Being Eco-friendly is cheap and easyI think most people are all for saving the environment, as long as it doesn’t cost money. Luckily, there are lots of small things you can do at home that not only save the earth, but can actually save you money!  And, lots of small steps add up to one big difference!  You just have to know which ones work and are worth taking the time to adopt.

Here are some really easy ideas that you can incorporate into your family’s life. I promise, it’s painless!  And it’s something a family can do together that’s fun.  Spend a few minutes each week talking with your kids about the environment and what you can do as a family to make it better.  They’ll love it!

Use less water

  • Hand watering your garden saves waterTurn the water off while you brush your teeth
  • Take showers that are a minute or two shorter
  • Only flush the toilet when you need to – throw facial tissues in the trash
  • Only run full loads of laundry and dishes
  • Use your dishwasher rather than wash by hand
  • Water plants as needed, using soaker hoses or hand-watering so only areas that require water are covered
  • Choose plants native to your area – they’ll require less water and chemicals to keep them healthy
  • Buy from sustainable producers.  Sustainable producers use techniques that pollute less and use less water. Find them online or ask at your local Farmer’s market to find these products.

Use less energy

Go green by buying energy efficient appliancesSure, a hybrid car or a solar powered house would be great, but you can make a big difference with small changes with your existing equipment:

  • Buy energy efficient appliances.  They may be more expensive to purchase, but they should make up for the increased cost in lower energy bills.
  • Unplug chargers when you’re not using them – cell phone and other chargers use power even if there’s nothing attached to them.
  • Put devices with remotes, like T.V.s, VCRs, and stereos, on a power strip and turn it off when you’re not using them.  These devices use a lot of power to run the remote receiver even when the device is off.
  • Walk or ride your bike for short trips.
  • Buy local products. It takes energy to transport food and other products across the country. Buying local not only supports your local economy, it helps them use less energy.

When it comes to saving energy and water, it’s a great idea to get the kids involved. Go ahead and make it a game. Suggest the kids track how much water and electricity everyone is using – give them a pencil and pad and set them off in the house to look for violators.  Perhaps they can “fine” the violator an amount of money, or time spent doing chores for them.

Reuse

Get your kids in on the recycling action at home - they'll love it!You probably learned the three R’s in school: reduce, reuse, recycle. But are you following through?  Sometimes it’s easier just to toss something, instead, think about ways to reuse the item before tossing it.  Re-purpose it, give it to a friend, or donate it rather than toss it.

Use environmentally friendly products. Look beyond the “natural” label and find out what’s actually inside.  Look for cleaning supplies that are organic and safe for pets and people.  If you’re extra thrifty, you can make your own cleaning supplies.  Vinegar cleans and disinfects glass and other surfaces.  Do a Google search and you can find home recipes for all kinds of products including laundry soap.

We all knowing that going green means better for the environment, but it’s also better for you. Less chemicals in your body, more money in your pocket, and better for the earth.  It’s a win-win situation!