Being environmentally friendly or eco-friendly is gradually becoming more and more significant in our hectic lifestyles. You can notice this term used in almost every aspect of our living environment, from newspaper dating advertisements to listing apartments for rent. So, the question has arisen, what it truly means being eco-friendly?
The easiest way to convey the meaning of being kind to the environment is a statement of a conscious process of living our lives with intent. The purpose, the primary goal is focusing on not causing harm to environment intentionally and preventing potential hazardous inclinations that may have occurred through your interactions with the environment. It is not a far-fetched description and refers to actual conscious acts that influence on communication in societies, businesses, and the surrounding environment. Being eco-friendly conveys the message about changing purposefully the way you live your life, and reaches far beyond recycling garbage or buying groceries with ‘Organic’ tag on them. Speaking of environmentally-friendly products, ‘Slow food’ or ‘Green Living’ labels help to prevent air, water, and noise pollution, as well as conserve energy not to waste it unconsciously. On the top of that, our health issues are most important, so eco-friendly items prevent our health from deterioration. Leading a ‘Slow life’ means less consumer lifestyle, focused on spending more quality time with family and friends.
Give Your Rooms a Green Makeover:
- Living room
In your great room
Laptop vs. Desktop Computer
First of all, get rid of desktop computers to reduce the use of energy. Make a smart move and switch to laptop computers as the measurement of using energy will diminish significantly. Another hot tip is to shut down the computer completely when not in use. Make a habit of not leaving the laptop humming in the background 24 hours a day.
- Slow Life Tip: Save commuting costs, along with time and energy that is spent going to and from work. Working from home is the most brilliant idea that I have ever heard. Unfortunately not always possible due to the character of our jobs. If you are meant to stick to your travelling routine, replace existing office equipment with Energy Star-qualified products. That way you are going to cut energy bills by approximately 35 per cent.
Almost 8 per cent of your household’s energy is wasted by Led-Emitting Diodes, or in other words LED lights. We all possess television sets, sometimes each room has a separate Home Cinema set, DVD players, stereos or computers which emit little green or red light. All of the electrical appliances cause a ‘Phantom Load’ which is energy consumed by these items, especially when they are switched off. Therefore, forget about standby or sleep mode, because even then the appliances use up to 92 per cent of their full power energy. The Recent case study has proved that American citizens spend $7 billion per year on wasted energy. Are you aware that your personal stereo equipment uses more energy when is not working? When you are not listening to music, your radio is partially powered. Avoid at all costs leaving electrical appliances on standby mode. Always make sure that everything is switched off completely at the source when not in use. Do not generate additional costs to your bills by allowing phantom loads to consume lots of energy.
- Slow Life Tip: The standard household has at least 6 electronic appliances left on sleep day and night. For example, the standard television is left on standby mode 18 hours per day.
By refilling ink cartridges, you are going to save lots of money. Trust me on that; there is no difference in using refilled or new ink cartridges. If, for some reason, you want to stay with buying new ones, recycle used cartridges to non-profit organisations and schools which collect funds for poorer people. The same story goes with old mobile phones which are no longer usable for your family. Recycle them as well for charity.
In your dream sanctuary
‘Less is more’ works fantastic here. Simplicity in selecting wardrobe items is the significant factor. Since it is not as simple for women as for men, do your best to sticking to classic fashion and trends. Avoid consciously fashion magazines not to get sucked by the latest or seasonal trends in outfitting. Choose clothing that works for you and accept graciously hand-me-down from friends and family. Be careful with items that you have not worn for the past six months. Swap with a relative with a similar size to you, or pass unwanted clothes to some charity organisation, like Salvation Army or Red Cross. Make a habit of popping into thrift stores in search for less expensive elements of wardrobe.
- Slow Life Tip: Each year 40,000 gallons of water are used for the production and transport of brand new clothes. Save the environment and start investing in recycled clothing.
The key factor is to purchase high-quality products to prevent replacing them every year or so. Make sure to look for labels with ‘Organic cotton’ or ‘Transitional cotton’ written on them. Fabrics for bedding should require fewer chemicals, and what is more, they should have completed the certification process of being chemically free.
If you start browsing second-hand shops, flea markets, and thrift stores, there is an unlimited source of used furniture for sale. Not only you are going to save loads of money but also you will save world resources by limiting manufacturing and transportation process. If, on the other hand, you want to purchase brand new furniture, search for sustainably harvested wood or recycled materials. Stay as far as possible from veneer-covered particle board which emits chemicals that you may breathe in throughout many years, not even know what is harming you.
Hand Washing vs. Dishwasher
There has been a national debate recently over which method is more efficient and less costly, washing dished by hand or dishwashing. The energy-efficient hi-tech dishwasher uses approximately 5 gallons of water for one washing cycle. An average American family uses from 4 to 6 gallons a day if they wash the dishes manually. To summarise, we need to be aware that the dishwasher requires electricity. It takes loads of precious and expensive energy to run the motor of the dishwashing machine.
- Slow Life Tip: Decide on washing the dishes by hand. Make your children participate in washing so that they can take part in household’s duties. Try to clean the less dirty plates first, remember to turn the tap off while scrubbing and always rinse with cold water. If you are a proud owner of a home garden, collect the used water in a bucket and reuse it for watering plants in your flower beds.
At your local hardware store, you can ask for an aerator. It is an inexpensive gadget, wire mesh attachment, which, installed on the faucet, reduces your water flow by almost half. In other words, those flow valves reduce water pressure therefore annual costs of used water is decreased significantly.
Fridge and Freezer
As you must have noticed, the refrigerator and the freezer are switched on 24/7. They are the biggest energy-using appliances in the whole household. First of all, put the settings on the warmest level to reduce costs of energy bills. During the day warn your children not to open the fridge’s and freezer’s door for additional reasons. Leave enough room around the appliances to allow proper air flow. Always check whether the seals are not broken or cracked.
- Slow Life Tip: Invest in modern, hi-tech refrigerator because it has been measured that the older model, the more energy it uses.
Shower vs. Bath Tub
Scientists have said that soaking in the bathtub uses three time more water than taking a shower. Average tub faucet allows flowing from 4 to 6 gallons of water per minute. Therefore always make sure to plug the drain before turning on the tap not to allow for the water to run freely. Afterwards, you can always use the dirty water for watering plants. Showering, on another hand, cuts down the costs of heating the water and can save up to 20,000 gallons of water in one year. You can reach best results by purchasing low-flow showerhead, which costs less than $10. Water-efficient showerheads use ⅔ fewer gallons of water per 1 minute of running shower.
These days in home-improvement stores you can get high-efficiency toilets with dual flush- one bigger button for big flushes and one smaller for delicate flushes. It has been proved scientifically that more than 45 per cent of fresh water is flushed unnecessarily down the drain. Give some thoughts on flushing once or twice less per one day and you can start leading environmentally loving life to the world eco-system.
- Slow-Life Tip: Never leave the tap running while brushing your teeth or shaving. Put a cup of drinking water for rinsing teeth and cleaning the razor.
An average family of four spends up to $3,000 per year on cosmetics, toiletries and cleaning products. We need to be aware that many of those products from the range mentioned above contain carcinogens that are dangerous in high doses. Shampoos, conditioners, deodorants or perfumes are often labelled as health-care products but are simply untested. There is no safety rule for using cleaning items. Some of them may be harmless, used in small doses, but their cumulative effect on the water pollution could be potentially disastrous.
- Slow Life Tip: Remember to buy containers that can be recycled, for eco- issues. There should be a green triangle at the bottom of each bottle; then it means it can be reused.
How to become Eco-Friendly?
You can start off being environmentally friendly by gradually becoming self-conscious of the fact how your intentional life choices affect the surrounding you world’s eco-systems. There is a hierarchy of three necessary steps:
- Step by step purchase products that cause minimal or none harm to the environment.
- Be aware of the water, air and noise pollution, therefore, lessen the carbon footprint in your life.
- Support charity organisations and non-profit chains that strive to help others like you.