Remember that Aerosmith song “Pink”? You know, with lines like “pink, it’s my new obsession” and “pink is my favorite crayon”?
I’m very salty that they’ve never done an environmentally friendly version of that song titled “Green,” but whatever. (And yes, Steven Tyler, I’m available for collaboration. DM me!)
But seriously, making the world a greener place (literally and figuratively) begins with us—and it starts in our homes.
Knowing exactly where to begin can be overwhelming, so I’ve come up with a list of five easy-to-implement ways to make your home more sustainable.
#1: Switch your lightbulbs
LED lights are better for the environment and last so. much. longer. In the long run, those bad boys (or good boys, I guess, since they’re saving the environment) will save you money—and who couldn’t do with a little extra change in their pockets? I know I could, which is why I’ll ask one more time: Steven Tyler, please DM me!
#2: Make or buy a compost bin
My mom made a compost bin last year and that thing is awesome. You can DIY a compost bin or buy one that’s designed to trap odors so it keeps your kitchen from getting stinky. Let’s be honest, sometimes tossing leftovers in the trash makes your whole kitchen smell like a dumpster. Plus, it gives you free fertilizer if you want to make another eco-friendly change, albeit one that requires slightly more effort, and plant a garden or some windowsill herbs.
#3: Plants, plants, plants
Speaking of planting things, do yourself a favor and grab some houseplants. This is a change that’s great for your mental health, too. According to Psychology Today, plants help reduce stress and depression and increase productivity and memory retention. As for the environment, plants can improve the air quality in your home by reducing CO2.
Before your buy a houseplant, do yourself a favor and read this article from The Cut about how to be environmentally conscious with your plants. It includes tips like reusing plastic planters, shopping local, and hand-watering plants.
#4: Opt for online bank statements and bills
A number of years ago, TIME ran a “Global Warming Survival Guide” where they explained:
“Eliminating your paper trail by banking and paying bills online does more than save trees. It also helps reduce fuel consumption by the trucks and planes that transport paper checks. If every U.S. home viewed and paid its bills online, the switch would cut solid waste by 1.6 billion tons a year and curb greenhouse-gas emissions by 2.1 million tons a year, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.”
Those are some big numbers all resulting from one tiny change. Additional bonuses: online banking can help prevent identity theft, contributes to less clutter in your home, and you can pay anytime and from anywhere. Yes, please!
#5: Wash your clothes in cold water
Fun fact: About 90 percent of the energy your washing machine uses comes from heating water. When you switch to using only cold water, you’re reducing your carbon footprint big time. The Sierra Club even reported that just one household’s switch to cold water laundry cycles can eliminate 1,600 pounds of annual carbon dioxide emissions.
One way to elevate that even further? Air-dry your clothes when possible. It’s good for the environment and they’ll last longer. Your clothing budget will thank you.
What tips do you suggest for making your home more environmentally friendly? Pop them in the comments below.