I have been revamping my apartment lately to a more sustainable state and I found easy eco-friendly ways that pay off well in the long-run. Interestingly enough, there are always ways to make it “greener.” For some it may seem like a little hassle, but in reality we are just not used to being sustainable. So I decided to make a new behavioral pattern that will benefit environment, my living space and my bank account. Here are some tips:
- Use a reusable dish cloth. Not surprisingly, dish clothes are much safer than chemically infused sponges that contain Triclosan. Thankfully, Triclosan acts as an antibacterial and antifungal agent. But unfortunately, it’s registered with the EPA as a pesticide, which is hard to get out when treating wastewater. Because it stays stable in the water for some time, it’s damaging to aquatic systems. Without a pardon, it breaks down algae on which many species depend on for survival.
- Switch to bamboo kitchen-ware. How I love thee! I bought some bamboo ware for cooking and will never go back. Bamboo is a very renewable resource because once it is cut, it grows right back again (as it’s a grass, not a tree). The kitchen-ware should be 100% organically-grown bamboo. You can also buy bamboo bowls, which are glued with a non-toxic water-based adhesive and lined with food-safe polyurethane. Plus, they add warmth and organic atmosphere in your home.
- Clean with eco-friendly cleaners. In our attempts to make a home germ free, we make it even more toxic to us and our environment. No need to list all of the chemicals present in oven cleaners, air fresheners and toilet scrubbers as by just their strong smell you could tell they are no good. Instead, start buying natural cleaning products. For air fresheners, use essential oils. To clean your kitchen appliances, you can use baking soda. Got rust? Any soda will do. You don’t even have to buy any expensive natural cleaners! However, I love using Seventh Generation products for the kitchen.
- Turn the lights off. This one is pretty easy. Just turn the light off if you are not in the room. It was surprising to me when I noticed how much of useless light I leave on. It’s not worth it, if you don’t need it.
- Enjoy fresh air. You really don’t need air fresheners, especially not the ones that use valuable electricity. Just open your windows for some air circulation to save energy and water for air conditioning. I always keep my window wide open for the whole day as well as my balcony. But if you do like it smelling fruity, you can always buy some essential oils. They will do your respiratory health and environment good.
- Cut down on junk mail. Pay your bills online. You have to agree it’s easier than sending out a check. I stopped doing it and saved time, money (stamps are expensive!), trees…and no more trips to the mailbox. If you have a bunch of unwanted mail, websites like CatalogChoice.org and DMAchoice.org help you opt out of certain types of mail that you never want to see again.. Some sustainable choices are actually pretty easy.
- Buy natural pet products. If you have cats, you may want to look into buying natural litter to avoid putting more pressure on the environment. Clay clumping litters are pretty hard on the environment. They contribute to landfills and cannot be composted. Clay is also not biodegradable. Try using natural and clumping litter like Feline Pine or Swheat Scoop.