Many families today are trying to live “greener.” Whether you are looking for more earth-friendly products or simply want to reduce energy use, NSF’s sustainability office has put together their top ten tips to have a greener home.
Replace disposables. Consider replacing disposable products you use in your home with reusable ones. Rechargeable batteries, washable food storage containers and using cloth towels instead of paper towels for cleanup are all great ideas.
Buy used or borrow/rent. Buy used or recycled products whenever possible. If you only need something temporarily, check with friends or neighbors to see if you can borrow the item or consider renting it.
Pack lighter. An extra 10 pounds per traveler requires 350 million more gallons of jet fuel per year.
Use color to save energy. Paint your home a light color if you live in a warm climate or a dark color if you live in a cold climate to help reduce energy consumption.
Go native. Fill your yard with native plants to help cut down on watering needs. Collect rainwater to use for irrigation. Don't use automatic timers for sprinklers ... manually turn your irrigation system on/off and only water plants and lawn when truly needed.
Dry clothes outdoors. Take advantage of nature and try drying your clothes outdoors. Not only will they smell great, but your utility bills will be significantly reduced.
Think local. Consider buying produce, meat and dairy products from local suppliers. Not only does this support local business, but less natural resources are used to package and transport the food.
Choose eco-friendly cleaning products. For many cleaning tasks around the home, a simple mixture of vinegar or baking soda in hot water can be used. If purchasing store-bought cleaners, look for those with the U.S. EPA Design for the Environment (DfE) logo.
Choose eco-friendly building materials. Look for building materials with either a SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label, which indicates the wood was responsibly grown and harvested. When replacing flooring, purchase eco-friendly versions such as carpets made from recycled materials or flooring from sustainable resources.
Go digital. If your family still receives printed publications, consider subscribing to the online version. Digital music and movie downloads are a great green alternative to purchasing hard copy CDs and DVDs.
Increase water efficiency. Install low flow faucets and shower fixtures and take shorter showers, which will cut down on both water usage as well as water heating costs. When replacing appliances, look for water-saving versions with the Water SenseSM label.
Ultimately, living simpler is an easy way to become greener. By purchasing only those products that you truly need, you will naturally create less waste and be living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. For more green tips, contact the NSF Consumer Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or download our green living fact kit.