GreenThe green movement is no longer an obscure undertaking by tree huggers.  As education increases about the everyday environmental dangers that we are exposed to, more and more individuals are seeking ways to live a greener and healthier life. According to Crystal Johnson, Senior Environmental Specialist and owner of Crystal Environmental, “We are constantly bombarded by toxins and chemicals as a result of the air we inhale, the food we eat, and the products we put on our body. Since a majority of time is spent at home, it is crucial that you create a safe haven for yourself and family. Now that green, eco-friendly products are more accessible to the general public, it makes it easier for people to ‘go green.’ However, it’s important to realize that not everything labeled ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ actually is; consumers must be sure to make educated decisions about their purchases.” Eco-conscious changes don’t necessarily require a lot of upfront expenditure: you can gradually go green or jump in with both feet.

Ditch the VOC’s

It’s no myth that the air inside your home can be more toxic than the outside air. What is the odorless, colorless culprit? VOC’s. 
VOC’s, or volatile organic compounds, are carbon-based chemicals like acetone, benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene to name a few. They evaporate at room temperature, and exposure to them can result in increased chances of cancer, liver/kidney damage, headaches, and respiratory irritations.  The main ways that VOC’s enter your home are through your cleaning solutions, furniture, mattresses, wall paint, air fresheners, and even your electrical devices.

To cut down on your exposure, try making your own household cleaners, or at least purchase those that are made with essential oils and plant- or coconut-based soaps. Also, endeavor to use only VOC-free paint when painting indoors, purchase formaldehyde-free furniture and bedding, and turn off electrical devices that aren’t in use. 

Reduce Your Environmental Impact

What goes in your body is important, but so is what you put into the environment. Recycling and following energy-conservation techniques are a huge contribution. We generate about 208 million tons of trash every year, the toxic byproduct of which seeps into the earth’s pores and then into ours via environmental toxins. Recycling as much of your waste as possible can greatly reduce your household’s impact.  

Curbing your energy usage reduces the amount of coal and oil that we consume (both non-renewable resources) and in turn helps to reduce the greenhouse effect. Taking steps to conserve energy in your home can be as simple as replacing regular light bulbs with CFL’s (which use 66% less energy), plugging everything into a power strip that gets shut off before you leave the house (latent energy usage contributes to 5-6% of electric bills) or setting your thermostat to optimal settings for the season (71 degrees for heat and 78 degrees for air conditioning). You can also take major steps like replacing old appliances with energy-saving ones that are identifiable by the Energy Star logo, or doing a “green audit” for larger investments like window treatments, installing solar panels, or even replacing your regular water heater with a geothermal one.

Overall, going green doesn’t have to break your bank or cause a huge disruption in your lifestyle, but making changes is imperative to creating a healthier living environment for you and your family, as well as securing the future for those that are coming after.