The eco-friendly movement has been around for some time now, but efforts are still not enough to put a significant dent in today’s climate crisis. Still, every little bit counts as far as personal contribution goes.
Since you presumably spend most of your time at home, it’s a practical launchpad to make more environmentally sound decisions for other aspects of your life.
And the great thing about making your home eco-friendly is it doesn’t need to involve major upheavals to your lifestyle and routines! So if you want to join the movement to a more sustainable lifestyle, a great place and time to start is right where you live…today.
With that in mind, we’ve put together ten easy steps to making your home eco-friendly.
10 Easy Steps to Making Your Home Eco-Friendly
The steps we’re detailing today involve making thoughtful and considerate choices on everything from clothing selections to cleaning options. Don’t worry because most of them are quite doable and uncomplicated.
Once these basics have been established, the habits can hopefully bleed over to other compartments of your life. For instance, we’ve been seeing a surge in more eco-friendly activities like working from home or biking instead of driving to different places.
And though the Ontario government’s reason for requesting lesser mobility among people is largely rooted in safety and health, we think it’s a good beginning to closely examine the carbon footprint of our old lives. This includes commuting to and from work and spending a lot on workspace electricity and upkeep.
To underline this point, the website HR Reporter published an article that mentions many Canadian employers are considering a more permanent work-from-home situation. A whopping 84% of them are already thinking about doing this!
In a previous post, we also wrote extensively about the small changes you can make for a healthier home. It includes practical and environmentally sound tips like humane pest and wildlife control and addressing potential toxins or hazards at home.
It’s a great first eco-friendly step to recognize the harmful ways you’ve been doing things at home and elsewhere.
And it continues with being mindful about every decision you make and how it will affect other people, animals, and plants in the short and long terms.
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Given our exposure to social media platforms during the era of the influencer, it’s easy to fall victim to conspicuous consumption. But lessening consumption of different areas of our lives is a significant step to living an eco-friendly life.
This method might seem like it would take too much time and effort to accomplish. In reality, it’s quite simple to reduce, reuse, and recycle practically everything you own and buy.
Digital shopping and delivery services have also emphasized impulse buying since everything can be had with a few clicks. So before buying anything, consider everything from how the product is packaged, how many steps it will take before you can use or eat it, and how it will need to be disposed of eventually.
And before purchasing something new, take stock of what you already have in your closet, pantry, or garage. Anything redundant should be reconsidered, and anything frivolous replaced with something more essential.
If clothes are no longer wearable, repurpose them for rags or as material for quilting, stuffing, insulation, and other uses. Leftover food can be composted to make your garden healthier, too.
In addition, some waste management services in Ottawa also help and support recycling initiatives from homeowners and community members. They can be great resources for information and tools on recycling and proper waste disposal, as well.
2. Install Energy-Efficient Lighting
Energy-efficient lights should already be the norm in houses and commercial places. If you’re still using incandescent bulbs, it’s time to say goodbye to that unsustainable practice ASAP.
LED lights may initially have higher price tags than incandescent lamps, but they can last up to 30 times longer than the latter. That means you won’t have to replace them as often as you would older bulbs and lighting accessories.
Energy-efficient lighting helps reduce carbon emissions and uses up to 75% less energy than its older counterparts. So if you’re ready to make the switch to more sustainable illumination and lower energy bills, ask your favourite electrician in Ottawa about bulb replacements and upgrades today.
While you’re at it, make the most out of natural light during daytime by keeping your window panes clear and pristine. There are window washing services in Ottawa that take pride in using organic and environmentally friendly cleaning solutions so sunlight can get into your home unobstructed.
3. Grow Your Own Greens
Having edible greens, fruits, and other plants within reach will contribute to less food spoilage in the fridge or pantry. You’ll know this to be true if a week’s worth of greens has ever turned into slime at the back of your crisper.
Freshly picked herbs and veggies also taste much better than thawed or freeze-dried versions. Plus, since plants eat carbon dioxide, you’ll be gifted with fresher, cleaner air at home!
Don’t have a garden or backyard? Don’t worry because herbs, vegetables, and other plants don’t require a large acreage or a huge chunk of your time and effort. Even a small balcony space can be an ideal place to grow greens you normally use for cooking or garnishing.
It helps to know the best seasons for planting and harvesting, too. The most ideal time to repot plants you’ve gotten from a reputable nursery in Ottawa would be around May when it’s no longer cold.
And since we already mentioned composting a few sections up, it’s good to place a compost bin in your garden for easy access. It can help improve the quality of your garden soil and yield healthier and stronger plants in the process.
4. Monitor Your Water Consumption
It’s vital to have your home thoroughly inspected for plumbing leaks to ensure you don’t waste water. That’s why it’s practical to have a reliable plumber in Ottawa regularly check your pipes and faucets for leaks.
When it comes to conserving water at home, you don’t have to worry about taking lesser baths. You’ll just need to get clean and nice-smelling in a smarter way.
For starters, consider taking showers instead of long and leisurely baths in a tub. You can do quick showers for this to be truly effective, but you’ll still generally be conserving more water than having an hour-long soak in your bathtub.
And if you’re living in a home with old bathroom fixtures, it’s time to consider a serious eco-friendly upgrade. A professional renovation contractor can suggest practical replacements for water-wasting amenities like low-flow showerheads and motion-sensor faucets that can save you time, water, and money.
If your old toilet is the kind that consumes seven gallons per flush, replace it with a low-flow version that uses just half of that amount. Otherwise, you’re literally flushing your money down the toilet.
5. Get Efficient Insulation
Do you find yourself constantly needing the services of HVAC companies no matter how regularly you keep your air conditioners and heaters clean? It could either be faulty HVAC systems or more likely, faulty insulation.
If your house has permanent drafts in certain places, chances are your insulation isn’t doing a good job of trapping heat in your home. And that explains the huge energy bills you’re saddled with every month.
This dilemma is easily addressed with proper insulation services that can ensure your home has the proper R-value. The R-value is the standard by which you can gauge if your home’s insulation material is performing optimally.
You can also consider double-glazing your windows to keep sufficient warmth inside your home. The top window replacement services in Ottawa can help you achieve this.
Introduce interior decorating as a way of aesthetic insulation in your home, as well. Area rugs, blackout curtains, and strategically placed potted indoor plants can keep your home environment cozy for all seasons.
6. Breathe New Life to Old Furniture
It’s tempting to keep upgrading your furniture and accessories if you’re a homeowner. After all, you’d want everything in your house to reflect your personality and tastes over the years.
But we doubt any kind of interior decor decision will look good if it comes at the cost of toxic and non-sustainable materials for furniture that easily breaks. Furniture should be built to last, not be seasonal options.
So take a good, long look at the furniture pieces you currently have before throwing them away for newer ones. One practical method to giving it a fresh, new look is to get them serviced by the best upholstery shops in Ottawa, instead.
If you’re just starting to decorate your home, consider buying gently-used or refurbished furniture, as well. It helps keep landfills less cluttered with unwanted furniture just because they’re old but still usable and presentable.
And if you really think a piece of furniture no longer suits your home or lifestyle, don’t dispose of it like trash. Ask around for anyone who can still find some use for it and donate it (but make sure it’s still in good working condition).
7. Shop Locally
Consider yourself lucky if you live somewhere that has a local grocer or farmer’s market. Then you’re just a short jog or bike away from getting fresh produce without having to gas up just to get a few pieces of fruit or vegetables.
Buying locally is definitely an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle choice. We believe it ranks up there with growing your own food.
One of the most important environmental contributions of purchasing goods or services locally is the reduced carbon footprint involved. Transportation doesn’t have to be long-distance so fewer greenhouse gasses are emitted, and because they’re in the same region, you can be sure that products will be fresher (or service responses quicker).
And because your local shops and businesses need to meet regional standards, you’ll be more assured about quality control as opposed to buying goods from unknown manufacturers in other countries.
So the next time you need to grab a cup of java or a scoop of ice cream, consider buying from the best coffee and ice cream shops in Ottawa, instead. You’ll be contributing toward fair practices while ensuring local staff and shop owners are kept employed and in business.
8. Swap Disposables for Sustainables
Everyone loves convenience which is why we have door-to-door delivery, fast food, and disposable everything. But the price to pay for the few minutes you’ve saved on washing dishes or cooking from scratch includes overflowing landfills and polluted oceans.
Mindful eating is a practical step towards being eco-friendly. And if it starts becoming a habit, you might find that even your health will improve because of all the nutrients and organic ingredients involved in the practice.
You can start by enrolling in cooking classes in Ottawa that emphasize the use of local ingredients and tools. It might seem like a costly investment in the beginning, but you’ll soon realize how much cooking and eating at home can save you more money than regularly dining out or ordering food.
So instead of paper napkins, use cloth ones, instead. They’re easy enough to clean and won’t require tons of dead trees just to mop up spills or plate grease.
Here’s another tip: you can buy things without packaging. As a sustainable shopping alternative, bring tote bags, reusable containers, jars, and other things you can put coffee beans, pasta, grains, and other produce without needing plastic packaging.
It’s good to invest in good quality clothes, as well. Getting bespoke or custom-fitted clothes from the top tailors in Ottawa is much better than constantly changing your wardrobe with affordable clothes that are of lesser quality.
9. Declutter and Donate
If there’s fast food, there’s also fast fashion. Unfortunately, most of today’s clothing stores are geared toward mass-producing garments that are inexpensive but not of the best quality.
The sad result of this fashion scenario is that we’ll end up buying more as soon as we wear out articles of clothing with the mindset that we can afford to constantly replace them, anyway.
So to begin your eco-friendly journey, dive deep into your wardrobe, pantry, garage, or attic and be ruthless about which ones you can no longer reuse or recycle.
The next best option for these would be to donate them to charities and volunteer groups in Ottawa that can sort through the goods and decide which beneficiaries can make use of them. Just make sure to abide by their rules on the quality, condition, and quantity of donations.
In the previous section, we also recommended investing in good-quality clothes that will last you longer and fit perfectly. Making a habit of this will give you the satisfaction of wearing clothes that grow with you and that won’t contribute to waste.
Got a closet full of clothes or accessories you or your family members can no longer use? Then consider contacting some eco-friendly junk removal services in Ottawa that can clear them out for you while ensuring green and charitable practices.
10. Create Your Own Cleaning Solutions
The best cleaning services in Ottawa are not just efficient but also have eco-friendly practices and tools. But for everyday cleaning, you’re better off using your own organic cleaning concoctions (and elbow grease).
This is an impactful practice on several levels. For starters, you won’t have to rely on cleaning products that come in wasteful plastic bottles and containers.
More importantly, you can control the ingredients you’ll be using to clean stuff inside your home. No toxic chemicals and unfamiliar ingredients need to give you allergies or other ailments.
The great news is that common (and safe) household stuff like vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils can become the main ingredients for wiping down surfaces or making rooms smell clean and fresh.
The Spruce website mentions several homemade and natural cleaning products and the best applications for them on different parts of your home. Vinegar can clean and deodorize everything from sinks to stovetops, while lemons mixed with baking soda can turn into a handy cleaning paste for most surfaces.