If you’re looking for easy ways to go green and help to not only save our planet but reduce your monthly costs and living expenses, then you’ll want to read every word in this special report about Green Living Strategies.
From what you can recycle, to choosing your energy source, we make it simple to decrease your carbon footprint and focus on a better future.
All it takes is some careful and strategic planning, making some small but important changes to your daily life, and you’ll be on the path towards living a greener life.
Tip #1: Use LED Lightbulbs
One of the first places you can start to go green is by switching out your current lightbulbs for LED ones. There have been some debates on what type of lightbulb is the best for the environment, and the clear choice is LED.
When you use fluorescent and incandescent lightbulbs, it takes a significant amount of energy just to produce a little bit of light. LED lightbulbs, on the other hand, are approximately 80% more efficient.
By using lightbulbs that are 80% more efficient than others, it helps reduce greenhouse emissions from power plants that are harmful to the environment. That’s because LED lightbulbs consume less power per unit (lumen).
Regular lightbulbs, such as fluorescent ones, convert upwards of 95% into heat and a mere 5% into actual light. Whereas LED bulbs convert 95% into light, and only 5% is wasted as heat.
Conversion rates alone can have long-term benefits for the environment.
While the upfront cost of LED lightbulbs is a bit higher than others, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. First of all, they are significantly more affordable than when they first came out. That cost may continue to decrease as more people go green, and there’s a bigger demand.
Second of all, the long-term energy savings far outweigh the cost per bulb.
The Consumer Federation of America recently came out with a report stating the average household, over a decade, can save upwards of $1,000 just by switching to LED lightbulbs.
In addition to this 10-year outlook, LED lightbulbs last much longer than other lightbulbs. The average LED lightbulb lasts about 50,000 hours, whereas incandescent ones last around 1,000 hours.
They also create a more focused glow than incandescent bulbs, which means you may not have to have as many lightbulbs going at one time.
When the time comes to discard lightbulbs, contact your local recycling center. Recycling lightbulbs is a specific process that your area may or may not do.
The next time you go shopping for lightbulbs, take a look at your LED options, and consider switching. The environment and your bank account will thank you!
Tip #2: Switch to Green Power
When it comes to supplying energy to your home, you may have the option to choose a more environmentally-friendly source. All it takes is a quick phone call to your electric company to see if they offer green power.
Right now, your energy source might be coming from something harmful to the environment.
There are three types of energy sources: those that are the least beneficial to the environment, those that are better and renewable, and those that are considered the best.
The latter, of which, is referred to as green power.
Green power is energy that comes from the following types of sources:
- Small scale hydropower
Solar power is simply taking energy from the sun and converting it into reusable energy. You can do this by installing solar panels in and around your home.
Wind power comes by placing wind turbines in locations where there’s plenty of wind velocity, and they have to be up pretty high. Aside from blocking the view, there are no downsides or harmful effects to the environment.
If something is burnable, then it can be used as biomass. For example, wood chips and animal manure. This is a good way to turn potential waste into energy.
Geothermal energy transfers heat from within the earth into energy. In order to use this as an energy supply, you need to be near an underground spot that has plenty of heat.
As you can see, all of these energy sources are natural and eco-friendly. They also save you money in the long run.
If your energy company doesn’t offer any of these energy sources, then see if they have large hydropower or municipal solid waste.
Large hydropower, meaning water, is a clean source of fuel. Unlike fossil fuels, natural gas, and coal, it won’t harm the environment.
It’s also powered by the sun, which makes it a renewable energy source. This type of hydropower isn’t quite as eco-friendly as smaller ones, but it’s still a good source.
Municipal solid waste takes local waste and turns it into energy through different types of processes, such as anaerobic digestion and combustion.
By keeping it local, you reduce the need for trucks to travel outside of your area and emit carbon into the atmosphere.
All of these options are vastly better than energy sources that are not environmentally friendly, such as:
- Natural Gas
Coal is very toxic for the environment since it produces metals that harm both the earth and our health. It’s a huge source of carbon dioxide.
Oil is incredibly harmful to the environment. When oil spills, it kills wildlife and destroys natural habitats. It can also affect water if it goes deep enough into the soil.
Even though natural gas is slightly better than coal, it still contributes to air pollution in the form of sulfur and carbon dioxide. It also gives way to nitrogen oxides, which then turn into smog.
Tip #3: Use Cloth Diapers
Disposable diapers are incredibly harmful to the environment. It takes approximately 500 years just for one diaper to decompose, and that’s only if it’s exposed to enough sunlight and oxygen!
Switching to cloth diapers can help alleviate this impact on the environment.
Most babies use upwards of 3,000 diapers before being trained to use a toilet. That means it’ll take 1.5 million years for the diapers from just one baby to decompose.
In America alone, 9 out of 10 babies use disposable diapers. This contributes to 27.4 billion diapers ending up in landfills every year. The good news is that 30 cloth diapers equal about 4,000 disposable diapers!
If you’re a family who plans on having more than one baby, you can be even greener by passing on those cloth diapers to new babies. If you want a different view on it, Laura from Puratium talks about the importance of switching to cloth diapers in her minimalist baby registry article, we suggest you take a look.
It’s important to take into consideration the number of trees needed just to make disposable diapers, too.
Over 200,000 trees are cut down every year to produce them, and they play a crucial part in our environment. Not to mention all of the side effects that lumbering has on our ecosystem.
If you’re still not into the idea of using cloth diapers, or if you’re concerned about water usage, then at least consider switching to biodegradable ones.
These still contribute to landfills, but they don’t take nearly as long to decompose. Choose organic diapers to avoid any harmful chemicals.
Tip #4: Harvest Rainwater
Collecting rainwater not only helps the environment, but it’ll save you money.
By collecting water, you’re also able to educate your household members about how much water they use. Everyone can be part of the process of collecting and redistributing it among your household. This might make them think twice about their usage.
In addition to minimizing your need for municipal water, using rainwater reduces stormwater runoff. This alone helps prevent the erosion of stream banks, which is vital to your local environment.
If you have a garden or even just some household plants, there’s yet another reason to collect and use rainwater. This water contains absolutely no chlorine or fluoride, meaning it’s pure and beneficial to your greenery.
It’s also perfect for drinking too since it has zero hardness, which is also why untreated water is better tasting.
Fill up reusable water bottles each day with rainwater and bring it with you. You’ll save money by not buying drinks throughout the day. Plus, it’s good for your body.
Your local municipality needs to pump and treat water before sending it your way, so by using rainwater; you’ll reduce the need to rely on this service.
The less demand they have, the better it is for the environment since they won’t need to use vehicles and machinery that emit harmful gasses.
As the world continues to work toward saving the environment, water efficiency ratings and codes are always being developed. Switching to rainfall water, even for just some of your water needs, can help you meet these new standards.
Using rainwater also ends up saving you money, since using natural rainfall helps reduce your water bill!
Tip #5: Recycle Batteries
When we want to get rid of stuff that we no longer need, our first thought might be just to throw it away. Even something as familiar as batteries often end up in the trash, which is not where they belong.
Along with everything else that ends up in a landfill, batteries need to break down and decompose. As they do so, however, they release harmful chemicals that end up in the soil. On average, it takes about 100 years for a battery to decompose in a landfill.
The following hazardous chemicals are found within batteries:
This means that something as tiny as a AAA battery can contribute to global warming. In addition to climate change, batteries that are simply thrown away can pollute your local water supply.
Over the course of a century, that’s a lot of harmful chemicals polluting our natural resources.
Not only can that affect you and your family’s health, but it can also kill local plants and animals. This also means harming fish, which you could end up eating.
Another way to go green is by using rechargeable batteries. While you may not be able to use them for life, the majority of them can be recharged up to 1,000 times. That alone can have a major impact on the environment.
In addition to simply using them less, another option is to recycle batteries. You’ll need to do an internet search to find your nearest battery recycling center since these can’t just be thrown into the recycling bin.
Tip #6: Composting
By composting food scraps and yard waste, it prevents them from taking up space in landfills where they release methane gas.
Methane is a gas that can cause significant damage to the environment since it naturally absorbs heat from the sun and therefore contributes to global warming.
When it comes to what is needed for a compost pile, it comes down to these three categories:
The next time you find yourself cutting up vegetables, think twice before putting the scraps into the trash. All those green vegetables are ideal and necessary for your compost pile.
For example, chopping up green peppers and celery.
The same goes for preparing fruit and mowing your lawn. Instead of scooping up those grass clippings and apple peels, and then tossing them into the garbage can, these can also go into your compost pile.
You’ll want to have other items from your yard, too, such as dead leaves and twigs. Consider doing a big yard cleanup and then gathering everything together for a compost pile, then regularly contributing to it.
For your pile to properly compost, it needs carbon. That’s what your browns will do, such as coffee grounds and tree branches.
It also needs nitrogen, which is where all those veggies come into play. In order to break everything down, you’ll also need plenty of water.
All of these parts should be equal in size, too.
While it’s a good idea to compost as much as possible, there are certain items that simply cannot be composted.
For example, you should refrain from composting anything that contains dairy. This will cause your compost pile to give off a horrid smell, which in turn will attract insects and rodents.
Other scraps that have the same problem are fats, meat, and bones.
Even though human waste is something used in fertilizers, you shouldn’t try to compost pet waste. These may very well contain viruses that are dangerous to humans.
For a complete list of items that should and should not be composted in your area, contact your local recycling coordinator.
Tip #7: Donate And Buy Used Clothes
When we clean out our closet, we can feel a bit overwhelmed and have the urge to just throw it all in the garbage. Instead of contributing to your local landfill the next time you do this, make a pile that can be worn by someone else instead of just throwing them away.
Whether we simply want a new wardrobe or have outgrown our current one, it’s always a good idea to get rid of clothes we no longer wear. When they end up in a landfill, though, they release carbon dioxide and methane into the air as they decompose.
Secondhand stores like the Salvation Army and Goodwill can sell these clothes to people who are less fortunate, or who also want to help the environment. This is considered green because not buying new clothes is another way to go green.
Before you purchase new clothes, consider shopping at a secondhand store. Not only does making new clothes release even more carbon into the environment, but it takes a tremendous amount of water.
You can do an internet search for other secondhand stores in your area, too. Some of them might even give you cash or store credit, which you can turn around and use to purchase used clothes.
Tip #8: Telecommute or Carpool
A great way to go green is to use automobiles less, and there are several ways to make this change. If you work outside of the home but think you could do it remotely, then it might be time to sit down with your supervisor.
More and more companies are allowing their employees to telecommute, which means they work from home. Not only does the employer save money from overhead costs, but it also reduces the carbon footprint of both the employer and employees.
Depending upon your vehicle, most passenger cars emit around 411 grams of carbon dioxide per mile. If your average travel time is about 15 minutes each way, then you’re emitting over 12,000 grams of carbon dioxide whenever you go to work.
That doesn’t include going out on your lunch hour, either.
If working from home even a few days a week isn’t an option, then consider carpooling with other employees. In an office of 30 people, all of whom drive a car to work, together, they emit 360,000 grams of carbon dioxide each week.
By grouping them into six cars, each with five passengers, that carbon dioxide output drops down to just 72,000 grams each week!
Another way to go green while commuting is to use public transportation. Even if you have a vehicle, this could help you save money on gas, wear and tear on your car, and reduces the amount of carbon you contribute just by going to work.
When the weather forecast in your city allows for it, you can also ride a bicycle or walk to the office. The environment and your body will thank you!
Tip #9: Indoor Plants
Filling your home with just a few indoor plants can drastically improve the air quality. Even homes without a lot of direct sunlight can sustain some essential plants.
Indoor plants can drastically reduce carbon dioxide levels by absorbing it. In addition to having better quality air, they can help keep your home clean.
The leaves on indoor plants naturally absorb dust and pollutants, which means less for you to consume. If you live in a humid environment, then an indoor plant will naturally collect excess moisture and keep your home cool.
They’re also a good idea to have in offices, as they absorb and reflect noise. This creates a more relaxed working atmosphere.
If your bathroom receives at least some sunlight, then consider putting a peace lily in it. This type of plant loves to collect mold spores as food, so it’ll help keep your moisture levels down in the bathroom.
Spider plants are another great plant to have indoors. By having them in your home or office, you’ll greatly improve the air quality in as little as two days. That’s because spider plants are a magnet for chemicals that are often found in cleaning products.
Spider plants are also fairly low maintenance, needing just a little bit of indirect sunlight. They also enjoy being dried out from time to time.
Lots of people keep aloe vera plants in their homes because of the gel it produces. Not only is it good for moisturizing your skin, but it’s also antibacterial and gets rid of toxins in the air.
The Aloe Vera plant needs plenty of light and should be kept away from pets, since ingesting the gel can be harmful.
Keep them well-hydrated, but allow the soil to dry a few inches between each watering.
Tip #10: Reuse Containers
A good household can always use extra storage. If you need extra containers but also want to save the environment, then you might benefit from reusing food containers.
Items such as coffee canisters are perfect for keeping nuts, bolts, screws, and other types of fix-it tools. Designate a canister for each item, and then label it with masking tape and a marker.
Clear mason jars, such as those used for jams and jellies, can also be reused. Simply remove and recycle the label, wash it out, and use it to store sewing items.
Have separate jars for buttons, sewing clips, sewing labels, and anything else related to arts and crafts.
Milk jugs, soda bottles, and other plastic containers can be used for household items that need to be poured. For example, cat litter, sidewalk salt, and birdseed.
By using containers that you already have in your kitchen and pantry, you help reduce your carbon footprint. Even though many of these items can be recycled, remember that it takes manpower and energy to do so.
The less energy needed to recycle all of these items, the better it is for the environment.
As you can see, it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to have a big impact on the environment. It all comes down to choices.
In addition to what’s in this special report, remember that simply using less can help you go green.
Eating less food, using less electricity, and driving less are all examples of what it truly means to go green.