Sustainability and Your Home: 5 Tips to get you started

So you’re making a few changes around your house in order to be more sustainable, huh?

Let’s start by congratulating you.

You’ve taken the time to read this article — most people would have skipped the post after reading the first word of the title.

But we digress. Here are five ways that you can make your home more eco-friendly, without breaking the bank with fancy “environment-friendly” labels on our products and produce.

How To Make Your Home More Sustainable?

Very few items on this list require additional money, or involve extended periods of higher initial costs to make the switch.

In fact, in the long run (12+ months), most methods can actually help you save money. Crazy huh?

1. Rapid Fire: 5 Quick Tips To Lead A More Sustainable Home Life

  • Consider investing in appliances that have a built-in inverter and stabilizer: they cost much less to operate, and have a lower energy footprint.
  • Install a “cool roof”. This is a special addition to your terrace that reflects the sun’s heat, which can reduce cooling costs by up to 50 cents per square foot, according to data from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Install a microplastic filter in your washing machine to ensure that your home isn’t sending out any microplastics — a leading source of ocean pollution
  • While we’re on the topic of washing machines, using cold water to launder your clothes uses less energy as washing machines use 60% of their power to heat water.
  • Boycott single-use plastic straws. 500 million of them are used each day, and they often wind up in animals’ stomachs. Use paper straws, carry a washable metal one, or just sip from the damn glass directly.

2.    Tried And Tested: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.

Wait! We’re not just “stating the obvious” here — stick around to know more.

Reuse: There are many everyday items that can be repurposed into useful things with minimal effort, and this goes a long way in upping that sustainability factor.

Two ways to creatively reuse household garbage:

  • Glass Bottles: Turn them into beautiful decor lighting by making them into a hanging fixture. Their metal caps can be filled with wax and a wick and be reused as tea lights.
  • Broken/ Cracked/Old Plates: If they’re shattered into a million pieces, use them in place of pebbles around your trees and shrubs. If the plates are broken somewhat cleanly in two, repurpose them into plant/ flowerbed boundaries.
  • Used Electronics: Selling your used electronics is a great way to get rid of old and broken devices without having to go through the hassle of using them again or finding someone who can use them. It is a good idea for money and for the environment.

Reduce: The two most effective ways of reducing your household impact on the planet are:

  • Eat one less meal of meat a week: One pound of beef produces 14.8 pounds of carbon.
  • Take short showers: A ten-minute shower uses 25 gallons (95 liters) of water.

Recycle: There are two things you can do to recycle waste produced in your home:

  • Make a compost pit: It’s one of the most effective ways to dispose of organic waste, and your garden will love you for the compost it gets out of it.
  • Segregate your waste: This goes a really long way in helping recycling companies ease their workloads.

3.    Buy Secondhand Where Possible

Buying secondhand items is one of the best ways to reduce your household’s carbon footprint and is also a surefire way to save money.

While our consumerist society has glorified owning shiny, new, unboxed things, buying items that have already been loved is a big leap towards sustainable living.

Here are some things you can buy second-hand to reduce your carbon footprint:

  • Large home appliances
  • Vehicles
  • Phones
  • Accessories (You can buy clothes too if you don’t mind thrifting).

Garage sales and yard sales are a great place to not only grab a bargain but also to promote sustainable living.

4.    Your Decor Choices Make All The Difference

Sure, it’s convenient to shop from the big brand stores, but their only concern is increasing the number below their bottom line.

Sourcing your decor locally (from smaller shops or even individual artisans) not only supports the local economy but is often much more eco-friendly.

Other sustainable ways of decorating your office space or commercial area (areas of low disposable manpower and high foot traffic) are faux plants and trees.

You might think “But faux trees don’t clean the air and stuff?”

And we’ll say “good point”.

The thing to remember is that when you source biophilic decor for large spaces (as is becoming ever-increasingly popular today because everyone wants to show themselves as being environmentally friendly), people tend to forget about maintenance costs.

Real plants and trees need water, fertilizer, soil PH requirements, specific temperature ranges, and the like. Faux plants provide most of the benefits without any of the hassle.

Movin on from horticultural decor though, sourcing home decor from local shops will also give you that “handmade uniqueness” factor — a great conversation starter.

Facebook and Instagram hashtags are a great way to find your local decor community.

You never know — in some places, you may even find local artisans who specifically make eco-friendly products.

5.    Irrigation Matters

If your house has a yard or garden, you’re probably watering it inefficiently.

While a yard has numerous benefits for a house in terms of sustainability, such as cooling its surrounding, serving as a windbreak, and assisting in phytoremediation aside from making the place look more biophilic, these benefits are quickly nullified with improper watering.

The best way to water a garden is through drip irrigation. It has many benefits, chief among which are:

  • It reaches the water directly to the plant roots where it’s needed, minimizing water wastage.
  • It can be fed from wastewater as well as be easily connected to even simplistic rainwater harvesting systems.
  • It saves a huge deal of energy as compared to, say, sprinkler systems as it eliminates the need for pumps.
  • Drip irrigation, in addition to reducing water wastage by runoff, also drastically reduces the amount of water lost through evaporation when irrigating your yard.

Investing in proper irrigation technology saves you money and helps the environment? That’s a win-win situation right there.

There will always be naysayers.

You know, those fools who will claim that methane emissions from cattle or carbon dioxide emissions from volcanoes dwarf man-made pollution.

However, they probably just want to make themselves feel better, and avoid facing reality.

Fortunately, you aren’t one of those people, and are well on your way to contributing to a sustainable world — well done.

Appendix

Sources:

● https://www.commercialsilk.com/artificial-trees
● https://www.greenmatch.co.uk/blog/how-to-be-more-eco-friendly
● https://theminimalistvegan.com/live-a-more-sustainable-lifestyle/
● https://planetark.org/newsroom/news/give-your-home-a-sustainable-sweep-here-are-5-tips-to-get-you-started
● https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/population_and_sustainability/sustainability/live_more_sustainably.html
● https://www.countrylife.co.uk/property/guides-advice/60-simple-sustainability-tips-make-home-garden-life-better-198737
● https://artificialeden.co.uk/blogs/artificial-plants-blog/how-artificial-plants-will-save-you-time
● https://www.boredpanda.com/creative-reuse-upcycling-repurposing-ideas/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic
● https://www.smalldesignideas.com/sustainability-and-your-home-tips-to-get-you-started.html
● https://www.diyncrafts.com/6081/repurpose/100-ways-repurpose-reuse-broken-household-items
● https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-secondhand-shopping-dent-fast-fashions-environmental-damage/
● https://www.wessexwater.co.uk/community/blog/14-ways-to-live-a-more-sustainable-lifestyle
● https://www.terracastproducts.com/5-drawbacks-to-fake-plants/
● https://www.epa.gov/heatislands/using-cool-roofs-reduce-heat-islands
● https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11356-021-13184-2#:~:text=However%2C+effects+of+MP+uptakes,developmental+disorders%2C+and+behavioral+changes.&text=Almost+700+aquatic+species+in,2020).
● https://letsavelectricity.com/washing-machine-energy-saving-tips/#:~:text=Best%20energy%20saving%20tip%20for,save%20lot%20of%20electricity%20bill.
● https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/laundry
● https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/news-plastic-drinking-straw-history-ban

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