Summer: The season when your whole family is home and the air conditioning is cranked up. To help entertain your bored kids, lower your energy bills, and protect the environment, you can make it a mission to go greener. Tundraland has put together 15 ways that you can kick off your initiative to make your home greener—there’s even a strong chance that you already practice some of these methods!
Stop tossing everything in the trash! Although recycling may be a no-brainer, it’s important to remember the rules and guidelines of proper recycling. In Wisconsin, materials like glass containers, office paper, milk jugs and electronics are all banned from landfills and incineration disposal. Be sure to check your county’s recycling rules before you toss anything out.
It’s hard for trash to naturally decompose in a landfill. Luckily, creating your own compost is easy! It cuts back on waste and provides you with rich fertilizer for your own garden or lawn. Keep food and yard waste out of landfills and grow bigger, better flowers, fruit and veggies at home by following the EPA’s tips for composting at home.
3. Grow Your Own Food
Why waste money and gas taking a trip to the grocery store when you can grow plenty of produce at home? Take advantage of our warm Wisconsin weather this summer (and your new compost pile!) by growing your own fruits and vegetables. Watching them sprout can be an exciting learning experience for your kiddos as well! Beans, broccoli, lettuce, peas, peppers, strawberries, tomatoes and raspberries are all easy choices for the beginner gardener in northeast Wisconsin.
4. Utilize Rainwater
Wondering how to water your new plants? Put down your garden hose! Invest in a rain barrel or simply leave a few buckets outside during the next shower and you have clean, free water. Use it to water your garden and lawn to cut back on your water bill.
5. Limit Shower Time
We know, this task’s a hard one (especially if you’ve had Tundraland remodel your shower). Set a timer during your showers to keep yourself from wasting excess water. If each of your family members cut back just a few minutes a day, your home can save hundreds of gallons of water each year.
6. Invest in Energy-Efficient Windows & Doors
Old windows and doors may be letting heat enter your home all summer long, causing you to continuously crank up your A/C. Making an investment in energy efficient windows and doors can provide lasting energy savings and comfort for your home for years to come.
7. Turn Off & Unplug Electronics
After you’ve reached the end of your latest Netflix marathon and have finished making your morning cup of joe, you should turn off and unplug the devices. Keeping electronics running or even plugged in when not in use wastes more energy than you think.
8. Reuse Containers
You know what’s better than recycling plastic and glass containers? Reusing them! Instead of buying new Tupperware every few months, reuse glass and plastic containers that come with many popular grocery items like deli meat containers, canned fruit and sauce jars, milk jugs and margarine tubs.
9. Go Paperless
Why keep wasting paper by receiving physical bills in the mail every month? Nearly all bills and payments can now be done online. Check the websites for your monthly payments to see if you can opt out of paper bills and receive them via email instead.
10. Go Up or Down a Few Degrees
It may be tempting to have your home warm and cozy in the winter and icy cold in the summer. However, turning the temperature up or down a few degrees can make a major difference on your energy usage. Chances are, you won’t even notice much of a difference in temperature!
11. Upgrade Appliances
Energy-efficient lightbulbs, appliances and other products can help contribute to considerable energy savings and greener effects without sacrificing comfort, performance or features. Browse the list of ENERGY STAR-certified products to find all the ways you can upgrade your home.
12. Switch to a Reusable Water Bottle
Perhaps the easiest way to be greener is to stop buying bottled water. You can either drink tap or have a water filter installed on your sink for easily accessible drinking water. Plus, reusable bottles can be super stylish and keep your water cool all day.
13. Cut Out Unnecessary Chemicals in Cleaners
Today, many cleaning products are 90% water and 10% harsh chemicals that aren’t good for your health or the environment. When you use up the last of the bottle, buy a new cleaner with greener ingredients or make your own concoction with ingredients already in your house.
14. Keep Your Washing Loads Full
Stop running your washing machine and dishwasher when they’re not full. A full dishwasher or load of laundry uses less water and energy, so be sure both of them are full each time you turn them on.
15. Fix Leaky Faucets
A small leak in your sink or shower may not seem like a big deal, but the wasted water adds up over time. Fix your leaky faucets or pipes to reduce wasted water in your home.