You’re paying more attention to how much energy you use, you carry a reusable water bottle, and you finally got around to learning the meaning of the term “carbon footprint. ”Now you’re taking small steps to making your home a “greener” place.
###Little Changes, Big Difference###
In most of the house, it can be easy to find little changes that make a big difference — turning the lights and the computers off when they’re not in active use, installing a low-flow shower head, and recycling, for example. But you may be surprised to learn that there are many ways greening your bedroom is one of the best things you can do — both for your health and for your budding environmentalist streak.
###Greening the Bedroom###
Here are five simple ways to make your bedroom an eco-friendly safe haven:
- Choose an Eco-Friendly Mattress. Your mattress is one of the biggest and most involved purchases in your bedroom — and in your home. Choosing a mattress that’s made from sustainable materials, is all-natural and chemical free, and that will last longer than most standard mattresses can go a long way to greening your lifestyle and your budget. An all-natural latex mattress constructed without dyes, glues, or fire-retardant chemicals is one of the best eco-friendly options on the market.
- Find Environmentally Friendly Linens. Choose bed linens with an eye not just to the material but to the energy used in making it. Try bamboo bed sheets — the material is quick-growing, sustainably harvested, easily processed, and luxuriously soft. Another equally eco-friendly route is to choose bed sheets of any kind from eBay or a local thrift store. Re-using material minimizes the carbon footprint of your bedroom makeover. Choose ready-to-go linens or call on your inner crafter and “upcycle” your own bed skirts and pillows from vintage fabrics.
- Avoid Dry Cleaning. Dry cleaning chemicals are harsh on delicate fabrics and dangerous to the environment. Choose “wet cleaning” or “carbon dioxide cleaning” instead (here’s an EPA-approved list of cleaners who offer these methods). Both these eco-friendly laundering methods use gentler solvents and have less of an impact on the environment. They’re also healthier for you — and since you spend about 8 hours of each day in contact with your sheets, blankets, and bedding, non-toxic cleaning options are a must.
- Clean Green. Don’t leave the green cleaning to the bed alone. Clean your bedroom using gentle, natural cleansers that won’t off-gas overnight. Use vinegar, baking soda, and other inexpensive green cleaners to get professional results without the VOCs, smells, and environmental impact of aerosols or industrial spray cleansers.
- Go For a Whole-Room Green Makeover. Changing your cleaning habits and emphasizing a green bed can go a long way toward greening the bedroom. But for a real mean, green sleeping machine, consider a whole room redesign. Choose sustainable bamboo flooring, low-VOC paints, vintage furniture, and upcycled decorations to build a sanctuary that’s good for your conscience, your sleep hygiene, and your wallet.
Don’t feel the need to go overboard when you consider “greening” your bedroom space. Small, gradual changes are far more likely to take hold for the long term than major project ideas. Make changes that are reasonable to you and that make sense for your lifestyle, then let those personal changes be enough.
There’s no point losing sleep in your new green bedroom wondering whether your choices made the room “green enough.” Every little bit helps. Choose green alternatives that are comfortable for you and for the environment, and sleep sound knowing you’re doing your part to improve the state of the planet.