With all the Earth Day reminders on reducing your carbon footprint you might feel a bit overwhelmed as to how to make a 360-degree turn in a matter of days. Many of you have worked diligently to make sustainable changes in your surrounding environment. Then again, there are your family and friends who have no clue as to what to do and your nagging them has only gotten you removed from any future family outings. When I wrote, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Detoxing Your Body, I included a chapter on making small changes in your home over the course of one year. It is a simple plan anyone can do, and feel free to pass it on to all resistant family or friends.
Months 1-3: Your Kitchen
- Replace food in kitchen with organic, whole foods.
- Replace plastic cooking utensils with wood or bamboo.
- Replace Teflon and aluminum cookware.
- Switch to nontoxic cleansers.
- Safely dispose of toxic cleansers.
- Install a water filter.
Months 4-6: Your Body
- Replace formaldehyde-treated linens with organic.
- Replace dry cleaning with laundering.
- Replace commercial wash detergents with eco-products.
- Replace skin care products with natural, organic products.
- Avoid using “disposable” products of all kinds.
Months 7-9: Your Home
- Replace toxic carpets with renewable wood or bamboo.
- Dispose of toxic pesticides for natural repellents.
- Purchase an air purifier.
- Replace pressboard furniture with renewable wood pieces.
- Use alternative building materials for renovation projects.
- Use low VOC paints in place of toxic brands.
Months 10-12: Your Energy Use
- Drive your car less and walk, ride a bike, or share rides.
- Keep your car tuned and/or buy a hybrid.
- Wash your laundry with cold water.
- Insulate your home to cut down on energy use.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
- Replace commercial batteries with rechargeable batteries.
Over the course of a year you can make a dramatic difference in the quality of your health, your home environment, and the impact your actions have on the Earth. The eco-green movement in America has spawned creative alternative ways to replace standard toxic products with safe and renewable ones. Feel free to fit these suggestions to what you can do each month, but remind yourself to make changes one step at a time and it will all get done.