27 May 2009
Creating an Eco-Friendly Environment
There are many little things you can do to minimize your "footprint" on the earth. You can start with one room and slowly expand to the entire house so that each area you are using is as environmentally friendly as possible. I started this process a few years ago and am still learning great ways to lessen my footprint and save money along the way! Here are some ideas for you.
One huge energy saver and eco-friendly way to green your home is through your light bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs are great and should be used in replace of the traditional light bulb but there is an even better light bulb called the LED light bulb that lasts much longer than the traditional CFL. LED bulbs use less power (watts) per unit of light generated (lumens). LED's can also last as much as 50,000 hours versus the CFL that lasts an average of 5,000 hours. The costs is much higher than the CFL so you can start with just a few bulbs and gradually replace them over time. To read more about CFL's and LED's go to eartheasy.
Another great way to green your home is through non-toxic cleaning products. My grandmother used a solution that proved to be cost effective and non-toxic for many, many years. To clean windows, bathroom, kitchens, and floors you can use a mixture of vinegar, water, and a dash of dish soap. Fill up a large spray bottle approx. 3/4 full with water. Then add a squeeze of non-toxic dish soap, about 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and shake up. That's it! It's great on windows and very affordable.
Another tip is to use an old cloth/dish towel over paper towels when cleaning your house. I have a stash of old dish towels I use to clean that I've had for years. You end up saving a lot of money instead of using paper towels which are expensive and quite wasteful and when you're done, you throw them into the washing machine for the next big clean!
One thing I've not yet tried but am interested in is to start a compost pile/ bin. Basically, it's a bin/pile you can store in your backyard to put all of your organic matter into. Organic matter is defined as leftover vegetable waste (no meat/bones in your compost) and even paper products. After a few months, you can use the compost for fertilizing your plants and growing a garden. The idea of turning garbage into something usable is pretty cool.
Some other things you can do to lessen your footprint is to carry reusable shopping bags every time you go to the grocery store. I find that the larger ones store a lot of groceries and are easier to carry! Also, when you go to the coffee machine at work or at your local coffee shop, always use a reusable mug. For more cool ideas check out this website: Green Home. Have fun!