Making eco-friendly changes in the way we live may be easier than you think. Real Simple Magazine lists 10 little tips that can go a long way toward living a “greener” lifestyle:
Start with household cleaners. Switch to plant-based products (read the list of ingredients) that reduce air pollution, minimizing exposure to asthma and allergy triggers as well as chemicals that can be harmful to your health.
Try meatless Mondays. Preparing one meat-free meal per week (for a family of four) has the same impact on the environment as driving a hybrid car. (That’s because of the greenhouse gases produced in raising livestock.)
Buy sustainably-raised meat. Look for labels like free-range and organic, as well as no-hormone and no-antibiotic, which indicate the animal was given ample room to roam and wasn’t treated with hormones.
Upgrade your home’s insulation. Adding insulation to prevent leaky ducts, walls, windows and doors can improve your home’s energy draw by 20 – 30 percent. If that isn’t in your budget, try thermal shades, which block the sun in the summer and retain heat in the winter.
Leave your shoes at the door. Removing your shoes at the door prevents car exhaust, chemicals and pesticides from being tracked all over your home.
Microwave glass only. Heating plastics can cause hormone-disrupting compounds that leach into your food. Plastics labeled “microwave-safe” can withstand a higher temperature, but they are no safer. When microwaving, opt for glass or microwave-safe ceramics only.
Donate, don’t dump. By some landfill estimates, for every item of clothing you donate for re-use, carbon emissions are reduced by 27 pounds.
Choose safer cookware. The materials you cook with have an impact on food. The safest options are cast iron, enamel-coated cast iron and stainless steel. Non-stick pans are problematic if any scraped-off coating gets into your food.
Use fragrance-free products. Many fragrances contain chemicals believed to disrupt hormones, which can be harmful to the ecosystem when washed down the drain. If you like scented soaps, cleaning products or cosmetics, read labels to find those made with essential oils.
Reduce use of pesticides. Control pests indoors by keeping your kitchen crumb-free and sealing any cracks in the walls or foundation. If you do require more pest control, reach for green alternatives. Again, read the labels.