Easy Ways to be Eco-Friendly Around the House
Being Earth-conscious and Eco-friendly doesn’t mean that you have to give up your luxuries and live in a mud hut. Find a happy, middle ground with these four tips on gentle living in the home.
* Use cloth rags instead of paper towels.
Do you have any towels that are threadbare, or just not as soft as those new ones you bought last month? How about some old flannel shirts? Cut them into manageable-sized squares and use these in place of paper towels. Keep a stack under your kitchen and bathroom sinks for easy access, and toss them in the laundry after a use. This doesn’t mean that you will never use a paper towel again – keep some on your counter for when a cloth rag just won’t cut it. But, with a little practice, you can cut your dependance on paper towels by 90 percent in no time, saving you money and a few trees in the process!
* Program your thermostat.
If you have a thermostat that allows programming, set it to be about 68 degrees (in the wintertime) for the hours you’re usually at home and awake, and 10 degrees cooler while you are away or asleep. Conversely, in the summer months, start at 76 degrees and go up 10 degrees. You will save energy without sacrificing comfort.
* Create your own cleaners.
Did you know that white vinegar works just as well as Windex? For a totally streak-free mirror, spray it with the vinegar and wipe it with a newspaper (or cloth rag). To make a disinfectant cleaner, add a tablespoon of bleach to an average-sized spray bottle, and drizzle in a few squirts of dish soap. Rock gently to mix. There are myriad more tips on making your own cleaning supplies online, which means, again, saving money while reducing waste.
* Switch out your bulbs.
You may be sensing a theme here… Yet another way to help the environment and save money is by changing your incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescents. They use significantly less energy and last much longer. Please be sure to dispose of them properly after use; just like all electronic devices, they should be taken to a special facility for recycling. Your local hardware store likely has this service, but you can also call your garbage pick-up company to find out where electronics should be taken.