At the start of this new year and decade, you’ve decided to make sustainability your goal in 2020. It’s an admirable aim to pursue, considering the average American produces nearly 5 pounds of waste per day. With your efforts and those of other green-minded adults, we can cut down on that number.
Of course, it’s not all about recycling and waste production. You can live a greener life by using less, but also by making smarter choices. You don’t have to stick to the tried-and-true methods for doing so, either. Once you have them mastered, you’ll have to add a few more unconventional methods to your rota to keep things as sustainable as possible.
We’re here to help with the latter. You already know how to recycle, compost and take shorter showers. These are the eight unconventional methods that’ll make your household even greener in 2020 and beyond:
1. Turn Off the Dryer
Wash, dry, repeat — that’s how laundry day goes in your house. However, the second step in the process uses so much energy, and some argue that it’s unnecessary. Instead, try line-drying your clothes or hanging them on an indoor drying rack. Sure, it takes longer, but it saves a ton of energy — and cash. By some estimates, you can save upwards of $200 each year by using your dryer much more sparingly. That’s not a small number, which makes this green step a win-win.
2. Flaunt Your Green Thumb
Unused green space in your backyard has some serious sustainable potential. There, you can cultivate a vegetable garden and start growing the food that you and your family eat. When you buy produce from the grocery store, you have to remember that it takes fuel to drive it from the farm to the shop to your table. Backyard veggies, on the other hand, have a minuscule carbon footprint — you can still eat fresh without harming the earth.
3. Stop Buying Books
This tip will probably give bookworms pause. However, buying book after book means that you’re filling your shelves with paper. It’s especially wasteful if you read each title once before tucking it away forever.
Instead, start checking out books from your local library. The same applies to magazine and newspaper subscriptions — try finding digital copies or reading them for free at your local library, too.
4. Start a New School Routine
You spend a good amount of time each day driving your kids to school. This task takes time and requires fuel, too — and the latter expands your carbon footprint. If your children feel open to it, you might consider trying out a new educational opportunity. Rather than going to school, your kids might want to try cyber school, which works much like traditional classes do. Of course, the only difference is that your brood will log online to study, rather than going into the classroom each day. This style of learning saves fuel and thus makes your family more sustainable.
5. Try Local Restaurants
Foodies, listen up — you can make your regular restaurant visits more sustainable by trying local eateries. For one thing, it’s easier to travel. Walk or ride your bike if you can to get there sans fuel. On top of that, many local eateries source their ingredients from nearby farms and food suppliers. That way, you know your food has required much less fuel to get on your plate. — and that makes your meal even more sustainable.
6. Swap Out Cleaning Products
Modern cleaning products work well, but they often require chemical-laden formulas to do so. As such, you might be inadvertently releasing toxins into your home’s air supply and into the water, too. There’s good news, though — you can swap out these solutions for simpler, eco-friendly versions. And they work just as well as the chemically infused products on your shelf. For instance, lemon works as a natural bleaching agent. You can use the juice to remove stains from cutting boards or add a half-cup to your laundry for even brighter whites.
7. Water With Rainwater
The environment provides you with all the water you need to hydrate your plants. Whether you cultivate decorative indoor greens or a backyard garden, place buckets and bins outside to collect H2O when it rains. Then, use the water as necessary to keep your plants quenched and growing.
8. Recycle Storage Jars
Finally, you can cut down on your household’s plastic usage by purchasing items in bulk. Make this an even more eco-friendly lifestyle choice by saving and cleaning out glass food jars. Then, once they’re dry, you can re-label and use them to store anything in your pantry.
Take this one step further by finding zero-waste grocery stores. You can bring your recycled storage jars with you and fill them with pasta, beans, salt… any other dry good you might need.
Go Green in Your Home
Sustainability isn’t always the easiest choice, but it’s the best one for all of our futures. These unconventional methods can make your household even greener into the new decade — so, get started today.