When it comes to living sustainably, it can feel like the cards are stacked against you. It’s hard to live a green life when policymakers aren’t taking necessary action. But change can start with you — and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune either! Here are a few low-cost, manageable ways to make your home more sustainable, and the world a little greener.
Plug Up Those Nooks and Crannies
Do you feel a draft coming while sitting on your living room couch? Or does your office upstairs never seem to stay cool in the summer? Cracks around your windows and in your baseboards can let air out — and in — making your home less energy-efficient driving up your electricity and gas bills. Caulking these little gaps closed can make a serious impact, and keep you feeling more comfortable during the hot and cold months.
Unplug and Turn Down
Are you using the television right now? How about the iPad that’s been charging all day? Your electronics will still pull a small charge (sometimes called a standby or vampire charge) from the outlet even when they’re turned off. Get in the habit of unplugging whatever you’re not using to save money and energy. To make a bigger impact on your next month’s energy bill, make a habit of turning down your heat or air conditioner when you leave the house.
Go with A Smaller Flow
Did you know that most showerheads use up to five gallons of water per minute? The next time you need a new showerhead, look for an efficient one that cuts your water usage in half. And don’t forget to turn off the tap when aren’t actively using it! Your water and sewage bills will thank you.
Compost with Care
Composting is a great way of turning your old banana peels into potent fertilizer for a garden. Plus, it keeps your food from decomposing in a plastic bag for decades to come. However, if composting isn’t possible for you, consider trying out compostable trash bags down the line. That way you’ll know your food scraps won’t take up space in waste management site for years on end!
Get Real about Recycling
Look up your borough’s rules on recycling to make sure you aren’t unintentionally sorting your recyclables the wrong way — otherwise, it could all just end up in the trash. Once you get a handle on what your waste management crew will take, try to figure out what to do with the things they don’t handle, like clothes, electronics, and furniture. There may be a site closer than you think that will take these items, freeing up space in your house, and helping keep unnecessary items out of landfills.
Reduce and Reuse
If you have single-use plastic in your house, or items that are not recyclable, try to get as many uses out of it as you can before throwing it away. After double-checking to make sure the type of plastic is safe to reuse, wash out your sandwich bags for another day, use your plastic bags for multiple grocery runs, refill your water bottles, and reuse plastic wrap and aluminum foil as much as you can. When they’re finally spent, look for more sustainable options, like beeswax wraps for sandwiches, reusable canvas bags for grocery shopping, and glass containers for leftovers. However, try to hold off buying new things until you’ve used up what you already have! Remember, producing new products requires valuable energy, so try to limit consumption whenever possible.
By incorporating these easy tips into your life, you’re well on your way to building a greener, more sustainable home.