9 Ways Your House Can Save the Earth

A child holding a pile of soil and a small house next to a leafy plant.

Spring is just around the corner and Earth Day shortly after on April 22. It's often this time of year that we stop to think of the many ways we can do our part for a healthier planet. But going green shouldn't be something we do every spring; it should be something we think about every day. Making earth-conscious decisions is a lot easier than you think. You can start with a few simple changes today! Here are a number of ways your home can save the Earth.

1. Replace Light Bulbs

One of the simplest things you can do right now is replace the light bulbs in your house. Changing out any incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) or LEDs not only helps to save the Earth, but will save you money in the long run.

2. Use Safe Cleaners

Natural cleaners.

A lot of store-bought cleaners have harsh chemicals in them that are bad for both you and the environment. Fortunately, there are various alternatives that you can use instead. For example, vinegar can be used as a cleaner on most things and is a much more eco-friendly alternative to most store-bought cleaners. You can also use a simple mix of dish soap and warm water to wipe away dirt and grime. If you prefer buying your cleaners to making them, there are an abundance of brands that are environmentally safe. Just make sure to do your research on which ones are non-toxic and how well they work.

3. Recycle

The benefits of recycling are huge. Recycling is one of the most important ways you can do your part for the environment, as waste has a huge impact on our Earth. Recycling not only helps to keep extra waste out of our landfills, but it saves energy because manufacturers don't have to constantly make new things from raw materials. In most areas you can recycle newspapers, paper, magazines, cardboard, glass containers, plastic containers, aluminum, and metal cans.

4. Compost Kitchen Scraps

Reducing waste is an important part in trying to save the environment and it's o

Reducing waste is an important part in trying to save the environment and it's one that's simple enough to do without making any big changes to your day-to-day life. While a lot of people already recycle, many people don't bother composting. In some cities, compost waste is collected separately from garbage, but only if people take the time to separate it first. If your city doesn't collect compost waste, you can always start composting on your own. If you're wondering what you can and can't compost, keep it simple: fruit and vegetables scraps, dryer lint, egg shells, flowers and garden materials, nut shells, wood shavings, and tea leaves are all compostable items.

5. Use Energy Star Appliances

If you're looking to replace your appliances, or you have the money to, make sure you look for Energy Star appliances. These low-energy appliances use 10 to 50 percent less energy than standard models. Older appliances use even more energy than the newer standard ones, too.

6. Conserve Water

A rain barrel.

Like most things that help save the environment, conserving water also helps you save money! There are a lot of ways to conserve water at home including taking shorter showers, fixing any leaks and not letting the water run when brushing your teeth, rinsing vegetables, or washing dishes. A few other things you might want to consider are installing low-flow toilets and showerheads, insulating water pipes, and making sure you only use your dishwasher and clothes washer with full loads.

Water conservation shouldn't stop in the house, though. When taking care of your lawn and gardens you should consider getting a rain barrel, and only water your lawn when it absolutely needs it. You should also put a layer of mulch down around trees and your gardens to help slow evaporation of water.

7. Dispose of Hazardous Waste Properly

Hazardous waste is harmful to humans and the environment and cannot be thrown out like normal household garbage. We often use hazardous products every day, such as batteries, car products, light bulbs, cleaners, paint, and pool chemicals. Instead of throwing them out with the rest of the trash, look up the proper ways you should dispose of such materials in your city. There might be a home pickup service you can call, or a drop-off facility nearby.

8. Use Cold Water

A faucet with the words "cold" on the the tap.

Along with water conservation, you can help save the environment by using cold water instead of hot water. Most of the energy used to run your washing machine goes to heating water, so to save that energy, simply use cold water instead. It's wrongly assumed that hot water does a better job cleaning things like laundry, which isn't true.

9. Turn It Off or Down

If you aren't in the room, make sure all electronics, including the lights, are turned off. Don't even leave them on standby or energy-saving mode because it still uses up electricity. Better yet, unplug anything you're not using.