Back to Blog

5 ways to slash your home's environmental footprint in 2022

Marta Gintowt
July 19, 2022

Protecting the Environment at Home - from recycling to off-grid

Reducing your home's contributions to climate change can seem like a daunting task, but in 2022 sustainability options for are more accessible from ever, whether trying to reduce household waste or reaching carbon net zero. From recycling to off-grid, here are 5 ways to make your home more environmentally conscious:

1. Step up your recycling game

To an extent, everyone recycles. separating paper and plastic is a great start, but did you know that there's a right and a wrong way to recycle?

Here are a few easy hacks that can make your recycling even more impactful in a very positive way:

Don't recycle anything smaller than a credit card

It turns out, the equipment used to process recycled materials aren't designed to handle small items like straws, caps, utensils, etc., which can actually cause the equipment to jam or even break. As a general rule, recycling centers recommend using the credit card method for choosing what to recycle and what to throw away.

Clean it out before you toss it

like small items can interfere with the recycling process, so too can food waste. Most of us might not think about cleaning out a jar of Raggu before sending it to become another jar of something else, but that coating of sauce on the inside of the can is the difference between the item being recycled or thrown in a landfill.

It's estimated that only 30% of recyclable plastics actually make it all the way through the recycling process due to disqualifying factors such as food waste or improper sorting.

When in doubt, throw it out

We've all had that moment of hesitation when throwing away ambiguous items such as packaging or takeout containers.

"I THINK this is recyclable..."

If you're not sure and there's no clear recycling info on the item in question, then the best thing you can do is throw it in the trash. The reason for this, is that a single non-recyclable item in amongst all of your other recyclable papers and plastics can cause the whole load to be compromised and diverted to a landfill, resulting in even more waste even you had nothing but good intentions.

2. Reduce your home energy consumption

You can save energy by making simple changes like turning off lights when you leave a room, using energy-efficient light bulbs, and setting your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and higher in the summer.

Every home is different, and depending on the equipment and gadgets you have cutting energy consumption can be done in lots of different ways.

instead of going over the usual tips like "get new efficient HVAC and applicances", we thought it more helpful to shout out a simple product that helps you analyze where your home energy is being used and provides useful tips for reducing your overall consumption. By understanding your energy usage, you can make informed decisions the best ways to reduce your usage (and emissions) and while saving money on your power bill.

Check out Constellation Connect here >

3. Use environmentally-conscious materials

When making upgrades to your home, opt for sustainable materials like bamboo floors, LED lighting, and low-VOC paint.

In another blog post, we covered how sustainable building materials like Rockwool (instead of traditional insulation) can reduce your environmental footprint while also deterring termites and slowing the spread of fire.

4. Save water and strengthen your soil

You can reduce your water usage by fixing any leaks, watering your plants during the cooler hours of the day, and investing in low-flow fixtures for your faucets and shower-heads.

Water is a precious resource that's needed by every living thing, so let's try to turn off that faucet while brushing those pearly whites to ensure there's always enough for everyone.

In addition to conserving water, we must also avoid contaminating water. Many of the common household products we use can be extremely toxic to plants and animals (and people!) if they get into our water.

Wait for clean skies before you fertilize

Rain can wash toxic fertilizers off your yard and into storm drains which lead out to oceans and other important wetland environments. Try to fertilize only when the forecast predicts a few days of sunshine, that way your yard can get the maximum benefit without compromising the environment.

If you have well-water, it's best to avoid using fertilizers in the immediate vicinity of the well at all costs, as it can seep in and pollute your drinking water.

Healthy soil is our secret weapon against climate change

In a recent blog we covered the incredible research of Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, who has found that healthy soil can not only capture more carbon emissions than any other natural substance, but also store that carbon for an extremely long time - hundreds of years even.

How can you help promote healthier soil at home? Composting alone can strengthen and add essential nutrients to the soil around your home, which is the foundation for your personal outdoor ecosystem.

Not sure how to start composting? This article has 5 great tips to get you started >

5. Get off the grid

20% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US can be directly attributed to energy generated for homes.

That's 13,000,000 pounds of toxic emissions released into the environment

Every. Year.

Until now, utilities have had most of the control over how those emissions get slashed, but experts believe cutting the bare minimum won't get us very far in the fight against climate change.

The average home that goes off-grid - becoming self-sustaining by generating their own energy using renewables - prevents around 6.5 tons of harmful emissions every year.

The five year impact of 100 homes that get off the grid?

6,500,000 pounds (3,250 tons) of emissions avoided.

Getting off the grid has never been easier for US homeowners. Companies like Dandelion Energy are making geothermal heating and cooling affordable and approachable to the average consumer, while services like OhmGrid are making home power as simple and accessible by bundling everything from equipment installation to monitoring and maintenance under one flat monthly subscription.

Find out if your home is off-grid compatible here >

Want more insights like this?

Well you're in luck! Join our mailing list to stay up to date on our blog posts and other OhmGrid news.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.