Dharma bums are all about sustainability and lessening our carbon footprint. If you dig what we do, you can move this earth-first mentality into your home and make these green practices part of your every day.
If you've got things to clean, natural is the way to go. Toxic chemicals are horrible for the environment – when they wash away, they go into the water supply, which then takes a lot to purify. So instead of opting for the artificial stuff, pick up your vinegar, citric acid and bicarb and clean away, minus the caustic chemicals.
When it comes to toilet tissue and kitchen rolls – use recycled. To make sure you're getting the real deal, look at the product labels and work out what wares have the largest percentage of post-consumer recycled content. This mindset also extends to foods like biscuits and cereals or anything cardboard packaged. Other creative recycling ideas: give discarded toys to charity, start a toy and book library, host a clothes-swap or kid's clothes exchange. Create a craft box for the kids; put your cardboard boxes and egg cartons in there and watch them turn into robots and cubby houses.
If you love cooking, do it with more intent. For starters, buy locally and seasonally – it's easy and encourages connections within your community. Grow an edible garden, and watch your salad greens, herbs and veggies flourish just steps from your kitchen. In the process, your kitchen garden lessens soil erosion and air pollution. Use a plot that doesn't guzzle water and keep your garden green without pesticides or chemical fertilisers. Use organic and earth-friendly garden products instead – your garden and your tastebuds will be thankful.
We all have kitchen scraps, so instead of putting them in the garbage – compost them. Scrutinise your scraps: what you chuck away can be recycled and used as fertiliser. Build-your-own or buy a commercial compost bin, then start putting in your tea leaves, coffee grounds, fruit and veg peelings and any other organic stuff. Just add green garden waste, add water and voila – a nutritious soil lifter!
If you switch it on – switch it off. If you're forgetful, install sensors that turn your lights on only when needed or go with automatic timers. The kind of lightbulbs you buy is also significant when it comes to efficiency; CFLs are better than older, incandescent bulbs. Buy better bulbs today – they're more cost-effective, use less power and last longer. That's a bright idea.
Heating is a hotspot when it comes to greening your home. While they provide cosiness, they suck energy and can be easy to overrun during winter. Stop wasting energy and money by installing a smart meter. These can be programmed to switch on at particular times of day – think about heating your home just before you arrive, so it's toasty warm and welcoming. There's no better way to reduce your carbon footprint and energy spend.
Sustainability is more than energy consumption; be aware of how you use water at home. Save water with a low-flow showerhead, don't over-flush, only wash with a full load and fix any leaks. Wait there's more – turn off the tap while you brush your teeth or shave. One of these ideas alone – using a low-flow showerhead, can save up to 160,000 litres of water in a four-person household. That's a whole lot of H2O.
True eco-friendliness begins with insulation. This fundamental choice holds in heat, so your home stays warm without burning energy. Wall and roof insulation are a no-brainer, but there's also double-glazed windows to consider, as well as covering any hardwood floors with rugs in the southwest of your home. This rug runout is an easy and cost-effective way to insulate – and it looks pretty chic! Don't forget snakes under your doors to stop the draft.
When it comes to electronic appliances, remember to switch them all off at the wall. Your TVs, computers and myriad of other gadgets can use nearly as much energy in standby mode as when they’re being used. One switch – that’s a pretty easy way to get greener.
When you stop leaks, your utility costs will plummet – what other incentive do you need to plug, replace, repair or seal? Check out your home’s energy efficiency by carrying out an energy audit.
Whether you implement one or all of these ideas – every little bit counts. Some action is better than none, so go green at home today.