Three easy ways to be more eco-friendly this summer

eco-summerThe summer holidays are almost here and that makes it hard for us work at home mums to get much work done! So I usually use some of this time to do a little work around the house, and I get the kids to help too.

This includes some (late!) spring cleaning, but I also look at where we can save energy, remove clutter and maybe even save some cash too. It’s not hard to do our bit for the environment at the same time.  And all those small steps really add up over time.

Here are some of the little steps we’ll be trying to take this summer:

1. Using less water

These are all easy to do, it’s just a question of getting into the habit so we remember to do them every time:

  • Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth
  • Take showers that are a minute or two shorter than usual
  • Flush the the toilet a little less often
  • Only do full loads of laundry and dishes

2. Using less energy

Although you can buy a hybrid car or power your house by solar energy, you can also make a big difference with small changes like these:

  • Buy energy efficient appliances. They may be a little more expensive, but make up for the increased cost in lower energy bills.
  • Unplug chargers when you’re not using them. Mobile phone and other chargers use up powers even if there’s nothing attached to them.
  • Put devices with remote controls like TVs and PCs on a power strip and turn it off when you’re not using them. These devices use a lot of power  even when the device is off.
  • Walk or ride your bike for short trips.
  • Buy local products. It takes energy to transport food and other products across the country. Buying local not only supports your local economy, it helps them use less energy. I’ve even saved money buying local, too.

When it comes to saving energy and water, it’s a great idea to get the kids involved. You can even make it a game. Have them track how much water and electricity everyone is using. You can compete to see who uses the least water. You can often count on your kids to help keep you on track when given the task.

3. Reuse

Most of us know the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle, but when we work on conserving, we often leave the reuse part out of the picture. While you can often find tips on how to reuse common products from other people, what you need most is creativity. With a little thought there are many items around your home that can be reused – toilet paper holders can be used to sow seeds for the vegetable patch. And old yoghurt containers can be cut into strip to make plant labels.

Old food jars can be refilled with home-made foods or can make great vases. Just get some glass paints and you’ve got a kid’s craft activity into the bargain!

Use environmentally friendly products. It’s easy enough to find ‘green’ products in supermarkets, but make sure they really are environmentally friendly and haven’t been ‘greenwashed’ by a clever marketing campaign.

If you want inexpensive, natural, safe products, why not just make them yourself? Vinegar is a great way to clean and remove limscale. Need to remove stubborn stains? Just add some baking soda to your vinegar cleaner. Some quick searching online will lead you to hundreds of other natural safe home-made cleaning products. YouTube in particular is full of tips and demonstrations of how to make natural products at home.

We all knowing that going green means better for the environment, but it’s also better for you. Conserving resources also helps save you money, which is something most of us are happy to live with.

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