Give Your Home a Green Makeover
Make your house the greenest house on the block with these tips for incorporating environmentally friendly products and practices at home.
1: Ditch the Paper Towels
Instead, pick up microfiber cloth towels to use all around the house. Thousands of tiny fibers literally grip and hold on to dirt and bacteria. The best part? They're machine-washable, so you can use them over and over. Just spray a surface with a nontoxic all-purpose cleaner and wipe away.
2: Scrub with Java
The next time you brew a cup of fresh coffee at home, don't toss the used coffee grinds into the trash. First spoon some warm grounds into your hands, mix it with your favorite hand soap and scrub. The grounds will exfoliate dead skin from your hands, and the soap will keep everything squeaky clean. Scatter the remaining grounds around evergreen shrubs and trees-it's an energizing fertilizer for them.
3: Use Soy Candles
Traditional candles are paraffin-based, which is made from nonrenewable petroleum. When burned, they emit soot and smoke into the air, polluting your indoor air. Soy candles are a much cleaner choice and made from-you guessed it - soy beans. Best of all, they burn longer than paraffin candles, so you get more soothing scents for your cents. Tip: Place unlighted soy candles in your sock drawer to gently scent them.
4: Dodge the Drafts
Keep the cold air outdoors by stopping drafts at windows and doors. Place a draft dodger along the edges where cold seeps inside. For smaller windows, you can make your own dodger. Just fill a large sock, such as an athletic sock, with pebbles and tie a knot at the end.
5: Be Sparing With the Paint
When painting walls, buy only as much paint as you need. Before buying, determine the dimensions of the room and how many coats you're likely to need.
6: Put Your Computer to Sleep
Remove the screen saver from your computer. When those images are activated on your screen, the computer is still running on full power. Instead, put your computer in sleep or standby mode. You can also save energy at your workplace by checking whether computers are left on all night and suggesting that they not be.
7: Recycle Your Cell Phone
Look online for recycling programs. It's usually as simple as putting your phone in the mail or finding a drop box.
8: Bring on the Bandannas
Try bandannas instead of paper napkins when entertaining. They're colorful, reusable, inexpensive and a fun way to dress up a table. You can find bandannas in most discount stores and military surplus shops. If you must use paper napkins, look for recycled versions.
9: Trap Your Trash
Did you know that most trash strewn on the street isn't left there by litterbugs but by gusts of wind? Ill-fitting trash-can lids and overflowing cans of debris are the real culprits. The solution is simple: Buy a trash can with a tight-fitting lid. Don't toss debris into overflowing public trash cans and-you knew this-recycle whenever you can.
10: Make Donations
If you're trying to find a new home for a piece of furniture, a bag of clothes, an old chandelier or anything that's hard to recycle, look online for recycling websites. They connect people who have things to give away with people who need those things.