If you’re trying to make your house more eco-friendly, after doing a bit of research, you might think that you’ll need a series of online health administration degrees to even begin to be a success at it! Indeed, when it comes to “going green” and educating your family to do the same, the amount of information available may seem a bit overwhelming. Here are five ways that can make the transition much more manageable.
One place that every family spends a lot of time in is the kitchen. In order to make that room better for the environment, start with what you bring into it. Make it a point to buy more organic food and produce. This just means that you’re proactively looking for food with less preservatives, pesticides and additives. While shopping for these items, consider bringing a bag from home to put them in because even when it comes to holding groceries, plastic is definitely something that you want to use less of. While in the kitchen also keep in mind that plastic is extremely fat-soluble and so this increases the risk of meats and dairy becoming contaminated. Swap plastic containers out for ceramics and remember that you don’t really need that bottled water, either. A filter on your faucet will make the tap water just fine. Oh, and a compost system is a great idea too. It’s a highly-efficient way to reduce waste.
There are some things that we use (and need) daily that we probably never think about when it comes to the threat that it may pose to the environment. Take a toothbrush, for instance. Being that our dentists recommend that we dispose of them every three months and being that our toothbrushes are made of plastic, just think of how many people live in the world and multiply that times four disposed toothbrushes per year per person. That is a lot of plastic, but there are actually such things as reusable toothbrushes (Greenerstep and Preserve are two brands that make them). All you do is replace the bristle head while keeping the handle. There are also one-hundred percent biodegradable floss brands like Eco-Dent. Also, another good way to stay clean while helping out the environment is using wool pads instead of wash cloths (cotton is a heavily-sprayed crop resource) and washing with natural soap like “Just Soap”, which is made with organic oils and (literally) bicycle power. You can also Google how to make your own soaps, shampoos and lotions from home.
One debate is which came first: the chicken or the egg. Another popular one is which is best: laundry detergent or soap. When it comes to being eco-friendly while taking care better care of your health, the answer is definitely soap. Detergents are made from synthetics—chemicals that have proven to be toxic for ocean wildlife. If you live in a city where you have soft water, you can use soap flakes in your laundry. If not, there are natural clothes-washing brands like Gaiam that makes detergent from renewable materials. It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that cooler water makes it harder for soap or detergent to dissolve in; this means you will need more electricity (and product) to get your clothes clean. Wash in warm water and rinse in cooler temperatures. Try using oxygen bleach on your whites and opt for natural fabric softeners. These are made of vegetable-based materials and are fragrance free, which is great for protecting sensitive skin from rashes or irritation. Gaiam has some of those available too.
Pack a “Green” Brown Bag Lunch
Not only does taking your lunch help your budget, but it’s also good for the environment. There are dozens of ways to get creative when it comes to making lunchtime…greener. For one thing, rather than disposing of last night’s dinner, while not pack it up for lunch? If there was some leftover chicken, roast it and use it as sandwich meat. Make a concerted effort to buy organic fruits and vegetables and if you have a juicer, make your own carrot-apple-celery liquid combination. Take your lunch in a reusable container and rather than eating with plastic utensils, get some eco-friendly ones. GreenPaperProducts.com and Ego-Gecko.com are two companies that sell “go green” cutlery.
In the Bedroom
Most of us spend about one-third of our lives in our bedrooms. We definitely should care about the quality of rest we’re getting and what we can do to make it even better for our environment as well as ourselves. For starters, if you’re looking for bedroom furniture, choose some that is made with renewable materials or refurbish a piece that you already have. If it’s time for a new mattress, purchase one that is made of organic materials. Wool and cotton are good options. Savvy Rest is a brand that makes mattresses out of latex. When it comes to bedding, look for sets made of organic cotton and while you’re sleeping, make sure that your air filters are clean, that you have a couple of air-filtering plants (English Ivy, Golden Pothos, Bamboo Palm, etc.) on your nightstands and that you keep your windows, at least cracked, for fresh air. A ceiling fan is a welcome addition to keep that air circulated and a rug made with natural fibers is a wonderful complement to any bedroom floor; especially if it’s bare.