We can all do our bit, no matter how big or small, to help save the planet. When it comes to our homes, it’s far easier to be environmentally friendly there than anywhere else; we know exactly what is in our homes and can switch out what isn’t working for something that is. In terms of being environmentally friendly, the best place you can possibly start is at home. Here are just a few ways to go about it.

Wooden Furniture

We all know that wood is better than plastic, but did you know that some types of wood are less beneficial to the planet than others when they are removed from their natural place in the world? If the wood comes from somewhere that is struggling to grow enough trees, you might even be doing more harm than good. Search for sustainably harvested wood when you want to buy furniture instead.

You should also try to buy local if possible. Not only does this help local artisans and business owners, but it cuts down on your carbon footprint too because you have to ship your purchases over long distances.

It’s even better if you can use old furniture and simply make it look more modern with a bit of upcycling because then you aren’t affecting the planet at all. Find vintage pieces that are well made and durable, and you’ll save money in the long term as well because you won’t have to keep replacing it.

Check Natural Fibers

Although you may think that natural fibers like cotton have to be better for the environment than man-made ones, it’s important to check the tags before committing to buying anything. Organic is much better than anything else you can find, for example. This is because, when it comes to cotton and other materials, a lot of pesticides can be used in its production. Organically produced material means that no pesticides or any other chemicals were used to create it, and that’s far better for the environment.

The best materials to use include wool (as long as the animals are humanely treated), hemp, and linen. Try not to get anything that has been artificially dyed if possible too.

Of course, some man-made synthetics are great when it comes to helping the planet; those that have been recycled and re-used are much better than brand new ones.

Solar Panels

Having the experts install top solar panels is a wonderful way to make your home more environmentally friendly. Solar panels store the heat from the sun, and that can be used to heat your home and water at a later date. You don’t even have to live in a particularly sunny place for it to work – hazy sunshine is just fine. Not only will you be using less oil and gas and other non-renewable fossil fuels and therefore making a positive impact on the planet, but you can even save money on your utility bills under some schemes.

Stop Using Paper Towels

Paper towels in your kitchen are really useful; they are great for mopping up spills and generally cleaning things up. However, the more waste we create, the more our landfills fill up, and that can have a devastating effect on wildlife, water courses, and the soil around them. Not to mention it’s unpleasant to live near to a landfill site.

If you switch from paper towels to cloth ones, you will be able to re-use them and stop creating so much waste. You can just stockpile rags that you would otherwise have put in the trash, so you don’t even have to use energy in washing them. When you’re done with them, they can be recycled.

Change Your Light Bulbs

Standard light bulbs cost a lot to use, and they aren’t good for the planet. Yet there is a way to change this and become more environmentally friendly without having to resort to using candles in your home instead of electric light! You can change your standard bulbs for LED ones. The benefits of LED lights include the fact that they last for longer (and are therefore both cheaper in the long term and cause less waste), and they cost less in electricity over time too.

Use Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products

It’s important to keep out homes good and clean, but the cleaning products that are readily available in stores are full of harsh chemicals that are bad for the planet (and for you too, which is why you should be careful when using them). If you would prefer something more natural, check the labels on anything you might want to buy – that will tell you what’s in it, and there are some brands of cleaning products that are organic and ‘pure.’

An alternative is to make your own cleaning products to use around the home using natural ingredients; you will know exactly what is in them and they won’t damage your home. Items such as lemon juice, vinegar, and baking soda can all be utilized, and you’ll find many recipes for homemade cleaning products online.

Have Plants

The air in your home should be kept as pure as possible, but for many people, that means installing an air purifier which has its own issues when it comes to energy usage, for example. An all-natural way of keeping the air at its best in your home is to have plants in your house. A few green houseplants here and there will make the air clean and pure, and you simply need to water them regularly.

Recycle

Recycling is one of the best and easiest ways to be environmentally friendly at home. However, simply separating paper and plastic may not be enough. You will need to check what kinds of plastic your area is able to recycle to ensure that you are only recycling the right kind. If you mix all the different types of plastic together, none of it can be recycled, as it will have been contaminated. All that hard work and effort will be for nothing as everything will be thrown in the general trash.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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