3 Ways To Green Your Spring Cleaning

Spring is the perfect time to green up your living space and lifestyle. Living more sustainably doesn’t have to be complicated. Take these three simple steps to make you and the planet more happy and healthy.

Donate used clothes

As you start bringing out the shorts and sandals, take a look through your closet for clothes you haven’t worn in a while. Instead of throwing these garments in the trash, you can donate them. Clothing stores, like H&M have started a garment collecting program to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. H&M then takes the clothes and turns them into new products. Donating clothes not only helps to de-clutter and de-stress, but each item donated, on a small or large scale, helps the environment.

Donation initiatives, like Move Out 2013 at Boston University, show that organized campus projects can also make a difference. The university partnered with Goodwill in an effort to reduce the amount of goods in landfills on move out day. With over 12,000 BU students moving out at the end of the year, dumpsters used to fill with reusable goods. In 2013, BU diverted 90 tons of clothing and household items, making the project a great success.

Homemade cleaning products

photo (9)The typical bathroom cleaning routine often involves rubber gloves or bleached fingers. As you try to remove the cringing look from your face, you think, “There has got to be a better, safer way to clean.” To make the next time you clean more pleasant, try making your own homemade green cleaning products. Lifestyle blogger Ruth Soukup of Living Well Spending Less suggests homemade cleaning products can be made from: white vinegar, baking soda, lemons, salt, olive oil, Ivory bar soap, liquid dishwashing soap, washing soda and essential oils. Combinations of these simple ingredients make for ten green and thrifty cleaning products to try in your home.

Making your own cleaning products means you can:

  • Pronounce all of the ingredients– By using simple household items, you won’t have to stress about toxic chemicals in your home.
  • Reduce your ecological footprint– Making your own cleaning products means you won’t be flushing toxins down the drain or spraying chemicals into the air. The earth thanks you.

Get active

Neon jacket

You won’t miss me on my bike when I wear this neon jacket.

With all this spring cleaning, it’s time to dust off the bike or rollerblades and get active. Living a more sustainable lifestyle means caring for the environment, but also means taking an initiative in your health. Getting outside to bike, rollerblade, walk or run are excellent forms of exercise and help improve your health. The Mayo Clinic suggests 30 minutes of physical activity per day has seven benefits, including controlled weight, improved mood and boosted energy. Are you ready to get a healthy dose of spring?

Whatever steps you take this season, a more sustainable lifestyle is within reach. Simple steps like donating clothes, making eco-friendly cleaning products and getting active are easy ways each of us can make a difference in the environment and in our own lives.

What are you doing to be more sustainable this spring?

What Every Grad Should Know About Sustainability

Germany

As I studied aboard in Germany, I learned how sustainability can be deeply integrated into a company’s culture and philosophy.

As “going green” becomes mainstream, it’s easy to find yourself confused about what this actually means. Many agree that sustainability is important as a lifestyle and a business practice, but what does this look like once you graduate from college? For soon-to-be or recent college graduates, a career in sustainability involves passion and understanding the basics, but also flexibility for the changing world ahead.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reminds us that sustainability involves the concern for our society, environment and economy as our population grows and increases our consumption of natural resources. Reducing our current consumption for resources isn’t enough; we need a lifestyle change. This is where innovative ideas come in from the fresh minds of college grads. As forward thinkers who want to prepare for the long-term future, not just tomorrow, recent graduates are ready to tackle these hands-on problems.

Now, being a green grad sounds great, but what will make companies become more sustainable? Fronseys, a digital economy advisory service focused on sustainability and innovation, says there are several reasons why businesses have to go green:

  • Operating efficiently is a sustainability practice that can also cuts costs

  • Being sustainable helps build a positive reputation

  • Employees care about sustainability– Don’t forget the people in people, planet, profit Triple Bottom Line.

As people hold themselves and businesses more accountable for their actions, sustainability is becoming an integrated part of how consumers and businesses operate. For college graduates, this news comes as an opportunity to be part of original and creative solutions across all career fields.

Many people think the next big job boom will happen in the area of sustainability,” Debbie Freeman, Arizona State University Communications Manager for the School of Business said.

Sustainability is becoming an expected part of companies, which means new and evolving careers await. With patience and creativity, going green could equal a rewarding and profitable career.

What’s your advice to grads who want a career in sustainability?