The art of eco-friendly living: How to do it properly

Nowadays, eco-friendly lifestyles are not just for the self-proclaimed eco-conscientious person. In fact, the requirement to consider the environment when making simple, every day decisions is becoming more and more prevalent, and even more relevant as we collectively realise the harmful effect our actions can have on the environment.

Even our home choices have become more eco-friendly from the type of home we purchase, to the features we choose to incorporate within it.

If you’re looking to adopt some of these eco-friendly habits, here are some helpful pointers to get you started.

Recycling has become a way of life

Recycling is one of the most significant and impactful habits we can practice if we want to live eco-friendly lifestyles. From aluminium to glass to paper to plastic, recycling has become a way of life for many as we start to make more conscious eco-friendly lifestyle choices.

New to recycling? It’s never too late to start! Use these pointers to turn this practice into an easy habit:

  • Keep a recycling bin next to your kitchen trash can. If it’s just as easy to put something in the recycling bin as it is the trash, you’re more likely to do it consistently.
  • Check your city or county’s website to find out which materials they accept for recycling. Some districts don’t accept all types of plastic.
  • Repurpose items that can’t be recycled, but are durable enough for multiple uses.
  • Make sure your items are properly cleaned before dropping them in your recycling bin. Glass and plastic should be rinsed with water, while greasy cardboard and dirty paper should be removed from recyclable items.

Choosing second-hand alternatives

Often, purchasing second-hand or used items can be just as good as new ones. This is especially true for items that can be reused over and over without being affected as much by wear and tear over time, such as second-hand furniture, second-hand vehicles, or even second clothes for that matter. You’ll also be aiding in the preservation of the environment from the further depletion of its natural resources.

Some great places to shop for second-hand items include:

  • Salvage stores: Companies often can’t sell damaged and factory floor items at full price, so they offer them to salvage stores at a discount, which is passed onto shoppers.
  • Estate sales: While garage sales usually have small items, estate sales typically have big-ticket items like furniture and even appliances.
  • Luxury clothing resale boutiques: If thrift store shopping isn’t glamorous enough for your taste, online boutiques like the RealReal and thredUP sell gently-worn designer clothing and accessories at a fraction of the retail price.

Eco-friendly home choices

Since we spend the majority of our time in our homes, it’s only then logical that we should also incorporate eco-friendly decisions when it comes to choosing an eco-friendly home too.

Solar panels

Selecting a home with solar panels is a great environmental choice if you want to do your bit in reducing carbon emissions, and you want to save on energy costs too. Valuable features such as solar panels can also increase the value of your property, should you decide to sell one day. So be sure to document these changes in terms of keeping all your receipts, as well as photographs on hand, just in case.

LED lights

Choosing LED lighting as opposed to incandescent lighting is another significant energy-saving resource when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, LED lights can burn just as bright as ordinary light bulbs but tend to last longer, which makes them not only more energy-efficient but more cost-effective too in the long run.

Dual-pane windows (double glazing)

Dual pane windows are another example of a highly effective energy-saving house feature that is gaining popularity when it comes to eco-friendly home design features. Dual pane windows have, as the name suggests, a dual-purpose, keeping your home insulated in winter and, conversely, keeping your home cooler for longer in the summer.

Composting

Composting is yet another beneficial way to support the environment and is really easy to do. It’s simply repurposing certain food leftovers as fertiliser for your soil, enriching the soil with the valuable nutrients and minerals it needs to flourish. Composting also reduces the amount of food waste that ultimately ends up in landfills, which means fewer methane emissions and fewer greenhouse gasses to harm the environment.

Simple every day acts that make a difference

As far as preserving the environment goes, it’s the big things that often matter just as much as the little acts when added up over time. Things like switching unnecessary lights off when not in use and unplugging electronics can go a long way in reducing your energy bill, in addition to protecting the environment as well.

Eco-friendly landscapes

While the interior of your home is important, so too is the outside, including maintaining an eco-friendly landscape. Environmentally friendly landscapes are essentially self-sustaining gardens that use minimal external resources to thrive, relying instead on the cyclical processes of nature to continue on.

In summary, opting for more eco-friendly lifestyle choices is becoming easier (and trendier) with the myriad options and alternatives available. And is indeed admirable if your aim is to leave a lasting impact on the world for the better, not just for now but also far into the foreseeable future too.

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Joyce Wilson

Joyce Wilson is a retired teacher and enjoys sharing lesson plans, resources, and teaching tips on Teacher Spark. Her website is a compilation of practical resources that will inspire student engagement and instil a love for learning. By tapping into a student’s natural creativity and curiosity, Joyce believes that they can take their education to a new level.

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