Going green is all the rage as many people try to reduce their environmental impact and their dependency on fossil fuels and oil for energy. Engaging in sustainable household practices is simple and saves a great deal of money over time; families that work together to go green are able to help the environment and spend time with one another. There are many easy ways to go green as a family.
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Environmentally Friendly Tips for Kids
Helping kids go green is as simple as taking a trip to the library – arriving in an energy efficient car, using public transportation, biking or walking are all great ways to save energy on the way, too. Checking out books gives kids entertainment and kids who read do better in school. Additionally, libraries save paper from ending up as landfill waste.
Going to a park instead of watching television is a way for kids to get exercise and entertainment for free. This also reduces energy use on televisions and video games.
Have kids help out with green projects around the house. Kids can participate in anything from gardening to laundry to cleaning, all of which can be done in environmentally sustainable ways.
How to Use Green Cleaning Products
Cleaning products are expensive and many of them contain chemicals that are environmentally hazardous, leading to polluted water sources and other damage. There are companies that have developed cleaning products using biodegradable materials and sustainable practices. Using these products is a great way to go green.
Making green cleaning products at home is simple, inexpensive and can save families a great deal of money on their cleaning budget. Baking soda, Borax and vinegar are the three basic supplies needed for making cleaning products that are just as effective as expensive cleaners.
Using vinegar and water to clean saves money and reduces the environmental impact of cleaning. Although cleaning using homemade cleaners requires some extra elbow grease, the financial savings and environmental sustainability make green cleaning worth the time and effort.
Invest in a few cleaning rags or use old T-shirts instead of paper towels. Rags and chamois can be used repeatedly and save money while reducing deforestation.
Environmentally Sustainable Gardening
Growing a vegetable garden is one of the easiest ways to save money on food. Food often travels hundreds of miles before consumption, and agricultural practices are some of the biggest consumers of oil and producers of greenhouse gases. Grow a small vegetable garden using native vegetables to reduce the amount of produce purchased at the grocery store.
Fertilizers and pesticides also use a great deal of fossil fuels. Compost vegetable matter to create fertilizer for a garden, and plant shrubs and flowers that attract beneficial insects and repel pests.
Use a rain barrel to collect water for the garden. Hoses use fossil fuel energy and the water is often contaminated with pesticides. Collecting rain water saves on energy and water costs in addition to providing a source of water for a vegetable garden.
Green Household Tips
In addition to saving energy, there are tax incentives for making a house more energy efficient. Insulating an existing house properly helps it maintain a more stable temperature, reducing the need for heating and cooling use. A simple way to help maintain a cooler temperature in the summer is to leave windows and curtains open during the day and close them at night.
Invest in an energy efficient washer and dryer. These are designed to use smaller amounts of water and heat while still cleaning clothes. Wash clothes in cold water to reduce energy use; heating water requires a great deal of energy, and cold water is equally effective at cleaning. During the summer, line dry clothes. This gives them a fresh smell and dramatically reduces energy use on drying clothing.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs are more energy efficient and last much longer; additionally, they can be fit to almost any type of lamp.
Green Tips for Electronics
Electronics are a major drain on energy use and electric bills. Changing the way electronics are used can save money and help families engage in environmentally sustainable practices.
Set computers to enter a sleep or hibernate function after a period of inactivity. Shut computers and electronics down at night; unless they are in use, the power they draw is wasted.
Pay bills online. This saves a huge amount of paper each year, and bills can be paid automatically. Many banks also offer a paperless service, which allows families to manage their finances online.
Going green is as simple as changing everyday practices to be more sustainable. Reducing energy consumption not only helps save the environment, it also saves families money that can be spent on vacations or entertainment.