At Cinch, we love green — it’s the color of our brand after all. But more than just loving the color, we want to help inspire everyone to take better care of the planet we all call home. By making just a few easy swaps or being a little more intentional about your everyday routine, you can reduce your negative impact to the environment. Take inspiration from our 20 favorite ways to go green at home:
1. Choose reusable bags, water bottles and containers. Leave reusable bags in your trunk so you always have them when you go to the store and can avoid getting things bagged in plastic. Instead of doing brown-bag lunches or getting packs of plastic water bottles, get a lunch box and a reusable water bottle. Aim to use Tupperware or other washable containers over plastic baggies and aluminum foil as well.
2. Go electronic over paper whenever you can. Reduce the amount of paper waste by opting out of any mailers you don’t want and choosing to pay bills electronically. When the cashier gives you a choice for how you’d like your receipt, choose email; not only does this save paper, but it makes it easier for you to find your receipt later if you need to make a return.
3. Use natural cleaners — or make your own! There are tons of household products that can repurposed into natural cleaners. For example, white vinegar, baking soda, lemon and essential oils can all be used to help you achieve a home that sparkles and smells lovely — all while being more environmentally friendly than chemical-laden products.
4. For store-bought cleaners, get concentrated formulas. If you simply can’t bear to replace some of your favorite traditional cleaners with more natural counterparts, at least purchase concentrated formulas whenever you can and follow the instructions on the bottle to use the appropriate amount. This helps maximize the amount of product per container.
5. Opt for cloths over paper towels and napkins. Another way to cut down on paper is to use cloths to clean instead of paper towels and napkins. If you want extra eco-friendly points, use stained or ripped T-shirts as rags to give them a new use rather than throwing them away.
6. Grow your own produce. If you have the yard space, consider starting your own garden. It’s a fun activity you can do with your kids or partner, and you’ll be able to cook meals with freshly picked ingredients for peak flavor. Even if you don’t have land to plant on, you may still be able to grow some herbs on your windowsill or a small patio.
7. Shop farmers markets. Supporting local farms is good for your area’s economy and also cuts down on the environmental impact from packaging and shipping food. If you can’t find a local market, you can also sign up for a service such as Misfits Market, which “rescues” imperfect organic produce that doesn’t make it to store shelves due to being oddly shaped or having small bruises.
8. Go organic when you can. Organic produce is grown in soil that doesn’t contain pesticides or chemical fertilizers, so choosing such products helps reduce environmental contaminates.
9. Try Meatless Monday (or consider going fully vegetarian or vegan). Meat production is an enormous drain on land and water, and it produces harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Even if it’s hard for you to imagine cutting animal products out of your diet completely, consider cutting down your consumption by participating in Meatless Mondays or something similar.
10. Choose ENERGY STAR®-certified appliances. If you’re in the market for any new appliances or simply want to upgrade your old ones, look for items that have been certified by ENERGY STAR so you know you are using only the most energy-efficient options.
11. Use energy-efficient bulbs. Like advanced appliances, it is also beneficial to make sure your light bulbs are energy efficient. They last longer and use less energy to produce the same amount of light as traditional incandescent bulbs.
12. Seal any openings. To reduce your use of cooling and heating equipment, make sure there are no openings around your windows and doors that let air enter or escape your home. Check that any weather stripping or caulk in place is in good condition.
13. Open windows and blinds. Another way to minimize your usage of your HVAC equipment is to open windows when weather permits. Rely on a breezy day to keep your house cool, or keep windows closed but open the binds on sunny winter days to let the sun rays help warm your home.
14. Get a programmable thermostat. Smart thermostats can help you optimize your energy usage when it comes to heating and cooling. They can be programmed according to your schedule so your machine is never working when it doesn’t need to be. If the time isn’t right for you to invest in a programmable thermostat, be diligent about turning your thermostat higher or lower as you come and go.
15. Save more water. Turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or reducing your shower time by just a minute or two can save gallons of water. When those savings are multiplied every day, those small changes can actually make a big difference over time.
16. Run full loads. Running the washing machine and dishwasher uses lots of water and energy. Use them less frequently by waiting until you have a full load of laundry or dishes before running a cycle.
17. Wash laundry in cold water. On the topic of laundry, skip the hot-water cycles. Your clothes still get clean even when you wash in cold water, and less water and energy is utilized when you do so.
18. Donate rather than throw things away. You know the saying: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” When it comes to things like furniture, clothes and household items, there is almost undoubtedly someone else who could use the things that you no longer need or want. Before sending your stuff to the landfill, check with local thrift and consignment stores to see if you can donate instead.
19. Take public transportation, arrange a carpool or telecommute more often. The fewer cars on the road, the smaller our carbon footprint. Fewer emissions and less gas consumption is a win for everyone. Carpooling or taking the same public transit may also even help you develop rapport with colleagues you don’t normally work with.
20. Really turn things off. Fully power off appliances when they are not in use, including unplugging them. If it is too much to take the time to go around unplugging everything each day, use power strips where possible so you can flip a switch and turn off several of your things at once.
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The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.