By Piper Kerrigan
Let’s face it, it’s always bigger in Texas really is’t that far off, but sometimes bigger is not always better. So how do we learn to reduce the big spending, big wasting, and massive energy inefficiency that the average American household has grown accustomed to and create a lighter footprint in a country known for its giant leaps? Whether you live in the bay area, the glorious hill country, or are even kicking back on the beach of the Bolivar Peninsula, learning how to take your Texas home and turn it into the eco-friendly palace of your dreams is not as hard as it looks. In fact, there are plenty of ways to take that ‘southern comfort’ you love and give that environmental spin on it you’re looking for that you’ve probably never even thought about up until now. The key is to relax, take a Texas-sized sip of your grape soda from Buc-ee’s, and leap into the future with all the grace and strength our glorious country has to offer.
1. ‘Eugene’ by Uzer: The Smart Trash Can That Helps You Recycle
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year, countless green energy improvements were on display. However, one of the most interesting contenders happened to be a trash can with a few tricks up its sleeve. In fact, this trash can is far from the hunk of plastic you probably currently toss your garbage in without a care as this new product by the french company Uzer actually records the items you dispose of daily and rewards you for your recycling efforts accordingly.
On top of this, this wonderful device can also help you to go paperless when shopping by creating your shopping list for you and connecting to your phone likewise. With this said, this trash can really ‘trash can’t’ go wrong and is a wonderful new addition to any eco-friendly household in 2017. By using this product, you can stop being a part of the 23 percent of Americans who don’t recycle and start being a part of the movement for a trash-free country immediately.
2. Recycling Cleaner Air: Plants and Air Purifiers
Since the industrial revolution, the percent of methane gas in the air has gone up by 150 percent and nearly everything we use daily emits greenhouse gases likewise. Not only are these gases harmful to our environment, but they have also been known to induce illness and even death when the air quality is toxic enough. In countries such as China, air quality is so bad that the death rate caused by said air is within the millions yearly.
In fact, in 2015, studies linked air pollution to 1.6 million deaths in China and America is not far off. In fact, indoor air quality in America is two to five times more polluted than outside and the numbers typically increase in major cities such as Houston or Dallas. By promoting indoor air quality in your home, you can ensure that you and your family are happy, healthy, and free from the negative effects air pollution tends to have for very little cost in the process.
Although plants are typically considered a decoration in your home, they can actually significantly improve air quality likewise. In fact, by learning what the best plants for indoor air quality are, you can find the one that fits your home and falls in line with your eco-friendly initiative all at once. Similarly, if you live in a larger city and think that plants simply won’t cut it, by looking at some of the air purifier guides out there and picking a product you can stand by, you can create a healthy indoor air quality even in the most polluted of areas for very little cost or effort in return.
3. Paper and Wood: Recycling For The Future
Most Texans have no idea of the sheer amount of paper that we as a nation use, however, the statistics are startling at best. The average American, in fact, uses 700 pounds of paper a year equating to 208 million tons. With this said, sixteen percent of our landfills are comprised of paper waste and 45 percent of paper in businesses across the nation is thrown in the trash the same day it is used.
Similarly, America uses 68 million trees per pear to produce paper and paper products and, for states that don’t enjoy melting their faces off year-round, trees are also used for firewood likewise. At the end of the year, over three to six billion trees are cut down yearly across the globe and most of it is wasted or thrown in a landfill. However, there is a wonderful new way that has become to gain traction to reduce your use of wood and actually give back to your local farmers in the process. By utilizing biomass systems to pelletize wood waste, you can turn your paper and wood trash into feedstock that can then be recycled on the farm. On top of recycling paper and wood, this system actually recycles crops and agricultural residues as well as biowaste from commercial, industrial, and consumer waste streams likewise turning waste into energy and helping the agricultural industry which is so prevalent in Texas grow in the process.
4. Energy Efficient Appliances: Making Clean Green
Also at CES this year, multiple companies introduced energy efficient appliances to make your home eco-friendly and reduce your usage of energy and water in the process. One of the biggest line of products displayed came from the energy efficiency giant, Energy Star, and included countless appliances such as energy efficient washers and dryers as well as eco-friendly refrigerators and dishwashers likewise.
When shopping for appliances, the Energy Star brand is a wonderful way to take your home shopping and make it as eco-friendly as your lifestyle. In turn, you can save energy, money, and water without lifting a finger which will allow you to enjoy the luxuries of eco-friendly living without the work commonly involved. By doing so, you can start turning your chores list into a green initiative in the blink of an eye and reap the many benefits in return likewise.
5. LED lights: A Brighter Future For All
You may not realize it when you turn your lights on in the morning or shut them off at night, but the bulbs in each lamp and ceiling fan can actually be wasting over ninety percent of the energy it produces on a daily basis. In fact, when using incandescent bulbs, you are actually wasting $75 every year on this extra energy despite it going absolutely nowhere in the process.
By switching to LED lights, you will actually be able to save that $75 each year and buy a bulb that lasts 25 times longer than the incandescent bulb in the process. On top of this, LED light bulbs actually use
ninety percent of the energy they create and last for nearly twenty years as well. In the end, switching to LED lights and learning how to save money with energy efficient lighting can not only save energy but can also be a superbly cost-effective alternative to its counterparts likewise making it a wonderful addition to any treehugger’s list.
Although Texas is a crazy place full of amazing people, American heroes, and the best darn barbecue in the country, learning how to reduce your energy usage and create an eco-friendly home can help you to stand apart in a state known for its big and flashy attitude and create a model that can be easily followed by your friends and family alike. In the end, home is where the heart is so why not fill your home with eco-friendly products and show the love you have for the future of this planet in turn?
Piper Kerrigan is a baker, party planner, and DIY extraordinaire from the Pacific Northwest. The only thing she loves more than a glass of good wine is snuggling her cat, Sebastian.