Household chores seem to never end. Cooking, cleaning, lawn care, feeding pets, grocery shopping – the list goes on and on! Unfortunately, things we use to do our chores and ways we do them are sometimes not very Earth-friendly. But there are many ways to make our chores greener! Here are some tips for making less of an impact on the planet while doing your household chores.
Even though your mom taught you to wash your whites in hot water, that doesn’t actually get them any cleaner than washing in cold water. Because it doesn’t make the water heater run, washing clothing in cold water uses less energy. Use a detergent that uses an eco-friendly packaging material, and do the largest loads you can (but not to the point where the machines don’t work properly) to save water. Also, most clothing can be worn more than once before washing. If it doesn’t appear dirty and doesn’t smell, wear it again!
Upgrade your vacuum if it hasn’t been recently updated. Older vacuums may be energy-suckers, as well as dirt-suckers. If you need to stop vacuuming to move something out of the way, turn off your machine. Although you’ll only be away for a moment, every bit of energy saved adds up. Buy an eco-friendly broom made from wood and a sustainable material (corn, recycled plastics). While it may seem easy to use a disposable broom/mop head, creating extra garbage is not very Earth-friendly.
Small appliances are small, but they still suck in energy when not in use. Unplug them when you don’t need them. Also, when baking, don’t turn the oven on to preheat if what you’re preparing will take longer than the preheat cycle. Make sure your oven and other appliances are Energy Star rated. When washing dishes, use either a reusable dish cloth or a sponge that can be sanitized in the dish washer for longer use.
Cleaning the Bathroom
While this is arguably one of the worst chores on the planet, it doesn’t have to be the worst FOR the planet. Buy cleaning products that are o.k. for the environment and come in sustainable packaging. Use something reusable or compostable to wipe surfaces – don’t use a bunch of paper towels.
Sorting the Mail
Recycle all junk mail, anything you’re not going to look at, and anything you’re done with. Remember to protect yourself by shredding papers with any sensitive or private information on them. Let kids (or yourself) use old magazines to make collages and other art projects. Then, make sure to throw them in the recycling, not the trash.
Most stores now sell reusable grocery bags. Can you imagine how much better off the Earth is without all those plastic bags you throw away every month? Even recycling plastic bags is not as good as using reusable cloth bags. Also, try taking public transportation to the store, if you don’t have too much to get. While you’re at the store, choose items that use less packaging and/or sustainable packaging materials.
Image Credit: Expresbro