georgia, up to 40% of indoor contaminants are brought in from the outside by your shoes. That means if you want to avoid a lot of dirt and reduce the amount of time you have to spend cleaning just get in the habit of taking off your shoes and invest in a good doormat. Talk about an easy low cost fix! Studies have also shown that reducing the amount of time you were shoes is also better for your body too and leads to increased circulation and less stress.
Have A Look At Your Water Heater
You’d be amazed at how many people I talk to who don’t know what temperature their hot water heater is set to. In fact, you’d be even more amazed at how many people I talk to who don’t even know where their hot water heater is located in the home! If you want to use less energy and reduce your utility bills, check out the temperature your hot water heater is set to. I find that it is never necessary to have your tank set above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, during hot summers I will sometimes set it even lower to 110 degrees or even 105 degrees. Bottom line, the water coming out of your tap doesn’t need to be scalding and if you are perpetually heating your water to a high temperature you are just waisting energy and money.
Landscape Your Home With Native Species
By far the most eco friendly yard you can have will be one with plants that are native to the place you live. Native grasses use up to 70% less water and various other plants, trees, flowers, and shrubs will require far less chemical fertilizers and pesticides. It makes far more sense to utilize plants that have been thriving in the environment in which you live for generations than to try and force a species to grow in a place where it either gets too much or not enough of the natural resources it requires.
Go Meatless One Day A Week
I’m not going to deny, I like bacon or a good hamburger as much as the next person. However, did you know that some researches suggest that going meatless just one day a week can have the same positive environmental impact as driving a hybrid car? It’s true! Raising livestock is a very resource intense industry so cutting back just a little bit on your meat consumption can have a big impact on the environment. Besides, there are lots of vegetarian meals that are incredibly yummy. Hearty vegetarian soup, pastas, stews, and more can be both delicious and healthy.
Only Microwave Glass, Never Plastic
Heating plastics can cause leaching into food and many contain hormone-disrupting compounds (not just the much maligned versions made with bisphenol-A or BPA). Plastics that are labeled “microwave-safe” can simply withstand a higher temperature before losing their shape. So when popping anything in the microwave, opt for glass or microwave-safe ceramics.
Learn Your Lightbulbs
Gone are the days when you can go to the store and buy a generic pack of lightbulbs to throw into all of your fixtures. Things are just more complicated than that. For those willing to do a little bit of research however, lightbulbs are a great area where you can not only use less energy, but you can make your home a lot more comfortable to live in too. This article on CNet is a little bit lengthy but is well worth your time to read so the next time you need to replace that bulb in the hallway or out on your porch you can make the correct choice that will provide the right kind of light at the lowest cost.