Each year, on April 22, we celebrate Earth Day.
Earth Day was established in 1970 to bring awareness to environmental issues affecting humans across the globe. Each year, around Earth Day, I try to find ways to honor the Earth and take care of her. This is never an easy feat.
I don’t know about you all but I get so overwhelmed when I start thinking of things I could do to help the environment. Sometimes I get so carried away that I’m ready to go off the grid and sell my car! While these things would most definitely help Mother Earth, I’m not sure they’re the most practical steps for my family. I have to remind myself that small changes can make a big impact.
With this in mind, while I was thinking of things I have implemented (or plan to) around my house, I thought you all might appreciate some easy and practical tips for reducing waste and making your own homes more eco-friendly this Earth Day.
Use Less Plastic
I know, I know, this is not a radical suggestion. But I also know it’s easier said than done so here are some very simple steps my family is taking to use less plastic.
We are committed to reusable water bottles. I found that when I buy disposable, we frequently grab them and go but how hard is it really to fill up a reusable bottle on your way out the door?
We ditched the plastic baggies and single serving snacks and are now portioning out servings and storing them in reusable containers and snack bags. Not only is this better for the environment but it makes it easier for each person to take exactly how much they want when they are packing their lunch!
Switch out liquid hand soap for bars. Same great scents, less packaging. And if you have extra, they are easier to store!
We are trying out laundry sheets and dryer balls. Have you seen these? The laundry sheets look like a dryer sheet but they are detergent neatly packaged in a small box which replaces the bulky plastic container. You know I love a super organized laundry room so I find these to be much more aesthetically pleasing. Dryer balls can be kept in the dryer even when not in use and are great for reducing wrinkles and can even shorten drying time.
Turn Out the Lights
I swore that when I became an adult I wouldn’t go behind my family turning out lights and unplugging devices. So imagine my surprise when I read that you can reduce your energy bill by approximately 10% just by turning off the lights and unplugging things when you’re not using them!
The environmentalist in me loves this but the designer in me still loves some good mood lighting. There is something about leaving a lamp on to create a cozy mood or the welcoming vibe created by outside lights on your home at night. Never fear! Thanks to energy efficient lighting, dimmers, motion sensors, smart home integration and the like, it’s easier than ever to leave the lights on responsibly.
Set a schedule and use smart outlet plugs to connect your lamps to your virtual home assistant. This not only makes you seem super tech savvy–I mean, how fun is it to tell Alexa to dim the lights? But it also helps you strike an important balance between the aesthetic you crave and the responsible consumer lurking inside all of us.
Use Those Small Appliances
Got an instant pot or air fryer just chilling in your cabinet that you forgot about? How about the toaster oven you got as a wedding gift? Get these out and start using them!
Small kitchen appliances such as pressure cookers and air fryers cook meals faster and use less energy than using your conventional oven. Plus, they don’t heat up your kitchen like the oven does. This will be especially helpful during the upcoming summer months as the temps climb.
I must admit, this one was kind of like a light bulb going off for me. It makes sense and all but I just never considered how much energy I’m using just to make my family dinner every night. Mind blown…just make sure to unplug them when dinner is done!
Of course, the microwave is the exception to this rule so think twice about nuking those frozen foods. Most of the time they taste better from the air fryer anyway so win-win!
Get a Houseplant
Houseplants are super trendy right now. A trip through pretty much any big box store proves that as their selection has grown tremendously! With a little green friend so easy to pick up and bring home, why not try it this Earth Day?
Houseplants are known for their ability to purify the air in your home. Removing toxins and chemicals and leaving you with clean air, a houseplant can become your new best friend….not to mention a new hobby as they are as tempting to collect as baseball cards!
So often when I try to incorporate houseplants into designs clients will tell me they have a black thumb. If this is you, look for a snake plant or ZZ plant. These plants are known to be low maintenance, thrive in low light and with low water and are slow growers so you don’t have to worry about repotting them often. They are the perfect beginner plants are some of the best for improving air quality!
I hope we have inspired you to seek out some ways to help Mother Nature this Earth Day. If we all find small ways to reduce our carbon footprint, we can make a big impact. If you have made environmentally friendly changes to your daily life, please share them with us on our social media @JsbDesigns on Facebook and @jsbdesigns1 on Instagram.