It’s not easy being green. Or is it?
We’ve been hearing about green homes and eco-friendly living for years. What started as common household recycling has flourished into full-on lifestyles for eco-friendly living and entire industries devoted to this movement. Many new homes are being built green, with both environmental and cost-saving benefits in mind. For those living in older homes that were not originally built to be green, it’s still easy to join the movement with these five simple hacks.
A tried and true way to join the green movement is to recycle. The term “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” has been floating around for a long time, and now it’s time to put the idea to practice. It’s as easy as placing plastics, glass, and aluminum into a blue bin separate from the rest of the trash. Most apartment buildings already have recycling bins for tenants, but homeowners can request bins from their utility company for curbside pickup each week. You can reduce your carbon footprint by simply placing your bottles in different receptacles. If you can’t recycle at home, you can still do your part to reduce waste, prevent pollution, and conserve resources by dropping your recyclables off at a recycling center and earning some cash in return.
You can even go a step beyond recycling synthetics by recycling organic matter. Compost bins are the best way to reduce organic waste. Anyone who has a yard or garden can enjoy the benefits of composting, which include eliminating food waste and reusing that compost as fertilizer for plants. Perishable food items like food and vegetables tend to spoil quickly, so what better way to salvage them than reusing them for compost? Not only does composting allow you to reuse food scraps, but it also saves you money on fertilizer. For those interested in getting started, Better Homes and Gardens has an easy reference guide.
Eco-friendly could also mean budget-friendly. The next three tips could require some expenses upfront, but they will save you money in the long run.
Energy efficient light bulbs are all the rage these days, and they can be purchased anywhere light bulbs are sold. Traditional incandescent bulbs are no longer in stores, but some homes are still lit by these obsolete bulbs. Old bulbs use far more energy than efficient bulbs, wasting 90 percent of the energy as heat. Energy-efficient bulbs labeled with “Energy Star” usually come in the form of CFLs, LEDs, and halogens. They last longer and use less energy, helping you save money on your electric bill.
If you’re ready for a bigger investment in your green home, consider swapping out your old appliances for new ones. Nearly all major appliances commonly used in the home can be made energy-efficient: refrigerators, washer and dryers, dishwashers. Appliances labeled “Energy Star” will save money and energy while protecting the environment. Owning these appliances can even qualify you for tax credits. Renters who don’t have the option to own appliances can reduce energy output by swapping out their old boxy television sets for slimmer televisions or using energy-efficient portable air conditioner units instead of central air.
If you live in a drought-ridden area, you can still do your part to conserve water and protect Earth’s precious resources. Not sure where to start? Replace an old shower head with a low-flow shower head that uses fewer gallons per minute. When doing laundry or dishes, skip the second rinse cycle. Consider installing a dual-flush toilet that uses less water to flush. If that’s not possible, even placing a water bottle in the tank can reduce the amount of water per flush and help save money on the water bill.
There are a hundred ways to conserve water and a hundred other ways live a green life. It takes a diligence, research, and commitment to make the planet a better place to live. But it can be done. If we all did just one small thing to reduce our carbon footprint, imagine how massive the global impact would be.
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