Only Footprints: Bringing you what you need to know about going green and making less of a harmful impact on the environment.
By: Emily Cardinali
When you see a list like this, many of the suggestions are straightforward, “duh,” sort of ideas: turn the lights off when you don’t need them, take shorter showers, recycle — those kinds of things.
This list is a little different. Each idea is just as straightforward and beneficial as its popular counterparts, but tend to be less frequently practiced.
1. Use biodegradable trash bags.
Many different ways to deal with trash in an environmentally friendly manner exist (such as composting and only buying things in recyclable packaging), but this is the first and easiest step toward establishing green trash habits. Plus, if you live in an apartment and can’t compost, this is especially for you.
Three types of biodegradable bags can reduce plastic waste: large paper bags (like those you get groceries in at the store), recycled plastic bags and plant-based trash bags. One issue with paper bags is that, when faced with wet trash, they break apart. Bags made from recycled plastic or plant-based materials, however, are just as sturdy as normal plastic trash bags. As soon as they hit the landfill they begin to biodegrade, and after a year the bag is gone. (By the way, don’t forget your canine friends: Biobag makes a compostable doggie waste bag).
2. Use an energy usage monitor to save energy and electricity costs.
Are your electricity bills high and you don’t know why? Appliances that use electricity even when turned off might inflate your bill. Energy usage monitors are a quick and easy way to determine these culprits. You just plug the monitor into an outlet and the appliance into the monitor, and from there you can see how many watts used while on and off. If the appliance is using energy while off, maybe you should consider unplugging until you need to use it.
3. Make your own cleaning products.
Commercial cleaning products are full of chemicals that do the job. But do you know what these chemicals really are? Just like with food, if you are unsure of what an ingredient is (or even how to say it), you might be better off creating your own natural cleaning supplies from every-day items. Vinegar, baking soda, lemons and hydrogen peroxide are all familiar household names that can be used as powerful cleaning agents. An additional benefit is that these products work well together to create a wider array of natural cleaning products.
Photos courtesy of Woman’s Day, inhabitat.com and veganbeautyreview.com