You know the projects you can take on to make your home greener, from green materials to incorporating green technologies. But how can you make the act of home improvement green? Use the old eco-friendly adage of reduce, reuse, recycle—the less you use and the more you recycle, the smaller your footprint. With that in mind, follow these five ways to make your home improvement projects green and you’ll be doing the environment a big favor.
1. Rent Instead of Buy
We don’t really think about it, but a lot of materials, time and energy go into filling the need for tools. There’s the materials and energy to build it, the pollution from producing, delivering and selling the tools, and the energy wasted as your tool sits in storage as others buy more of the same tool.
You probably already have a good supply of common DIY tools you use regularly, but for the odd-ball parts, try renting or seeing if anyone you know has the tool. It’s cheaper than buying new, keeps your storage space free and greatly cuts down on emissions.
2. Use Electric Tools
For those same tools, try to get an electric version. Production-wise, they can expend the same amount of energy and pollution, but electric tools burn a lot cleaner than gasoline powered and emit fewer particulates into the atmosphere. Kind of like a hybrid vs. traditional car.
3. Salvaged Materials
When you can, use salvaged materials for your projects instead of buying new ones. It again greatly reduces the environmental impact because they’re already made. Recycled bricks and pavers are a lot cheaper than new ones and have much more character. Salvaged wood, though it can be more expensive due to demand, reduces waste to landfills and gives a charming and rustic feel.
4. Reuse Your Own Materials
Look around your home. Is there some material you can use for your new project? It may take a little creativity, but it’s well worth the money you’ll save. Pavers from your old driveways can be used for a fire pit or rustic garden boxes. The leftover lumber from your addition can be used for a new deck and that old fence can make some decorative furniture. Patch that leaky sink bowl and use it in the garden shed to wash off, and offer to take your neighbors leftover paint off their hands to paint your planting pots. Materials can be found just about anywhere.
5. Recycle Your Waste
You did what you could to rent electric tools and reuse old materials, now it’s your turn to recycle what you have leftover. Even if something can’t be used again, it doesn’t mean the material can’t be recycled. Take it to a proper recycling center and they’ll make sure the material is broken down and reproduced as something new.
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