Recycling is great for the environment. Composting food waste gives nutrients back to the earth and keeps biodegradable items out of landfills. These are small things we can do to help the environment.
But what about inside our homes?
Tearing up your house and replacing items would actually cause more pollution. But there are a few things you can do around the house to have an eco-friendly home interior.
Decorate With Plants
Place real plants around your house. Fake plants are made of plastic and don’t help the environment at all. Eventually, they will be in a landfill not decomposing. Plants look nice and they filter chemicals from the air we breathe, making our indoor environment healthier. Unless you are allergic, all common houseplants will be a benefit to your home. While we’re on the subject of air quality, have you inspected and/or replaced your AC filters recently? If not, it may be time to do so.
Use Energy Efficient Appliances
Replacing your old but reliable refrigerator could reduce energy use and save you some money. New, Energy Star refrigerators use about 75 percent less energy than a thirty-year-old refrigerator. This will save you about $150 per year or more in energy costs.
Today’s energy efficient washers use about one-third of the energy of conventional washers. Replacing it will save you energy costs, but will require a hefty investment. Hang your clothes out to dry instead of running the dryer. Clothes smell much better having dried on a line outside. In the winter you can hang a line in the basement.
Wood is stronger and lasts longer than most building materials. With very little maintenance a piece of wood furniture can look new for decades. There are tables and chairs which have lasted hundreds of year and have been passed down through the generations. Plastic furniture usually ends up at the side of the curb on trash day after a few years.
That’s another reason why wood furniture is environmentally friendly. It lasts a long time. It can be recycled, and it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals.
You can help the environment even more by purchasing used furniture or buying furniture made of recycled or repurposed materials. Repurposed furniture has become quite fashionable and will add a unique flair to your home while helping to save the environment.
Update Insulation and Windows
This isn’t quite as fun as decorating with repurposed materials, but it is essential to saving energy. Insulation is usually made of fiberglass which is often made from recycled glass. Discuss your options with a professional to see what is appropriate for your home.
Drafty windows, especially in an old home, can waste quite a bit of energy. Replacing them will save energy costs but will be quite expensive. Plan on spending $500 or more per window. Since you are making the investment, be sure to purchase high quality well-insulated windows which will keep cold and heat outside. Invest in triple pane windows if you can, and seek out local environmentally conscious manufacturers.
Wherever you can, try to have an eco-friendly home interior. It’s a fun and worthwhile pursuit. Certain changes won’t be visible, others will look amazing. You’ll feel better knowing that you are doing your part to help the environment, and your home will be a great conversation piece. You can brag to your friends how you decorated yourself green.
Emily is a sustainability and eco-friendly living blogger.