Going green seems the way to go these days. There are many reasons for becoming more environmentally friendly and ways to go about it, from non-toxic, affordable, and effective cleaning solutions to use to selecting a green vehicle and making home modifications to lower your home and car insurance rates.
In the last decade, we have become more aware of the impact of our consumption and lifestyle choices. The good news is that our choices as individuals can have real benefits.
Cars are a significant cause of global warming due to their pollution. You may want to drive a more efficient car to cut down on your carbon footprint. However, you might have questions about car insurance for going green or how to make your daily routine more eco-friendly.
Green Changes for Every Day
Simply paying more attention to your daily activities and taking small actions to reduce your use of resources can have a positive impact. To start, you can stop using single-use plastic straws, take reusable tote bags when you go to the grocery store, shop at thrift shops, switch to bamboo-based paper products, and stop using bottled water.
These simple changes will make you more self-sufficient, help save energy and resources, conserve resources, and reduce waste. Changes like this will help to preserve our environment, forests, and reduce your family’s exposure to toxins.
Green Improvements for Your Home
One big way to make your home more eco-friendly is by investing in renewable energy.
Add Renewable Energy Sources
Most households are on a grid that uses non-sustainable energy from oil or gas. Adding solar panels can cut down on the amount of energy used by taking advantage of the sun’s energy to supplement your heating and hot water needs.
You could also replace your older system with an efficient heat pump. Heat pumps provide both heating and cooling and are more environmentally friendly due to their low energy consumption.
Green Upgrades for the Home
Every house eventually needs a new roof at some point. If you are building a new home or re-roofing your current home, you can check out your roofing options to find more environmentally friendly alternatives.
If your home seems to use a lot of electricity or your power bills seem high, you might want to check out options to upgrade your home insulation. Adding weather stripping and having an energy review by your local power company is a good start.
The best cleaners are soap and water. The antibacterial products that many people use in their homes do not clean better but do add to the risk of breeding "super germs," or bacteria that can survive chemicals and contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Many cleaning products contain ingredients that are harmful to the environment. They can cause damage to our environment and its biodiversity.
Detergents, preservatives, and foaming agents cause the most harm. By choosing eco-friendly products that contain sustainably sourced ingredients that do not deplete the ecosystem, you can improve the environment.
As the health risks and environmental impacts of many cleaning products are better understood, many healthy, green, and effective cleaning products are hitting the market. Many of these are non-toxic, biodegradable, and made without petroleum products.
Another positive change is switching to shampoo bars. Shampoo bottles end up in a landfill, and most shampoos contain environmentally harmful ingredients.
Household Items for Effective Cleaning
Some of the common inexpensive products you already have at home are also highly effective for cleaning. You can look up a home hygiene guide to see options for eco-friendly cleaning. Vinegar and baking soda can clean almost anything. If you add vinegar to water in a spray bottle, you have a very effective surface cleaner.
Baking soda removes odors in the fridge and is also an excellent odor eliminator for rugs and carpets. Sprinkle a little baking soda onto the carpet, let it sit for a few minutes, and then vacuum it up. Baking soda also makes an excellent scrub for hard surfaces such as countertops.
Mixing water with baking soda can make a paste to sponge stains off coffee or tea mugs, polish utensils, and clean your oven. With added water, it can clean tile floors in large quantities.
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide together make a very effective combination for cleaning grease, hard water stains, dirty tile and backsplash, and more.
You can use hydrogen peroxide by itself to treat most stains.
Refresh the Air Naturally
If you like the effect of air fresheners but are wary of the chemicals, try boiling cloves, cinnamon sticks, or citrus peels. In addition, growing plants in your home help clean and filter the air.
Most green plants will help improve indoor air quality. For example, peace lilies, philodendron, and spider plants effectively clean the air and are easy to grow.
Green Improvements for Landscaping
Landscaping with sustainable materials will help your garden flourish. Use organic mulch to regulate soil temperature, retain moisture, and reduce weed growth. Common organic mulch choices include wood chips, shredded bark, straw, leaves, and grass clippings.
Native Planting Benefits the Environment
Planting native species can help reverse species decline. It also helps regulate the pest population.
Create a friendly garden for pollinators by planting native flowers and herbs. With these flowers and shrubs, you will cut down on some gardening chores and help the earth by welcoming pollinators like bees, butterflies, moths, and other insects.
Species native to your region will save you money and time spent on upkeep in your yard. Native plants don’t need harsh fertilizers or pesticides and don’t need as much water as other choices may.
Grow Fresh Produce and Fruit
You will reduce your carbon footprint by growing fresh fruit and veggies. Growing your produce lowers carbon emissions and waste when you buy grocery store produce. You can also ensure your food is free of harsh fertilizers or chemicals.
Start composting your scraps and paper. You can learn to compost from gardening books and articles. Then, build your compost bin or purchase a small compost barrel that makes it easy to turn your compost.
Compost is a great way to enhance your organic produce garden.
Install a Rain Barrel
It’s easy to start saving water for use in your garden. Rain barrels are available to buy at many garden and big-box home stores. In addition, some municipalities offer them to residents at a reduced rate.
Use a rain barrel to collect run-off rainwater from your roof to use in an irrigation system or watering can. You’ll also be cutting down on what you pay to water your garden while using a free resource.
Reduce Lawn Size
Grass lawns use a lot of water and energy to maintain. Instead, consider planting a native ground cover or using an artificial lawn. An artificial lawn can seem expensive but will significantly reduce your water usage and time spent on maintenance.
Upgrade Your Lawn Equipment
In the past, caring for your yard meant using noisy fuel-hungry equipment that was bad for the earth and could be expensive to use and maintain. The good news is that now there are outstanding eco-friendly options. For example, electric lawnmowers, leaf blowers, trimmers, and saws require less energy and don’t use gas.
A typical gas-powered mower can release a lot of carbon dioxide, so buying an electric mower can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. You could choose an old-fashioned reel-type push mower if you have a small yard. Battery-powered edgers and trimmers are other eco-friendly alternatives to consider.
Other Green Improvements for Your Landscaping
You might want to consider installing drip irrigation in your garden and landscaping. Drip irrigation will cut down on time spent watering your yard and reduce your water usage. Other green landscaping ideas include adding solar accent lighting, an environmentally friendly decking option, and decorative native grasses.
Go Green Benefits
Small changes you make now in your daily routine can have a tangible impact on your environment and the planet's health. In addition, these changes have the added benefit of positive benefits to your health, your environment, and your bank account.
Alexandra Arcand writes and researches for the car insurance site, CarInsuranceComparison.com. She is an insurance expert who is passionate about saving the environment and sharing ways others can do the same.