The term “sustainability” seems to be a popular buzzword nowadays – but’s definitely one you should pay attention to.

Sustainability is also a personal philosophy that can greatly benefit not only your family but the entire planet as well.

Sustainable living involves prioritizing the use of natural and renewable resources instead of creating excess waste and using up environmental resources.

You may think that being more sustainable at home is an all-or-nothing commitment but, the truth is, even small changes can have a big impact.

Not sure where how to get started? Here are 3 easy ways to be more sustainable at home:

1. Don’t Buy Everything New

Start thrifting instead of buying new. Thrift stores are often overlooked as a way of practicing sustainability at home. This type of shopping not only gives you the opportunity to explore unique and popular fashions but also is amazing for the Earth!

Did you know that the average American throws away almost 80 pounds of clothes in their lifetime? Thrift shops help to significantly reduce waste and decrease the need for new clothes to be produced – less clothing means fewer textiles and fabrics end up in landfills.

Less clothing also means less abuse on the environment, since clothing factories around the world account for at least 10% of the world’s carbon emissions! These excessive amounts of carbon emissions from this type of pollution can lead to climate change and health issues (most notably, respiratory issues).

Choosing to shop at a thrift store, whether it’s for clothing or even household items, is a great way to be more sustainable at home.

2. Start Recycling

If you’re thinking about being more sustainable at home, now is the time to become an expert recycler! When you recycle, recycling facilities are able to reuse materials and resources and reduce the number of raw materials needed in manufacturing.

Recycling isn’t hard to do and it’s really easy to get started. Here are some tips if you want to start recycling in your home:

  • Recycling Programs: Your city may have a curbside recycling program where they will pick up recyclable materials just as they do garbage. Check with your area to see if you can sign up for this program.
  • Recycling Drop-Off Centers: If your area doesn’t offer a recycling program, it’s likely they have a recycling drop-off center or bins located around the city. You can usually drop off commonly recycled items such as plastic, paper, aluminum cans, and cardboard.
  • Recycling Bins: Set up some recycling bins in or around your home to collect and sort your recyclables. Keeping them organized makes it easier to recycle them.

Your local curbside program or recycling center may not accept all recycled items. For example, some programs no longer accept plastic grocery bags and light bulbs. Make sure you know what items are acceptable and unacceptable.

When it comes to items such as light bulbs that are electronic or contain electronic parts (batteries, TVs, computers, etc.), look for e-waste recycling bins. You can even reach out to local electronics retailers to see if they accept these products.

You can extend the benefits of recycling further in your home by reusing what you can. Items such as glass jars can be used to store food while old towels and clothes can be used for rags.

Buying goods made of recycled materials also helps to be more sustainable at home – and brings the recycling process full circle! Look for trash bags, paper, and plastic containers that are made from recycled materials.

3. Be More Energy Efficient

“Energy efficiency” is a term often thrown around when it comes to saving money on your bills but it can also help save the environment by cutting down on the natural resources necessary to power our homes.

Appliances such as dishwashers, washers, and dryers typically require huge amounts of electricity to operate. When you buy energy-efficient appliances, however, you can cut down on the amount of energy required.

You can also take a load off your HVAC system (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) by ensuring that your home naturally stays as close to a natural temperature as possible. This ensures that these systems don’t kick in when it’s not necessary.

Start by inspecting windows and doors to check for drafts and using weatherstripping and foam tape to eliminate gaps. Window treatments can also cut drafts while adding insulation value to your windows.

Speaking of insulation, make sure your home is properly insulated. If not, options like foam injection and blown-in insulation are available to better insulate your walls, floors, and ceilings to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Sustainability at Home

As you can see, being more sustainable at home isn’t difficult and you can start with simple steps that can have a huge impact – both on the health and happiness of your family as well as the environment.

Do you have any sustainability tips? We’d love to hear about them! Leave them in the comments below:

About the author

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Dr. Bola

Family physician. Works for the "man" by day, wife & mom 24/7.
Loves the work of translating "medicalese" to plain english.

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