Tips for living green, part 2: Household practices

There are so many ways that your actions, both large and small, can help make your community and the world at large a healthier place. In this series, we’ll touch on a few ways you can make changes to “live green.“

We all spend a fair amount of time cleaning, shopping and taking care of the home or apartment in which we live. Here are some ideas for making your home and garden techniques more sustainable:


  • Use biodegradable cleaning products. Laundry detergent, cleansers, furniture polishes and other household products may be found in environmentally friendly formulations at any natural grocery store, and even in many mainstream stores. Check labels for nontoxic ingredients, and browse lists of tested green products. Better yet, try making your own.
  • Reduce your laundry footprint. Use cool instead of warm water in your wash cycle, and consider buying an Energy Star-certified unit that uses less energy overall. 


  • Buy local. Shop for food at your local farmers market, and find holiday gifts at craft fairs with local artisans. Buying local reduces the amount of fossil fuels required to transport products across long distances, and it cuts down on wasteful packaging.
  • Take a reusable tote. Instead of using grocery stores’ disposable plastic or paper bags, bring your own reusable tote bags, which are available at many grocers. Not only are the bags less wasteful, they are sturdier, making your trip home easier and keeping your groceries intact! If you must use disposable bags, ask your bagger to avoid double-bagging.


  • Use green gardening techniques. Many gardeners improperly apply pesticides, putting themselves, their families and their pets at increased health risk. (Also, make sure any pesticides are stored out of the reach of children.)
  • Keep your lawn care and landscaping sustainable. Learn how to use an appropriate amount of water for your plants, avoid too much pruning and cut your grass with a mulching mower.
  • Set up a composting station. Composting is essentially creating soil with a bed of plant matter, leftovers and other biodegradable materials. Whether you live in an apartment or on a farm, you can create a compost pile within the constraints of your space.

Learn more about making your home green