Sustainability Starts at Home: Do your Part for the Environment


Some days it seems like you have a million errands to run just to maintain your home. The grocery shopping alone can take a huge amount of time out of your week. Some think the only way to completely provide all of your needs that an entire farm is necessary. Sustainable living can be accomplished in many different living situations. It is good for the environment, and can help you save money. Potted plants, raised gardens, recycling, and homemade products can all be a part of lessening your negative contributions to the planet.

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Growing Food
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Growing your own food can be a very freeing experience. What could be better than picking your own fresh vegetable for dinner? You don’t need a lot of acreage to accomplish this task. Even apartment dwellers can provide a little bit of their own food. If you have a backyard, consider making raised garden beds for the healthiest soil. Plants can be grown closer together in raised beds because the soil is usually richer. This also gives you the option of using organic soil.

Herbs and some fruits and vegetables can be grown in pots, as well.  A climbing tomato plant, hanging strawberry plants, and various peppers all do well in smaller containers. Large pots can be useful for young fruit trees, squash, and spinach. Some areas have rooftop gardens or community gardens that people work together on, and share the produce. These methods of food production, when implemented by many people, can help to lessen the use of commercial farm products. Grocery store produce often has been exposed to pesticides and contaminated soil.

Compost

A compost pile can help you to provide healthy soil for your plants without having to purchase pre-packaged plant food. It also helps to avoid sending your food waste to a landfill. You can purchase expensive compost containers that turn themselves, however, this is not necessary. If you have a plastic bin already hanging around your house, repurpose it.

Holes drilled in the top and bottom can allow for drainage. Fill it halfway with dirt, and layer with leaves and torn up newspaper on the bottom. Add organic matter that is left over in your kitchen, and the process begins. You can also add worms to keep the mix moving, or turn it yourself regularly with a shovel. Apartment dwellers can use a small bin kept on their patio. Be sure to research safety methods and keep the balance proper so that a foul smell does not take over, though!

Recycling

Recycling has become much easier in recent years. Many neighborhoods have designated buckets for recycled items. All you have to do, in this case, is put everything out on the designated retrieval day. If you do not have this option, you may be limited in your choices. You can still contribute to this global effort, however. Be careful what you purchase, to avoid waste in the first place. Some items come with excessive packaging. Get a container for your home and collect items for a monthly trip to your local recycling center. If you have a large amount of aluminum, you may even make a little profit. Working together with friends or neighbors may help the effort along, especially if someone owns a truck for hauling items. Reuse glass jars to store things like pens, coins, and nails. Some stores also allow you to bring a reusable jar to collect foods like granola and nuts.

Homemade Products

When you purchase a product at the store, you often bring home an item with disposable packaging and a lot of chemicals. There are many things that can be made at home with more natural ingredients. This also allows you to use the same container over and over. Laundry detergent is very easy to make and ends up costing around $1 per gallon. This can be great for large families on a budget. Recipes online usually call for about three ingredients and minimal effort. Borax, a bar of laundry soap, and water are the basic elements. You can customize your scent with essential oils. Deodorant, toothpaste, and beauty products can also be made at home with all natural products. This not only helps the environment, it is better for your health.

Sustainable living habits are easy to fit into your daily routine. Gardening can be a part of your exercise and relaxation for the day. Homemade items often call for ingredients you already have on hand, as well. Composting gives you rich food for your plants without making a trip to the store, as well. Recycling should be a part of everyone’s routine by now. Many communities make this easy for residents by providing a container and curbside service. Those that don’t have this can lobby for it. Your home is more than a place to relax after a long day, it can easily become a hub for products that sustain your family.

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