Maybe you’ve seen pictures of that massive mass of plastic piling up in Pacific ocean, or you’ve heard about companies like Starbucks and Marriott ditching their plastic straws, and now you’ve decided it’s time to add a little green to your lifestyle. Whatever your motivation, it can be overwhelming deciding the best and easiest way to eco-fy your life. Luckily, helping Mother Earth doesn’t have to be complicated-and it might even help your wallet. Check out our list of simple, inexpensive ways to reduce the burden on the planet (and your budget).
1. Invest in Insulation
Preventing leaks from your walls, windows, and doors is a win for both the planet and your energy bill. Upgrading your insulation can reduce your home’s energy usage by up to 30%. If revamping your insulation is too expensive a project, try out some thermal shades, which successfully keep heat out in the summer and in in the winter.
2) Go for Glass
Do yourself (and the environment) a favor, and swap out your plastic dishes for glass when heating up food in the microwave. Heating up plastic can leak harmful compounds, even with plastic containers labeled “microwave safe.” Glass or microwave safe plastics is always the way to go.
3) Donate over Dumping
The next time spring cleaning rolls around, take those bags of unwanted clothes to the donation center instead of the dumpster. Not only are you providing clothes to someone that may need it, and boosting your karma in the process, you reduce 27 pounds of carbon emissions for each item of clothing you donate.
4) Light(en) Up
We know, we know...you’ve been meaning to get around to switching out your old light bulbs, but you just haven’t found the time. It’s true that swapping out light bulbs can be a hassle, and the upfront price of compact fluorescent lights (aka CFL’s) is a bit more expensive than your traditional light bulbs. But in the long run, you’ll be thanking yourself for shelling out those few extra bucks; CFL’s last ten times longer than regular bulbs, while using only a quarter of the energy!
5) Ditch Dracula
Much of the technology you use every day, including Google and Apple TV, DVD players, modems, and computers, have earned themselves the title of “vampire appliances,” because they suck out all your energy at night. If unplugging all your appliances every night is too much of an inconvenience, invest in a power strip. All you’ll have to do is flip a switch before bed, and watch your energy bill shrink.
6) Careful with Caffeine
Don’t worry, we’re not going to ask you to give up your morning coffee. Instead, for an easy, eco-friendly swap, look for a morning brew with a “USDA Certified Organic” label, which means your beans were grown using sustainable standards. And if you’re getting coffee on the go, bring a cup from home (you might even get a discount)!
7) Reduce, Reuse....You Know the Rest
If you have a recycling bin in your home and you’re actively reducing your carbon footprint, that’s great- but you can take it one step further. Much of what we use in our everyday lives can be easily reused to fit our needs. Wash out small food jars to store little tools like nuts and bolts, cut off the top of an old plastic milk jug to use as a scooper for kitty litter or dog treats, use your coffee grounds to infuse the flower beds of your azaleas and rhododendrons...the possibilities are endless!
8) Work on Water Waste
The amount of water we waste every day is astronomical, but there are easy ways to reduce your watery footprint. Take shorter showers, or, if you really enjoy those long morning soaks, switch to a low flow shower head (your water bill will thank you). Cut back on bottled water purchases by switching to good old-fashioned tap water. If you’re concerned about the quality of the H2O coming out of your tap, water filters are fairly cheap and easy to install. While you’re at it, invest in a good quality water bottle, like a Hydro Flask.
P.S. If you’re a home buyer feeling overwhelmed by the process, it helps to consult with professional. Get in touch with an experienced realtor like Andrew Urban, someone that can answer your questions and concerns, guide you through the process, and provide a second opinion when needed. Andrew has helped hundreds of clients in the Benicia Vallejo area buy and sell homes for over 10 years. From inquiries on a home's value to assistance with preparing your home for the market, no question is too big or small for Andrew, who boasts an extensive background in real estate and a laundry list of experience in the market. Contact Andrew today at firstname.lastname@example.org.