11 Cheap Eco Friendly Steps That Won’t Break the Bank
Going eco friendly sounds like all fun and games, until you see the price tag. Solar panels can be expensive, replacing your entire heating and cooling system can be expensive, and taking less showers is not the easiest thing to do. A lot of people know that going green has a huge impact on the environment, but they are afraid to go beyond that because they cannot afford it. Thankfully, there are easy and inexpensive ways to be eco friendly. Reducing what we use at home can also save a lot of the green in our pockets. There are even ways to make some of the things we use at home.
Switching to organic and all natural cleaning supplies helps reduce the number of pollutants in the air and minimizes exposure to harmful chemicals. Instead of grabbing the name brand window cleaner and paper towels you got at the store, try something different.
You can make window cleaner by combining:
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup rubbing alcohol
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 8-10 drops of lemon or orange essential oils.
The cornstarch will reduce streaking and the alcohol does wonders on dirt. Now, use old newspaper for your paper towels. Crumple up the old newspaper and wipe away. This will save you money on cleaners, find a new way to use the newspaper and be one step closer to an eco friendly home.
Shampoos and Soaps
There are lots of other recipes that you can use to replace a lot of the chemical ridden things we use on a daily basis. Look up different recipes for shampoos, soaps, hairsprays, and gels. This will reduce the amount of money you spend on shampoos that you get in the stores, reduce plastics, and reduce the number of chemicals that you and your family are exposed to. It will also give the old plastic bottles a chance to be reused.
There are lots of things you can do to go green in the laundry room. First, instead of using store bought detergent, make your own. Borax is a great natural soap you can use for laundry detergents or you can use Sal Suds which you can get on Amazon. Combine 2 tablespoons of Borax or Sal Suds with ¼ cup of baking soda. Add this combination to your laundry at the beginning of each wash cycle. Then, instead of using the dryer, hang your clothes on the line. This will save you a good amount of money and will save energy. If your energy bill averages around $100 a month, $72 a year goes to your dryer. You will save money, your clothes, and you become more eco friendly.
Look into dryer balls. If you do not have a drying rack or a place that you can hang large amounts of clothing, dryer balls will help reduce the amount of energy required to dry your clothes. Dryer sheets are toxic and can be really bad for babies. Usually, dryer balls are made from natural materials, mostly wool. Drop a few drops of essential oils on the dryer balls and throw them in with your clothes. When the dryer balls roll around in the dryer it adds more air pockets. This decreases the amount of time required to dry your clothes. It is also proven that if you wash all of your clothes in cold water you will use less energy.
Unplug and Switch Bulbs
Unplug appliances, chargers, and lights that you are not using. This will save a lot of energy. When you are done with your computer and they go to the “sleep” mode they are still sucking up energy. When you are finished with your research be sure to completely shut off your monitor. If you are not charging your phone make sure you unplug the charger. You can also switch out light bulbs with CFL bulbs. These bulbs are much more energy efficient and will save you green on the electric bill. CFL bulbs last 10 times longer than regular bulbs and use 75% less energy. Light bulbs and plugs are a quick and affordable way to go green.
Turn The Thermostat Down
Do not pay for heat in a home or apartment that no one is in. When you go off to work or school, turn the thermostat down. It is suggested that you turn the thermostat down to about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. When you are sleeping it is also suggested to turn the thermostat down to around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Turning your thermostat down 2 degrees during the winter will stop 500 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere over the course of a year and will save you about 4% on your bills monthly.
Composting is a free way to return nutrients to the soil. Compost also helps the soil retain moisture so you do not have to water the plants as much. When you peel a carrot, do not finish your dinner, or any other time you have some leftover food, compost it! Composting is a mild, slow, natural release of fertilizer that will not burn plants like chemical fertilizers. It is also proven that composting reduces the amount of greenhouse gasses that we emit into the atmosphere. Limiting the greenhouse gasses we emit is one step toward being more eco friendly.
No Bottled Water and Bring Coffee With You
Instead of going for the closest Fiji water or Deer Park, get a glass reusable container. A $15 glass or aluminum bottle might be difficult to purchase at first, but it will pay off in the end. Every year Americans use enough water bottles to go around the world twice. This plastic will take generations to decompose and is a waste that continues to grow. You could also think about getting a purifier to add to your tap.
Getting Starbucks every day is a lot easier than having to get up earlier and make your own, but it is expensive and all of the cups you use go straight to the landfill. Although the cups are paper, if you throw them in the garbage it does no good. Instead, get coffee that was shade grown and invest in a to-go mug. Shade grown coffee supports the rain forest because the trees do not have to be clear-cut. Look for brands labeled USDA Organic of Certified by the Rainforest Alliance.
As we all know, paper requires trees to be cut down. With the forests being torn down all over the world, saving trees is certainly something we should all try to do. Going paperless is a great way to do your tree service. With all of the phone apps being developed going paperless is easy. There are applications for banking, paying bills, and getting a newspaper. Instead of having paper bills sent to your house, a newspaper thrown in your driveway, and magazines delivered, you should get them digitally.
Paper or Plastic? How About Neither…
Getting paper bags does help a little bit, but getting reusable bags can make an even bigger impact. Keep them in your car; you’ll be surprised how much you use them.
Keeping your fridge super close to the wall is actually hurting its efficiency. When the fridge is so close to the wall the circulation is limited, and the unit has to work harder. Move your fridge a few inches away from the wall and keep the coils clean. It is also really important to keep the temperature between 35 and 38 degrees; any temperature lower than that wastes energy.
Let it Grow
Consider growing an herb garden inside. Keeping plants inside will help to clean the air in your home and will help provide some fresh oxygen for you and your family. Herb gardens are awesome since they do all the above and can be used to add some fresh taste to your meals.
When spring comes around and the grass begins to grow again, do not worry so much about cutting it down to almost nothing. Let the grass grow to about 2-3 inches. Doing so will let the grass establish deeper root systems, it will not need as much water to grow and it will choke out weeds. The grass will maintain itself and you will not need to treat your lawn with weed killing chemicals since the grass is taking care of that for you. Leave the clippings on your lawn too. This might take some getting used to, but the clippings will decompose and return the nutrients back to your grass. You can also cut your lawn less because it will decrease the amount of fuel burned from your mower.
Go Green and be Eco Friendly
Even though we discovered some new planets similar to this place we call Earth, that does not mean we should destroy our home. Our planet is full of life to give and we continue to harm it. Help bring the life back to our planet by doing all you can to reduce what you use and become more eco friendly.