These 5 tips can help make your home more eco-friendly

More people are making small, daily changes in their homes to live a more eco-friendly life. They’re greener-living ideas, chronicled on blogs, Pinterest, podcasts and Instagram, are driven by concerns about global warming, pollution and habitat loss.

Here are five ideas for greening your household.

1. Laundry: Some simple changes will be healthier for you and the planet, and might save you money, said Melissa Ozawa, features and garden editor at “Martha Stewart Living” magazine. Use cold water as much as possible. Don’t overdo the detergent — consult your washer manual and the detergent package.

Over the years, Ozawa has used her dryer less, hanging clothes on a rack indoors or outside in warm weather. When she does use a dryer, she has dumped dryer sheets in favour of wool dryer balls.

Not too long ago, Ozawa learned about Guppyfriend Washing Bag for fleece and acrylic items. The bag collects microfibre particles released during washing process so they don’t go into the water.

“These are not scary things; they are very easy things to do that don’t require a lot of effort,” Ozawa said. “You’ll have the benefit of knowing you are doing something good that is not damaging the Earth.”

2. Cleaning: Check under your sink and in your utility closet. Are there rows of cleaning products in plastic bottles? How much do you know about their formulas?

Some consumers are passing on harsh chemicals and creating cleaning potions using baking soda, vinegar and lemons. Some seek out brands with plant-based, natural or nontoxic ingredients, such as Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyer’s or Method.

One cleaning product start-up is combining federally-recommended safer chemical ingredients with BPA-free, refillable acrylic bottles. Blueland sells four types of cleaning products; the bottles are shipped empty, and you add water and a dissolvable cleaning tablet. The cleaning system, which launched last year, made an appearance on TV’s “Shark Tank.”

“People think cleaning in an eco-friendly fashion will be less effective, more expensive and more work,” said Paiji Yoo, co-founder of Blueland. “We wanted to put all those notions on their heads.”

3. Organizing: Recycling, repurposing or donating clutter is a worthwhile project. But don’t buy unnecessary organizing supplies, said Margaret Richey of Margaret Richey Design Sense, in Maryland

She shops the house first. “I am amazed at what I find,” she said. Sometimes she spray-paints glass jars and cans, or dips them in paint, to make them into decorative storage containers.

When sorting, use a colour-coding system to mark items and bags — Richey’s system uses pink for trash, yellow is donate, green is sell and orange is keep.

4. Rugs: When shopping for a rug, the U.S. Environmental Working Group suggests looking for those made of wool or other natural materials such as jute, sisal and linen; padding made of wool or felt; and no stain or waterproofing treatments.

Tasha Stoiber, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, suggests choosing rugs free of PFAS — a category of chemicals that do not break down in the environment and can cause health issues. Stoiber also recommends rugs with backings made of natural rubber, and not PVC.

5. Furniture: Cheaply made plastic or particleboard furniture (fast furniture) is likely to end up in a dump before long. Instead, consider giving an old piece of furniture a new life.

“With old furniture, you get a lot of bang for your buck and you get your own signature look, instead of the same style everyone else has these days,” said New York designer Anthony Baratta. Baratta, a fan of antique and vintage stores, likes online auctions such as or

Baratta upholsters antique or vintage sofas and chairs in unexpected fabrics — menswear plaids, bright tartans and large-scale florals. Old wooden end tables can be lacquered black for a classic look.

“You can look at your grandmother’s dining table, a reproduction French provincial table from 1960, and say you hate it and don’t ever want to see it again,” Baratta said. “Or, you can cut it in half and make a pair of console tables out of it.”


This article was originally published by 

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