“Green” has quickly become one of today’s hottest buzz words, so it may seem a safe assumption that more and more people are
focused on living a green, eco-friendly lifestyle. After all, it’s becoming easier and easier to find products that simplify that goal.
However, many people report feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of going green – and knowing where to start is also a challenge. According to a Harris Poll on green living, more than 90 percent of Americans recycle. However, fewer than 5 percent are taking other green steps like reducing how much they drive or their utility use.
Overall, 53 percent of Americans surveyed have taken green actions. It seems more would take green steps with
improved knowledge. Of survey respondents, 34 percent hadn’t made changes because they “did not know what to do.” And a startling 29 percent of respondents don’t believe living a greener lifestyle would have a significant difference for our environment.
So how can you narrow the green gap in your home? If you’re on the fence about going green, here are a few simple changes you can make to reduce the divide.
- Choose green cleaners – Most people grab cleaners off the shelf at the grocery store without considering the ingredients. Unfortunately, most of them are full of toxic chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Did you know you can use vinegar for many cleaning products, or mix castile soap with baking soda when you need a more powerful scrub? Not only are these ingredients greener, but they’re less expensive too. You can see if your cleaners may be harmful in the Green Cleaning Guide.
- Select natural personal care products – Like cleaners, most personal care products are full of harmful ingredients like parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, sulfates and more. A helpful resource for understanding the ingredients in your personal care products is the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database. There are many wonderful brands out there now using on the safest, most natural ingredients available. So finding one is easier than ever.
- Switch from disposable to reusable – Still using paper towels and napkins? How about switching to cloth napkins and “unpaper” towels? You will reduce the amount of waste your family adds to landfills, and reduce your monthly expenses on paper products. You can also choose reusable water bottles, lunch gear and feminine care products instead of their disposable alternatives.
- Grow your own food – Does all of your food come from the grocery store, where much of it was transported from another area of the globe? Maybe it’s time to grow some of your own food – or even raise a couple of chickens. If the thought of growing a garden seems overwhelming, you can start with herbs and move up from there.
- Look to natural remedies – What does your medicine cabinet look like? Have you considered swapping some of those items for natural remedies instead? You can make your own cough syrup, immune boosting serums and more. Essential oils are another excellent option for many regular ailments like upset bellies, sleep troubles, general aches and pains, cuts and scrapes, bruises and more.
There are many more things you can do to close the green gap in your home. If each family makes one change every month, we’ll all be on our way to a greener society.