You might remember Kermit the Frog’s sad lament that “It’s not easy being green”. But, actually it can be! Living more sustainably can be as simple as introducing just a few simple changes to your home to help you tread more lightly on the planet. Here are five simple “going green” life hacks to get you started:
1. Lemon, bicarb soda, salt and vinegar
These humble, everyday ingredients are powerful cleaners around the home and, best of all, they cost very little and are gentle on both your family and the environment. By using these friendly alternatives you can avoid harsh, toxic chemicals from accumulating in the environment, threatening wildlife and contaminating our food and water sources. Search for some recipes online and find your favourites. There are dozens of recipes for DIY natural cleaning solutions to clean every part of your home (& body!).
2. Keep reusable bags on hand
Australians are addicted to plastic bags and on average we each use about 400 plastic bags per year! According to Clean Up Australia’s figures, 50 million plastic bags enter the litter stream each year and “currently, only 3% of plastic bags are recycled”. Sadly the remaining bags end up either in landfill or polluting the environment and threatening wildlife. So what is the solution? It’s easy! Simply take a moment to stash some reusable bags in your car, bike, handbag and backpack to use the next time you are at the shops. Once you are in the habit, you’ll wonder how you ever did without and you will quickly see how unnecessary plastic bags are.
3. Do a wheelie!
How about swapping your car for your bike whenever possible? The great part of this is that the health benefits for both you and the environment are significant. In fact research has found that adults who regularly cycle have a level of fitness equivalent to being 10 years younger! In terms of the benefits to the environment, how great is it that for every car we swap for a bike we will eliminate approximately 750 kg of carbon dioxide emissions .
4. Outsmart your printer
Ink cartridges for our modern day printers are expensive, and their disposable design can be very wasteful. Did you know you can increase the life of your ink cartridges by switching your typeset to Arial, Century Gothic or Ecofont? By using finer lines and stylish lettering, these fonts make the most of your ink, both saving you money and benefiting the environment[5,6]. You can even go one better and make sure to refill and/or recycle your ink cartridges once they are empty. Doing this can save millions of printer cartridges from ending up in landfill and enable the complex mix of resources used to manufacture them to be recycled into items ranging anywhere from outdoor furniture to new road surfaces.
5. Create your own scented diffuser
The scent of natural plant essential oils can improve your mood and create a pleasant ambience in your home. Rather than spending extra money and risking the sometimes toxic chemicals found in many artificially scented products, you can easily make your own diffuser. All you need are some twigs or bamboo skewers, a small glass bottle, 120 mL of vegetable glycerine and 20 drops of your choice of essential oils. Then it is as easy as placing all these ingredients into your favorite bottle and sitting back to enjoy the new and beautiful scent drifting through your home.
So what a great and simple start to the ways of the eco-warrior! And how easy is it for all of us to make a difference, one life hack at a time?
What are your favourite “green” life hacks?
REFERENCES: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/51-fantastic-uses-for-baking-soda.html  http://www.allyou.com/budget-home/live-green-save/baking-soda  http://www.cleanup.org.au/au/Campaigns/plastic-bag-facts.html  http://freewheeler.net/facts-and-figures/  http://mentalfloss.com/article/59451/9-easy-lifehacks-going-green  http://www.inkpal.com/ink-news/fonts-that-use-less-ink-and-are-better-for-the-environment/  http://recyclingweek.planetark.org/recycling-info/downloads.cfm  http://www.homedit.com/oil-reed-diffuser/