Green Tips for Spring Cleaning

Green Tips | May 10, 2023

By Peter Aronson

The term spring cleaning should take on new meaning as we all strive to make our homes and communities more environmentally sustainable.

Websites from Planet Aid to Eartheasy to One Tree Planted to Bob Vila’s home improvement site all have articles suggesting ways to spring clean while collectively lowering our carbon footprints.

When reading these articles, one thought stands out: This is an opportunity for a reset, to start new, green habits that will carry on even well past spring.

Here’s a compilation of their suggestions, all quite easy to do:

  1. Use reusable rags, not paper towels to clean;

  2. Use homemade or eco-friendly cleaning solutions. Homemade cleaning solutions can be made with vinegar, lemon, essential oils and baking soda. See webmd article for details;

  3. Donate, don’t toss. Donate old clothes, furniture, books and knick-knacks to an appropriate charity. Upcycling items we no longer need reduces waste going to landfills and helps individuals less fortunate;

  4. Start participating in local composting … or get ready to do so. It’s now available throughout Queens and in some areas of the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan, and coming soon to every New Yorker. For more info on NYC composting, click here. (PS: You’ll be amazed how much fun it is placing compostable food waste in a biodegradable bag and dumping it in a curbside bin. All you have to do is download the NYC Smart Compost app to your phone.)

    Also, if you want to clean out your fridge and shelves, compost food past date, and donate canned food that’s still good.

    If you don’t live in New York City, search the Internet for composting sites in your community;

  5. With more local fresh produce on the way at your local green market, start buying produce not contained in plastic containers or plastic bags and then continue this practice past spring and summer. Reuse old containers, paper bags, or buy reusable plastic bags, easily found on the Internet;
  6. While you’re at it, start using recyclable trash bags for all your garbage;

  7. If you haven’t already, make a commitment to using reusable bags whenever shopping for anything;

  8. If you have an outdoor space, dry laundry outside, instead of using a dryer;

  9. Seal doors and windows that were drafty during the winter;

  10. Although this should be encouraged any time of the year, since spring brings many signs of change, make a commitment to canceling delivery of all paper statements. It’s surprisingly easy to do online. If you can’t figure out how to do it, ask someone who is more familiar with these tasks; and

  11. Unless it’s too unbearably hot, try opening the windows instead of using air conditioning. The less electricity we use, the lower our carbon footprint.

For more info about all of these suggestions, please see: One Tree Planted, Eartheasy, Planet Aid and Bob Vila’s home improvement tips

Happy green spring cleaning!

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