Small Household Changes That Help the EnvironmentAugust 5, 2021
We all know big corporations are responsible for the majority of pollution in the world. But that doesn’t mean individuals are powerless in the fight against climate change. While most are familiar with recycling, that isn’t the only way to help the environment from the comfort of your own homes.
Finding ways to clean your house harmlessly, making energy-efficient home upgrades, and adjusting small, everyday habits can go a long way toward reducing your carbon footprint. In this guide to small household changes that help the environment, we’ll review the benefits of a green household.
Going green isn’t the only reason to start using environmentally-friendly cleaning products in your home. Whether you’re concerned about your children’s health or have sensitive skin yourself, traditional cleaning products may not be the healthiest option for your family.
Among the benefits of using eco-friendly cleaning products is reduced exposure to synthetic fragrances and dyes, which tend to cause allergic reactions in some people. Natural cleaning products are also gentler on surfaces like leather sofas and dining room tables, preserving your quality furniture products for years to come. Additionally, concerns about indoor air pollution and offensive odors like bleach push some consumers toward environmentally-friendly cleaning alternatives.
Production is often more sustainable for these eco-friendly, organic cleaning products, which are manufactured using safe, non-toxic, biodegradable methods that avoid animal testing. With a little know-how and elbow grease, you can also make your own cleaning products at home. Green cleaning is beneficial both to the environment and humans, making it a win-win that helps fight ozone depletion, along with reducing air and water pollution.
Energy-Efficient Home Upgrades
Upgrading your home to incorporate more energy-efficient appliances is another tried and true method of reducing your carbon footprint. Installing efficient windows and HVAC systems are some of the most impactful home upgrade options, but if that seems out of your budget, there are plenty of other upgrades to choose from.
However, before you begin installing all-new appliances, it’s a good idea to have your existing systems inspected by skilled professionals. Leaky pipes, for instance, are a more common occurrence than you might think. Early leak detection is important in preserving the local ecology while ensuring all of your pipes are fully functional and environmentally friendly.
Once you’ve rooted out and resolved any inefficiencies in your home systems, you can consider which upgrades will be most beneficial to your space. Perhaps you’ve been looking to install energy-efficient appliances or want to invest in a smart thermostat.
One of the most popular ways to hook your home up to a renewable energy grid is to install rooftop solar panels. Setting up a residential solar system allows homeowners to enjoy cheap electricity derived from renewable sources, at a cheaper cost than they’d normally pay for energy. While some are wary of making the switch to solar due to higher upfront costs, the panels pay for themselves within 6-10 years. Prices are also decreasing by the day, as new technologies make the manufacturing process cheaper and easier. Solar panels are incredibly durable and able to withstand extreme weather conditions, so you can feel confident in your investment even if you live in a hurricane-prone area.
Other Lifestyle Changes
Here comes the elephant in the room: recycling. It’s probably the most popular and widely diffused eco-friendly lifestyle change. Many people start and stop their eco-friendly journey with recycling. And it does help, just not as much as you might think.
So, what is the real impact of recycling for a year? One study showed that recycling can save around 600 pounds of waste from the landfill annually per person. Every bit counts, but it’s important to realize that 600 pounds is about the same amount you’d save if you decided to have one meatless day a week.
Other lifestyle changes, like cycling to work, installing rooftop solar panels, or driving a zero-emissions car, can reduce your environmental impact by 10 times the amount recycling does.
In addition to the suggestions outlined above, several other lifestyle tweaks can help the environment, including:
- Wash your clothes in cold water and avoid using the dryer when possible.
- Install LED light bulbs in place of traditional bulbs.
- Make use of a programmable thermostat.
- Eat less meat or try a meatless day a week.
- Invest in reusable water bottles, water filters, and cups.
- Start a small indoor herb garden or plant more outside if you have space.
- Unplug appliances or lights when not in use.
- Begin collecting compost.
There’s no denying that widespread global changes are necessary if we are to emerge triumphant in the battle against climate change. Fortunately, though, small changes can make a big difference for the environment, especially if each household makes a concerted effort to do its part.