30 Quick, Simple Ways to Be Eco-Friendlier at Home

Being more eco-conscious is all about celebrating the planet, protecting it, and passing those values onto the next generation. And, the best part about getting into the habit of being greener at home is that most of the time, these strategies are actually the most frugal option - so you’re not only helping to benefit the environment, but also saving yourself quite a bit of money in the process.

There are lots of little things that you can do in your home in order to play a small yet effective part in reducing landfill waste, keeping the air cleaner, and preserving the earth’s natural landscape. And if you have a family at home, getting your kids involved will double your efforts and help them start green habits at an early age that they will carry through into adulthood, making it much easier to pass down these habits to the future generations.

Here are some small, simple green choices and changes that you can start making in your home right now. Even if you’re unable to do them all, simply picking a few from the list and making an effort to implement them in your home life can make a huge amount of difference.

#1. Switch to energy-efficient lightbulbs

This is a change that you’ll barely notice – but it can make a massive amount of difference. Energy efficient lightbulbs may be slightly more expensive to buy, but they will usually last longer and use less energy than the regular kind – definitely worth paying that little bit more for.

In fact, over the course of a year, using energy saving light bulbs can save you around $75 per bulb – if you’re using them in all the lights and lamps in your home, this can easily add up to significant savings on your utility bills.

#2. Start a homemade compost bin

Reducing food waste is an important part of going green at home, and one of the best ways to do this is with a homemade compost bin. You can pick up a suitable bin for compost at any homeware or gardening store, and they’re usually quite inexpensive, or if you’re able to, you could even make your own. Then, rather than throwing food scraps or food that’s gone out of day into the trash, put it in the compost bin instead - after a while, you’ll have natural fertilizer for your garden.

#3. Plant a simple vegetable garden

It’s good to remember where our food originates from, and planting a simple vegetable garden has many benefits – not just for the environment, but also for our health, wellness and our bank balance! There are many vegetables that are easy to plant and grow at home, including potatoes, carrots, and runner beans, and this can be a really fun activity to do with kids, too.

#4. Replace appliances with energy efficient models

If you’re in the market for a new washing machine, fridge, freezer, dryer or other home appliance, then it’s well worth investing in an energy efficient model. These appliances are designed to get the best results while using as little energy as possible – look out for the ‘energy star’ certification when shopping.

#5. Get some reusable bags

Scrap the plastic bags and get some reusable canvas bags to take to the grocery store with you. Not only will you save money when you can avoid buying reusable bags each time, canvas bags can also be put to use for other things as they’re really strong and sturdy.

#6. Get a reusable water bottle

Instead of purchasing a one-time-use, plastic water bottle every time you get thirsty, invest in a good reusable water bottle that you can take out with you and fill up at water fountains. More and more public places are installing water fountains for public use and if you can’t find one, most cafés and restaurants will be happy to refill your water bottle free of charge. Insulated water bottles are a great idea – they keep your water nice and cold and you can use them to keep hot drinks warm, too.

#7. Switch off the lights

Get into the habit of switching the light off every time you leave a room – even if you plan to come back shortly. Over time, the short periods where you’ve switched the light off will add up.

#8. Use more natural light

Even better, go one step further and try to avoid using electric lights at all throughout the day. Instead, open your curtains and use as much natural light as possible! If you’re looking to improve your home, consider getting more windows or bigger windows so that you can maximize natural light in your rooms, especially if it’s normally quite dark indoors even in the day.

#9. Drive more carefully

Driving carefully isn’t just good for your safety and the safety of those around you – it can also help you be kinder to the planet. Make sure that you are sticking to the speed limit when driving and avoid harsh acceleration and braking. Not only will this reduce your carbon footprint on the road – it’ll also use less gas, so more savings for you.

#10. Drive less

One step further – driving as little as possible is even better if you want to reduce your carbon footprint behind the wheel. If you could manage just as well without your car, then it’s worth considering selling it – public transport, cycling and walking are all fantastic alternatives if you only tend to take short journeys. If you can’t get rid of your car, then consider making shorter journeys another way and save your vehicle for longer trips.

#11. Support your local economy

Buying items that are locally manufactured and sold not only helps you do your bit for the environment as these items will have not caused environmental damage in transit; it’s also a fantastic way to support your local economy and help small businesses in your area. Whatever you’re shopping for, it’s worth considering if there’s a small, local business that sells it – you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re being kinder to the environment and helping local business owners.

#12. Repurpose your old furniture

Before you throw old furniture away, it’s worth considering whether there are any other ways in which it can be used. A lick of eco-friendly paint and wooden furniture can be completely transformed into something else, while couches and chairs can be reupholstered rather than replaced. If you truly have no other uses for old furniture, consider donating it to somebody in need, or a thrift store that accepts furniture, rather than it ending up in landfill.

#13. Don’t skimp on HVAC maintenance

Keeping the heating and cooling systems working correctly in your home is absolutely crucial to reducing energy use and keeping your home’s carbon footprint as low as possible. If not properly maintained, heating and air conditioning systems will end up working overtime to keep your home at the right temperature, wasting unnecessary energy in the process. So, make sure that you stay up to date with regular maintenance – a professional company like Semper Solaris, offering a range of services including HVAC maintenance, AC repair and AC tune up, can help to keep your home’s heating and cooling systems in the best condition.

#14. Pay your bills online

Paying your bills online isn’t just a more convenient option – it’s also a lot friendlier to the planet compared to getting paper bills. Why waste paper for something that you could read just as well in an email? Plus, paying your bills online is usually the best option for your sanity – it’s easy to do from your phone or laptop and you’re less likely to forget that they still need to be paid, especially if you’re signed up for online reminders.

#15. Get renewable energy

Speak to your energy company about whether or not you’d be able to use renewable energy instead – or even better, generate your own! Solar panels are becoming increasingly popular and thanks to government initiatives and financing options, getting solar panels installed on your home has never been more accessible. And, this is just another prime example of how going green can help you both save and make more money – invest in a solar battery pack to store surplus generated energy and sell it back to the grid, earning an additional income and helping other homes and businesses in your area make greener choices.

#16. Reuse scrap paper

Cutting down on paper wastage is another important strategy for going green – doing as much as you can online is a great way to reduce the amount of paper that you’re using at work or school, but when you must use paper, try to get as much out of it as possible. Set your printer to print on both sides of the page, or reuse paper that you’ve written on only one side of for shopping lists when you no longer need your notes. Or, let your kids color on the back side of used paper. During the holidays, decorated scrap paper can make excellent, unique wrapping paper – and it’s a far more eco-friendly option than the usual stuff. Get creative!

#17. Conduct a home energy audit

Every year you should make the effort to go over your home and determine where the most energy is being wasted. You may be surprised at just how much unnecessary energy is being used up – and where it’s escaping. Be sure to check areas that are prone to drafts such as around your windows and doors for any loose sealant, and check your attic or loft area to see if any light is coming through – if the light can come in, energy can get out. If you’re not sure where to start with an energy audit for your home, get in touch with your energy company – many have started offering them to customers free of charge.

#18. Fix those leaky faucets

Dripping faucets are more than just annoying – over time, they can waste gallons of water that you don’t even notice. So, whether it’s your kitchen or bathroom faucet that keeps dripping, don’t put off repairing it any longer!

#19. Take shorter showers

Did you know that you could save gallons of water each time just by spending one or two less minutes in the shower when washing? And the best part is that you probably won’t even notice those couple of minutes – by the time you’ve cleaned up, they really won’t make that much of a difference. A good idea is to invest in a timer so that you know when to get out of the shower – spending less time in there isn’t just good for the environment, but it’ll also benefit your skin as showering too often or for too long can strip it of its natural oils.

#20. Buy more second hand stuff

If you’re in the market for a new product, then check out second hand options before you buy brand new. Not only is this cheaper, but is also means that you’ll be contributing less to mass production and making sure that perfectly useable products aren’t ending up in landfill. Often, people sell their perfectly good, working products just to make a little bit of money, free up space or because they’re no longer needed – and you’ve got the chance to grab a bargain. TVs, laptops, smartphones, smartwatches, clothes, furniture and home appliances are all great examples of items that you can find second hand at great prices. So, before you hit the stores, check out sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and eBay first – you never know what treasures you might find.

#21. Make your own household cleaning products

Keeping your home clean and fresh is important, but sadly many popular cleaning products that we use today are filled with toxins that are very harmful to the environment. Cleaning sprays, air fresheners, bleach, and more are poisonous to the environment and can even be harmful to our health. Instead, look into eco-friendly cleaning brands or consider making your own cleaning products – you can easily do this using ingredients commonly found at home, such as white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, and lemon juice.

#22. Plant a tree

If you’ve got the means to do so, then planting a tree at your home is one of the best things that you can do for the environment. In fact, with more and more trees being felled to make way for new building developments – especially in cities and major towns – planting a tree is something that everybody who is able to, should do. And, planting a tree outside your home isn’t just good for clearing the air – you can also save energy when a tree is outdoors, keeping your home cooler in the summer and shielding it from the elements in the winter.

#23. Line-dry your laundry

Tumble dryers are a great invention for sure – but next time you’re about to put a load in, ask yourself if you really need to use it. Line-drying your laundry uses no energy and often leaves your clothes fresher and softer. You can line dry outside on a sunny day, or if the weather isn’t great, then consider getting a clothes rail or indoor washing line to use.

#24. Unplug

Did you know that even when many technology items – TVs, laptops, PCs etc. – look like they are off, they’re actually still using energy on standby? Your TV, for example, stays on standby the whole time it’s plugged in just so it can pick up the signal from the remote when you switch it back on again. If you haven’t shut your laptop or PC down and it’s plugged in, then it’ll still be using energy even if the screen has gone black – it’s in ‘sleep mode’. Instead, make a conscious habit to unplug these gadgets when you’re done with them. And, if you have anything that needs plugging in to charge like a smartphone, tablet or laptop, make sure that you unplug them as soon as they are fully charged – leaving them plugged in means you’re using energy that isn’t needed.

#25. Collect rainwater

Place some buckets outside, and collect rainwater that you can use for your plants and garden. If you’ve decided to go ahead with starting your own vegetable garden or planting a tree, then use the rainwater you collect to keep them hydrated as they grow.

#26. Use cloths for cleaning

When it comes to cleaning your home, ditch paper towels and reusable wipes – instead, old cloths often mean a much better clean, plus you can wash them in between and they last much longer. And, you can turn old, unwanted clothes or soft home furnishings into cloths and rags for cleaning your home – just cut them up into squares. If you’ve got old fabric items that you don’t want any more, this could be a great way to recycle and get the most out of them.

#27. Repurpose glass jars and bottles

Instead of throwing glass jars and bottles away or putting them in the recycling can, think of ways that you could recycle them yourself at home! There are several fun, crafty projects you could take on – and if you have kids, it can be a really fun and interesting activity for them too. All you need is glass paint or glue and suitable things to decorate your glasses and bottles with; you can make anything from vases to photo displays, Christmas decorations or kitchen storage – the choice is yours!

#28. Give things away

If you’ve got items that you don’t want any more, it’s always worth looking into finding out if anybody else could make use of them, before you throw them away and they end up in landfill. Remember the saying – one man’s trash is another’s treasure – you just never know who might be absolutely thrilled to receive that old couch you hate, or those old clothes that you’d never wear again. Look into charities in your area that may be able to hook you up with people who could use your unwanted stuff, or use local social media groups or websites like Freecycle.

#29. Switch to cloth diapers

If you’ve got young kids or babies, then cloth diapers are a great alternative if you want to live a greener family lifestyle. They might take a bit of getting used to but they have plenty of great benefits; they’re washable, will save you a ton of money when it comes to buying diapers, and can often be kinder to baby’s skin too. If you don’t want to use cloth diapers exclusively, try using them alongside disposables – even using one cloth diaper per day means 365 less used diapers in landfills each year.

#30. Get a programmable thermostat

Finally, if you don’t have one already, it’s definitely worth investing in a programmable thermostat for your home. There are several options to choose from – go for the basic type that allows you to set your heating and cooling systems to come on at certain times every day, or opt for a smart thermostat that you can control from anywhere using your smartphone. Whichever you choose to go with, you know that doing this will help you save energy while allowing you to continue being as comfortable as possible at home – no need to leave the heating on all day in winter to keep the house warm for you returning from work – and no need to be freezing in order to save money when you get in either.

So, there you have it – thirty simple tips and tricks for leading a greener lifestyle, many of which you can get started with today. Going green doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive – in fact, most of the time developing greener habits means that you end up saving more money than you normally would.

Which of these green habits and strategies do you want to try first? We’d love to hear your thoughts – get in touch using the comments section below.