Once a year, we dive into the heavy duty task of cleaning our homes from top to bottom. Make this the year to change things up and create some new cleaning habits by including recycling and green cleaning. Here are a few ways to introduce some earth- and eco-friendly practices to your cleaning routines.
- Gather collection bins: Establish a collection bins to make it easy to gather all your recycling in one place. The number of bins you need depends on your city's guidelines for sorting. If no sorting is required, a single bin will do. Otherwise, use different colored bins to make it simple to sort paper, aluminum, glass, etc.
- Start with the kitchen: Most families find the kitchen is a primary source of recyclable goods. If space is at a premium, keep a smaller collection bin in the kitchen that can be easily transported to a sorting station in a larger area, such as the garage.
- Wash it off: Be sure to rinse away any food or liquid residue from containers to manage odors and keep your recycling area tidy and odor free. Maximize your bin space by compressing cans and bottles.
- Recycling in all rooms: Many common bathroom items, such as shampoo and soap bottles, and even cardboard toilet paper tubes, can be recycled.
- More than just trash: Remember that recycling comes in other forms, such as donating unwanted clothing to charity, or saving water. Here's a tip: place a bin in your shower to catch the cold water you'd normally let fall down the drain while waiting for the water to heat up and use that to water your plants or freshen the dog's bowl.
Eco-Friendly Spring Cleaning
- Dump toxic cleaners: When spring cleaning indoors, use water-based or organic household cleaners. Do not pour chemicals down the drain – recycle them at your nearest hazardous waste collection center. To find one in your area, visit your state’s website.
- Open the windows: Nothing freshens up a home faster than outdoor air. If weather permits, open your windows to allow air from the outside to sweep away harmful indoor pollutants like radon, secondhand smoke and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) – the latter are typically found in the building materials of existing homes.
- Inspect plumbing: A leaky toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water every day. To conserve water, conduct an inspection of your home’s plumbing system and repair any dripping fixtures immediately. To reduce bills, consider installing a low-flow faucet or shower head in at least one bathroom.
- Ready the HVAC system: For those using an A/C this summer, clear the area surrounding the unit of any overgrown shrubbery or debris from winter storms. Obstructions to the unit can lead to increased energy consumption, resulting in higher utility bills.
- Restore the lawn: Patchy areas of your lawn can lead to higher erosion levels if left unrepaired, so restore any grass gaps as soon as possible. To really give your yard a boost and do good for the environment, spread grass clippings on your lawn – the nutrients will benefit the grass underneath and eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.
- Compost waste: If you’d rather not leave clippings on your lawn, consider composting them instead. You’ll save time and money on water usage because composted soil absorbs and holds moisture better than store-bought mulch.
Sources: PERC, RISMedia’s Housecall