By Paige Tepping
RISMEDIA, July 15, 2010--Homeowners across the country are continually striving toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle. While homeowners may not know where to start, there are small steps that can be taken that can add up to make a big difference.
The experts at OurGreenerLife.com offer the following tips to help you lessen your eco footprint.
1. Use less water
Saving water is all about small steps. Here are a few simple ways that will help you conserve water while saving money.
-Shut off the water while you brush your teeth
-Take showers that are a minute or two shorter
-Only run full loads of laundry and dishes
-Buy from sustainable producers. These are farmers, ranchers and other producers that use techniques that pollute less and use less water. You can do some research online or ask at your local organic market to find these products.
2. Use less energy
If you don’t have the money to buy a hybrid car or convert your house to solar power, you can make a big difference with the following small changes.
-Buy energy efficient appliances. They may be more expensive, but make up for the increased cost in lower energy bills.
-Unplug chargers when you’re not using them. Cell phone and other chargers use up power even if there’s nothing attached to them.
-Put devices with remotes, like TVs, VCRs and stereos on a power strip and turn the power strip off when you’re not using the devices. These gadgets use a lot of power to run the remote receiver even when the device is off.
-Walk or ride your bicycle for short trips.
-Buy local products. It takes energy to transport food and other products across the country. Buying local not only supports your local economy, it helps them use less energy.
-When it comes to saving energy and water, it’s a great idea to get the kids involved—you can even make it a game. Have them track how much water and electricity everyone is using and compete to see who uses the least.
Most of us know the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle, but when we work on conserving, we often leave reuse out of the picture. While you can often find tips on how to reuse common products from other people, what you need most is creativity. With a little thought, there are many items around your home that can be reused—toilet paper holders can be used to sow seeds for the vegetable patch, old yogurt containers can be cut into strips to make plant labels and old food jars can be refilled with homemade foods or can make great impromptu vases.
4. Use environmentally friendly products
When you go to the grocery store, you probably see more and more ‘natural’ or ‘eco friendly’ products every time. There are generally two big problems with these products: Just because they’re more natural than regular products, doesn’t mean they’re entirely natural and they’re often expensive.
If you want inexpensive, natural, safe products, why not just make them yourself? Vinegar is a great way to clean and disinfect glass and other surfaces. Need to remove stubborn stains? Just add some baking soda to your vinegar cleaner. Some quick searching online will lead you to hundreds of other natural safe home-made cleaning products.