The Green Living Guy

Concerns about the environment are causing anxiety for many people. The problem seems so large and complex, that you may feel powerless to do anything about them. Yet, small changes you make to green up your lifestyle can have a positive impact. Take a look at some of those changes and see which ones your family can best implement.

1. Embrace Alternative Power

Consider ways you can incorporate alternative fuels into your everyday life. From small solar power banks to whole-house systems, you might be surprised at what is available.

Solar and wind power is becoming more affordable as technology makes it more efficient. Tax incentives and manufacturer rebates make it an affordable option for many people, especially when you consider your utility bills will be reduced or eliminated. Check into solar financing and lease options that can replace that electric bill with a payment toward a new roof-mounted system.

2. Eliminate Paper Waste

When you stop to think about how much paper is wasted in the kitchen of an average household, it is easy to see how landfills are becoming overwhelmed. Swap out paper napkins with reusable cloth ones and switch to a dishrag instead of paper towels for a quick and noticeable reduction in your paper use.

Think about other paper products that you use throughout your house and see how you can recycle or reuse that, too. A shredder can turn unwanted junk mail into bedding for small animals or food for your home compost pile.

3. Switch to Reusable Containers

Replacing disposable containers from your kitchen has multiple benefits. First, it reduces the amount of trash you produce. That is pretty obvious. It also helps reduce the amount of plastic that comes in contact with your food. As awareness grows about the dangers of chemicals in many types of plastic, glass, silicone, and stainless steel options are emerging as attractive and safer options. Consider these small changes to get you started:

  1. Use reusable silicone or cloth bags instead of reaching for plastic ones when you are making lunches for the family
  2. Swap out plastic wrap with safer silicone or wax-coated seals
  3. Put leftovers in individual glass containers that can do double duty as bowls or plates for tomorrow’s lunch

4. Reuse and Repurpose

Instead of heading to the store for new clothes, toys or tools, see what used options might be available. Also, when you are done with something or just don’t want it any longer, resist the urge to just toss it in the trash. Think if it could have any alternative uses or if there might be a chance to sell or donate it to a charity. Some areas offer large swap events. All where you can trade out unused or outgrown items with other local families.

5. Make Your Own Cleaners

Green cleaning segment as small changes to impact the environmentThe chemicals in household cleaners and detergents can be really harsh for you and the environment. Green up your home by swapping them out for natural and earth-friendly options. One of the most affordable ways to do that is by making your own.

Most surfaces can be cleaned with just a few basic ingredients. Head out and get some white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and Castille soap to get started. If you use essential oils, thyme, oregano, and lemon can be a nice addition. Besides a pleasant scent, they are all known for their antimicrobial properties. So these small changes can add up to a lot of money not spent on other cleaners.  Also less toxic.

6. Stop Buying Bottled Water

This ties into the reusable container idea. Bottled water is, at its most basic, filtered or purified tap water in a single-use container. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars a year on bottles of water, invest in a to make your own. Use that to keep refillable bottles ready to go!

7. Plant a Vegetable Garden

Growing your own food can benefit the environment and your health. There is abundant research linking time spent in nature with improved mood, healing, and immune function. So the time you are tending to the garden is making you healthier and stronger. Add to that the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables and you have a truly win-win situation.

Start with one or two small changes that your whole family can implement every day. Once you start to see the benefits to the environment and your family, it will be easier to embrace bigger changes.

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