If you haven’t already decided on a new year’s resolution, it’s not too late! It’s always a good time to create a greener home, so why not start (or level up) in 2022?
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice looking for some easy first steps, this list offers some great reminders and first-time goals. If you’re new to going green, it can seem overwhelming at first, but remember even small changes can make a significant impact over time. Ok, let’s do this!
Here are twelve easy changes you can make at home to minimize your environmental footprint and help create a healthier planet:
1. Buy Locally Sourced Materials
Instead of buying your favourite products, such as plants, clothes, and even food from large retailers or online, why not try going local? It may take a little bit of research, but the long-term effects of this small step cannot be underestimated. Not to mention, considering all that has been happening with COVID-19 over the last two years, there has never been a better time to support locally owned/operated businesses. You’ll never meet a more grateful vendor than a local vendor!
2. Rinse, Recycle, Repeat
This may seem like old news, but Canadians are still throwing out (not recycling) around 3.3 million tonnes of plastic every year, so it’s worth noting again. Plus, did you know Canada is listed as the largest producer of waste IN THE WORLD? By taking the time to properly prep, sort, and set out your recycling at home (and at work), we can help make our city and country more sustainable in the long term!
3. Upgrade Light Bulbs
Upgrading your home to LED bulbs is not only more efficient but more affordable in the long run. They can be up to 75% more efficient and last about ten times longer than other kinds of bulbs, making them an overall better choice for both homeowners and the planet. While many people used to avoid LED bulbs for their cold/white light, they have come a long way, and there are now plenty of hue/warmth options to satisfy buyers.
4. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Most homes have an independent thermostat but having a programmable one adds the benefit of being in complete control. Many programmable thermostats automatically lower the temperature at night and can be set to do the same during the time(s) that nobody will be in the home. This helps reduce energy consumption and saves you money at the same time.
5. Use Non-Toxic Paint
Did you know that some paints and finishes have volatile organic compounds, also known as 'VOCs'? Using products with lower levels of these chemicals will cut down on evaporation and increase the overall air quality in your home. Check out this article for the best non-toxic paints.
6. Utilize the Compost Bin
Like recycling, actively participating in composting and reducing the amount of organic material you are throwing out is an excellent step towards becoming more eco-conscious. Here in Calgary and many cities across Canada, homes are given a small compost bin to use in the kitchen, which is periodically emptied into the larger curbside green bin collected by the city - similar to recycling!
7. Stock Up on Reusable Bags
Stop hoarding plastic bags in plastic bags - what are you saving them for? This may be the easiest step to integrate into your daily life, but many do not put in the effort to get started. By using a selection of reusable fabric bags, you will be cutting down your plastic usage and minimizing the amount that gets released out into the public when they are discarded.
8. Buy a Water Filter
There are so many options for water filters these days, and it’s never been so easy to filter your tap water. So whether you opt for a house-wide system, an instant tap at the kitchen sink, or a quality pitcher filter, you’ll find not only does your body feel better, but you’ll use fewer plastic water bottles. It’s a win-win! Clean water cannot be underestimated when considering your personal health, the health of the environment, and the health of your wallet.
9. Use Homemade/Natural Cleaning Products
This change is one of our favourites! Technology and research have worked magic in the last ten years regarding all-natural cleaning products. They’re just as effective as the ones filled with chemicals, but they’re better for everyone and everything. While the ones you buy at the store can be pricier, don’t count yourself out if you just can’t imagine spending more on cleaning products. Making your own cleaning products is also a great option – we found this great list of recipes you will love. Give it a try!
10. Hang Window Treatments
If you don’t already have window treatments in your home, this will change your life! They’re not just pretty to look at; they’re very practical, especially in the summer. You’ll be amazed at the wonders it works for keeping your home cool in the summer months, and this is crucial if you’re a part of the majority who don’t have A/C in Calgary. Even for those with A/C, window treatments help maintain temperature, so your unit doesn’t have to work as hard in both the summer and winter, saving money and the environment.
11. Plant Herbs
If you have the space and want to take your composting to the next level, use it to fertilize your plants! For beginners, planting herbs is a great place to start. They’re easy to grow indoors in a sunny window, and it’s a great way to always have fresh herbs on hand for cooking and those natural cleaning products you’ve started making.
12. Decorate with Plants
Literally, create a greener home by decorating with plants! They naturally clean the air in your home and create a welcoming atmosphere in the home. It takes some responsibility to care for plants, of course, so if you’re not thrilled about obtaining a green thumb, there are so many plant options that require little to no maintenance. Learn about those here.
Launching a new year comes with so many possibilities and opportunities, but let’s remember there’s never a wrong time to start and create new habits and resolutions! So whether you discovered this article on the day it was published or months and years down the road, it’s never too late to START.
Happy 2022, friends and clients! Let’s be intentional about making this a great year by creating happier and healthier homes.
This blog was inspired by: Biofriendly Planet