While many people turn out for Earth Day events that ironically generate tons of trash, this eco-holiday offers an opportunity to create lasting change in your habits that can lessen your impact on the environment. New year, new greener you!
Check out these seven eco-friendly products to give your home an easy Earth Day–inspired makeover that will benefit Earth until April 22 rolls around again. Let this list serve as proof that small changes add up to a greener planet.
1. Put an end to energy vampires
According to Belkin, a typical U.S. household has up to 40 devices drawing constant power—even when they’re not technically “on.” These power suckers are known as energy vampires, but there’s a way to combat them that doesn’t involve holy crosses or wooden stakes.
Belkin’s Conserve power switch can be used with anything that uses standby power—think toasters, stereos, microwaves, and phone chargers. The plug has a switch on the side that you simply turn off, meaning your electronics will really and truly be off. It costs just $6.99 and, if installed all over your home, could shave up to a whopping $100 a year from your utility bill.
2. Add wool balls to your dryer
Dryer sheets may have a lot of uses outside the laundry room, but at the end of the day, they’re disposable products that inevitably pile up in our landfills. Meanwhile, wool dryer balls allow hot air to circulate better in the dryer, soften clothes, reduce static, and reduce drying time—all for an amazing low price per load.
Eco bonus: Your clothes will last longer, as extended drying time breaks down fabric. Six chemical-free balls made with 100% organic New Zealand wool run $14.95.
3. Go for ‘green’ toys
The Ocean Conservancy estimates that 8 million metric tons of plastic wind up in our planet’s oceans each year! The company Green Toys is helping to combat that by making toys out of recycled plastic such as milk containers. These include a cool array of toys from cars and airplanes to butterfly makers and Sesame Street favorites, packaged in recycled cardboard printed with soy ink.
Encourage your child to help take care of the planet in more ways than one with this watering can ($16.99), made from 100% recycled plastic.
4. Grab some stainless-steel straws
After a rise in outcry against the ubiquitous single-use plastic straw, the once-ubiquitous item’s days may be numbered: Cities from Seattle to Los Angeles and even Washington, DC, have banned the single-use sip aids, and Starbucks announced it would ban single-use plastic straws in all of its locations by 2020. The plastic tubes end up in the ocean and cause injury or death to sea creatures that ingest them by mistake.
If you can’t kick the straw habit, pick up some Greens Steel stainless-steel straws that can be used over and over. The set of four—two straight and two bent—includes a brush for cleaning, all for a cool $8.99.
5. Lather up with a solid shampoo bar
A cool way to eighty-six some bathroom packaging is to shampoo your hair with a solid shampoo bar. One bar from bathroom products behemoth Lush costs $10.95 and lasts up to 80 washes—that saves three plastic shampoo bottles from going in the garbage. Plus, many shampoo bar formulations make use of organic ingredients.
6. Wrap leftover food in beeswax-infused cotton
There’s no need to reach for plastic wrap that will never biodegrade when you confront leftovers ever again. Simply cover that bowl of mac and cheese or wrap that half-sandwich in a wrap made with organic cotton, beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. Best of all? It’s reusable—just wash with soap and warm water. A set of three sizes of a new ocean print from Bee’s Wrap is $19.
7. Save water as you shower
One easy way to save water is to cut what blasts out of your shower head every day. The High Sierra low-flow shower head ($39.95) is a 1.5 gallon-per-minute shower head (most are 2.5 gallons per minute) that the company says doesn’t feel like you are showering in a light mist. Instead the patented nozzle delivers a strong, full spray of large drops. This will not only use 40% less water, but it’ll also save on the cost it takes to heat the water.
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