Support the Environment

Support the Environment | Farm Culture

7 Ways to Make Sustainable Changes At Home

The natural world is in bad shape, and we’re all suffering because of it. Glaciers are melting, wildfires are raging, and there’s an island of plastic debris floating in the Pacific that’s three times the size of France

In the face of these problems, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. What’s less excusable is to let your emotions lead to inaction. Each of us faces dozens of opportunities each day to make choices in favor of the environment. Many take minimal thought, such as opting out of paper bills, while others are trickier, but can lead to positive lifestyle changes—like eating less meat. 

Here are seven ways you can make sustainable changes at home. Choose to follow even a few, and you’ll be making a positive difference for the world we share.

7 Sustainable Changes to Make at Home

  1. Embrace E-readers

    We know it’s almost sacrilegious to tell bookworms to consider going paperless. However, the US publishing industry emits over 40 million metric tons of CO2 by producing books each year. It cuts down more than 32 million trees to make them. Pair that with the fuel costs associated with transporting books worldwide, and you see that the environmental toll adds up quickly. 

    The solution? Buy your books used whenever possible, and consider switching over to an e-reader for the rest. Bonus: many library systems make it easy to borrow ebooks through apps like Overdrive or Libby.

  2. Start Composting

    The average American household tosses out almost a third of its food, which averages out to $1,866 in wasted money per family per year. Instead of ending up in a landfill, use your wilted produce by composting it. Many cities offer curbside composting services that let you put everything from apple peels to pizza boxes out for collection. You can also set up your own composting bin if you have the yard space. Keep it fed with a mix of green and brown materials, turn the pile every few weeks, and you’ll soon have a stellar supply of gardening gold to improve your soil’s health.

  3. Grow (Some) of Your Own Food

    On average, food travels 1,500 miles before it reaches the grocery store—much less your dinner plate. That’s a lot of fossil fuels burned in transportation. Cut those emissions down to zero by growing some food at home. Even an indoor herb garden can help slash your family’s carbon footprint. 

    No green thumb? Consider going water-based with a hydroponics system. The Grow Pad Mini takes the guesswork out of gardening by making it easy to grow herbs, salad greens, and even tiny tomatoes at home.

    The all-in-one system supports plants through an LED light and growing substrate, keeping things in optimal condition so you can start harvesting within six weeks of planting. It’s an easy way to begin incorporating home-grown produce into your meals.

  4. Change Up Your Laundry Routine

    Cleaning your clothes can harm the environment. Running your washer and dryer every two days creates close to a thousand pounds of CO2 each year, the equivalent of taking a short flight. 

    Take steps to green up your routine by washing only with cold water (it gets clothes just as clean) and line drying whenever possible. If you need to use the dryer, toss in a set of wool dryer walls to separate wet clothing layers from each other to shorten its run time. 

    It’s also smart to clean out lint that collects in your dryer vent every few loads so it can run more efficiently. A flexible brush like this will also work to clean refrigerator coils.

  5. Clean Out Your Mailbox

    Are you tired of dealing with junk mail after each trip to the mailbox? Take thirty minutes out of your day to opt-out of prescreened credit card offers and other forms of unsolicited mail. 

    You can also take this as an opportunity to officially sign up for paperless statements from your bank and credit cards and commit to auto-pay programs, so you aren’t sent a paper bill each month.

  6. Eat Less Meat

    Your diet is one of the biggest factors in how sustainable your lifestyle is, especially if you eat a lot of meat. It takes more than 616 gallons of fresh water to produce one quarter-pound hamburger patty, and the livestock industry is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions

    Experiment with meat-free days once or twice a week, and you’ll make a significant reduction in your personal carbon footprint. The transition is easier than you think. Consider cauliflower instead of chicken for your buffalo “chicken” wings, and substitute cooked lentils for ground beef in your favorite taco recipe.

  7. Buy Used First

    Dealing with the internet means we’re inundated each day with advertisements. It’s easy to get persuaded to purchase these shiny new products, only to toss them in the trash within months. However, the internet also creates new opportunities for connecting with others to buy things used.  

    If you have something on your wishlist, consider scouring online platforms like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace before turning to traditional retailers. Check out Chairish if you’re looking for gently used, vintage furniture or Poshmark if you want to update your wardrobe. You might even have luck finding it completely free on Freecycle or in your local Buy Nothing Group

    This is also a great way to give a second life to the unused products in your own home and turn them into extra spending money.

Green Up Your Daily Life With Sustainable Changes

We all make choices every day that impact the environment. Take strides to be intentional about how you spend your energy and money, and you can reduce your personal carbon footprint. 

Collectively, these small actions can make a significant difference for the health of our planet, both today and in the future.