9 Easy Tips to Go Green at Home
By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
How do you celebrate Earth Day? Go green! Yes you can drink green juice, but there’s more to it than that. What does going “green” really mean? It can involve changing household staples to cleaner products and swapping out styrofoam for paper; but before you get overwhelmed let me assure you that it’s easier than you think.
I’ve been on a quest for the past few years to go more natural in my household with products and let me tell you, it feels really good! It feels good because I can now read and understand product labels on these types of things that before used to be totally overwhelming, but I can also tell you it feels good for my body and helps me know that I’m doing a little to help the environment too.
So now, let me help you with a few ways that you can easily go greener (and feel good about it too!). Some of these ideas may be more up your alley than others, but give them a try.
- Use recycled paper products at home: Switch out paper products like paper towels, and toilet paper for recycled paper towels and toilet paper; anything we do in this department helps the environment!
- Start using greener household cleaners: This is easier than you think as many brands are starting to make cleaner alternatives to regular household cleaning products that actually have ingredients that you may recognize on the labels (WOW!) and can be safer for you to use in general. Learn more on our DIY household cleaners.
- Replace non-stick pans with cast iron and stainless steel: You’ll instantly be lowering your toxic load both on yourself and on the environment. The teflon (non-stick) on the pan is both difficult to break down on an environmental level and may also be dangerous for your health too. Additionally, by swapping out for a cast iron pan you can easily get more iron into your food naturally through the cooking process.
- Unplug electronics that aren’t in use: I used to think my parents were crazy for doing this but if it’s something you’re not really using (i.e. the juicer or blender on your kitchen counter) you can unplug and it’ll help to save some power and money! Although one outlet alone won’t save the day, when you do this often, you can start making an impact.
- Grow your own food: Now, this is not a reality for everyone, but on some scale I think we can all get involved. Whether you have a vast garden to do this in or whether you have space for a small window herb box, it all helps. Not to mention that the more plants we plant the cleaner our air is (on a larger scale). Also, the more food we grow locally the less gas and fuel is spent transporting the food to us. Here are 5 plants that grow easily in small spaces.
- Reuse coffee grounds: They’re actually quite helpful in helping acid-craving plants like azaleas or rhododendrons stay healthy and grow. Simply spread them around the bases of these plants. You can also use coffee grinds as a face scrub. Get the Miracle Coffee Face Scrub recipe.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins: This one seems pretty easy, although it may increase your dirty laundry pile. However, we go through SO much paper – paper towels, toilet paper and napkins, so doing what we can to reduce overall use of paper can really help to save some trees. Give it a shot!
- Take some of your billing paperless: I know this is a more popular trend for millennials than anyone else, and there are definitely times where a paper trail is helpful, but going paperless for some of your bills or bank statements is easy, it’s free and it can help to cut back on paper usage.
- Replace plastic shower curtains: I always grew up with a plastic shower curtain liner, but as we now know, plastics contain all sorts of chemicals. So try replacing the shower curtain liner that’s plastic with a fabric one instead made from cotton, cloth or bamboo (or simply PVC-free plastic) at the very least!
Happy Earth Day and here’s to a happy and green home! Please share with us your tips below if you have others that aren’t included here!