Earth Day is upon us again and it serves as a great reminder to those of us who like to contribute to improving the Earth but aren’t die-hard environmentalists. That reminder is to keep up the good work and maybe integrate a new idea or a few new ideas into our routines at home and at work. Here are four easy, conscious changes that you can make in honor of Earth Day that are so simple you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing them all along (assuming you haven’t, of course!).
Turn Things Off
It’s easy to leave things running around the house, some of them need to be on while we’re not there – like the refrigerator – but most of them don’t. One of the biggest violators is your thermostat. Don’t heat or cool your home when you’re not in it. With today’s technology, like the Nest thermostat, you can easily have your thermostat turn the furnace or central air unit turn off when you’re out and set it to start up shortly before you get home to ensure that you’re walking into a comfortable home. Another thing to turn off is your home computer. While it may go into sleep mode, it’s still using energy. Turn it off at the end of the day and save more energy.
Clean Things Up
Proper maintenance of some items in your home may seem obvious but there are some that get overlooked, often because of their simplicity. Did you realize that cleaning off the dust that has collected on your ceiling fan can help it run more smoothly? It’s true. It’s not just the dust on the fan blades, take a vacuum to the entire fixture.
You can also replace your furnace filter. Over time a filter collects dust and as the dust accumulates on the filter and eventually starts blocking the air intake causing your furnace to have to work harder to push air through. Clean off that filter or replace it and keep the furnace running efficiently.
One of the most overlooked items is your refrigerator. In the front on most models, under the door is a vent that supplies air to your coils. This vent gets clogged up with dust and other gunk that you can easily clean out with a vacuum and a damp cloth. While you’re in cleaning mode – you can also consider ditching the paper towels!
Reduce and Reuse
This is one of the easiest practices to integrate into your life, to reduce consumption and reuse items that aren’t meant to be immediately disposable. Start with your mail. You likely pay most of your bills online, but for those companies that are still sending you a paper bill, ask them to stop and opt into their paperless billing program. It’s simple and you’ll get an email every month that will give you access to your bill. If you’re not paying bills electronically, start!
Next, eliminate plastic bags from your life as well as paper bags and take reusable bags with you to the store. Forgot your bags? No problem, pick up a new reusable one at the store. After doing this a few times (and spending a few dollars on bags), you’ll remember to take the bags in with you. Once you’re in the habit, you’ll like it because the reusable bags will be better quality and more durable so you’ll be able to also avoid bag mishaps.
Recycle Recycle Recycle
The logic behind recycling is simple – use an item, and allow it to be used again. This keeps materials out of our landfills and keeps them in use. Each municipality has different rules and practices for recycling so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the manner that recycling is handled in your area but at the least, you’ll be able to recycle glass, metals, and paper. In addition to recycling everything possible, precycle – this includes purchasing products made from recycled goods as well as opting out of items that are better reduced. For example, use glass or steel bottles to try to avoid plastic. The options today are practically endless and are also very affordable.
Get ready to be a friend to the Earth, not just on Earth Day, but throughout the year. What is your most notable effort in helping out our planet? Thinking of adding some new items to your home? You should try our picks for eco-friendly furniture for your home.