12 Simple Things You Can Do to Live a More Sustainable Lifestyle

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Sustainable living helps protect the environment and reduce waste. While the name may conjure up images of people living off the land and eschewing modern living, you don’t have to go fully native to do your part in preserving our resources.

Here are 12 simple things you can do to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Along the way, you’re likely to save money, too.

1. Replace Your Lightbulbs

Corner of the living room beside the firework with arm chair, table with books and light
Used with permission of Katie Destefano

If you haven’t already swapped out your incandescent light bulbs with LEDs or CFL bulbs, it’s past time. An LED will throw off 850 lumens (brightness) using just 10 watts of power. A CFL bulb will use 18 watts. A traditional incandescent bulb would need 60 watts. Not only will they use significantly less power, but prices have dropped over the years.

While you may pay a little more upfront than a traditional bulb, you’ll get a dramatically longer lifespan. Incandescent bulbs typically last up to 1,200 hours, while CFL can last 8,000 hours and LEDs can last 25,000 hours while using a fraction of electricity.

2. Replace Your Flapper

Inside the tank of your toilet, the flapper is the rubber or plastic piece that lifts when you flush to allow the tank to drain. Over time, these parts degrade and warp. This leads to water seeping down the drain and being wasted. A faulty flapper is the most common cause of water waste in toilets and it can add up fast. A toilet with minor leaks can waste $1,000 worth of water in a year.

3. Replace Your Air Filters

Part of the living room with sofa with pillows, table with lamp, picture on the wall above the sofa and a coffee table
Used with permission of Katie Destefano

How often do you change your air filters? A clogged air filter forces your AC or furnace to work harder and use more energy. The filter is designed to trap dust, dander, and dirty air from getting into your air ducts. Change them regularly to keep your HVAC system working efficiently. Manufacturers recommend every 30 days, although more expensive filters can last up to 90 days and work efficiently.

4. Install a Programmable Thermostat

About half of all the energy you consume in your home is for heating and cooling. The more efficient your heating and cooling systems are, the less energy you will use.

A programmable thermostat helps you reduce wasted heating or cooling, especially when you are not at home. Smart thermostats learn your patterns and can adjust to optimize your system.

5. Replace Your Mattress

White designed bedroom with double bed, bench and mirror on the wall above bed
Used with permission of Katie Destefano

When it’s time for a new mattress, choose a sustainable mattress.

Sustainable mattresses use organic fibers, such as cotton, and wool, that are grown on smaller footprints. These materials contain no pesticides and are manufactured without harsh chemicals. You can help reduce your carbon footprint with sustainable and biodegradable materials and get a good night’s sleep at the same time.

6. Buy Rechargeable Batteries

Every year, Americans toss out more than 3 billion batteries which add up to 180,000 tons of hazardous waste. Switch to rechargeable batteries. You’ll contribute less waste and save money in the long run.

7. Use Natural Cleaning Products

Replace your standard cleaning products with all-natural cleaners. Comparable in price, you help reduce the toxins, carcinogens, and other caustic ingredients that get rinsed down the drain. Besides reducing the number of chemicals being used, you’ll also improve the air quality in your home.

8. Adjust Your Refrigerator and Freezer Temps

If your refrigerator or freezer allows you to adjust the temperature, it’s a great way to conserve energy. Keep your refrigerator between 35- and 38-degrees F. and your freezer at 0 degrees F. will keep your foods properly cooled while minimizing energy consumption.

9. Go Plastic Free

Pollution from plastic has become one of our biggest environmental disasters. Each year, more than 8 million tons of plastic waste end up in the ocean. Some of it can take 400 years to degrade.

Instead, shop with reusable bags, get rid of single-use water bottles and avoid buying products wrapped in plastic whenever possible.

10. Add Some Indoor Plants

Indoor plants on window stand
Photo by Nicolas J Leclercq on Unsplash

Live plants can add to your décor and act as a natural filter for indoor air. Plants absorb pollutants and help purify the air in your home. Besides keeping the air clean, they remove harmful chemicals, such as common pollutants, including benzene, xylene, ammonia, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde.

11. Shop Second Hand

When you buy second-hand clothing, used furniture, or products with recycled materials, you help reduce the consumption of resources. You can also buy from companies that use recycled materials or sustainable materials in the manufacturing process.

12. Recycle the Right Way

Most people recycle now and that’s a good thing. However, you need to make sure you are doing it properly. For example, shredded paper, plastic bags, pizza boxes, and take-out containers typically can’t be recycled. Some locations won’t accept certain types of glass or plastics. When you mix those in with your recycling, it slows down the recycling process and uses more energy to sort.

Thanks to brentwoodhome.com for consulting.

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