It turns out that when it comes to saving the planet, you don’t have to trade in your gas-powered car or even shell out a bunch of cash – you can do it right from the comfort of your own home. In fact, making a few small upgrades to your home and tweaking your everyday behaviors around the house can leave a bigger impact over time than you realize.
Unplugging electronic devices when they’re not in use, turning down the water heater a little bit, and line-drying your clothes are just a few of the many ways you can reduce energy use with little change to your lifestyle and low monetary investment. Every little bit of effort counts, now more than ever. If you’re looking for ways to be mother nature’s hero, then look no further!
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Cut the Plastic
This one goes without saying. Disposable plastics that don’t easily break down are one of the biggest contributors to waste buildup on our planet. Swap your plastic water bottles for a reusable option and bring a reusable grocery bag with you to the store. You can even take it one step further and use your own containers for foods you buy in bulk, cutting on the plastic packaging that lines so much of our food these days.
Grow Your Own
Take advantage of the green thumb you never knew you had. Whether you start slow with a few herbs in a windowsill or go all-out with a backyard vegetable garden, growing your own food is a great step towards a more sustainable life.
Educate yourself on the world and how you can change it. We live in an age with access to so much information online. Whether it be articles about ocean pollution, data about humans’ environmental footprint long term, or even watching documentaries about nature, the list goes on forever. With so much info right at our fingertips, it’s almost impossible to ignore the impact we have on our planet. However, there are also unlimited possibilities for what we can do to make it better.
Be More Water-Conscious
Do your part by not only being aware of your water usage but also cutting back. Take shorter showers, and make sure all of your home’s leaky pipes are taken care of. Invest in a low-flow toilet or showerhead, and only start the dishwasher when it’s full. You can even take it one step further by collecting rainwater and using it to water your plants and garden.
The concept of “reduce, reuse, recycle” is one of the oldest tricks in the book. If you must opt for plastic bags, make sure you’re able to squeeze at least a few uses out of them. You can reuse them to carry your lunch to work or even to pick up after your dog. You can also save delivery boxes for when friends need to move or reuse your old towels as cleaning rags instead of sending them off to the landfill.
Incorporating solar panels is the trend that just keeps going. When it comes to sustainable energy, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better choice. Not in a position to rewire your home for solar? It’s okay to start small! You can try smaller solar-powered options like backpacks, Bluetooth speakers, or even bike locks.
Turning off the lights when you leave a room is a no-brainer, but don’t stop there. If you’re not actively using a device, simply go ahead and unplug it. TVs, tablets, and laptops are all notorious for running while in rest mode. This still uses a surprising amount of energy. Next time you log off, don’t just power down – unplug it!
Buy it Used
If you haven’t jumped on the vintage train yet, now is a great time to start. Why shell out money on new clothes and household items when you can find exceptional quality at a fraction of the cost? Local thrift stores, farmers’ markets, or even online thrift apps are a few great options to help you responsibly get your fashion fix.
Opt for Other Coffee Options
If you’re using any kind of disposable pod system for coffee or espresso, this is your wake-up call to stop. Despite the tiny size of coffee pods, they sure can generate a lot of waste. Learn to enjoy the process of making coffee and try something like a French-press or pour-over method instead.
Find Your Heating/Cooling Balance
Setting your home on an automatic timer throughout the day to keep a constant temperature is one way to keep the energy costs down. However, don’t let that effort go to waste. Sunlight can affect the temperature of your home, so use blackout curtains to keep the room cool, and take adamant of the sun’s heating power to maximize costs in the winter, too.
Light Up the Savings
Swapping your incandescent light bulbs for LED can reduce your energy usage by up to 80-90%. They’ve also been shown to last for up to 100,000 hours. They are easy to pick up at just about any hardware or home goods outlet and will save you both energy and money in the long run.
Make the proper investments in order to start weeding paper out of your life. Choose to receive your bills electronically, and instead of using sticky notes or scratch paper, simply use your phone’s notepad to jot down quick memos. Next time you need to take notes for your meeting, try using your tablet or laptop instead.
Brighten up your home and connect with nature by bringing it inside. Plants have been shown to have many positive benefits. Indoor plants have been shown to aid in air purification. Spider plants, snake plants, and rubber figs are all great for oxygen production and easy to grow indoors. Plus, they are a surefire way to brighten up the room by acting as mood busters and help you feel more productive. Taking a few small steps to green up your home isn’t simply good for the planet – it’s downright heroic.