It seems that everyone is going green and it has nothing to do with the color. It’s choosing to live a lifestyle that respects our planet by purchasing and using products that don’t hurt the environment. Making the decision to be environmentally conscious can be a little overwhelming in the beginning. Start by making small changes in the products you already use. Here are some common, everyday items you can replace with more eco-friendly products:
1. Water Bottles
2. Light Bulbs
*CFL are energy efficient, but should be disposed of properly.
3. Outdoor Lighting
You can purchase outdoor energy efficient bulbs, or use solar lighting which has come a long way. Whether you are looking for motion detection, pathway or decorative lighting, you can illuminate your outdoor area at night by harnessing the power of the sun during the day.
It is estimated that in Canada and USA over 20,000,000,000 disposable diapers are dumped into landfill sites every year. On top of the astronomical concern over disposable diapers’ impact on the environment, the chemicals used to manufacture disposable diapers can be harmful to your baby as well. Consider using gDiapers, Bamboo or cloth diapers as a healthier option for your baby and the environment.
5. Shopping Bags
Some places have either discontinued the use of plastic shopping bags or placed a fee on people choosing to use them. Most people have made the switch, but finding the right bag to fit your purposes is the key to sticking to the habit. Consider using foldable, cotton mesh or insulated bags, depending on your needs.
It seems that almost everything requires batteries nowadays. This not only creates a strain on the planet’s resources and environment, but also on our wallets. Using rechargeable batteries is a smart choice all around. You can either choose to charge your batteries with an electronic or solar charger.
7. Fabric Softener
Stop using fabric softener and dryer sheets. Instead use dryer balls to get rid of static, wrinkles and make your clothes softer. You can choose PVC-free plastic, wool or steam-producing dryer balls. Use them alone or add essential oils for fragrance.
8. Lunch Containers
If you or your child packs a lunch to eat healthier, save money or for allergy reasons, finding eco-friendly lunch containers will help increase the value of your homemade meal. You can be as practical or whimsical as you wish. Choose a cute bento style, stainless steel, fabric or a combination of all three.
If the thought of giving up your electronics gives you a panic attack, you’re not alone. This is one area most people tend to turn a blind-eye when it comes to compromising convenience over environmental consciousness. However, you can now purchase computers that contain much less plastic. Asus created a bamboo laptop that reduces the use of plastics by 15 percent. The iameco computer also has a wooden frame, produces 70 percent less CO2 than conventional computers and is the first computer to receive the EU Eco label. If a wooden computer just isn’t eco-friendly enough for you try Recompute, a computer made from basic computer components housed in corrugated cardboard.
10. Household Cleaners
When it comes to cleaning your home, leave the toxic chemicals out of the equation. Instead use a combination of white vinegar, baking soda, castile soap, tea tree oil and water to make your own non-toxic, safe cleaning solutions.
Manufacturing paper napkins and paper towels uses trees, vast amounts of energy and emits pollution. Switching to cloth napkins made from linen or cotton is a green solution that will also make your meals feel more special.
We are told by dentists to replace our toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. When it’s time to find a replacement, look for a more environmentally friendly toothbrush, such as, Preserve, Radius or Izola. Preserve is made from recycled plastic; Radius has a recycled wooden handle with a biodegradable, replaceable head; and Izola is made from bamboo.
When you are selecting protection from the rain or sun, pick an umbrella like Totes Eco Brella, made from recycled plastic and aluminum; a Brelli, made from sustainable bamboo, cotton and biodegradable plastic; or an Eco Brolly, which is an umbrella skeleton that you can attach any surface, such as a newspaper or bag to use as protection.
14. Office Equipment
The equipment needed to run an office uses valuable resources to manufacture and use on a daily basis. Having a certified green company will not only make you feel better, but it also shows your customers that you are responsible and more trustworthy. You can start by switching some of your high energy equipment with eco-friendly versions, such as paper shredders, recycling bins and computer programs designed to help you go paperless.
Keeping your outdoor living area maintained can require a great deal of equipment, depending on the size of your yard. Switch to an electric or push reel lawn mower, or plant no mow grass. Instead of using wood mulch, use rubber mulch made from recycled tires. You can also reduce the size of your lawn by creating decorative walkways.
Growing your own food is satisfying, healthier and helps the environment. Create an eco-friendly garden by using rain barrels, compost bins and repurposing things to use as plant containers. Grow a garden year-round by building a greenhouse, and get more use out of your space by growing a vertical garden.
The debate of whether it is more environmentally friendly to use a dishwasher or hand wash your dishes has been squashed with the invention of the Gota dishwasher. This space-aged looking pod steams the dishes during the pre-wash stage, then collects the H2O as it cools down to use in later cycles.
18. Electronic Device Charger
Charging the many electronic devices that make the world go around uses a vast amount of energy. One thing you can do is to unplug your charger when you’re not using it. Most people use chargers in their car to keep their electronics charged, but there are many new gadgets to help keep your batteries charged while saving the planet. There are external batteries, charging stations and even sunglasses that will keep your devices going.
19. Home Décor
When you are in need of new clothes be sure shop eco-friendly brands.
It is easy to get lost in all of the “eco-friendly” and “green” marketing terms companies use to trick consumers into thinking they are purchasing environmentally-friendly products. To be certain you are buying a truly green product look for terms like “organic” and “recycled”. There should also be a certification, seal or eco logo. If you don’t see any of these things, go with your gut. Eco-friendly products should be biodegradable, recyclable and limit post-consumer waste. By making better choices we can all do our part to make the world a little greener.