Green Living

The Cheapskate’s Guide To A Greener Home

The best place to start making a difference is in your own backyard!
The Cheapskate’s Guide To A Greener Home
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17. Set your thermostat so you’re not totally comfy. That means keeping it cooler than you might be used to in the winter and warmer than you’d like in the summer. “You’ll likely be surprised by what this simple change in behavior will inspire you to do,” says Short. “You can cuddle up with the dog, your date or a cup of tea in the winter—or spend more time outdoors after the sun sets in the summer.”

18. Caulk your windows and doors. “Simply using a caulk gun to seal these spots can have a bigger impact than new windows or a new hot water heater,” says Watt. And don’t forget to check all the areas in your house where air is likely to penetrate (like dryer vents and the furnace flue).

19. Stop using conventional dryer sheets. Why do they smell so great? Because they’re loaded with chemicals, which rub off on your clothes and stay on your skin. Opt instead for natural options which use a blend of essential oils and are free of toxic chemicals.

20. Throw a greener party. Paper plates and plastic utensils may be easy, but they use up a lot of resources to be used only once. Eco-friendlier (and far classier-looking!) options: Eco-Products’ Plantware High-Heat Utensils, which are compostable ($63 for 1,000; ecoproductsstore.com); and VerTerra dinnerware, which are made using fallen palm leaves ($6 to $9; amazon.com).

21. Keep your car parked. “In addition to causing excess gas consumption and emissions, driving a car isolates you from your surroundings,” says Short, “which contributes to one of the worst errors of thinking in modern civilization—that we exist apart from nature.” So, pull out your walking shoes, grab your bike or carpool with neighbors.

22. Purify your air. Naturally remove odors, bacteria, allergens, mold and mildew from your closet or car with the MOSO Natural Air Purifying Bag ($10; biggreenearthstore .com). This fragrance-free sack clears the air for months; stick it in the sun for a day to rejuvenate its air-purifying power.

23. Green your cookware. You know the hazards of Teflon when it flakes off your pots and pans and into your food. Opt for 100 percent ceramic skillets, woks, saucepans and bakeware or old-fashioned cast-iron cookware.

24. Ditch it. Take out the trash in a biodegradable bag. Plastic garbage bags are often made using petroleum—and end up staying in the landfi ll long after your waste has disintegrated. Swap your go-to brand for biodegradable garbage bags.