article by Mark Harris at Awareness Toolkits
Have you ever considered how much impact you have on the environment? Maybe you’ve seen photographs of massive landfills or heard that some materials in everyday items such as paint can be carcinogenic. Whatever your reason for wanting to be more environmentally conscious, there are many ways you can go about it.
Practice Eco-Friendly Habits
Consider recycling more. Recycling has benefits for the environment, the economy, and your community. According to government officials, the practice reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, conserves natural resources, and promotes job growth in the American manufacturing and recycling industries.
You might also want to contemplate limiting or eliminating your use of plastic bags. Despite their ubiquity, plastic bags are notoriously difficult to break down and are well-known for being harmful to the environment. Notably, they’re not biodegradable, meaning they won’t break down naturally. Stray plastic that gets lost in the environment is not only ugly to see, but they are also extremely harmful to the environment, causing about 100,000 animal deaths yearly. Some animals, such as sea turtles, commonly mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, but plastic bags cannot be digested and accumulate in the stomach until the animal dies, at which point the plastic goes back to the environment to potentially do further harm.
Using reusable bags is an alternative to using plastic bags and doubles as a way to show off your environmentally conscious lifestyle. There are sites dedicated to selling eco-friendly items. Check out intent products’ produce bags and totes made of organic materials.
Make Your Home Eco-Friendly (and More Valuable)
Water fixtures in your bathroom can be replaced with types that use less water. There are eco-friendly options for toilets, sink faucets, and showerheads, for example. When you paint, use the type that is low in volatile organic compounds, which are both bad for the environment and your health. Water-based paints tend to have fewer VOCs than oil-based paints, so use that as a rough guide to help you get started. However, this is not a rule, and many water-based paints also contain high amounts of VOCs.
Solar panels are a way to generate renewable energy. This type of upgrade has become steadily less expensive over time and is a more viable option than ever before. These upgrades also last a fair amount of time, typically between 20-30 years, before needing to be replaced.
What do all of these options have in common? They increase the value of your property, as many buyers look for houses that are eco-friendly and will pay more for a home with such features.
If you’re planning to sell your home soon and want to add eco-friendly features, then make sure you keep the receipts so you can prove you made the improvements and quantify their value. It also helps to take before and after photos.
If you want to live a more renewable lifestyle, consider taking up new habits that promote renewable resources and reduce waste. Whether you want to make just one or two changes or dedicate yourself fully to being environmentally conscious, there is little reason not to practice these habits and see if they work for you. Living an eco-friendly lifestyle is not only beneficial to your environment but can also be beneficial to you.