You do not need to live in a home built of re-purposed materials and lined with solar panels to go green. Small changes in your daily habits, home decor and landscaping have a dramatic impact on energy and water consumption, as well as the reduction of chemical use in your household. If going green feels overwhelming, begin with implementing one green idea for the home per week, such as switching from paper napkins to cloth napkins, and proceed from there.
Green Cleaning Tricks
Green cleaning supplies not only eliminate the use of dangerous chemicals, but they often reduce your household cleaning budget and do a better job. You can invest in a line of green cleaning products or use simple household items such as white vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, baking soda and elbow grease to make your home sparkle. Clean the microwave in a jiffy by placing a lemon slice in a dish of water in the microwave, cooking it until you produce some steam and then wiping down the interior with a lint-free rag. White vinegar, sometimes diluted with water, can take the place of tile cleaner, fabric softener, grease remover, rust remover, daily shower spray and glass cleaner–but do not use it on marble.
When redecorating or purchasing new appliances, consider green options. Paints with low amounts of volatile organic compounds help you breathe easy. Organic textiles work for window treatments, slipcovers, table linens, bedding and bath linens. Look for Energy Star labels when shopping for major appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines and dryers, or do without a dryer and opt for a clothesline. Sustainable materials such as bamboo work well for flooring, furniture frames and cabinetry.
A green landscaping plan may seem like a no-brainer, but not all lawns are created equal. Going grass-less saves major water and keeps your landscaping looking beautiful in dry seasons and times of drought. Options include using native plants, covering areas with gravel, outfitting yards with stone pavers and installing container gardens with native species, succulents, cactus, herbs for cooking, and fruits and vegetables. Devote a corner of your yard to a compost pile or a compost bin, which cuts down on your garbage and provides your garden with nutrient-rich soil.
- White plate on linen cloth with cutlery and colourful napkin image by Sophia Winters from Fotolia.com