By Amanda Roland
Cleaning up the Earth can start right at home. As Earth Day approaches this year on April 22, make your house earth-friendly with some simple fixes that will cut down on your ecological footprint and help clean our motherland.
Stop Buying Disposable Products
The impact that we have on the environment, or our ecological footprint, can be greatly affected by the amount of waste that we produce. Paper plates, dryer sheets, paper towels, plastic bags and Keurig pods are all disposable products that end up in landfills and contribute to a dirty planet. The good news is that you can replace these disposable products with reusable ones, which will not only decrease the waste you produce, but also save you money in the long run.
To stop using paper plates and towels, you can buy hand towels and ceramic plates that can be washed and reused by you and your family. To eliminate plastic baggies, purchasing reusable glass containers or reusable silicone “baggies” to pack lunches or store leftovers is a great fix. Also, those Keurig cups can pile up and they can get expensive! Buy a reusable Keurig cup that you can refill with your favorite coffee. These items do require a little more dishwashing than your normal load, but washing dishes can be a quick after-dinner chore for your kids before they watch their favorite shows.
Spending the money on these reusable products will save you so much money in the long run, because you aren’t wasting your money on products you throwaway every week. Enjoy the money you’ll save, while you save the planet!
DIY “Clean” Cleaning products
Household chemicals, while convenient and effective, can wreak havoc on our water systems. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, when household chemicals are disposed of poorly into the ground or storm drains, the chemicals can make their way to streams and rivers causing a threat to aquatic life. To avoid this, try making your own cleaning products by using safer, nontoxic ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda or borax. A quick Google search can bring you to all kinds of cleaning recipes for every room in your house. Storing your homemade cleaners in glass spray bottles and containers will also cut down on your plastic use and let your cleaners last longer.
Plant a Garden
This is another way to go green and save money on groceries, at the same time. Exercise your green thumb by having a small seasonal garden for veggies and herbs that you can add to your dinner. Growing a garden promotes great sustainability, and you can make your own compost to nourish your garden, by using food scraps like carrot tops and eggshells. Let your kids help you plant and tend to the garden so that they too can learn to become sustainable –and maybe this will make them want to eat their veggies!
Giggle Tip: Make the soil for your garden right in your own home by composting! Create a compost bin and turn your food scraps into soil for your beautiful garden!
Another great way to help the environment is as easy as throwing trash away in the garbage can. Recycle! Simply sort out what you’re about to throw away and toss the recyclables in your bin and the rest goes in the trash, or if you own one, a compost bin. Gainesville’s rule on recycling is, “When in doubt — don’t throw it out.” The City of Gainesville recommends checking the A-Z Recycling Source guide on cityofgainesville.org to see what you can recycle in your own home! The list also has suggestions for what you can do with stuff you no longer want in your home, including places where you can donate goods!
We like to keep a clean house, so why not keep a clean Earth, too? These small changes in your household can have a big impact on the planet, and you can rest easy knowing that you and your household are working toward a cleaner Earth.