Did you know that sustainable practices are not only great for the environment but also beneficial for your well-being?
By Jessica Bree
A feature on green lifestyles from the World Economic Forum found that environmentally friendly and sustainable actions improve the feelings of wellness in people, regardless of socioeconomic status. Small actions such as reducing food waste, buying greener products, and donating money to environmental campaigns boost happiness.
The best thing about sustainable living is that it can start with minor actions — and what better way to begin than to make little impactful changes from the comforts of our home? Maryville University outlines that sustainable living is the practice of making conscious lifestyle choices that reduce your impact on the environment. Switching your diet from plant-based foods, for example, could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 84%. Aside from what you eat, you can make sustainable choices that keep your home cleaner and healthier to live in. Today, we’ll discuss some of the sustainable practices you can start doing to keep your home clean — without harming the environment
Avoid harmful cleaning products
The chemicals in most house cleaning products are not great for the planet and those living in the house. Air fresheners are popular because they claim to improve indoor air quality while making your rooms smell good. By law, however, air freshener companies are allowed to keep ingredients confidential as the US Food and Drug Administration deems them trade secrets, which keeps consumers from knowing the complete list of ingredients or chemicals used. While the ingredients used may not always seem directly harmful or toxic, they can create new substances when mixed with the ozone, called secondary pollutants. Some secondary pollutants include formaldehyde — a known carcinogen.
Instead of relying on harmful cleaning products, look into organic or healthier alternatives by researching common brands. Outside of products, you can also look into DIY practices. Instead of buying air fresheners, try opening your windows to air out rooms. Combined with regular cleaning, this prevents the buildup of dust and mold, which often cause seasonal allergies. We’ve previously written about allergies in our post ‘What’s an Allergy and How to Avoid Them’. We covered how ignoring symptoms of an allergy could potentially lead to conditions like asthma. By keeping your home clean with sustainable products, you can prevent the development of these health conditions.
Upcycle old items
If you’re looking into redecorating your home on top of deep cleaning, thinking twice about what you want to do with your old, unused furniture and other household items is essential to stay environmentally friendly. Upcycling can help you create one-of-a-kind furniture pieces and interior decor. Recycling your old furniture to repurpose or combine with other materials can result in aesthetically pleasing “new” furniture that is unique and all yours.
When decluttering, think creatively about other purposes for which you can use items in your junk pile. An old coffee table and a collection of jeans that no longer fit can make for an exciting sofa set if you don’t mind getting crafty. The possibilities are endless, and in doing so, you contribute less harmful waste to the environment — while being able to re-envision your living space.
Don’t buy disposable items, take the sustainable route
Finally, it’s essential to be an eco-conscious consumer, even when thinking of house cleaning. Avoiding harmful cleaning products is a great start, but you should assess if you’re using smaller purchases that may harm the environment in less obvious ways.
Opting for dish rags instead of disposable paper towels, for instance, can help reduce trash production. Other replaceable everyday items include disposable water bottles — why not get reusable ones that might look better too? Investing in reusable products helps save you money and protect the planet; moreover, you won’t need to store the many packs of paper towels or plastic utensils that clutter your house.