It’s Earth Day today! I’m not into politics, but I am into good stewardship. To me, being intentionally eco-friendly has more to do with celebrating God’s creativity, being wise with what He’s given us, and passing on those values to the next generation than it does with pressing some government agenda.
The thing I love most about practicing green alternatives in my home is that nine times out of ten, they are the more frugal option. And I love being frugal. Being environmentally-friendly is just good economics – in our home and budget, and with the earth God gave us.
There are many little things we can do in our homes to play a small part in reducing landfill waste, cleaning the air, and preserving the natural landscape. But we double our efforts when we get our kids involved, helping them understand the why to our what.
When they get it, it’ll be second nature to them when they’re adults – and that much easier to pass it down to their children.
Here are some small, easy, green choices we can make in our homes. Choose three that you’re not already doing, and make a point to do them this year. Perhaps they’ll become a habit; part of your family’s modus operandi.
40 Easy Ways to be Greener at Home – Besides Recycling
1. Plant an herb garden. It’s good to have a reminder around where our food originates.
2. Switch all your lightbulbs to CFLs (or at least switch a few).
3. Create a homemade compost bin for $15.
4. Switch one appliance to an energy-efficient model (look for the “energy star” label).
6. Buy an inexpensive reusable water bottle, and stop buying plastic disposable bottles. Then watch The Story of Bottled Water, a short movie about the bottled water phenomena.
7. Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot.
8. Turn off lights when you leave the room.
9. Don’t turn on lights at all for as long as you can — open your curtains and enjoy natural light.
10. Drive the speed limit, and combine all your errands for the week in one trip.
11. Better yet, walk or ride a bike to your errands that are two miles or closer.
12. Support your local economy and shop at your farmer’s market.
13. Turn off your computer completely at night.
14. Research whether you can sign up for green power from your utility company.
15. Pay as many bills as possible online.
16. Put a stop to unsolicited mail — sign up to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers. While you’re at it, go ahead and make sure you’re on the “do not call” list, just to make your life more peaceful.
17. Reuse scrap paper. Print on two sides, or let your kids color on the back side of used paper.
18. Conduct a quick energy audit of your home.
21. Support local restaurants that use food derived less than 100 miles away, and learn more about the benefits of eating locally.
22. Fix leaky faucets.
23. Make your own household cleaners.
24. Line dry your laundry.
25. Watch The Story of Stuff with your kids, and talk about the impact your household trash has on our landfills.
26. Learn with your kids about another country or culture, expanding your knowledge to other sides of the world.
28. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater.
29. Unplug unused chargers and appliances.
30. Repurpose something – turn one of your well-worn t-shirts into basic play pants for your baby. Or save egg cartons for paint wells, seed starters, treasure boxes, or a myriad of other crafts.
31. Collect rainwater, and use it to water your houseplants and garden.
32. Switch to cloth diapers – or at least do a combination with disposables.
34. Use a Diva Cup for your monthly cycles.
35. Use cloth instead of paper to clean your kitchen. Be frugal, and make these rags out of old towels and t-shirts.
36. Use cloth napkins daily instead of paper.
38. Repurpose glass jars as leftover containers and bulk storage, especially in the kitchen.
39. Five-minute showers – make it a goal for yourself.
40. Donate to – and shop at – thrift stores such as Goodwill. You’ll be recycling perfectly usable items, and you’ll be supporting your local economy.
Which of these do you already do? Which ones are you going to focus on this next year? And what can you add to the list?