An average American household generates about 4.4 pounds of waste daily. Also, the US residential CO2 rose by 4% (36 MMmt) compared to 2020. These stats show the tragic effect of residential activities on the environment.
Climate change is so imminent that countries must be proactive at the state and city levels. It is promising to see that cities like Olympia, WA, have developed greenhouse gas reduction plans.
Amid pressing environmental challenges, creating an eco-friendly home has become critical to reducing the impact on the planet.
A lot can be done to make your home more environmentally friendly. These practices can save money on utility bills while mitigating climate change and protecting your precious natural resources.
This blog explores various actionable tips and interesting facts about eco-friendly living in Olympia. The goal is to help you take positive steps toward a more sustainable and greener lifestyle.
1. Practice waste reduction
Waste generation is a significant environmental challenge, with loads of discarded stuff in landfills yearly.
Several practical steps you can undertake to reduce waste at home include:
- Instead of discarding items that are no longer needed or wanted, donate them to charitable organizations. If you don’t have extra space in the house, put the charitable stuff in a storage facility until you make arrangements for them. Keeping unneeded stuff in the house can be costly as you need a bigger space for them. Against the high cost of living in cities like Olympia (14% higher than the national average), having a bigger living space does not seem justifiable. Therefore, a storage facility seems more economical and keeps the stuff safe until it is donated. Simply look up storage Olympia WA facilities offer size options when selecting a storage unit. The same practice can be adopted for other cities or even states
- You can opt for products with minimal packaging and choose durable and long-lasting items over disposable ones. Make it a habit to use cloth bags for shopping, stainless steel water bottles or coffee cups, and reusable food containers instead of disposable ones
- Composting organic waste, such as food leftovers and yard trimmings, can also significantly reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills
Adopting waste reduction practices can mitigate their environmental impact, conserve resources, save money, and contribute to a more sustainable future. Implementing simple yet effective waste reduction strategies at home can reduce the overall waste footprint and promote sustainable living.
2. Conserve water and avoid wastage
Water scarcity is a growing concern globally. According to UNICEF, about 4 billion people experience water shortage for at least 30 days yearly. Moreover, half of the world’s population could reside in areas with severe water scarcity by 2025.
The average family consumes about 300 gallons of water daily in the United States, and approximately 30% is used outdoors (US EPA). Conserving water at home is crucial to protect this valuable resource and ensure its availability for future generations.
By adopting water-saving practices, you can significantly lower your water usage and save money on your monthly water bills.
Water conservation also helps reduce the strain on local water sources, promotes sustainable water management, and protects aquatic ecosystems.
Some ways you can save water at home include:
- Fixing leaks promptly
- Installing low-flow fixtures such as faucets, showerheads, and toilets
- Using efficient irrigation methods in gardens and lawns
- Collecting rainwater for plants
- Being mindful of water usage habits in daily activities such as dishwashing, laundry, and personal hygiene
- Conserving water can also be achieved by landscaping with drought-resistant plants
- Reducing the area of paved surfaces to allow rainwater to soak into the ground
- Using pool covers to minimize evaporation
3. Improve energy efficiency
In the US, the residential use of energy contributes to 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. Implementing energy-efficient practices in your home can lead to long-term cost savings and reduced environmental impact.
The Department of Energy assesses that homeowners can save approximately 30% on their energy bills through energy-efficient improvements. Lower utility bills save money and free up resources for other important expenses. Besides cost savings, energy-efficient practices also improve indoor comfort.
Proper insulation, sealing air leaks, and using efficient HVAC systems create a more comfortable living environment. These changes in the house reduce drafts, temperature fluctuations, and indoor air pollution.
You can take numerous practical steps to improve energy efficiency in your home. These include:
- Insulating and weatherizing your home to reduce heat loss/gain
- Using energy-efficient lighting such as LED bulbs
- Incorporating smart and innovative home technology for automated energy management
- Integrating renewable energy sources like solar panels
- Properly maintaining HVAC systems for optimal performance
- Unplugging electronics when not in use
- Using energy-efficient appliances and electronics such as Energy-star certified refrigerators
- Taking advantage of natural lighting and shading strategies
- Setting programmable thermostats to save energy while away
4. Eco-friendly outdoor spaces
Outdoor spaces, such as yards, gardens, and landscapes, are crucial in promoting eco-friendliness at home. These areas allow you to connect with nature, care for local biodiversity, and underwrite a healthy ecosystem. Creating green outdoor spaces also helps mitigate the effects of climate change.
Some actions you can take to develop eco-friendly outdoor spaces include:
- Native plants are acclimatized to the local climate, soil, and wildlife. Hence they are more resilient and less reliant on excessive watering, fertilizers, and pesticides
- Minimize using toxic chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers, in outdoor spaces. Instead, opt for natural and organic alternatives
- Composting yard waste, such as grass trimmings and branches, can help enrich the soil and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. Compost, as a natural mulch, can retain moisture and suppress weeds
- Provide habitats for local wildlife, such as bird feeders, bird baths, and nesting boxes. Don’t use pesticides and herbicides as they harm wildlife. Also, encourage biodiversity by planting various plants that provide food, shelter, and nesting sites
- Choose sustainable materials, such as reclaimed wood, recycled plastic, and natural stones, for outdoor furniture, decking, and landscaping. These materials are often more durable and environmentally friendly compared to traditional materials
Making your home eco-friendly is beneficial for the environment and for your well-being. Implementing energy efficiency measures, conserving water, and reducing waste reduce your ecological footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.
Making small changes in daily habits and lifestyle choices can collectively positively impact the environment. And create a healthier home for yourself and future generations.
Take the necessary steps to transform your home into an eco-friendly space. Make sustainable choices that align with your responsibility as a steward of the environment.