by Leslie Patterson
Once your Green Home is built and you are ready to move in, don't let the movement stop. There are plenty of easy options to continue your eco-friendly efforts and start living green.
One of the first steps in living a "green" lifestyle has been around forever and ever as the phrase ? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Many people think recycling is simply one extra thing on their to-do list, but by reducing your consumption, reusing what you already have, and recycling what you cannot use, you show respect for your environment while cutting costs. Tossing that soda can into a recycling bin is just as easy as tossing it in the trash, and you won't harm the environment. In some areas, you may even get money back for all those recycled goods. In addition to cans, there are two other very simple ways to incorporate this practice into your lifestyle:
REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS
An estimated 380 billion plastic bags, baggies, and wrap are consumed in the United States each year. These products are not biodegradable, but do photo degrade - reducing into small bits that contaminate ecosystems and food chains. By simply remembering to use reusable shopping bags on each grocery run, you can help break this destructive chain. Some countries around the world are even going so far as to phase-out and ban plastic bag distribution by retailers (Australia) and others are placing a plastic tax for every bag distributed (Ireland). If you do receive plastic bags, be sure to recycle them rather than tossing them ? most retailers provide recycling bins on-site.
More intensive than reusing shopping bags, composting can reduce your waste output dramatically. Using worm bins or other composting means for food and garden waste eliminates half of the average person's trash. This compost is perfect to use in your home's landscaping, ensuring that you get the most use out of everything you have.
HANDMADE & FAIR TRADE
Handmade and fair trade products support fair wages, safe working conditions, and sustainable goods of high quality. By making use of these products, you support and respect societies all over the world who are working for long-lasting healthy environments.
The market for eco-friendly furniture is booming as artists and designers take on the challenge of repurposing unimaginable materials into your soon-to-be favorite chair, table, or love seat. From old seatbelts to twisted driftwood, eco-friendly furniture is changing the way we look at design.
FABRICS AND FIBERS
Many conventional fibers that make up our clothing, knitting, and upholstery are doused in chemicals to stimulate growth while warding off pests. However, these chemicals seep into water and soil, infiltrating our lives and our bodies. By taking advantage of fibers such as hemp, cruelty-free silk, and organic cotton and wool, you support low-impact living and fair-trade in any aspect of your life that requires some textile.
HOUSEHOLD & BODY CLEANSERS
Traditional cleansers are full of toxins that are damaging to your skin and the environment. Old friends Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry combined their talents (Eric had experience in style and branding; Adam was educated in environmental science) to combat the age-old home care industry. Together they created Method?, a line of naturally-derived, biodegradable cleaning products, placed in sleek packaging that will meet any interior designer's standards. From cleaning every surface of your home, to your body and your laundry, Method has you covered. Their product line even includes specialty cleaners for wood, leather and stainless steel, as well as compostable sweeping cloths made from corn, ensuring their commitment to the environment. For more information, visit methodhome.com.
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