This post outlines 9 simple sustainability tips for spring. Spring is the time of renewal. Leaves are budding, streams that were frozen over begin to run again and animals are getting ready for new babies. Everything around you feels fresh and new. It’s time to take a cue from nature and get inspired with renewal.
Revisit how you do things. Start new routines. Why not try and make those new routines sustainable? Here are 9 sustainability tips for spring:
Tip 1: Make your own cleaners
Let’s start with Spring Cleaning. Before you go spend money on a variety of cleaners, consider these three things: the plastic containers that contribute to waste, the cost of cleaners, and the potentially toxic chemicals that are found in common household cleaners.
There are some low-waste, low-cost, non-toxic options. You can make your own cleaners. Grab my free DIY Cleaner Recipe Book available in my Resource Centre. By signing up for my newsletter you’ll have access to all the resources that are exclusive to my subscribers.
My DIY Cleaner recipe book contains the following recipes:
- All purpose clearner
- Shower/Tub cleaner
- Toilet Cleaner
- Window Cleaner
So, put that money back in your pocket, roll up your sleeves, and get cleaning!
Tip 2: Purge Unwanted Items
The next sustainability tip for spring is to PURGE. Spring cleaning is time to purge! Go through your closet, that nook under the stairs, and don’t forget the laundry room/storage room.
Go through all your stuff and divide your purged items into Trash, Sell and Donate piles. Having a yard sale is a great way to make a bit of pocket change, however, donating to charities is also worthwhile. It’s nice to know that your discarded items might be diverted away from landfills.
Someone creative genius might think our “trash” is the perfect item for upcycling
Tip 3: Thrift clothes, furniture or decor
Similar to the point above, next time you plan on buying clothes, furniture or decore, consider thrifting. This will help divert large items from the landfills. There are so many places to buy second-hand. From thrift shops to Facebook Market place, eBay and here in Ontario, you have Kijiji. You can even find local Buy Nothing Groups on Facebook!
Places to shop for furniture, clothing and decor
- Antique Malls
- Church salesValue Village
- Facebook Market Place
- Flea Markets
- Good Will
- Local Buy Nothing Groups, find them on Facebook
- Local Consignment Shop
- Once Upon a Child
- Posh Mark
- Salvation Army
- The Re Store (Habitat for Humanity)
- Plato’s Closet
- Yards sales
Tip 4: Open Up The Windows
I love when spring is in the air and the weather is starting to warm up. I turn off the heat and open up all the windows, just letting in the fresh air.
Benefits of opening up windows:
- It will cool your house without costing you money
- Reduce your carbon footprint
- Allow air circulation and lower indoor air polllution
- It will make your house smell better naturally
- It will connect your with nature and improve your mood (at least it does for me)
Tip 5: Plan a Garden
I love gardening. I’m not particularly good at it. Some years I do well and yield lots of yummy tomatoes and cucumbers, and some years everything either dries up or floods completely. However, when it comes to eating food, there’s nothing more local than your own backyard. Eating local is beneficial since not a lot of energy goes into producing and transporting it to the table, therefore saving on transportation emissions, the need for processing and storage. If you want to read more on food and climate change, David Suzuki Foundation has great, reliable information.
Pollinators are insects, birds and animals that help pollen transfer from male parts to female parts, making them an important part of our food chain.
According to the Michigan State University:
Approximately 75 percent of all food crops grown in the United States depend on pollinator animals such as insects, reptiles, birds and some mammals.Michigan state University
By creating a backyard pollinator garden, you are supporting pollinators by supplying them with food and shelter.
I’m not an expert on pollinator gardening, but I’m going to leave you with the following video of my friend Abigail who shares her story about creating a wildlife garden. Abigail is also a geologist and an apiarist that I interviewed a while back.
And if you are not convinced yet here are more benefits of gardening:
- Save money
- Reduces stress
- Enjoy nature
- Redcues your carbon footprint
Garden Planner Printable PDF
Tip 6: Plant trees for shade
If you are looking for ways to reduce your use of energy to save some money, consider planting some trees in strategic places to block the sun’s heat from radiating into your home in the summer.
I’m not an expert on planting trees for shade, but according to Mitsubishi Electric, here is where you should consider planting your trees:
South-West and West-Facing: Placing your plants in the southwest or west-facing part of your house will block the afternoon sun.
Near “heat sinks“: Dark surfaces like roofs and asphalt are heat sinks, they absorb and radiate heat. By adding shade to these areas, you, in turn, cool down your house and property.
Close to Air Conditioning Intakes: Adding tress for shade near the intake will help lower the surrounding air temperature by several degrees. Your AC will use less energy to cool your home.
Benefits of planting shade trees:
- Lower your cost for cooling
- Lower your carbon footprint
- Increase food and shelter for small animals
- Beautify your yard
Tip 7: Fix or Maintain rather than Replace
It’s easier to buy new than to fix something that’s broken! As humans we always gravitate towards what’s convenient, but, fixing things is also eco-friendly compared to replacing them. It keeps helps keep things out of landfills.
Being preventive is also a great idea, so in the spring, it’s a great time to inspect household items that might need maintenance or fixing. If you are a DIYer like me, you might be interested in the following:
How to rescreen your patio door yourself
How to fix your doorbell
Things to inspect:
- Screens on windows and doors
- Door bell
- Rain Gutters
- Caulking around bath and sink
- Faucets for leaks
- Toilet for leaks
- Hose bib for leaks
- Dryer exhaust
- Bathroom exhaut fan
Tip 8: Use a Reel Mower
Although I just advocated to fix or maintain instead of by new, if you are in the market for a new lawnmower, consider a reel mower. Those are non-motorized lawn mowers that run on manpower alone. They are not fancy, but they are definitely eco-friendly, better for your health, easier on the wallet. way less noisy and, you get some exercise at the same time!
We have the Friskar StaySharp Reel Mower. It’s great if your lawn isn’t too large. You still have to remember to maintain your reel mower annually. Remember to lubricate moving parts, and some reel mower models require annual blade sharpening.
Benefits of a Reel Mower:
- Lower your carbon footprint
- Less expensive to buy and maintain
- Better for your health (no nasty exhaust to inhale
- Good for excercise
Tip 9: Walk or bike to places, run errands, visit with friends
And we have finally arrived at the final of the sustainability tips for spring. Convenience often trumps eco-friendly behaviour, because let’s face it, being eco-friendly isn’t always the easy thing to do. If it was, we wouldn’t be facing the climate crisis like were are today. Sure, walking or riding your bike might take you longer to get to your destination but it will reduce your carbon footprint. Besides that, walking or riding a bike have other benefits, let’s review shall we?
Benefits to Walking or Riding
- It’s free
- Fresh Air
- Reduce your carbon footprint
So, when you are going through your spring cleaning this year, reduce your carbon footprint by considering the following sustainability tips for the spring:
- Make your own cleaners,
- Purge Unwanted Items
- Thrift clothes, furniture or decor
- Open Up The Windows
- Plant trees for shade
- Fix or Maintain rather than Replace
- Use a Reel Mower
- Walk or bike to places, run errands, visit with friends
- Benefits to Walking or Riding