Reducing your environmental impact doesn’t have to mean making drastic changes to the way you live. Here are a few small changes that can make a big difference.
Whenever possible, hang laundry out to dry rather than using your dryer. Switch your washer to cold water and shorten the wash time in your settings. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets often contain chemicals that can trigger allergies or asthma, so it’s best to avoid using them.
Replace household chemicals with all-natural cleaners. Toilet bowl cleaners, oven cleaners, and drain uncloggers are some of the worst offenders, containing ingredients that are toxic if inhaled and can cause serious burns if ingested by children or pets. These products also make their way into the water supply and can threaten humans, wildlife, and the environment.
Because manufacturers don’t have to disclose the ingredients in their air fresheners you have no way of knowing what you’re putting into the air you breathe. Independent researchers have found phthalates–chemicals that affect hormones and can cause birth defects–in many major fragrance brands. Air fresheners can also contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, like acetaldehyde that’s both hazardous to the environment and a probable carcinogen.