Over the last few decades, there’s been a lot of talk about what it means to live green or a green lifestyle. Some assume that green living is absolute: You either are going green or you aren’t.
The truth is a green lifestyle doesn’t have just one way of living. It’s more like a statement of mind and a commitment to doing your best to help the earth. Your goal should be to reduce your carbon footprint, throw out less waste, recycle as much as possible and reduce what you use as much as possible.
This does not mean that you need to live in a tiny home and never buy anything new or non-organic again — although you can if you want. But recycling occasionally and using a low-flush toilet doesn’t mean you’re really living green. It takes a concentrated effort to go green, but you can build up to it overtime.
Thinking about really going green? Want to live a green lifestyle? Here’s what you need to know about living a green lifestyle — and how green pest control can help you do your part to protect the plant while still getting rid of pests.
Green and sustainable
A green lifestyle is just another way of saying that you are trying to live a sustainable lifestyle. Sustainability simply means that you want to do as little harm to the earth as possible.
In this day and age, we ask a lot from the earth, so in being sustainable, you’re trying to expect just a little less from the earth and use fewer resources. You’re not expected to never drive a car again or take a shower again, but in being sustainable, you should be more aware of how your actions affect the earth.
Green living is basically the path to sustainable living, which is where you probably want to be. You love and respect our planet and all the living beings on it, but no one expects you to do a 180 on your lifestyle at once. By being green overtime, you’ll get to a sustainable lifestyle.
Have you ever looked at the label on a box or granola bars or a cleaning product and seen the wood “natural” or “all natural” or “green” or similar phrases? These words convey the sense that the product in some way is better for the planet or protects it in some way, but it’s not clear exactly how.
This is what’s called green washing, and it’s usually done by companies that want to appear environmentally friendly but only to make you want to buy their product over their “non-green” competitor. These types of words are meaningless, and there’s no governing body to say when a company can or can’t use the term “green” or “natural.”
For example, there are regulations regarding when a company can print “Made in the USA” on a product. The product either has to be made from American pieces assembled in the U.S. — like a chair made from wood harvested in the U.S. and fabric from another domestic manufacturer — or the majority of the product must be assembled in the U.S. A car, for example, may use a bumper or part of an engine from a Mexican factory, but American workers put the majority of the car together, going beyond just dropping the engine in and pushing it out of the factory. Legitimate work must be done to put the final product together, more than just putting completed components together.
But marketing words like green and natural do not have legal definitions. Companies can use these words to imply that they are green without any consequences. They don’t have to prove to the Food and Drug Administration or the Federal Communications Commission (both of which can have some sway over marketing language) that their products are green or sustainable.
This as a whole is called green washing, and it’s somewhat common nowadays. Companies know that consumers increasingly want to help the earth, so they use these phrases to make consumers think they’re more eco-friendly than they really are.
Avoid products that use these words. If you’re unsure, do a little internet research on the company to find out if their pledge to sustainability is legitimate.
Green lifestyle tips for the home
Going green around your home is a great first step in living a green lifestyle, so here are a few tips to get you started. You do not have to adopt every single one immediately — build up to it if you need to — but these tips will help you live greener and they can be done over time.
In your living room:
- Transition to LED light bulbs: LED technology has improved, and now you can find LED bulbs that will last up to 20 years. Their color temperatures have improved so the lighting is closer to that of incandescent bulbs, and many of them work with dimmers. The better ones are more expensive, but when you consider that you won’t have to replace bulbs in your home until about the time you’re ready to move out, it seems like a good trade-off.
- Install a digital thermostat: Digital thermostats can be controlled from your phone, which means you can turn your heater or air conditioner on and off when needed. You don’t need to cool your home all day. Just turn on your air conditioner as you’re leaving work, and by the time you get home, your house will be cool.
- Shop vintage: Not every piece of furniture needs to be brand new. You can find gently used pieces that just need a little TLC and give them a new purpose in your home.
In your kitchen:
- Use metal straws and reusable containers: The less plastic you get rid of the better. Plastic does not decompose, and although it’s recyclable, it’s better to use less of it altogether. So embrace metal straws and reusable containers such as Tupperware or glass containers. Buy a metal water bottle instead of buying plastic bottles of water.
- Install a water filter: Packs of plastic water bottles aren’t the only way to make sure you drink fresh water. If you absolutely cannot drink city or well water (remember you can have samples tested, and they’re probably not nearly as dirty as you think), then you don’t necessarily need plastic bottles. You can install a separate water line that is filtered or attach a filter to your faucet, but either will work. These will help clean the water for drinking and eliminate the need for bottled water.
- Avoid buying foods with extensive packaging and cook when scratch when possible: This isn’t always doable right away, but precooked meals and a lot of processed foods come in lots of plastic and cardboard packaging. It’s better to avoid buying them in the first place. However, that isn’t often possible for a busy family, so at the very least, make sure you separate and recycle everything. To save a little on produce, shop farmer’s markets or try your hand at growing some of your own fruits and veggies.
In your bathroom:
- Install a low-flush or low-pressure toilet: These toilets use less water to flush them, so you’re not wasting water when you don’t need to.
- Set a timer for your shower: There’s no reason for showers longer than seven minutes — and that’s really pushing it. But you can get carried away, so use your phone to set a timer. When it goes off, you should be getting out. If you find yourself not at all done when the timer goes off, start working to get out on time.
- Don’t leave the sink on when washing your hands or brushing your teeth: You don’t need to let the water run. Turn it off when you’re not using it, and turn it back on when you’re ready to rinse.
Don’t forget to recycle other products in your home. Instead of throwing away clothes, donate what is still in good condition or take it to a recycling center. Have old appliances that still work but have since been replaced? Use apps like Facebook or letgo to give them away for free. This reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, and it gives new life to products that still have a lot of use left.
In the home, going green should be thought of in baby steps. You may not be able to buy LED bulbs for every room in your house just yet, so start small by replacing a few bulbs here and there in the rooms you use the most. Then work out from there. Overtime, you’ll find that you end up making greener and more sustainable choices without even realizing it.
Green lifestyle tips for the yard
Going green outside seems like a natural place to start, and there’s a lot you can do around your home to live a little greener and sustainably. Here’s how to make the biggest impact in your yard.
- Start a compost pile: Compost piles help you in two ways. First, it’s a great way to get rid of organic waste like banana peels without just throwing it in the trash, and second, you’ll have nutrient-rich soil when you’re finished. You can find useful guides on how to start one and keep it going all year long.
- Install a rain barrel: Rain barrels collect rainwater and runoff from your gutters so the water can be reused to water plants. You’re not drinking the water, and plants don’t care whether it’s filtered or not. This will help you keep your water bill down.
- Water your lawn once a week or less: Grass only needs about an inch of water per week to survive. We all want green grass, but make sure you’re watering what is really needed.
- Install more flowerbeds to cut down on lawn size: Having a big lawn can be great, but it’s a lot of mowing and watering, which use precious resources. Eliminate some of that space by creating flower beds with native and drought-resistant plants. Plants that need less water will cut down on watering time.
- Avoid pesticides and fertilizers as much as possible: Your soil may already be nutrient-rich, and you can have it tested to find out. When it rains, the water may wash away any pesticides or fertilizers on your plants, polluting rivers and streams nearby.
- Pull weeds by hand: Avoid pesticides altogether by managing weeds yourself. It’s good exercise for you, and it’s better for the environment. You may have to tolerate some low levels of weeds, but that’s better than potentially polluting your garden.
You can also start a fruit or vegetable garden to help cut down on produce costs and waste at the grocery store, and you don’t need a large amount of space to do it. Carve out an area in your backyard for a garden, and choose fruits and vegetables you tend to buy the most and can grow easily. It may take a season or two for your garden to really take off, but once it does, you’ll find you have a lot of excess produce, which can be frozen or even given away to neighbors.
How green pest control promotes green lifestyles
There’s nothing worse than discovering an infestation in your home, but just because you find a rat nest or see a cockroach doesn’t mean that your house needs to be fumigated with harmful chemicals. That’s what Natran Green Pest Control is here for.
At Natran, we care about our earth, and we want to promote a green lifestyle and sustainability. To our company, going green means using botanically-based products that don’t have conventional pesticides in them. We don’t believe in spraying pesticides all over your home because we understand the damage they can do to people and pets as well as the land around your home. Our form of green pest control involves using integrated pest control management to stop and infestation and make sure the problem is taken care of for good.
Green pest control also means trapping live animals and setting them free elsewhere. If you have a raccoon making a home in your attic, we will trap it and move it. We never euthanize. That’s a big part of our commitment to green pest control.
Going green doesn’t happen all at once, but with a commitment to sustainability, you’ll find that living a green lifestyle takes very little effort and makes you feel better about your place on the planet. Tell us: How are you going green? Share with us in the comments and let us know how green pest control can help.