4 Totally Doable Household Eco Tips for Yogis
Have you ever heard the slogan “Every Day is Earth Day,” and wondered what you can do about it? Today, the environmental movement at a personal level is more important than ever. You can do your part in your own household by making small changes that result in the use of less power, less water, less paper, and less harmful plastics. As yogis, you’ll often hear talk about how to take your yoga off the mat. Making simple everyday choices for the greater good is one huge way to step up.
1. Put on a sweater
In the 1970s, U.S. President Jimmy Carter was ridiculed for his folksy reaction to the energy crisis: You can keep your house a little colder if you put on a sweater. How dare he ask Americans to sacrifice their comfort! How absurd!
Wait, how practical, how common-sensical, how awesome! How prophetic, how hygge! Although heating and air conditioning are necessary in many climates, acknowledge that (unless you live in LA) there are seasons. There are many ways to modify your habits so that you’re both comfortable and easier on the thermostat. In the colder months, snuggle under cosy blankets wearing fuzzy socks and sipping hot grog rather than cranking up the heat. Switch to lightweight bedclothes, fans, and bikinis in the summer.
2. Cold wash and air dry your yoga togs
Your stretchy leggings, sports bras, and cute, strappy tops will last longer and fit better if you launder them in cold water and let them air dry. When you machine wash, choosing cold water is key because experts estimate that heating the water accounts for 75-90% of the energy used in a load of laundry. Modern detergents and washing machines have been designed to get a good wash out of a cold water cycle.
If your sweaty yoga wear seems to retain, ahem, odours, try adding either white vinegar or baking soda to your wash cycle (but not both, unless you’re building a science fair volcano). Use just a little detergent and no fabric softener when washing, since build-up of these agents can also lock in bad smells. Letting workout clothing dry after class and turning it inside-out before washing also help to keep unpleasant smells at bay. If you have a particularly stubborn stink, try popping the item in the freezer overnight.
Outdoor drying also helps dispel lingering odours. If you live in a warm climate and have a backyard, go for the charming European village look by stringing up a few clotheslines to expand your air drying capacity.
3. Reduce your paper mail
In this age of e-communications, getting a hand-written love letter by snail mail is exciting (we should be so lucky!). Getting junk mail and bills is not. Those catalogues, credit-card offers, and cable TV mailers are a big waste of paper (aka trees). When you’re ready to get serious about reducing your unsolicited mail, start by making a pile of the things you no longer want to receive. Strategies from there will vary by country. In the U.K., you can opt-out by registering with the Royal Mail. The U.S. Mail doesn’t provide this service but both countries have a Direct Marketing Association that offers a ’Do Not Mail’ list. In the U.S., check out Catalog Choice to remove your name from multiple mailing lists at once.
Contacting each sender individually is an approach that should work wherever you live. You can also ask credit card companies with whom you already do business to stop mailing you offers and balance transfer requests. A quick internet search will give you more specific instructions for the country in which you live.
Sign up for paperless statements and billing whenever you can. You can usually do this with your credit cards, utilities, phone, internet providers, everything, really. Most companies make it easy because they prefer paperless as well. You’ll save time and money when you pay your bills this way. Some people like the convenience of allowing automatic drafts from their bank accounts but you can also pay online manually each month if you prefer. Also, consider receiving your newspapers and magazines in digital form instead of on paper. Electronic editions of newspapers also keep you better updated as news breaks.
4. Turn things off
Turning off anything electric when it’s not in use saves power. Lights are the place to start. If you work at home, every light in the house doesn’t need to be on all day. If you have kids, turn off everything they’ve left on after they’ve left for school. As incandescent light bulbs burn out, replace them with LED or compact fluorescent models, which cost more initially but use less power and last longer.
Set your computer to sleep after 10 minutes of inactivity and turn it off at night. Most experts agree it’s better to turn off air conditioners and heating systems when you’re not at home. It may take a few minutes to get to your desired temperature when you get home, but it’s more cost-effective than cooling or heating an empty house.
Turn off electronics (like your home printer) that idle in standby mode for days without use. Anything with a little light or a digital display draws a small amount of power, though newer models have been designed to minimise this. You don’t have to become a maniac who has to crawl under the furniture to plug in the TV every evening, but a quick walk around your living space will probably reveal many items that can be turned off.
P.S Inspire us with the little (and big) things you do to for the sake of planet Earth. We’d love to hear from you!