Your go-to guide to clean out your home and transform your environment into a "green" house.
Clean, drinkable water. The Colorado River which serves nearly 40 million people is now thought to be reaching a “long-term, climate change-driven aridification [or] permanent drying.” Check out some ways to improve your water management and even lower your monthly bill:
1. Teeth, face, hands; keep your water usage short and sweet for all of your washing needs. This goes doubly for dishwashing—block the drain, fill your basin, scrub and rinse.
2. The hotter the day, the higher the evaporation. Learn how much water your landscape needs and what times—ask a professional or find tips online.
3. Leaks are such a common problem there is a dedicated Fix a Leak Week, encouraging homeowners to check their property. An estimated 1 trillion gallons of water is wasted annually. Mark your calendars!
Worldwide 10-13% of all plastic items are recycled. Plastics that don’t make it to the recycling plant are not biodegradable and make their way into our water and food supply. Becoming more conscious of your households plastic consumption can help the planet and your health.
1. Water bottles—stainless steel and glass are the best possible choices as these materials are infinitely recyclable and often have a very stylish look.
2. We pay an extra 30% for food packaging that we only use once and never biodegrades. Bring your own containers, using canvas bags or re-use your plastic bags.
3. A natural habit to fall into, buying a pre-made meal. Cooking at home is proven to be healthier, easier on your wallet and better for the environment—and you’ll host the best dinner parties!
Perhaps less widely known, palm oil is in nearly everything. What was an alternative to trans fat, palm oil is now an environmental and human rights disaster. Devastating the Borneo rainforest and its inhabitants, this oil cripples indigenous tribes and the critically endangered Orangutan. By 2020 it’s estimated only 24% of this landscape will remain. Engage in environmental issue, lead by example and create better habits.
1. Avoiding palm oil altogether is nearly impossible; the most notable culprits are chocolate, cookies, ice cream, instant noodles and pizza(!). Instead of boycotting the industry altogether, look for sustainable labels like RSPO or Green Palm.
2. There are excellent companies that strive to protect our environment, animals and fellow man. WWF and RAN are the leaders—you can ‘protect an acre,’ or virtually adopt and donate to wildlife.
3. More unlikely, is the amount of palm oil found in cosmetics. Look for vegan, conflict and cruelty-free alternatives.
Eat Less Meat
Transition into a household that consumes less meat, the benefits for your body and the environment are worth it. Estimates put animal agricultural emissions far ahead of all the worlds transportation systems combined. Additionally, it takes roughly 2,400 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef. Difficult, but doable.
1. It’s proven, Mondays are the best day to go meatless. Try making a habit of going meatless for one full day a week. That’s 52 days a year and could reduce your impact by 15%!
2. One of the great perks of living in Colorado is access to local farms. Many farms raise livestock (and grow fresh produce) well into the winter months. Find a purveyor to feed your carnivorous tendencies while leaving a smaller footprint behind.
3. One of the largest muscles in your body, and often the most hardworking, it’s important to take care of your heart. Cardiovascular diseases make up approximately 30% of all deaths, and consuming large quantities of red meat can exacerbate heart problems. Try substitutes for your traditional go-tos.
“I dreamt my whole house was clean!”—says, everyone. The government does not discriminate against ingredients, and the EPA is only required to alert you of known pesticides. Try some of these DIY alternatives:
1. Get your baking soda and vinegar back out (volcanos) and put them to use unclogging drains, deodorizing and cleaning carpet stains.
2. White vinegar is a wonder and is best used to eliminate grease, soap scum and grime. Fill up a spray bottle with white vinegar, spray your shower, let sit for 30 minutes and rinse.
3. Lemon annihilates mildew and mold, while also great for cutting through grease and shining hard surfaces. Also useful for disinfecting cutting boards, both plastic, and wood.
An easily overlooked household change that can immediately impact your mood, and make your home feel fresh and lively, is the addition of a few household plants.
1. Humans are prone to stress, anxiety and seasonal affective disorder. Play with soil, walk in the park and try keeping a potted lavender plant in your bedroom for less stress and better sleep.
2. Indoor air can often be more polluted than outdoor air. Most notably; mold, radon and carbon monoxide. Incorporate a Peace Lily or English Ivy to help absorb these harmful toxins up to 60%.
3. Colorado is notoriously dry. Plants carry out a natural process called transpiration, releasing moisture. Add some Boston Ferns to your home to stave off dry-mouth and cracked lips.
*Always make sure to check what plants are safe for your fur babies before adding anything to your home.