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25 Ways to Create a Green and Healthy Home

Experts say simple changes can turn your home into a green home.
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Creating a green and healthy home: Shun toxic products continued...

Creating a green and healthy home: Beyond paper, plastic, and glass

  • Use durable goods: Ditch disposable razors for reusable ones. Swap plastic cups and paper plates for ceramic ones. Choose reusable food containers over plastic wrap. Choose rechargeable batteries over the conventional single-use kind.
  • Buy recycled products: Look on labels for products - like writing paper and toilet tissue - with the greatest percentage of post-consumer recycled content. Choose food items like cereals and crackers packaged in recycled cardboard.
  • Find creative ways to recycle household goods: Donate used toys to a worthy organization, or start a toy library in your community, rather than tossing them in the trash. Host a clothing swap for grown-ups, and set up a kids' clothing exchange. Do the same with books. Before you toss that cardboard box in the recycling, let your child turn it into a space ship, robot, dollhouse, or secret hiding space for hours or even days of earth-friendly fun.

Create a green and healthy home: Conserve water

  • Wait for a full load: Don't turn on the washing machine or dishwasher until it's full. Each washing cycle uses more than 25 gallons of water; make sure that every drop counts.
  • Save baths for special occasions: A shower uses about half as much water as the average bath - as long as you keep it to less than 5 minutes. An egg timer suction-cupped on the shower wall is a good way of keep track.
  • Fill the sink to do dishes: You'll use a fraction of the water that's used by leaving the faucet running. Ditto on the rinsing front. If you don't have a double sink, use a tub for rinsing.
  • Think before flushing: Don't waste water flushing tampons, condoms, or flushable wipes down the toilet, where they can block the sewage system. Dispose of these items in the trash, and save flushing for when you really need to (hint: not after every pee). Up to a third of the drinking water that comes into the typical Western home goes straight down the toilet, says Yarrow, which is a terrible waste of this precious resource.

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