It’s Spring. And for many, that means springing into the cleaning mode. Is sunshine highlighting all the dirt and dust build-up on your walls, cabinets and windows? Has stuff piled up in your closet? If decluttering and getting your home refreshed is on your mind, then this list of tips is the perfect place to start. Get your home ready for summer and avoid putting many pounds of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) emissions into the atmosphere with these simple ideas.
Use Sustainable Cleaning Products
After bubbly cleaning liquids disappear down our drains, some of them end up in our waterways, threatening fish and other wildlife. Pollutants present in some detergents and cleaners can have negative effects on people too.
Watch out for petroleum-based chemicals. They contribute to the depletion of petroleum, increase your carbon footprint and support dependence on oil.
Look at the packaging. The plastic bottles used to package cleaning products pose another environmental problem. Some products are bottled in polyvinyl chloride (PVC, #3), which is rarely accepted for recycling, so try to avoid them.
Purchase green cleaning products. Companies like Simple Green and even Clorox have greener alternatives using more natural products and less harmful ingredients. For a list of safe products, go to the website of Organic Consumers Association.
Make the cleaning supplies yourself. Use white vinegar, baking soda, liquid castile soap, lemon, essential oils. For more ideas, visit the Networx blog.
After the winter holiday gifting is done, there is always a box of old electronics cooped up somewhere in the closet. Wait! Don’t just throw it in the garbage bin! Did you know that the carbon footprint of electronics industry can rival that of flying?
Instead, recycle or donate your old electronics. A lot of companies have buyback programs. You will avoid getting hazardous material into the water and soil.
Reduce Paper Use And Its Carbon Footprint
Paper producers are in the top ten most CO2-polluting industries in the world. While they are making efforts to reduce their impact, it is best to escape paper clutter and reduce paper use.
Avoid using paper towels and be mindful enough to recycle paper you don’t need. A recycled newspaper will reduce your carbon footprint by 5.1 pounds CO2e emissions.
Switch to paperless services and it will lessen the amount of paper clutter in your home and make next year’s spring cleaning a breeze! For example, if you subscribe to an e-newsletter instead of a newspaper that would reduce your carbon emissions further by 3.86 pounds of CO2e emissions.
Use apps for storing, batch-scanning and even signing you documents on the go. For those with a lot of paper build up there are scan-in services.
Get Fashionable Without Pounds of CO2e
Spring means a change of wardrobe. You probably can’t wait to put away the winter sweaters and take out the light summer t-shirts. No matter what – we go through our cloth in the spring. Actually, clothing and textiles are responsible for about 1 ton of CO2e emissions per person in the U.S. yearly. That is the same as using 113 exta gallons of gasoline per person yearly!
Do you know your clothes’ footprint? We have recently written about green brands, but the story doesn’t end when clothes reach you. How we care for and dispose of our clothes also has an impact on the footprint of clothes.
Care for your clothing – the eco-friendly way. Save the environment and dollars by using cold water. Washing and drying a load every two days creates around 970 pounds of CO2e emissions each year. About 90% of this energy used in every wash is for heating the water. With warm months already here, line-dry your clothes. Find more tips on getting your cloth ready here.
Upgrade To Lower Your Footprint
The biggest contribution to the average American’s carbon footprint is energy use. So, why not upgrade your old lights? By replacing four standard bulbs with sustainable compact fluorescent lights, the emission of 5,000 pounds of CO2e can be avoided. In addition, you are likely to save more than $100 over the lives of those bulbs. While you are at it, install motion sensors on rarely used lights and you’ll never forget to turn them off.
With these tips, we hope you feel ready and motivated to put on some music and get cleaning!
To know more about your carbon footprint, check out the TerraPass carbon calculator. For more information, visit our Facebook. To keep on top of most recent eco-friendly tips, follow us on Twitter @Terrapass and take a look at our Pinterest boards!