Friday, October 12, 2007

10 Ways to be Green at Home

Everyone knows that we should recycle. But there are many other ways that we can help preserve both our local environment and make our own small difference globally. Here are 10 of my favourite ideas for greening up our homes.

1. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products to reduce the chemicals finding their way into our water ways. Baking soda and vinegar are excellent cleaners. Vinegar not only works well as a glass cleaner, but makes a very good fabric softener, making towels lovely and fluffy as well as neutralising odours. Baking soda provides a gentle scouring action, and is great for taking hardened food debris off baking pans and even for cleaning your oven.

2. Plant a vegie garden. It's common knowledge that freshly picked home grown vegies taste better than the store bought options. Fewer people realise that by growing their own vegies organically they are reducing pollution by eliminating the transportation of food (sometimes hundred of kilometres) to the stores. You are also able to ensure that your vegies are truly organically grown.

3. Plant trees. I am a rabid tree planter, and have added trees to the gardens of every house I have lived in. Every tree makes a difference.

4. Plant species native to your area in order to encourage native wildlife.

5. Reduce your rubbish output by purchasing bulk products with less packaging. For example, buy the big bag of rice and store it in a container, or buy the big yoghurt tub and give children smaller serves in reusable containers. Home baked treats don't come with individual packaging.

6. Say no to plastic bags. Everyone has heard of this one. I keep my cloth shopping bags in the car, so that they are always available for groceries.

7. Only run the dishwasher or washing machine when it is full. I used to worry about having a dishwasher, and its impact on the environment. I have discovered, however, that the dishwasher actually uses less water than handwashing dishes. Water conservation is a hot topic in our drought stricken region, so I only scrape plates, rather than rinsing them before washing, and I never run half a load. I line dry clothing almost all the time, only using the dryer when there are multiple days of rain.

8. Share the wealth. Donations of clothing to charities, passing furniture and clothing along to other families all reduce the need for everyone to buy new, and is a great way of recycling. Freecycle is a fabulous way of passing unwanted stuff to those who can use it.

9. Don't leave TVs in standby mode. They are still using power while in standby mode, so by turning the TV off properly you are saving electricity, thus reducing both pollution and your power bill.

10. Use a tea pot. It all comes back to the individual packaging thing. Leaf teas are less processed, and frequently taste better. And the used leaves make excellent compost. Pot plants like the last of the tea in the pot too.

There are so many easy ways to make our lives a little bit more environmentally friendly. Not only do they help the world, but they are good for our personal health too. Reducing exposure to chemicals and additives is good for our children and ourselves.

For an amazing list of ways to green your life, take a look at

Everyone can make a difference right now!

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Kelleigh said...

Hi Emma ~ thanks for sharing these great ideas. We visited an organic shop at South bank today. I was impressed with their brochure about organic farming - a real eye opener! Intensive mono-crop farming is gradually taking a toll on our environment.

Look forward to catching up sometime!

~ Kelleigh.

~Velda said...

Those are wonderful ideas. I'm happy you participated. It's still just 9pm here in canada, I'll be posting mine tomorrow morning :)

Me said...

Wonderfully easy hints to live by we do nearly all of them except for the laundry. My husband insists the drier makes things softer.

I love this "Home baked treats don't come with individual packaging." Because kids like home baked treats better too.

It is both gratifying and frustrating when the in-laws come. They are sure my girls are missing out on something if they don't have all the commercial treats. As a result, when they leave our house is loaded with junk. However, do you know what the girls want? Mom's cookies.;)