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7 Ways to be Sustainable at Home Starting Today

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Each day we hear more news about ever growing landfills, ice caps melting, and strains on the electricity grids. You may think that there’s little you can do about it, but every little bit adds up. When everyone works to live more sustainably it has a seriously big impact on improving our environment.

A sustainable home is a happy, healthy home. Here are 7 things you can start doing today to make your home more sustainable.

R, R, R

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – These three Rs are the basis of being more sustainable in regards to waste generation. Reduce refers to using less in general so as not to waste food or materials. It also includes buying less and choosing items that are either in bulk or don’t have packaging so less materials are used overall. Reuse is the acting of repurposing things rather than throwing them out. Recycle when certain materials like glass, plastic and paper are processed, broken down and turned into new products.

Compost

In addition to the three Rs you can add a C for composting. Food waste and yard trimmings account for 28% of all municipal waste created by homes, schools, hospitals and businesses. Many of these items can be composted instead. You can compost at home, and many larger cities now have composting facilities where yard waste can be deposited.

Leverage Technology to Lower Electricity Use

For every problem there is a solution, and technology is giving us more ways to solve sustainabilityissues around the home. Programs like ENERGY STAR make it easier than ever to find appliances, tools, and electronics that use less energy. There are also new products hitting the market everyday that are geared towards helping you consume less energy in general. A few products to consider include:

  • Smart Powerstrips
  • Kill-a-watt Meter
  • CFL Light Bulbs
  • Nest Thermostat

Living sustainably is an ongoing effort, and technology is your long-term partner. Just as the products above are today’s gold standard, energy saving technology is sure to keep growing and improving.

Responsible Electronic Use and Disposal

Technology has been a huge blessing for energy conservation – but it can also be a burden on the environment. Electronics and batteries contain materials that can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of correctly. In addition to checking with your local waste collector on proper disposal, make an effort to use rechargeable batteries and future-proof devices.

Teach Your Kids About Sustainability

One person can’t do it alone in a home that includes an entire family. Make sustainability a group effort by getting your kids involved and teaching them the importance of conserving energy and wasting less. Set goals for lowering energy usage and waste as a family. Incorporate a reward system where kids get a small treat each time a goal is met. You can even talk to their teachers to see if curriculum is offered at school. If not, check out ENERGY STAR Kids for fun online lessons.

Properly Set Your Systems

The biggest energy consumers in your home are the systems that heat and cool the air and water. If they aren’t set properly and maintained you could waste hundreds of dollars a year and many more kilowatt-hours of energy. If you don’t yet have a programmable thermostat now is the time to invest in one. Take a few minutes to set it up so that the HVAC runs at around 78° F in the summer and around 70° F in the winter while you’re at home. The water heater, which can account for as much as 25% of your electricity bill, should be set at just 120° F.

Low Impact Landscaping

Water conservation is an important aspect of living sustainably. One of the biggest water consumers in the home is your landscaping. There are a few fixes that can dramatically reduce your yard’s water needs. 1.) Use a programmable sprinkler system that waters during the cooler parts of the day. 2.) Use native plants that are able to survive with little assistance. 3.) Xeroscape a portion or all of your yard.

 

If it’s time to get rid of stuff that’s taking up space in your newly sustainable house Dumpsters.biz can help. We provide affordable dumpster services that include waste separation for recyclables. Check out our local rates online!

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The Easiest Ways to Instantly Improve Your Recycling Habits

Recycling efforts in the U.S. have been nothing short of miraculous in the last few decades. The EPA estimates that in 2013 we recycled or composted 87 million tons of the 254 million tons of trash that was generated. Compare that to 1985 when just 16.7 million tons of trash was recycled and it’s clear that more people have made recycling a priority.

Many factors influence how much we recycle. The availability of recycling pickup services is highly influential, but so are our daily habits. If you want to clean up your act and increase your recycling, start building the good habits below.

illustration of vector recycle symbol

Invest in an Indoor Recycling Container

Wherever you put your regular trashcan, put a recycling bin right beside it. Every time you go to throw something away it will make you think twice about whether it can be recycled instead of simply thrown out.

Become More Familiar With Recyclables

When you know what can and can’t be recycled garbage is more likely to end up where it needs to be. Recycling symbols make it easy on plastics, but that’s only one type of recyclable material. For the next week or so make it a habit to read through the EPA’s list of common recyclables until you’ve got a firm grasp on what should go in the blue recycling bin. You’ll also need to check with your local waste management provider to understand what their facility is capable of processing.

Keep Reducing and Reusing in Mind Too

Before you think about recycling, consider ways you can reduce the amount of waste you and/or your family produces and how items can be reused. Waste reduction addresses the problem before it becomes a problem and reusing an item is even greener than recycling. Start by making it a habit to buy high quality goods that are built to last. Next, make it a habit to reduce your portion sizes whether it’s food, hygiene products, cleaners, etc. Another way to reduce waste is to buy in bulk or use products that aren’t packaged.

Consider Recycling Before You Buy

Today consumers have more choices than ever, which can be a good thing for recycling. Make it a habit to always consider the recycling or reuse options before you buy. That way you can choose the option that’s easier to recycle right from the start.

Have a Waste Free Day

Last year when Coco-Cola and OpenIDEO announced a competition that focused on coming up with creative ways to improve people’s recycling habits the reaction was huge. One of the best ideas that made it to the final eight was remarkably simple – Waste Free Wednesdays. It’s based on the popular Meat Free Mondays concept. One day a week (Wednesday) make it a goal to not use any items that would end up in a landfill. By using only recyclables and compostable materials you’ll be thinking all day about the waste you’re generating.

 

At Dumpsters.biz we’re doing our part to increase the rate of recycling by providing trash separation for our dumpster rental customers. All you have to do is throw everything into one container, and we’ll separate out the recyclables. That way no recyclables end up at the landfill.