Who says that “going green” needs to be difficult? There are plenty of easy ways to go green as a family that can also be fun, too! Here are some great examples of simple ways to go green at home. All while reducing your carbon footprint.
This is what everyone thinks of first when they hear someone talking about “going green”. The trick is to make it easy on yourself. Set up an easily accessible and simple system consisting of various bins or baskets that will allow your family to stay on track with recycling efforts. Label each bin so that the kids can get in on it as well (use pictures for the younger ones who may not be able to read yet)!
Also keep in mind that not all plastics are recycled equally. There are numbers on the bottom of each item that will tell you the type of plastic. Many Towns and Cities have requirements or rules about how recyclables are sorted and cleaned. Generally, transfer stations will sort the waste by plastics, aluminum, metal food cans, glass, cardboard, and paper. Keep in mind that some plastics are more difficult to recycle, so check with your transfer station on their sorting requirements.
Eliminate Plastic Bags
While on the topic of recycling, plastic bags are a commonly used item. Although these bags are recyclable, they are not always accepted by many curbside recycling programs. This is because the plastic bags tend to get caught in the sorting machines. A great alternative to this problem is to cut down or eliminate your plastic bag usage. This can be done by purchasing grocery totes that you can use at the grocery store. farmers market, or even for everyday use. By making this simple change you won’t have to worry about adding more to that pile of plastic bags that have collected under your kitchen sink or in your pantry!
Plant a Backyard Garden
We will use the term “backyard” loosely. Whether you live in an apartment, condominium, or house, gardens can be grown almost anywhere. Even from a deck, balcony, window box, or other small space! The best part about growing your own vegetables is that you are the one in control of what goes onto and into your food. You do not have to worry about pesticides or any other harmful additives. Plus, aside from visiting your local farmer’s market, having a backyard garden at home is the freshest way to get food from the garden to your kitchen!
Start a Homemade Compost Bin
Speaking of planting a backyard garden, compost is an excellent additive for your soil to help plants grow. Many of the food scraps or yard waste that your family uses daily can be recycled into your compost pile. There are quite a few benefits to composting at home, which includes:
- Enriching soil to help retain the moisture and contain plant diseases and pests
- Limiting the need for any chemical fertilizers
- Lowering your carbon footprint and reducing what is put into landfills
The EPA has a great article on their website about composting and the different ways to make your compost pile at home.
Line Dry Laundry
Call us old-fashioned, but on a nice, breezy day is there anything better than the smell of clean laundry after it comes in off the line? There are a variety of benefits to line drying your laundry.
- First and foremost, it will save you money. By ditching the clothes dryer, even during just the warmer months in the year, you are substantially reducing your carbon footprint.
- Line drying can be gentler on your clothing. The excessive heat associated with a clothes dryer can damage some fabrics causing irreversible damage to the material.
- Hanging up your laundry on the clothesline is a physical activity that can be done both inside and outside. Between hanging the laundry up, taking it off the line once it is dry, and folding it, you will probably have burned 100 calories. Who can argue with that?
There are communities across the country that have banned the use of outdoor clothes lines because they are considered an eye sore. For those of us in that situation, you can still enjoy line dried clothes! Purchase an indoor clothesline or an indoor collapsible folding rack. Open up some windows while the clothes are drying, and it will give you similar results!
Harvesting (or collecting) rainwater can be done much simpler than you might think! Here is a great article with instructions on multiple ways to harvest rainwater. Since the rainwater that you are collecting falls straight from the sky, it is essentially free, plus it does not have any chemicals such as fluoride or chlorine. This makes it excellent for watering plants or landscape or supplying people and animals. You can even use water harvesting to supply your entire house. This is a great way to put into perspective the amount of water that is being utilized within your household each day.
There are so many great ways that you can take simple steps to go green as a family. It is our hope that this article was helpful and that it inspired you to make small changes to your lifestyle. We would love to hear some eco-friendly examples of how you are “going green” with your family!