In the last few years, many families and households have started to consider living in a more sustainable way. From choosing organic foods to seeking out products that have more natural ingredients, consumers are moving toward a lifestyle that’s more environmentally conscious. Being eco-friendly helps everyone contribute to a more sustainable environment that helps lower carbon emissions and puts less stress on our natural resources.
If you are also considering ways to live a greener lifestyle, start with your home. Turning your home green can mean you can save more money on electricity and water bills in the long term. You may also save money in different ways as well. There are various solutions that will help you to transform your current household into a more eco-friendly environment while putting less stress on your wallet. Here, for example, are seven easy ways to transform your space.
Keep an Eye on Your Water Usage
Being eco-friendly means getting serious about saving water. You can start by fixing any leaks around the home. If you can afford to, install water-saving taps and shower heads or low-flow toilets to save money and water in the long run. You don’t have to spend money to save water, however. Consider a few lifestyle changes, such as:
- Using a water filter on your kitchen tap for fresh drinking water that isn’t bottled and bring refillable bottles with you when you are out and about
- Don’t run the tap when you brush your teeth
- Time your showers and try to keep them under five minutes
- Avoid taking baths
- Re-purpose water. For example, when rinsing fruits and veggies, catch the water in a pot and use it to water houseplants or your garden
- If you have a pool, use a cover when it’s not in use. This will help cut back on evaporation and reduce the amount of water you use refilling it
Install an Electricity Meter
If you heat your home with electricity, it can be very easy to leave your heating on for longer than you really need to. The best way to avoid this is to have an electricity meter. These meters can be programmed so you only heat your home when it’s absolutely required. They can even be set so that the heat begins to come back on, for example, about an hour before you arrive home from work. This ensures that you save money, but don’t sacrifice comfort. Electricity meters can also:
- Provide you with information such as when and how much electricity you use
- Help you understand your usage and detect places where you can work to lower the amount of electricity you are using
- Help electricity retailers offer you more innovative products or services such as energy apps that help you better manage your usage
- Help distributors detect outages and monitor the quality of your electricity supply
Electricity meters are a must-have for anyone who is working to reduce their carbon footprint and save money on their energy bills.
Insulate Your Home
While your goal as a homeowner is to use as little energy as possible, it will be hard to reduce your energy consumption on cold or hot days if your home isn’t properly insulated. A well-insulated home helps hold in heat in the winter, meaning you cut down on heating costs. It will also block out the warmth of the sun in the hotter Australian summer months, helping to keep your interior cool by ensuring you don’t need so much air conditioning.
There are plenty of places in your home that should be properly insulated against the elements. These include the walls and roof. If you are in the process of renovating your home, it’s a good idea to also consider double-glazed windows. Consider covering exposed hardwood with area rugs, which are cost-effective and stylish, allowing you to help insulate your home from cracks in your floors. Even the simple act of drawing the blinds or curtains during the hottest times of the day will help keep your home cool by blocking the sun from affecting interior temperatures.
Buy Recycled Products (and Products That Can Be Recycled)
As a consumer, it’s a good idea to be mindful of what you are buying. Instead of buying more items you don’t need, consider what you actually require. If you need to purchase items, look for products that are made sustainably. Many standard household items can be swapped for recycled products.
There are numerous ways to add recycled items to your home without having to buy something that isn’t made sustainably. Try:
- Buying recycled paper for your home printer
- Buying recycled toilet paper and kitchen rolls
- Visit used book stores
- Shop for household items and clothing at thrift stores
- Avoid the use of one-time products such as takeout utensils, straws, and plates
- Invest in items like aluminium straws and cloth shopping bags that can be reused multiple times
- Choose razors with recyclable blades that are easily replaceable, as opposed to disposable plastic razors
Create Your Own Compost
Almost every day you are likely inundated with kitchen scraps or leftover food. Did you know you could turn these pieces of refuse into your own compost? You’d be surprised as to how much food you end up throwing away. Consider reusing it!
Composting has many benefits including:
- Helping soil retain moisture, meaning you need to water your garden less
- Suppressing plant disease and reducing pest outbreaks
- Enriching the underlying soil
- Reducing the need to use chemical fertilisers
- Encouraging the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi in the soil
- Reducing methane emissions in landfills
Creating your own compost is as simple as placing a compost bin in your garden or a corner of your yard. Start by placing all of your food waste in the bin, and, like magic, before you know it, you’ll have quality compost to help your garden grow.
Handle Your Green Waste with Care
We all want to maintain a clean garden, and we know how much work it takes to do so. Green waste comes hand in hand with gardening so it’s important to know how to treat it well.
Here are a few smart ways to lessen the amount of green waste you create, simply by maintaining your gardens and lawn:
- ‘Recycle’ your grass by refraining from bagging the clippings. Instead, leave the grass on the lawn and let it fertilise the soil naturally
- Reduce the size of your lawn by planting low-maintenance plant beds or slow-growth bushes or plants that don’t require too much water
- Use mulch. It helps control the spread of weeds, keeps the earth moist (reducing the need for daily watering), and helps reduce soil erosion. It will also help your garden stay healthy by providing it with a healthy amount of nutrients
- Find your unwanted plants and trees a new home. Post your plants to social media or share them with friends and family. That way, they find a new home and stay out of the landfill
Choose Your Food and Products Carefully
When it comes to keeping your footprint on the planet a bit lighter, it’s important to be mindful of where we as consumers are spending our money. One big contributor to landfill waste, for example, are coffee pods. A conventional drip coffee maker is much more sustainable.
Consider using glass containers to store your food, as opposed to plastic baggies which can end up in the ocean.
It’s also a good idea to shop local and eat fruit and veggies that are in season. And, when you’re shopping, look for products with less plastic packaging. Don’t forget to bring along your own cloth shopping bags to cut back on a lot of plastic waste.
By making smart choices at home, you’ll be helping contribute to a healthier environment. You’ll also inadvertently be saving money on various household costs, from heat and air conditioning to water and grocery costs.