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11 simple eco-friendly practices you can adopt at home

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house interior by Tavo via Flickr

You have a home and you want to think more about the environment. You want to improve your home habits to conserve energy and to develop green initiatives within your home. Here are ten simple eco-friendly practices that you can adopt at home.

1. Make use of natural light as much as possible


Rather than relying on artificial light and conserving energy, seek to make the most of external lighting. Natural light provides a bright, warm ambiance and also provides natural heat into the home. Look into development options within the home that will allow for good natural light solutions, such as Velux windows, skylights and shutters.

2. If you are working from home, create a green friendly home office

If you do have a home office, seek to keep it as green as possible. Aim to keep digital copies of your files as opposed to printing hard copies, unless absolutely required. Invest in recycled or refillable printer cartridges that can assist in reducing waste.

3. Make use of solar power


Save on your energy bill by investing in environmentally friendly solar panels. Use it as a solution for additional energy supplies whereby it can be stored in batteries or generators.

4. Reduce waste by practicing greener habits within the kitchen

Unfortunately, there is a lot of waste that occurs within the kitchen. By educating family members on this issue and asking them to reduce their reliance on disposables, you will be effectively reducing household waste. Some simple tips include:

– Switching from buying bottled water to investing in a water filter for your tap, or serving water with a slice of lemon.

– Replacing disposable napkins with cloths.

– Replacing disposable knives, forks, spoons, plates and cups with metal, ceramic or glass equivalents.

– Recycle bags (such as shopping bags) for other uses within the home.

– Recycling cardboard boxes for future storage.

5. Install rain tanks to use the water.

Rainwater tanks are a great solution for the home’s water supply. The natural rainwater can be used for watering plants, for the toilet cistern, as tap water or even as drinking water.

6. Switch off electricity to avoid waste.

This should go without saying. The more energy that you can conserve within the home, the more you will be doing to help the planet. If an electrical device isn’t being used, switch it off completely. (This includes turning the device off from ‘standby mode’) Seek to unplug any electrical devices when they aren’t in use, as they may still use energy when they are plugged in.

7. Put in place recycling initiatives when it comes to waste.

Encourage recycling within your home by educating and advising everyone within your home about green options for recycling paper, plastics, glass and compost options.

8. Take action in the toilet.

Find ways where you can use recycled water to use as toilet water. Additionally, you can purchase toilet rolls made from recycled paper.

9. Invest in a pressure cooker.

If you want to cook up a feast in half the time, consider investing in a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers will still serve up your delicious dishes, but conserve energy by reducing the length in cooking times..

10. Minimise your laundry duties.

When it comes to cleaning clothes, aim to do your laundry washing once a week to save on energy costs, rather than doing the laundry several times per week.

11. Conserve water when you are bathing.

There is a lot of water that is wasted when washing. Ideally, you should use a washbasin with a few litres of water. However, if this cannot be done, aim to reduce the amount of showers that you have during the week and minimize the amount of time that you spend in the shower.

These are a few ideas that can be used to create a more green-friendly home. Start taking actions with green initiatives within your home to help the environment today.

 

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Environment

Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.


While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.


One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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Environment

6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.


1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.


4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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