If you find yourself spending significantly more time at home, particularly during a period of social distancing, you’re probably using quite a bit more energy and producing more waste. While you discover creative ways to pass the time and keep the family entertained, you should also consider implementing some simple steps to a greener home.
If you are new to the world of recycling and energy saving, don’t worry! Use the tips below to find out how to go green at home while social distancing.
Buy In Bulk
One great way to go green at home is to plan ahead before a shopping trip and decide which items are worth buying in bulk. This doesn’t mean hoarding all the toilet paper you can get your hands on or stockpiling food like it’s the end of the world.
Buying in bulk means choosing larger sizes that use less packaging, which reduces waste and often saves you money. For example, cereal can be purchased in a box, which also contains a bag inside the box, or you can buy a large bag of cereal with only one package. You can also bring your own containers to some stores and refill them with spices and similar items to avoid buying new containers.
An even better option is to buy items that don’t use packaging at all and make more food at home. Convenience items that come prepackaged are generally less healthy for both your body and the environment.
Choose to Reuse
One of the most simple steps to a greener home is to stop using disposable containers, cups, and napkins. Invest in a water bottle that can be used over and over instead of using plastic bottles, and opt for ceramic coffee mugs instead of disposable travel cups. Give cloth napkins and dish towels a try instead of paper towels, and avoid using disposable cups, plates, straws, or utensils.
Reusable containers can also keep food fresh longer so you don’t throw out leftovers before they get eaten, which helps reduce food waste. Plus, you’ll be less likely to run out of supplies while stuck at home.
Make Your Own Cleaning Products
Many of the items you already have in your fridge or pantry can be used for cleaning, without harming the environment. In fact, you don’t really need a bunch of different types of cleaners to do different jobs. Ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and dish soap can be used in a variety of ways to clean nearly everything.
Learn to Make Simple Repairs
While some items require complete replacement when they stop working, many others can be fixed at home. Quarantine is a great time to learn a new skill like sewing or basic home repair. You can learn to stitch a torn seam, patch a hole, sew on a button, and many other useful sewing tricks. You can also learn to repair appliances, fix drywall holes and scratches, or replace small parts instead of an entire piece of furniture or other item.
Stop the Mail
Every day, our mailboxes are stuffed with envelopes and papers we don’t really need. With the convenience of online payment options, virtually any bill can be made paperless. If we all requested that our regular mail items come to our inboxes instead of our mailboxes, an immense amount of paper would be saved.
Garden & Compost
Growing your own delicious and healthy food can help you avoid standing within six feet of another person in the produce aisle. It can also reduce packaging waste from purchased items and provide you with more meal options even when stores are running low on supplies.
Composting is a great way to put food scraps to good use, rather than just throwing them out. Start a compost pile in a corner of your backyard and use it to fertilize your garden.
Just because you can’t visit your favorite theme park or throw a giant party with all your friends doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up indoors. Turn off the TV and the video games and see how you can entertain yourself in your own backyard. Go green at home by saving energy on electricity and power while you garden, play tag with your kids, or create chalk art in your driveway.