10 Ways to Create an Eco-Friendly Home
I’ve been writing for the Tiny Yellow Bungalow blog for nearly five years now about eco-friendly and zero waste living. The more blog posts I write, the deeper I dive into the specifics of plastic free living and reducing waste. But what about tips fort the eco newbies? I’ve created a short list of ways to create an eco-friendly home for those just starting out. Maybe you stumbled across my blog on Pinterest, or have been a long time Tiny Yellow Bungalow customer but haven’t had the opportunity to check out my eco blog. This post is for you!
1. Plant Based Diet
The easiest way to make your home more eco-friendly is by switching to a plant based diet, or at least incorporating more plant-centric meals into your family’s diet. In reducing meat consumption, you not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by animal agriculture, but you are also helping conserve water. Because of its energy intensive process, meat production requires a lot of water and land. That said, animal agriculture is the main cause of deforestation in the Amazon. Even just striving for one meatless meal per week creates a more eco-friendly home! Check out The Zero Waste Vegan Cookbook for healthy and simple plant based recipes.
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Composting is one of my all time favorite sustainable switches! A large percentage of landfill trash consists of food waste. And did you know that food scraps DO NOT break down in landfills?! In composting, we reduce landfill waste and re-purpose food scraps in a beneficial way. Through composting, food waste becomes nutrient rich soil to add to your garden. I love love love LOVE our backyard compost tumbler. If you don’t want to buy a compost bin, you could try making your own DIY compost bin using wood pallets. If you are new to the idea of composting, be sure to check out my beginner’s composting blog post to learn more: Composting for Rookies.
3. Reduce Plastic Usage in your Home
A lot of good has come from the introduction of plastic in everyday society. For example, the creation of medical devices relies heavily on its production. However, plastic has really taken over in an ugly way in many other aspects. Plastics leach chemicals, especially when heated. That said, I encourage you to begin switching from plastics in your kitchen to stainless steel pots and pans (All Clad is my FAVE stainless steel pot and pan brand!) and bamboo utensils. Also, don’t reheat food in plastic containers!
4. Reduce Energy Consumption
There are many ways you can work to reduce your energy consumption. For example, you can choose to keep your home warmer during summer months and cooler during winter months. Not only does this save energy, but also money! Rather than using your dryer, consider line drying your clothes if weather permits. Also, switch to energy efficient light bulbs that have the added benefit of lasting longer than incandescent bulbs.
5. Bring your Own Bags
A super simple tip for making your home more eco-friendy is choosing to carry your own reusable bags when grocery shopping. Rather than using grocery store single use disposable plastic bags, opt for natural fiber reusable bags, as well as produce bags and bulk bags.
6. Grow Your Own
If you have space in your yard, consider starting a little veggie patch. Many cities also have community gardens you can take part in if you don’t have space at your home. Even apartment gardening is possible; try starting a small herb garden in your kitchen! By growing your own food, you eliminate the miles required to transport produce to your city’s grocery store. Also, in preparing your own veggies and fruit, you can choose to avoid nasty chemical pesticides that often cover grocery store produce.
7. Natural Cleaning Products
Most conventional cleaning products found at the grocery store have tons of harmful chemicals you don’t want around your home, especially if you have pets and kids. Make your home more eco-friendly by switching to natural cleaning products. There are also many DIY natural cleaning recipes on Pinterest if you prefer to make your own cleaning supplies. We also had zero waste cleaning expert, Sandy Green of Lady to Lady Clean, guest post on the Tiny Yellow Bungalow giving us some really super advice on eco friendly cleaning!
8. Shop Secondhand
Before making purchases for your home, consider if you can find these items secondhand. Check Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for furniture, clothing, appliances, etc., before purchasing brand new. You can often find great gently used products for a fraction of the price of those products purchased brand new. Saving money and shopping eco-consciously, win!
9. Choose to Reuse
Another great easy way to create an eco-friendly home is switching to reusables. We mentioned earlier about taking your own reusable shopping bags, but also consider switching to cloth napkins rather than paper, cloth hand towels rather than paper towels, and reusable containers rather than ziploc bags. Bring a reusable mug in your car for coffee drinks on the go and a reusable water bottle to avoid those pesky plastic water bottles.
I know recycling seems like the most obvious way to greenify your home, but I strongly encourage you to do some research and learn about the rules in your city for recycling. Each recycling facility takes in different items and has guidelines for how they can receive these recyclables. So, if you plan to recycle, do so properly in your own city. A great way to make sure you know the recycling basics is to take a visit to your local recycling center to learn more! I took a tour of the Athens Clarke County Recycling Facility a few years ago and it was absolutely fascinating and very informative.