After a long, cold winter it’s finally Spring, and this season brings with it spring cleaning and a sense of renewal. These feelings of growth and rebirth also tend to have us thinking about planting new flowers or vegetables in the garden, and offer the opportunity to focus more on clean up and rebuilding our environment. In fact, there are a few easy things we could all start doing at home to make our households a little more green.
Interested in seeing what you can do to help the environment? Click ‘Next’ to see 7 simple ways you can go green at home.
1. Purchase Natural Cleaners
Switching to greener, or natural cleaners helps to improve overall air quality – both inside, and outside of your home. Regular cleaners can contain harsh chemicals, and trigger allergies and asthma. Plant-based products from companies that have a complete list of ingredients on their labels are a good alternative, as are household remedies. Did you know that you can use baking soda and vinegar to unclog a drain? Or a banana peel to clean silverware?
2. Upgrade Your Insulation
If you’re in an old house, adding some insulation to prevent leaky windows and doors can reduce your home’s overall energy consumption. However, a project like that isn’t for the faint of heart.
We promised simple ways to go green at home, so if you don’t have the budget to upgrade your insulation, there are a few small changes you can make that will help you retain heat in the winter and keep your home cool in the summer. Thermal shades can help to block out the sun in summer and keep heat inside your home during the winter. In addition, a draft guard on outside doors can help to prevent air escaping from your home.
3. Leave Shoes at the Door
Removing your shoes as soon as you enter your home prevents outside gunk, like pesticides, chemicals, dirt and car exhaust from being tracked all over your home. Think of it as the equivalent of washing your hands. It couldn’t be easier and it helps to prevent the spreading of unwanted germs.
4. Choose Glass Over Plastic
Even plastics that are labeled ‘microwave-safe’ can contain chemicals. It's just that those products can simply withstand a higher temperature before losing their shape – and causing harmful compounds to leak into your food. Many plastics contain hormone-disrupting compounds (not just bisphenol-A or BPA), which can seep into food once heated. Therefore, when warming up dishes in the microwave, it’s best to opt for glass, or microwave-safe ceramics.
5. Donate Instead of Dumping
You’ve heard the saying, ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,’ so don’t be too quick to toss unwanted household items or clothing into the trash. Instead, donate old clothes, shoes and furniture to a thrift store or charity that accepts donations. What you no longer use could end up with a special place in another person’s home, rather than decomposing in a landfill.
6. Ditch the Non-Stick Pans
While they may be convenient, non stick pans can be problematic if you scrape off the coating and it gets into your food. The materials that you use to cook with do impact what you eat – so we’d recommend sticking with the three safest options to keep you and your family healthy. That means opting for cast iron, enamel coated cast iron, or stainless steel pots and pans.
7. Reduce the Use of Pesticides
Pesticides and bug sprays often use harmful chemicals. If you can avoid it, the last place you’d want to use these things is inside our home. Therefore it’s best to focus on prevention – sealing foundation cracks, ensuring there are no holes in window screens, and keeping your kitchen crumb-free. If you do start to notice more creepy crawlies, try greener alternatives or home remedies first. For example, did you know that cinnamon can help keep ants at bay?
Following these simple tips can help your family live a cleaner, greener lifestyle at home. And with Springtime signalling new beginnings, there is no better time to start using these easy environmentally-friendly tips and tricks.