6 Easy Tasks You Can Do Today to Go Green Around the House

Want to be more eco-friendly, but not sure where to start? Use these tips to make your household tasks environmentally wise—and save some money, too!

Big goals are great, but small switches add up, especially when it comes to sustainability. It might not be feasible to cut your household waste down to zero or completely avoid single-use plastic. But there are many simple, everyday choices that you can tweak or substitute to make your home and lifestyle greener. Start by trying out a few new habits, then work your way up to larger eco-friendly commitments. Here are 6 easy things you can do today to lessen your environmental impact—and save some cash while you do it. These steps will get you on the road to an eco-friendly home fast.

woman changing light bulb in colorful home to be more energy efficient
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1. Focus on maintenance.

Proper maintenance ensures things work the way they should and don't prematurely need replacement, which creates more waste and expense. Change filters in appliances regularly to improve their energy efficiency. Take care of your tools, and keep up with routine home maintenance tasks. Every time you invest a few extra minutes in maintenance, you'll save yourself from having to spend extra dollars on new stuff.

2. Repair things when they break.

This might seem obvious, but ignore a fix and you'll have to either spend more on upkeep or on replacement. That can lead to all sorts of non-green costs, such as when you buy a new model and have to throw away all the packaging. Consider ways to repair or refurbish damaged goods instead of immediately trashing them.

3. Check your stash before you shop.

Many of us are guilty of grabbing an item while we're at the store without realizing we already have one (or several) at home. This wastes not only your dollars but also product and packaging. Always take a quick inventory before you shop—and store like items together so it's easy to see what you have and what you don't.

4. Be conscious of your trash.

Whenever you get rid of something, consider whether the garbage can is the best place for it. In many communities, paper, plastics, glass, and metal can all be recycled, while food scraps and other organic materials can be used for compost. As for other icky stuff we use, such as oil-base paints, municipalities want to help you dispose of these materials responsibly. Local recycling rules are clear about what you can (and cannot) toss into your bin. If you're in doubt, the internet can help you find where to unload hazardous items.

5. Switch to LED bulbs.

Swapping conventional lightbulbs for LEDs is a simple way to make a day-to-day change that really does trim your energy and purchase costs. LEDs use at least 75% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than other types of bulbs. They also come in dimmable options and are available for nearly every use, from outdoor to indoor fixtures.

6. Assess your shopping habits.

A big part of living more sustainably is considering the big picture. That means thinking about more than the product on the shelves and the choice in front of you. As you shop, consider what it takes to make a product and get it to you. What does the manufacturing process look like? Is there a locally made or closer-to-you option? Then think through what the product does once it's in your home. For example, off-gassing, which can harm your indoor air quality, is a common problem with paints, furniture, and other household items. How long the product will last and how much use you will get out of it are also key considerations. Lastly, ask yourself what happens to the product when you're done with it. Can it be transitioned back into the manufacturing stream, or can it return to the earth in a way that doesn't add any trash? Taking a few moments of pause before you make a purchase can help you shop more consciously and sustainably.

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