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  1. There are plenty of reasons to make your home eco-friendly. While reducing your humble abode's negative impact on the planet sounds like a lot of work, there are actually several easy ways to make it more environmentally safe and without breaking the bank. Controlled Water Usage Sensible water usage is the perfect place to start making your home environmentally friendly. When it comes to smart water usage, consider the following: • Wash your clothes in cold water and air dry them in order to help save energy, which will save you money. • Only run the clothes washer or dishwasher when you have full loads. • Repair leaky faucets, especially in drought prone locations. • Install water-saving toilets, low flow shower heads and install aerators in faucets • Place timers in the bathroom to keep showers shorter. • Outside of your home, plant native vegetation because they typically require less water, pesticides and fertilizer. • Wash your car on the lawn, and buy a hose nozzle that restricts the flow of the water. Prevent Air Leaks Insulate, repair, plug, replace all potential areas where the air within the home can escape, caulking around the windows, applying weather stripping around doors, leak proofing your home and watch your utility bills drop. Keeping warm and/or cold air from escaping your home will help keep the HVAC system from working so hard to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Consider Composting The food waste dumped in landfills produces methane, a toxic greenhouse gas. Composting your food scraps (except for meat) will help you reduce your carbon footprint. Coffee grounds, tea leaves, vegetable and fruit peelings, eggshells, just about any organic matter, can be placed in a backyard compost bin or pile. Combine it with yard trimmings and water and voila - you have a nourishing soil enhancer. Let the Sun Shine In The most environmentally sound and least expensive light and heat source is just outside of your windows. Open up the shutters, drapes and blinds and let solar energy (the sunshine) brighten and warm your home naturally. Another option is Photovoltaic materials and devices that can convert the sun's rays into electricity. Solar power can be used to generate electricity for your home, improved indoor lighting and heat water. Naturally Clean Indoor Air Skip the retail air fresheners which are loaded with toxic chemicals. Instead, fill a small pot with water and a bit of cloves, cinnamon, or basically any herb you prefer. In addition, plants, while some may not add a scent to your home, are good at improving interior air quality and just about any plant with broad leaves will do. When the weather permits it, especially while spring cleaning, throw open your windows and let the fresh air in. Upgrade to Programmable Thermostats This device regulates the temperature in a home, based on settings you set for specified times of the day. For instance, turn off the AC or heat when nobody's home, lower the temperature when you're sleeping, etc. The added bonus of having a programmable thermostat is that you’ll save on cooling and heating costs. Leave Harmful Toxins at the Door Have you ever thought about all the substances that are on your shoes when you come home after a long day? Tracking in animal waste, antifreeze, oil, pollen, particulate pollution and you’ll never know what else into the home isn't a good thing. Add in the rest of the family's shoes, or the pet’s paws and . . . don't want to think about it do you? Well, there's an easy fix for this problem - invest in a doormat or better yet, leave the shoes outside on the mat. Less dirt and grime also means less mopping, sweeping and vacuuming, which means fewer chemicals, less water and energy usage and let’s not forget - less work. Choose Non-Toxic Household cleansers Find eco-friendly alternatives to cleansers that typically contain harsh chemicals that can, not only pollute the environment, but cause health problems. There are a number of biodegradable, non-toxic, cleaning products on the market, sold in some chain stores, natural grocery stores and online - just be sure to read the label. If the ingredients sound like a long pharmacy list, it's probably not eco-friendly. You can also make your own, starting with baking soda (add a little water to make a paste to use on stubborn areas) which makes an eco-friendly and inexpensive yet effective all-purpose cleaner. Need a disinfectant? Try citrus oil or tea tree oil. Use a "Green" Housecleaning Service If you don't have time to clean your home yourself, you should be able to find a "green" housecleaning service because they’re becoming fairly common. If you can't locate one in your area, or they're too expensive, try to find a housecleaning service that will use the methods and eco-friendly products you prefer. Green Carpet Cleaning If you haven't been following the "shoeless entry" rule, it's probably time to find a green carpet cleaning service in your area. Even if you have been have, it's a good idea to have your carpeting cleaned at least once or twice a year, depending on the activity level in your household. If you need specialized services for a residence other than your own, like a rental property, look for professional lease cleaners in Geelong. Just imagine the potential for toxins embedded in a rental property's carpeting! Teaching Responsibility Making your home environmentally friendly should be a group effort, helping everyone involved (including the little ones) develop a sense of individual responsibility. Developing small habits like not running the water while they brush their teeth, are little steps that even young children can adapt to. Also, follow your city's recycling rules and set up different recycle bins that your young children can easily use to do their part. This is also the perfect opportunity to teach them that their efforts will play a part in leaving resources for future generations to use as well. Doing our part to live an environmentally friendly life used to mean just separating paper from plastic and placing it in their respective recycling bins, buying organics and using a recycled tote to carry them home. These days, there's a lot more we can all do to create a green and healthy home environment, inside and out.
  2. Although there are many ways to go green, it can be difficult to know how to take the first step. Luckily, there are many small and large scale ways to join the movement for a cleaner environment. Read on for some inspiring ideas about how to take initiative and make the world a greener, cleaner place. Read and Recycle Reading is an appealing past time, but buying books can become expensive and there is also the issue of what to do with them post reading. Why not practice recycling and support your local community at the same time? Donate gently used books to your local library and shop for new reading material at your local library's used book store, or at local yard sales. If you do not have a local library, consider setting up a book swap with friends. Instead of everyone having their own magazine subscriptions, set up a magazine trading circuit as well. Carpool Gas is expensive and everyone driving independently puts a strain on traffic and the environment. Look into sharing a ride to work or to run errands. Not only will it ease your gas budget and release less pollutants, but it just might make your traveling experiences more enjoyable. Eat Local Make it a habit to shop for foods at your local farmer's market or farm stand. The food that you find there is seasonal and fresh, and has not required excess gas and transportation to reach consumers. Consider also eating at small businesses that use local food products, or join a community supported agriculture program. Pursue an Environmental Career If you are choosing a career or changing career paths, consider looking into environmental law degrees. This is a way to impact the world around you by advocating for preservation of natural resources. It is a great choice for individuals interested in jobs that blend science and law. Set Up Online Bill Payment Junk mail is annoying and time consuming to pick up and sort through. The excess paper involved is also an environmental strain. Do yourself and the earth a big favor by streamlining and switching to an online bill payment system. Check Window Caulking It may seem minor, but deteriorated window caulking can allow warm and cool air to escape your home. This air release causes an increase in energy costs and unnecessary environmental demands. Use energy wisely and keep some extra money in your pocket by taking the time to check window caulking and replace it as needed. Clean with Non Toxic Products There is no reason to support chemical heavy cleaning product companies and further pollute the environment. Chances are, your cupboards already contain all the items you need to thoroughly clean your home. Simply check for practical items such as vinegar and baking soda, and get ready for a sparkling non-toxic living space. Make an earth friendly resolution today and encourage friends and family members to do the same. Choose from a myriad of small and large steps that give the satisfaction of knowing you are doing something beneficial. A greener cleaner environment really is worth the extra effort involved.