The impact that human beings have on the planet is quite staggering. In the past few hundred years, the state of the environment has decreased in huge ways, and there is not a lot that anyone seems to want to do about it, as saving the earth gets in the way of people’s daily lives. In a sense, there is a lot to be said for taking your part in the fight against climate change and the other problems that come with the pollution that humans give off, but there is more that you can do past the norms of driving less or eating non imported food; right down to the housework, there are things that can be done to ensure that you do your part to help save the world. Have a think about the origins of everything that you use to clean your house. Are you happy to say that you give your money in order to carry on the production of these things? At the heart of large businesses are many ways in which the earth and it’s environment are affected, so it is worth doing a little research in to how well you know your cleaning products, and the effect that they have on the planet you live on.
Begin by having a look at the back of the bottles that your cleaning products come in, what kind of words do you see? Most cleaners will have to have warnings on the rear to ensure that they do not get in to the hands of children, who can be injured by them. Is this the kind of thing that you would be ok with washing your home with? Essentially, there will be times in your life where you will no doubt find that the chemicals that you are using to clean your house are more dangerous than the dirt that you are getting rid of! Still, cleaning is essential, and the dirt in your home will be harmful if not gotten rid of, so what to do?
Look in to eco-cleaners. There are products out there that are made using safe materials like plant extracts and minerals, which are much better for you, your family and the environment. You will find that the bottles are made from recycled plastic and can be refilled in order to reduce wastage and plastic production. The main issue with these products is that they tend to put a price on relieving your guilt, which means that they are a little more expensive than you may have wanted.
If you want to keep the costs down, then look into the slightly more bizarre products that can be used to clean the house without damaging the environment; people have used lemon, vinegar and baking powder for a long while to clean their homes in conjunction with other products like salt and traditional soap. If it works for them, then there is no reason that it should not work for you, so why not give it a go? There is a lot to be said for making up your own recipes for cleaning products rather than buying expensive dangerous ones, so have a look around on the net for recipes as to how best to clean certain things with these products. Lemon and vinegar are disinfectants because of their high acidity, whilst baking powder has a fizzing effect when mixed with liquid, which will help sped up the rate at which the cleaning power works.
All of us have had moments when we’ve looked at out electricity or water bills and thought to ourselves “There’s got to be something that we can do to get these costs down.” Yet when you happen to live in a house that’s full of people, even if you personally are doing things that are considered to be energy efficient, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are. Especially if some of the people sharing your space are children.
The good news is that there are some things that you can do to get your energy costs down and also teach your children how to be wise about the amount of electricity and water that they consume. If you’d like some tips on ways that you can show them how to be more energy efficient, we have five effective ones for you below:
Put signs above your light switches. Even as adults, sometimes we forget to turn out a light when we’re leaving a room. So, in order to get your children in the habit of doing so, put some small handmade signs above each light switch. It can simply say something like “turn me off” with an arrow pointing down under it. And to really get them motivated, you can even ask them to make the signs themselves.
Add a timer in the bathroom. Standing under some warm water can be really soothing. But if you’re not careful, you can look up and realize that you literally spent 15-20 minutes in the shower which is many (many) gallons of water. In order to encourage your kids to keep their time in the shower to 5-7 minutes, put a timer in the bathroom. They’ll be so interested in “beating the clock” that they’ll probably see it was more like a game than anything energy-related (and that’s just fine).
Encourage natural lighting. If you have young kids who are with you during the day or everyone is hanging out at home on the weekends, discourage them from turning on the lights “just because”. Usually, by opening up some curtains or blinds, that will provide accurate enough lighting. Plus, it will help to keep the energy costs down in the process.
Ask them to turn off the water. When kids are young, we tend to do all that we can to encourage them to wash their faces and brush their teeth. However, when they’re in the middle of brushing, it’s not really necessary for the water to be on. So, remind them that it’s a good idea to turn the faucets off and only use them when it’s time to wet their brushes or rinse the toothpaste out of their mouths.
Be a good example. If you were to ask an electricity company such as 123 Electric Service about what you can do to teach your children to use energy more wisely, we’re willing to bet that one of the main things they will recommend is that you set a good example for them to follow. After all, children tend to be far more drawn into what we do than what we say. So, as you’re coming up with ways to make your kids more aware of how they consume energy, be conscious of things that you might be doing to waste it too. That way, you can hold each other accountable and ultimately, make your home a more energy efficient place to live for everyone.
Part of living in a consumer society is dealing with the fact that our culture has become accustomed to disposable options. We’re so used to throwing away cardboard, Styrofoam, and plastic waste products that we never even stop to think about how much we’re contributing to landfill pollution each year. If you’re concerned you might recycle, but some plastics aren’t eligible. So if you want to cut back on your plastic waste over the holiday season, here are some options you might want to try.
- Brita filter. With tons of visitors coming for dinner or to stay a few days you might end up going through tons of bottled water. Instead, splurge on a Brita filter system that lets you turn your tap water into something a bit tastier thanks to charcoal that removes chlorine, copper, mercury, and other contaminants that can cause bad flavor or prove harmful to your health.
- Skip the plastic dinner service. There’s no denying that plastic plates, cups, and utensils are easier to clean up, and this is pretty nice after you’ve gone to all the trouble of cooking for a large group of family and friends. But one reason you might not want to go this route is that it’s not very attractive. Wouldn’t you rather see the meal you worked so hard to make displayed and served on your best dishes? Plus, you’ll keep a lot of plastic out of the landfill along the way.
- Give to charity. More and more people are opting to give up on gifting as a way to avoid the disgusting display of consumerism that occurs during the holiday season, not to mention the stress and overspending that go along with it. Instead, they’re turning to charitable donations in the names of their loved ones. Honestly, most adults don’t need more stuff, and they’ll feel good about knowing that a donation has been made on their behalf, especially during this season of goodwill. The people who love you will also appreciate the fact that you’re not busting your budget just to get them something they neither want or need. Of course, you’re also doing your part not only to help others in need, but you’re helping the environment simultaneously by refusing to support new manufacturing and the pollution and waste that go hand-in-hand with it.
- Homemade gifts. Instead of buying presents sealed in plastic packaging, think about saving some money and doing a solid for the earth by creating homemade gifts instead. You can whip up some baked goods, put candles or bath supplies (bubble bath, salts, etc.) into glass jars you’ve been saving all year (from pasta sauce, jelly, etc.), or use your scrapbooking skills to make stacks of monogrammed and personalized greeting cards or stationary, just for example. You could get the whole family involved in creating unique holiday ornaments for family and friends. And you can avoid wasting plastic and other manufacturing materials, to boot.
- Gift cards. Yes, they are made of plastic, it’s true. But consider that they contain significantly less plastic than a lot of packaging and that they can often be reloaded once spent, making them into a reusable gift rather than one that must be thrown away. Plus, if you heed the “visit our site” call of many online retailers, you can buy gift cards from the comfort of your own home and even print them out on paper instead of purchasing plastic cards.
It takes a truly dedicated greenie to seek out a home that has been built with eco-friendly design in mind. And since certified green homes can come with a slightly higher price tag, you want to make sure you’re getting what you pay for. However, trusting the word of a contractor can be a rather iffy proposition. And while you don’t necessarily need assurances that the structure is LEED certified, you do want to understand how it has been designed and built in keeping with your eco-friendly ideals. So what can you do to make sure that you’re getting the green home of your dreams? For starters, you’ll want to know what to look for and what questions to ask. Here are a few things to consider before you sign on the dotted line.
- Energy efficiency. There are many hallmarks of a green home, but one of the most important is energy efficiency. Ideally, you want a home that runs entirely on sustainable, alternative energy resources, or a net-zero energy home. This might entail the use of solar panels, a residential wind turbine, a geo-exchange, or all of the above. Or it may be that the home is equipped with energy-saving LED light fixtures, energy-efficient appliances, and plenty of insulation to help regulate the interior temperature. A truly comprehensive plan might even include something like a rooftop garden to counteract the urban heat island effect if your house is in an urban area. You’ll simply have to discuss the energy-saving amenities of the home with the contractor or selling agent so that you can verify during your walkthrough.
- Water conservation. If you’re into green living then you might already be aware of products like low-flow toilets and aerated faucets that can cut your water usage by a significant margin. But there are many other ways to conserve water that you can look for in new construction. For example, you might want to address the issue of watering a lawn. An eco-friendly home might feature a cistern that collects rainwater for this purpose. Or the builders may have installed a gray water system designed to filter your waste water (from sinks and showers) for use on the landscaping. There are plenty of ways to go green when it comes to preserving our drinkable water supply and you’ll want to make sure that your green home is well prepared for this task.
- Construction materials. Construction doesn’t tend to be a terribly eco-friendly process, but green construction strives to correct that situation. And part of how this is done is through the use of recycled, sustainable, and locally-sourced building materials, including wood, stone, and other natural supplies, as well as items that are manufactured in an environmentally-conscious way.
- Age and expected repairs. In case you didn’t know, eco-friendly options for homes have been in use for decades. For example, solar panels first gained national popularity during President Jimmy Carter’s administration, when he put them on the White House and then provided green tax credits for citizens making eco-friendly strides. Of course, you don’t necessarily want to inherit solar panels from the 1970s. The problem with buying an older green home is that you will likely have to renovate, or at least repair. And while you can do this in an eminently eco-friendly way, there’s bound to be unavoidable waste in the process.
- Landscaping. The first green thing most house buyers see is the greenery. Although the average buyer is looking for curb appeal, you might be seeking not only beauty in the outdoor space, but also native and drought-resistant plants that will do the least potential harm to the ecosystem and require less water to maintain. You should also keep an eye out for trees on the property that will provide your home with shade, potentially lowering the need for manufactured air to regulate the interior temperature.
Removals are a serious business that requires much preparation and research so you’ll have a chance to do things without stumbling onto issues along the way. The following tips will give you a chance to make your removal as green-minded as possible so your effect on the environment will be as minimal as possible.
In most cases removals require a large number of boxes made of cardboard, dozens upon dozens which are pretty much the equivalent to a few trees. Each time you move to a new place you’re using new sets of cardboard boxes which are then often thrown away, then another set and then another. All of these tend to add up as the years roll by and we end up creating much mischief for our planet as there is more than just cardboard involved. A nice first step toward saving the environment would be to either reuse the old boxes after saving them or to find alternatives that are better than cardboard. Thankfully these alternatives exist and they are easily available pretty much everywhere you live. Here are some examples:
Plastic Recyclable Bins
You should check with your removal company London whether they have any recycled plastic bins to work with. They are much more sturdy than the average cardboard box thus making them an excellent solution. Use them every time you move and they will certainly pull their weight, doubling as additional storage for a number of other things as well. You could wheel them or simply stack them in your home so they will be picked up by the removers. They will pick them up and once your belongings arrive you won’t have to worry about things like collapsing boxes or dealing with them. Just stack the plastic bins together until they are one nice, tight package and leave them in a storage closet at your new home until you have need of them again. If your particular removal company doesn’t offer plastic bins, then you can find them at most retail stores around the country.
Biodegradable Packing Supplies
In most cases we are used to dealing with bubble wrap, packing peanuts and even foam wrap. All of them are petroleum-based products that pollute the environment and take forever to degrade completely once thrown away. Their alternatives are much better for the environment, easier to deal with and even cheaper. For example, green packing peanuts are made from corn starch and vegetable oils to create a type of material known as bioplastic. You could buy them instead of regular packing materials with a bit of research. If you want to find an alternative to bubble wrap you should focus on geami wrap, made from die-cut recycled paper instead.
There are other ways to wrap your belongings by using things you already have around your home. For example, you can wrap fragile items in clothing, bedding and towels so they’ll be safe from the bumps of the road. Packing your belongings that way will serve a two-fold function as you will utilize them to the best of your ability while protecting what can be protected as well.