You sometimes buy organic. You carpool on occasion. You turn off the water while brushing your teeth and the thermostat when you’re gone.
But come one, people. It’s 2018. Time to kick our environmentally friendly game into overdrive, starting in your own home. You can’t control everything in life, but here’s a few easy ways to do more for your health and the world starting today.
1. Get a compost bin.
This act alone has completely changed the way I think about trash. We just moved into a new apartment and the landlord gave us the bin for free, with a few compostable bags too! Honestly we fill the compost bin up just as fast as our trash can, but instead of filling landfills it’s nice to know we’re helping make a difference. Literally any small bin with a vented lid will do, and the bags are less than 10 cents each on Amazon.
2. Buy recycled paper products.
Especially recycled paper towels and toilet paper. If the recycled toilet paper brand you’re finding is a little too brown for your taste (Seventh Generation, I’m looking at you) keep an eye out for bamboo options that are more sustainable. And try to use cloth towels whenever possible instead of paper ones.
Heck, instead of buying paper goods start building your own stash. Whenever you get gifts, save the tissue paper to reuse. Wrap things in old paper bags you still have lying around. Not only will you save money but also do your part to help reduce waste.
3. Wash dirty dishes over dishes that need to soak.
As in if you have a pot that needs to soak for a while, but have other things to hand-wash, try washing them over the other ones, instead of just dumping clean water on them.
4. Unplug everything.
Lamps, appliances, your laptop, unplug whatever you can from the wall when you’re done using it to conserve energy. Even if the appliance is off, anything plugged in is still drawing unnecessary power. Plus depending on how much you unplug it could mean cheaper energy bills! Win win.
5. Buy clean, sustainable bedding.
A while back I spoke with Michel May and Misa Muto of Aizome Bedding, and it became pretty clear that if you don’t already have organic, 100% chemical free sheets you’re making a serious mistake. Our bodies absorb much of what we touch, and they’ve discovered a highly efficient way to use traditional Japanese indigo dyeing techniques to make some of the cleanest sheets in the world.
When their Indiegogo launched and they hit their goal in the first two hours. They’re now at almost 500% of their goal, and if you pre-order in the next 13 days you save 25%. Trust me, it’s worth the investment.
6. Switch to non-toxic cleaning products.
Every realize that whenever you’re cleaning, a little residue gets left behind? Try as you might, the products you use will never completely be wiped away so you have to be conscious of what they’re made of. Is it a bottle full of harmful chemicals or something derived directly from nature?
These days there are loads of effective, all natural household cleaners available at every price range. Do the world and your body some good and pick them up today.
7. Greenify your makeup bag.
Buckle in for this one, ladies. I know it can be hard–when you find a product that works why would you ever switch? It’s an expensive, arduous process but every day more sustainably-minded brands are hitting the market and you can find them all over the country!
Whether it’s online, Sephora or your local Target, take an extra few minutes to do your research so you know what you’re putting on your skin. So much of it gets absorbed into our skin and bloodstreams, that to neglect it to save a mere $2 is ridiculous.
8. Learn how to properly recycle.
I love recycling. Absolutely love it. Maybe it was growing up in LA, or being vegan/vegetarian and green minded but when I lived on a street in Boston for three years that didn’t recycle, it almost broke me.
Dramatic? Yes. But recycling, especially if you have the infrastructure to do it, is vitally important. It’s not as easy as simply tossing cardboard or empty bottles in a bin though, so do your homework. Figure out what can go where, and how today.
9. Buy food in bulk or with a reusable bag.
Buying food in bulk is a great life hack I’m just getting into now that I have a little more space. By stocking up on big quantities of the stuff you know you’ll use before it goes bad (i.e. rice) you save lots of packaging compared to just buying small quantities as you need.
While some states now charge for bags at the grocery store and more people are getting into the habit of bringing their own, remember, it’s crucial. Leave a bunch in your car, because odds are some days you forget. Take one or two abroad with you when you travel. Be prepared, and you’ll never need another paper or plastic bag again.
I also invested in these reusable produce bags because not everywhere has compostable or recyclable produce bags, and they’re amazing.
10. Get some plants.
Last but not least get some green in your home! Not only do plants bring literal life to a room, but they help purify the air of CO2 and other pollutants. I also have an actual air purifier I highly recommend, but plants will forever be king.
Let me know how you keep your home green in the comments!