Going green when redecorating

Earth Day took place April 22, but you can extend your efforts to protect the planet into your daily life. In fact, the way you decorate your home can reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re about to redecorate a room or your whole house, check out these environmentally conscious tips for sprucing up your space:

Rethink your fuel

Thinking of installing an indoor or outdoor fireplace? You may want to ditch the wood fuel and instead pick a more eco-friendly option. Bioethanol fireplaces produce no debris (such as ash, smoke or embers) and burn clean, meaning you don’t have to worry about escaped toxins – it’s an efficient fuel source. Bioethanol is produced by sugar fermentation, and can come from a number of plants, including potatoes and corn. Unlike wood-burning fireplaces, using bioethanol won’t deplete forests – Mother Nature will thank you.

What’s more, many bioethanol fireplaces are portable, so you can enjoy them indoors or outdoors.

Sell or recycle old furniture

When it comes time for you to purchase new furniture, you have to get rid of the old pieces. Many homeowners stick their sofas on the curb, hoping the garbage truck will take them away. However, this wastes resources that went into the creation of your furniture. Instead of dumping your coffee table, consign it, donate it to a thrift store or join programs that tow away your unwanted items.

For instance, the Furniture Bank Association of North America is a nonprofit organization that gives donated furniture to impoverished families who lack basic furnishings. Your old bed, sofa, dresser, etc., may help a family in need, and your donation prevents waste.

Properly dispose of paint

Giving a room a fresh coat of paint can totally transform the feel of the space, but what do you do with the leftovers or the empty buckets? Many homeowners store their paint, in case they need to touch up spots in the future. To properly seal your cans, wipe all paint from the lips, then use a hammer to secure the lid. Keep the paint in a cool, dry place, preferably on the shelf of your basement. Moisture can rust the paint cans, causing toxins to leak.

If you want to get rid of paint, you can’t just throw it in the trash. Paint is considered a hazardous material and should be handled with care. You can donate leftovers – sometimes schools take paint. Otherwise, let the paint dry completely by leaving the opened cans outside. Then, take your cans to a facility that accepts deposits. For instance, Lowes takes old paint. Look for depositories in your community.

Go for quality

The more fragile or flimsy your furniture is, the more often you’ll have to replace it. Constantly updating your furniture can cost more money in the long run than splurging on high-quality products, and it produces waste. Spend your remodeling budget on quality furniture to reduce how often you throw things away. Even cheap sofas use as many raw materials as your expensive one, and you get to keep the latter longer.

Going green during remodels protects the planet, could save you money and may make your home safer. Just because Earth Day is over doesn’t mean environmentally conscious living has to be.