From: Virginia Tech Office of Sustainability

While working remotely, consider these easy tips for boosting you and your home’s sustainability. Read on for six easy ways to do so.

1. Use non-toxic cleaners. There are plenty of natural, non-toxic cleaners on the market. However, they can be more expensive and some still have synthetic fragrances. Consider making your own environmentally-friendly cleaners out of common household items. 

  • White vinegar is naturally acidic and makes a great agent for killing mold and bacteria. It is also handy for cleaning mirrors and windows.
  • Baking soda is good for deodorizing.
  • Lemon juice is also good for fighting bacteria.
  • Sodium borate (borax) is a multi-purpose cleaner and great for scrubbing floors and walls.
  • Add essential oils to your cleaners for a fresh scent.

Using these cleaning alternatives is safer, more environmentally friendly, and more affordable.

2. Lose unnecessary paper and plastic products.

  • Say goodbye to paper towels and use washable rags and cloths.
  • Use a reusable water bottle instead of buying cases of single-use plastic bottles.
  • Use reusable cloth bags instead of taking home hundreds of plastic bags.
  • While working from home, print on both sides of the paper if possible.

3. Educate yourself about your local recycling center and learn how to start making your own compost. Each recycling center has different rules and regulations for what they will and won’t accept. Blacksburg and Virginia Tech partners with Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority (MRSWA) in Christiansburg. MRSWA has recently put out a video that makes knowing what to recycle even easier. You can also learn how to take your household food scraps or yard waste and turn them into great fertilizer for gardens and flower beds. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a lot of good information for household composting.

4. Reduce your electrical usage (and electric bill)

  • Keep lights off when you don’t need them.
  • Use drapes and dark shades to keep the sun out and your house cooler.
  • Weather strip your windows to reduce heating/cooling costs.
  • Invest in ENERGY STAR rated appliances.
  • Use power strips to better control electricity supplied to computers and other devices which tend to draw energy even when turned off.

5. Reduce your water usage (and water bill)

  • Don’t do a load of laundry or run the dishes until they are completely full.
  • Take quick showers.
  • Turn the water off when you are brushing your teeth or doing dishes by hand.
  • Fix any leaky pipes. This can save hundreds to thousands of gallons of water, along with lowering your water bill.
  • Consider installing a low-flow showerhead. Look for models rated at 1 to 2 gallons per minute (GPM). Some even have a “pause” button to use while you are shampooing or washing your body.

6. Make better consumer choices.

  • Choose compact fluorescent lightbulbs or LEDs instead of regular incandescent ones.
  • Use rechargeable batteries. Not only are rechargeable batteries easier to recycle, they also contribute less waste to landfills.

Click here to learn more about the Office of Sustainability.

Written by Christy Myers


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