1. Start Composting
The Why: Composting reduces solid waste and extends the life of existing landfills. It can also imbue soil with beneficial nutrients.
The How: New compost innovations include everything from Alabama Sawyer’s elegant countertop wooden bins ($180, shop.goop.com) to the more industrial Envirocycle ($260, envirocycle.com). While the countertop version is perfect for compostables such as egg shells, coffee grounds, and fruit peels that can be sprinkled in your garden, the Envirocycle is an all-inclusive outdoor composting system that arrives ready to use. Simply fill with compostables and turn the composter three full revolutions every three days. The design includes vents that increase airflow into the drum and create optimal composting conditions.
2. Opt for Sustainable Flooring Options
The Why: Upping the sustainability of your flooring material means decreasing your environmental impact.
The How: While bamboo floors have gotten a lot of play in this category, cork floors continue to gain momentum. No trees are cut down during the cork-harvesting process. Instead, bark is stripped from Mediterranean cork oak trees and then regenerates within a few years, resulting in no damage to the tree. Manufacturers like Pompano Beach–based APC Cork (apccork.com) have come up with a variety of stylish shades, textures, and surface patterns to choose from. Visit Absolute Hardwood Flooring in West Palm Beach (absolutehardwoodflooring.com) to check out the brand.
3. Install Low-Flow Showerheads
The Why: Ordinary showerheads are regulated to have a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM). Replacing just one showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model can save a family an estimated 2,900 gallons of water annually.
The How: There are plenty of options that meet WaterSense specs of 2 GPM or less but still have cool bells and whistles. Take Kohler’s Purist 1.75-GPM showerhead ($184, us.kohler.com). Its three distinct sprays are all enhanced by Katalyst technology, which infuses 2 liters of air per minute to deliver a powerful spray. Kohler products can be purchased at Broedell Kitchen & Bath in Jupiter (broedell.com).
4. Use Non-VOC Paint
The Why: Most paints contain volatile organic compounds (or VOCs), hazardous chemicals that are released into the air when you paint a wall, leading to indoor air-quality problems and potentially serious health risks.
The How: In response to concerns, companies have developed low-VOC and zero-VOC paints. The Real Milk Paint Co. (realmilkpaint.com) let history guide its paint development. Milk paint dates back thousands of years, when it was used on cave walls and artifacts. The company’s paint is a modern variation made from the same basic ingredients, resulting in an all-natural and completely biodegradable product. Real Milk Paint is available at The Paint Store in West Palm Beach (thepaintstoreonline.com).
5. Get cleaner cleaning products
The Why: Traditional cleaning supplies can contain harmful chemicals that, despite making their way to waste water–treatment plants after going down drains, can end up in waterways. Over time, this poses a threat to water quality, fish, and other animals.
The How: Give up hazardous cleaning with the Branch Basics Starter Kit + Oxygen Boost ($69, branchbasics.com). The key is the company’s Concentrate, a plant- and mineral-based, multipurpose formula made without harmful preservatives or alcohol. Dilute the concentrate with water in the BPA-free plastic spray, foam, and laundry bottles that come with the set and clean everything, from tough grease to the dirty hands of a toddler.