4 Changes You Can Make to Reduce Your Home’s Environmental Impact

Nicole GimplApril 24, 2019
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Phoenix is the nation’s 12th largest metropolitan area, cramming 4.7 million people into a low bowl of desert heat, a natural magnifier for climate change. Give it a quick Google search, and you’ll see what we did: Phoenix has been dubbed one of the “most unsustainable cities in the U.S.” For more than a decade, it has experienced significant droughts and its pyramid of complexities include heat and violent winds. It can seem like an insurmountable problem – one you might want to leave to the eco-friendly scientists from Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability or the state’s thorough water-use plan. But there are actually plenty of steps you can take to help the environment that don’t require drastic changes to your lifestyle. Here are four things you can do tonight, tomorrow or this weekend to make your home more eco-friendly.

1. Composting

Composting is often left to those with a backyard — a.k.a. a place to store smelly food scraps far away from their living space ‒‒ or to those who garden. Thankfully, local businesses like Recycled City are making it easier for people without the luxury of green space to compost as well.

For just a few dollars a month, services like these will provide you with the materials needed to collect your compostable goods and return at varying time intervals, depending on your needs, to pick up those goods. By composting, you’ll be sending your leftovers to be turned into nutrient-rich soil, which will be used on farms and in local gardens instead of rotting in a landfill.

2. Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Some cleaning products on the market today use harmful chemicals and packaging that could be detrimental to the environment. Switching to green products that are made using sustainable manufacturing practices and naturally derived, safe, non-toxic, and biodegradable ingredients is an easy way to help keep dangerous substances and nonrenewable containers out of the environment.

Truce is a local company, based in Tempe, that is striving to reduce the amount of chemicals that make their way into your home. The company even boasts a surprisingly short list of non-toxic ingredients that are all you’ll ever find in their line of eco-friendly cleaning supplies ‒ they even have a line tailored for Fido!

3. Reusable Grocery & Produce Bags

Wanting to use reusable grocery totes and remembering to scoop them up from your trunk and actually bring them into the store are two very different things. This one change, however, can significantly reduce your environmental impact.

Did you know that, according to the Center for Biological Diversity, the average American family takes home about 1,500 plastic bags in one year? And, that 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually? So place a sticky note on your steering wheel or a reminder on your phone to use those bags.

4. Plan Better

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), between 30 and 40 percent of the nation’s food supply is wasted. By throwing away food, we waste the energy and other inputs used in the supply chain from production to disposal of this food “… are pulled away from uses that may have been more beneficial to society – and generate impacts on the environment that may endanger the long-run health of the planet,” according to the USDA.

The easiest way to combat food waste is to only buy the groceries you need, and the best way to plan for a trip to the store is to plan out your meals. By writing down the exact amount of ingredients you’ll need each week and only buying those things, you’ll likely waste less food because you’ll be eating everything you purchased!

Another useful alternative is to purchase some of your groceries from local growers. Bambox is a local indoor grower, based in Tempe, that uses 95 percent less fresh water than traditional agriculture and uses 100% compostable packaging. By purchasing locally grown produce and other goods, you’re investing back into our community and lessening the opportunity to waste food.

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