Spice plants sitting on a table.

How to Incorporate a Greener Life

No matter where you turn these days, the world is “going green”. It’s amazing how quickly the trend toward a greener life has spread. Thankfully, this trend is actually something to be excited about because it is creating a better world for the generations ahead of us. With climate change, we can no longer look the other way when it comes to being efficient, mindful and definitely not wasteful. Who knew saving the environment and using the earth’s resources in a more responsible way could be so fulfilling? When I think back to years ago, the green movement was in the news, but it seems in recent months to have really taken off because of the urgency to make things right and the emergence of more and more eco-friendly products. Sometimes “going green” sounds intimidating, but in actuality, if all of us take a few small steps we can really make an impact on saving the earth. I hope by reading these ideas, you can incorporate green living into your everyday lifestyle. Take a look at the list below for a few ideas on ways to go green.

Green Products For Your Home

  • It’s a no-brainer to switch to energy-efficient CFL light bulbs, LED type bulbs that last 10 times longer than traditional bulbs.
  • When you’re in the market for a new appliance, choose Energy Star appliances for better efficiency
  • A full freezer is easier to keep cool, so fill it up.
  • Embrace smart green living and download apps that help control lighting and your thermostat when you are not home.
  • Installing ceiling fans throughout your home will make the actual temperature feel lower than it actually is. (This is doubly effective for homes with high vaulted ceilings)
  • Repurpose glass containers and jars into food storage or lunch containers instead of using plastic
  • Choose a cast iron skillet over nonstick varieties to avoid ingesting chemicals.
  • Use cloth napkins, diapers, dish towels, and anything that’s a reusable choice over paper products.
  • Opt for PVC-free and BPA free plastic for all types of household products.
  • Look for “Fair Trade” on labels and support smaller businesses.
  • Use reusable bags when grocery shopping. If you have an abundance of plastic grocery bags, then continue to reuse them. They last a very long time.
  • Choose to paint your home with Zero-VOC or low-VOC paint. There are countless colors and types on the market today.
  • Purchase a vacuum with a HEPA filter and remove more allergens and contaminants from your home’s air.
A closeup of a man using a vacuum on a hardwood floor
Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter removes allergens and contaminants from your home

Eco-Friendly Products For Everyday Use

  • Using liquid flea prevention medicine, you apply once a month is a greener choice than using flea collars. The pesticides on the collars are often harmful and are potentially a human carcinogen.
  • A reusable water bottle keeps plastic disposable bottles out of your daily life and also promotes the healthy habit of drinking more water. Take it with you in the car, to the office, or at the gym.
  • Reuse gift wrap, ribbon, and gift bags.
  • Coconut oil is an all-natural facial cleanser, make-up remover and moisturizer. It also works wonders when shaving your legs and styling and moisturizing your hair, not to mention it smells great too.
  • Grow your own spices for a fresh, sustainable twist when preparing meals.

The Perfect Eco-Friendly Hobbies

  • Plant a garden filled with vegetables and herbs, then remember at the end of the season to freeze your final harvest so you can enjoy all winter long.
  • Create a compost bin
  • Collect rainwater and reuse for watering your garden and plants.
  • If you’re unable to grow anything or simply don’t have the space, then shop at your local farmer’s Market and buy local. 
  • Making your own clothes can be a fun and rewarding hobby and makes great gifts too.
  • Choose all-natural ingredients and make your own household cleaners and detergents.
  • Watering your garden, lawn or flowers is more efficient if done in the morning or evening. Mid-day will have the water evaporating much quicker.
  • Mulching your landscaping also helps provide a barrier so that water absorbs rather than evaporating.
  • Turn Meatless Monday into a more frequent event and add-in another day. Have fun getting creative with your menu and get the whole family involved. Even better, become vegan.

Spice plants sitting on a table.
Home grown spices are a great way to add a new freshness to your meals while going green.

Act Now! Ways You Can Start A Greener Life Today

  • Keep lights off or put them on timers you can control from your smartphone.
  • Skip the warm or hot water settings on your washing machine and wash your laundry in cold water.
  • Fix running toilets and leaky faucets. You’re not only saving water but money, too!
  • When you do laundry or wash dishes, make sure the load is large and the dishwasher is full.  In fact, using your dishwasher over hand-washing your dishes actually uses 1/6 of the water it takes to hand wash according to the EPA.
  • Skip the dryer and let your clothes dry naturally either indoors on racks or outdoors.
  • Unplug appliances when not in use or use power strips
  • Check your home air filters monthly to keep your furnace and AC unit running more efficiently.
  • Lowering your thermostat and water heater temperatures can improve your home’s efficiency and reduce your ecological footprint.
  • If walking or riding your bike is an option for transportation to where you’re going, then by all means use this method.
  • Try to combine all of your errands into one trip rather than going back and forth several times from your house.
  • Visiting a carwash actually uses significantly less water than when you wash your car at home.
  • Be mindful when grocery shopping. On average over 20 pounds of food is thrown away each month.
  • Avoid using disposable paper plates and Styrofoam coffee cups. 
  • Instead of letting clothing and household items you don’t use accumulate or get stored away, why not donate to thrift shops, sell on apps like Poshmark or Let Go, or give to a shelter or charity you like to support.
  • Reading books or watching documentaries about climate change and the environment can be very eye-opening. Sometimes just being mindful can open a door to adopting a whole different lifestyle.
  • Pay bills online as much as possible to avoid paper waste.

Really, the possibilities are endless when it comes to uncovering ways to add greener habits to your daily routine. Try adding in a new one each week, and suddenly you will be living green with a much smaller ecological footprint than you were the year before!