What is environmental wellness, and how does it relate to your home life? To put it concisely, it’s the state of being in harmony with the environment and aware of how you affect it. It’s appreciating, respecting, and caring for the planet we call home by trying to reduce your carbon footprint. There are many ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle, but today I’d like to focus on keeping a green (eco-friendly) home. It’s good for the earth, good for your wallet, and good for you!
Let’s take a look at six easy ways you can make your home greener and healthier today. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much difference a few small changes can make.
- Adopt Houseplants for Health and Happiness.
- Take Advantage of Natural Sunlight.
- Use Non-Toxic Cleaner.
- Skip the Exterminator in Your Green Home.
- Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!
- Use Less Water
- Go Green!
Adopt Houseplants for Health and Happiness.
Have you ever tried out your green thumb? The benefits of indoor plants include a decrease in stress, depression, and anxiety. Not to mention, an increase in focus and productivity, and an improvement in air quality. You don’t have to be a gardening genius to keep your plants happy. Check out the most popular houseplants, the majority of which are extremely low-maintenance. The beautiful jade plant, for example, conserves water in its leaves so effectively that it can go for weeks without your attention. Or, if you’re prone to overwatering your plants, check out the peace lily, which won’t mind a bit. And for a perennial with a practical application, try the aloe plant, which produces the gel aloe vera in its leaves. You can extract the gel yourself for relief from sunburns and other minor skin maladies. You may find that it’s more effective than the kind you can buy in a drugstore!
Take Advantage of Natural Sunlight.
You’ve probably been hearing this since you were a kid: turn the lights off when you leave a room to conserve electricity. What about leaving the lights off even when you are in the room during daylight hours? Take advantage of the natural light in both your home and workplace whenever you can. It will lower your energy spending, and you’ll reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. Exposure to natural light can boost your vitamin D level, lessen the severity of seasonal depression, and improve your sleep. Try removing any heavy curtains in your home and replacing them with smaller valances and blinds that are easy to push up. When you’re reading a book or using your phone or laptop, sit as close to a window as possible. And for even more light, you can add mirrors to the walls opposite your windows.
Use Non-Toxic Cleaner.
When it comes to keeping a clean green home, you’ll want to check out the safest products on the market or even make some yourself! You can use basic ingredients already in your cupboard, like baking soda, corn starch, and vinegar, to make non-toxic cleaning solutions. This is especially helpful if you have young children at home, since it means they won’t have access to potentially dangerous substances. If you do need to purchase commercial cleaning products, read the labels carefully. Take a look at this helpful guide to commonly used toxic cleaning products and how to minimize your exposure to their harmful elements. While it’s not always realistic to avoid them entirely, it’s often possible to use milder products instead.
Skip the Exterminator in Your Green Home.
Nobody wants ants at their picnic…or in their home. That also goes for crickets, spiders, termites, mice, rats, and all kinds of small creepy-crawlies who are adept at sneaking their way indoors. (Shudder!) But before you dial the exterminator, see if you can handle the problem on your own. Many professional pest control services use pesticides that aren’t ideal for either your health or the environment. Sometimes they’re a necessary evil, but in many cases, you can take measures to deal with the infestation that don’t involve toxic chemicals. If you can determine where the critters are getting in, you can repair or seal that opening to keep them out. You can use humane traps and safer solutions like boric acid to deal with pests already inside the home. And if it turns out that you do require a professional’s help to rid yourself of the pests once and for all, look for a company that uses less toxic pesticides whenever feasible.
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!
When we’re talking about how to help the environment on a long-term basis, it’s important to note that recycling is among the most impactful choices you can make. Recycling keeps useful items out of landfills, conserves resources and power, prevents pollution, and creates jobs. Check out your city or town’s municipal website, and familiarize yourself with local recycling procedures. Some programs require you to separate items like cardboard, glass, and plastic into separate recycling containers, while others permit the mixing of all eligible materials. If your town doesn’t collect plastic shopping bags for recycling, check your local supermarket for a deposit bin. And before you throw a useful item in the trash, consider donating it. Many nonprofit organizations collect wearable clothing and household items, and you can find local buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook and other social media sites. Daycares, churches, and schools can accept children’s books and toys, and veterans’ affairs organizations may take your usable bed linens, furniture, and household appliances.
Use Less Water
Another key aspect of environmental wellness in the home is minimizing your use of water. Between showering, brushing your teeth, washing your hands, cleaning, and doing laundry, you’d be astounded by how much water you use every day. Cut down on your use of this valuable resource and your water bill by making some easy changes. Turn off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth, scrubbing your hands, or shaving. Take shorter and smarter showers. Make sure you have any leaks repaired, and when investing in new appliances, like a washer or dishwasher, look for WaterSense-approved ones. But don’t feel guilty about running the dishwasher when it’s full—it’s generally more efficient than washing your dishes individually by hand.
We have only this one beautiful planet for our home, so it’s important that we take good care of it. Remaining aware of our environmental health protects the earth, helps us to stay well, and saves us money. If each one of us can incorporate these good habits into our home lives, together we can make a big difference. Making these sustainable choices can be easy and hassle-free. Let’s leave a clean and safe home for generations to come.