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5 Simple Ways to Make Your Home Greener

By: Danielle Hegedus

These days, many people are interested in making their home more eco-friendly. Whether you want to reduce your overall environmental footprint, or just create a safer, healthier living space, you don’t have to invest a ton of money to make your home greener. At Home Improvement Leads, we recommend that you start simply by making your home more environmentally sustainable. Read on to learn about small changes that you can implement to save money on monthly utility and grocery bills. You can also reduce indoor pollutants that can be damaging to your health, all while diminishing your home’s impact on the environment.

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Collect Rainwater and Reap Big Rewards

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average U.S. home uses 320 gallons of water a day, with 30% of that water being devoted to landscaping. You may not think you have the capacity to collect enough rain to meet your outdoor irrigation needs, but the rooftop of a 1,500 square foot can collect 500 gallons of water from just a half an inch of rain! This can add up to big saving on your monthly water bill and be good for the environment.

If you don’t have to worry about having enough water for your landscaping, you can start to think about planting a garden to grow your own food. Growing your own food will decrease your food miles–the miles that food has to travel (and thus the CO2 emissions that are emitted) from the initial harvest to the grocery store to your table. You’ll also save money on your monthly grocery bill while enjoying fresh produce right from the backyard.

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Grow Plants Indoors

Did you know that your new carpet, new paint for the walls and household cleaners all emit toxic chemicals that diminish the quality of your indoor air? One of the simplest things that you can do to combat these toxins is to grow plants indoors. There are many plants that thrive indoors while being skilled at removing toxins from the air. English Ivy, which does well even in rooms with minimal sunlight, absorbs formaldehyde—the most common indoor pollutant, most often found in floorboard resin and carpet dyes. Lady Palm is a great plant to grow if you have respiratory issues, as it removes ammonia from cleansers, textiles and dyes from the air. Aloe is a great choice for sunny kitchen windows. Aloe is helpful in removing formaldehyde and benzene from the air. Plus, it’s great to have on hand to tend to any kitchen burns. How many plants do you need? Aim for 2 plants per 100 square feet of your home.

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Choose Non-Toxic or Make Your Own Cleaning Products

Household cleansers are one of the greatest contributors to toxins in the home. They put the most vulnerable members of our household at the greatest risk, children and pets. They most likely spend time on the floor, absorbing chemicals directly into their skin. Store-bought cleaners are also very expensive. Save money and clean the same spaces—perhaps even more effectively—with cleansers that utilise antifungal and antibacterial essential oils, baking soda, vinegar, and lemons. These simple recipes will help you create cleansers that are safe enough to use on spaces that have direct contact with your food, like refrigerators and countertops and cost less than toxic store brands.

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Compost Your Table Scraps

The idea of composting may freak you out at first—worms and trash, yikes! Once you see the incredible, free impact that compost will have in your garden, though, we’re sure you’ll be sold! If everyone composted, we could keep 36 million tons of food waste out of landfills annually. Additionally, composting is simple. Divert your table scraps from the trash and into a compost bin to create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. This is a great “chore” in which to involve kids. Simply ask them to clean plates after meals and they’ll be taking on more responsibilities while learning about conservation. Plus, you can leave the worms to them! To find out what you can and cannot compost, and how to build your own bin, click here.

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Select Goods that are Recycled or Sustainably Sourced

Finally, when selecting goods for your home, whether it is furniture, rugs, or curtains, look for items that are recycled or sustainably sourced. For instance, bamboo is an incredibly strong building material—great for furniture and floors—and it grows at a remarkable pace, up to 24 inches in a single day! This means the environmental impact of products made with bamboo are significantly less than say, those made with oak or pine because bamboo forests are able to replenish themselves more quickly. Choosing recycled or repurposed furniture is also a great way to give new purpose to items that have been discarded and may be headed to the landfill. Repurposed furniture will cost you next to nothing and will have a big design impact on your home, too, as you create truly one-of-a-kind pieces.

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Editors note:

This article was written by Danielle Hegedus  who is based in the United States, while this site is based in the UK, but these ideas can be applied wherever you are. If you would like to follow this blog please enter your email address at the top of the sidebar or follow me on Twitter for updates. You can also find more ideas on my Facebook page.

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