1. Use Healthy Eco-Friendly Cleaners
Many common household products contain toxins that could be affecting your family’s health. Buying natural safe cleaning products will help eliminate any risk of unnecessary toxins in your home.
2. Curb Paper Towel and Napkin Use
2.5 million tons of paper towels fill up landfills annually. A great solution is to buy a set of cloth rags, bar towels and fabric napkins to wash and reuse. It may be an added expense up front, but it will pay off in the end.
3. Replace Antibacterial Hand Soaps
Studies have shown that antibacterial soaps are no more effective than simple soap and water. Antibacterial soaps can lead to stronger strains of bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics.
4. Plastic— Just Say No!
The Wall Street Journal reported that Americans go through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually and making these bags requires an estimated 12 million barrels of oil. To reduce plastic bag consumption, use alternative options such as; reuseable bags, paper bags, or even, no bag at all!
5. Replace the Sponge!
Sponges are bacteria incubators. Although a sponge seems like a great cleaning tool, it may not be the healthiest solution. Replace your sponge with dish rags!
6. Create a Recycling and Compost System
If you don’t recycle, the best way to get into the habit is to set up a simple system. Get a second trash can for inside your home and put it next to the trash can and label it recycling. If you are ready to take it a step further, composting is a great way to turn your waste into soil like material that can be used in your lawn and garden.
7. Replace Nonstick Cookware
Nonstick cookware releases toxins when over high heat, has a short life-span (nonstick coating usually wears out in a year or two) and the nonstick coating can scratch off into food. Healthy alternatives include stainless steel, cast iron, copper and glass.
8. Buy In Bulk
Buying in bulk means less packaging and fewer trips to the store. You’ll also benefit from financial savings!
9. Update Kitchen Lighting
Kitchen lights are some of the most frequently used lights in the home. Energy efficient lights may be a high upfront cost but they use 75% less energy, generate 70% less heat and last up to 10 times longer.
10. Buy ENERGY STAR Appliances
If you are in the market for new appliances, choose one that has been proved more energy efficient. Many old appliances use a lot of unnecessary energy. If you don’t already have HWA’s GreenPlus option— add it today!
The color “green” is red-hot these days, as environmental awareness spreads and more and more industries incorporate Earth-friendly principles. Going green not only helps the environment, but also helps consumers save money on utility bills.
Incorporating eco-friendly principles into your home may also improve your health, says Hilary Sopata, a Park Ridge, Ill. designer, by eliminating volatile organic compounds (VOCs) often found in paint and other products.
Sopata, currently writing a book called “Get Green With Style,” is seeing the following trends in eco-friendly home design:
New Countertop Materials. “Countertops have come a long way from where they were even three years ago,” Sopata says. Granite has been popular for years, but keep an eye out for compressed paper counters as well as those made from recycled glass bottles.
Natural Fiber Carpets. Wool, cotton, jute and hemp rugs are becoming increasingly popular. These are great for households with pets or small children, Sopata says, who spend time on the carpet and won’t be exposed to the chemicals given off by man-made carpet products.
Automatic lights. These are easy and inexpensive to install, but can save a significant amount of energy.
Natural Window Coverings. Natural window coverings are made out of grasscloth, sisal or other woven plant material. They can be dressed up with a fabric edge trim and are available with a lining for privacy.
Antiques. Using antique or vintage furniture saves them from landfills. Reupholstering or refinishing an antique can cost as much as buying new, but it is much better for the environment.
Eco-Resin. Eco-resin is a translucent material (with 40% recycled content) that lets light flow through to otherwise dark spaces. Used as part of a wall or in place of a door, it may eliminate the need for artificial lighting.