Friday, June 21, 2024

Practically Living Green

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11 Practical and Realistic Ways for Sustainable Living

The Internet is full of ways you can improve sustainable living. But, not all of them are practical or realistic to the everyday person. Today, I’m going to share some sustainable living tips you can do right now to be more green.

No, I’m not going to tell you to install solar, boycott non-eco-friendly brands, or go plastic-free. While those are definitely helpful, they aren’t exactly practical in every situation.

I’m also not going to push going vegan. Sorry…but I am incredibly carnivorous.

In this article, I’m looking more at sustainable practices at home that won’t cost you tons of money or massively change how you live.

Besides, many of these tips will actually save you money in the long run.

11 Ways to Promote a Sustainable Living in the home

Most of these I do myself or have alterations thereof. I’ll explain at each point. However, these sustainable living examples can make a profound difference in your home.

Usually, the difference is felt in your wallet.

1. Switch to LED Bulbs

Contrary to the belief of some, LED bulbs are far superior to incandescent bulbs for various reasons. Most notably, they consume less power and have a significantly longer lifespan.

This means you’ll save a great deal of money in the long run. For instance, a basic incandescent bulb will last about 1,000 hours while being used. An LED can last up to 25,000.

This means you would have to buy 25 incandescent bulbs over the lifespan of just one LED. And this isn’t to mention how LEDs consume about five to six times less power on average.

2. Shut Down the Computers at Night

Even in “sleep” mode, computers consume power. If you have several in the home, it could be a lot of power. Shutting them down does a couple of things right off the bat.

First of all, it saves energy and will reduce your electric bill each month. In fact, I’m writing a case study about how much power my computer consumes on a daily basis.

Secondly, it saves on computer repair work. Every electronic component has a life expectancy. The more often it’s used, the sooner you’ll have to replace something.

And this is coming from someone who had his own computer repair shop for several years.

3. Secure Windows with Proper Weather Stripping

Proper weather stripping does wonders, especially during the winter. I’ve lived in trailers where the heater was running constantly because the walls were riddled with small holes.

Making sure you can keep the hot or cold air in the home reduces how often your heater or cooler has to be turned on. This saves on the wear and tear of the unit as well as the energy bill.

And of every device, appliance, and electronic unit in the home, the HVAC system usually consumes the most power throughout the year.

4. Check the Doors for Weather Stripping, as Well

Windows are not the only places where air can escape. I once had a home that had nearly an inch of space between the floor and the door.

How often have you had to put a towel in front of the door because the snow was blowing into the home? I’ve done it more often than I can count.

Weatherstripping isn’t all that expensive and it can save you a great deal of trouble, both in clean-up as well as energy use.

5. Replace Air Filters in the HVAC

Not everyone remembers to swap out the old air filters in the HVAC unit. But, a clogged filter can wreak havoc on the system.

Not only will the unit be in constant operation because it is trying to push air through, but it greatly impacts the lifespan of the blower.

A $3 filter today can save you a $3000 repair job this winter.

6. Stop Buying Bottled Water

One of the most common pieces of trash I find on the road, aside from facemasks, is that of water bottles. Instead of buying bottled water, why not install a filter on the faucet and get a reusable bottle or two?

Now, I don’t have a faucet filter just yet. But, I am saving my water bottles to build a greenhouse. Trust me, it’ll be cool when it’s done.

My point is that you don’t have to buy bottles of water when there are sustainable living options. And yes, it will save you quite a bit of money in the long run.

7. Watch the Water Usage

Speaking of water, this is probably one of the most important aspects of how to make a sustainable future. Especially in areas where droughts are growing more common.

Aerated faucet heads, turning off the faucet when grooming, and other conservation practices could reduce the water bill and help alleviate drought-ridden areas.

Something else I do to reduce water usage is by taking showers. A shower uses far less water than filling the tub when you have to bathe. And it can leave you cleaner.

8. Create a Composted Garden of Herbs, Veggies, and Fruits

Composting your waste saves on trash you throw out while giving you a way to fertilize your yard. Personally, I use the composted materials from my kitchen to empower my pumpkin patch this year.

My Pumpkins

However, next year, I plan on growing all kinds of herbs and fruits alongside the pumpkins. It’ll save me quite a bit of money during the period as I’ll eat directly from the garden.

The point is that you don’t have to throw out every item in the kitchen. A lot of it can go to enrich the soil. And I’m truly excited by next year’s crop of edible goodness.

9. Make Your Own Microwave Dinners

One thing that helps me on how to be sustainable is by creating my own microwave dinners. This means I have far less trash to throw out, eat healthier, and even lose quite a bit of weight.

The best part is that it’s not very difficult or expensive to start making your own microwave dinners tonight. In fact, I am dishing up some chicken marsala and garlic potatoes later.

Since the microwave-safe dishes are reusable, you can greatly cut down on trash as well as the grocery budget…as long as you properly portion out your meals.

10. Use Reusable Bags When Shopping

I try to take my reusable bags every time I go shopping. Yes, there are times when I forget. But for the most part, I’d rather take them with me. This cuts down on how much plastic I’m using.

And thanks to the popularity, manufacturers have put all kinds of nice designs on reusable bags for sustainable living. I even have a Star Wars-themed bag ready to go.

The plastic bags I do wind up bringing home get used for other purposes or set aside to recycle.

11. As Always, Recycle!

And as always, be conscientious about recycling. I’m lucky enough that Denver supports its own recycling program and I just wheel out the purple barrel every other Wednesday.

But if you live in an area that doesn’t have such luxuries, find the closest recycling plant or dumpster and make use of it. Even living in Denver, I see too many people tossing recyclables in the waste bins.

I try to recycle or reuse everything I can. Mostly because I spent most of my life in poverty and have had to make use of whatever I could. But nowadays, it just comes second nature.

Sustainable Living Can Start Immediately

It doesn’t take a great deal of effort to start sustainable living for yourself or the family. As I said, most methods above require very little monetary investment, and you can start right now.

Whether you’re looking to contribute to saving the Earth or simply want to save money, the methods above are practical and affordable.

The only reason not to do any of these is because you like to burn money.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been interested in the practicality of living green for quite some time. He works closely with GreenGeeks Web Hosting as the Content Marketing Team Lead and an author of various articles.

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