Many people 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 tips to have a greener home.

  • Replace disposables. Consider replacing disposable products you use in your home with reusable ones. Using reusable shopping bags, washable food storage containers and cloth towels instead of paper towels are all great ideas.
  • Buy used or borrow/rent. Buy used or recycled products when 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 when flying. During one year, a 50-pound suitcase results in $1,500 in added fuel cost on one plane.
  • Donate e-waste. Donate used electronics for reuse to a recycler certified to R2, RIOS or e-Stewards® standards. Recycling extends the lives of valuable products and keeps materials from going to landfill, where they are wasted and can harm the environment.
  • 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.
  • Plant. 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. Grow your own organic vegetables.
  • Compost. Home composting is a way to turn common household items like kitchen scraps and dried leaves into nutrient-rich material that can be used in gardens.
  • Dry clothes outdoors. Take advantage of nature and try drying your clothes outdoors. Not only will your clothes smell great, but your utility bills will be lower.
  • Think local.Consider buying produce, meat and dairy products from local suppliers. Not only does this support local business, but fewer 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 Safer Choice label.
  • Choose eco-friendly building materials. Look for building materials with either an 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 you still receive printed publications, consider subscribing to the online version instead. Digital music and movie downloads are a great green alternative to purchasing CDs and DVDs.
  • Increase water efficiency. Install low-flow faucets and shower fixtures and take a shorter shower, which cuts down on both water usage and water heating costs. When replacing appliances, look for water-saving versions.

Many times, living a more sustainable lifestyle also costs less. By reducing waste, conserving energy and preventing pollution, you can help protect the environment in your everyday life.