6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Home

Help save the planet in your own little ways


Every day, we are bombarded with environmental issues from the media, but we often forget the smaller picture. How can we, in our own little way, do our share in saving Mother Earth? Our individual efforts will eventually add up when we start becoming ecologically conscious at home.

Styling by Arlene Sanchez-Maslog. Photographed by Miguel Nacianceno.

Read the original article ("Home Green Home”) in the June 2009 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App ( now! Log on to for more details.  

Light a green candle.

Most candles are made of paraffin, which is a byproduct of oil refining. Burning candles can release carcinogens as well, and wicks have lead that can release toxic emissions. Try a safer, greener light such as Alice Blue Candles—these are deliciously scented, hand-poured, and made out of safe, eco-friendly soy, a renewable and biodegradable resource, and their wicks are made only out of cotton, paper, or hemp.

Set up a home recycling center.

Make it part of everyone’s job to separate and segregate.

Here’s how:

  1. Find a good location. Choose a convenient spot that will make it easy for your family to make recycling part of your everyday routine. It can be your kitchen, hallway, basement, or garage.
  2. Select storage containers. Get containers to cover the categories you want to sort your items into and label them. Call your local recycling center and find out which items they accept.
  3. Keep it clean. Protect your storage area from insects and rodents, and keep containers covered and clean. Take the stuff to the recycling centers frequently, so there is no build-up. 

Give an incentive.

Having a hard time teaching your family or househelp to segregate? Give them a push by letting them keep the money earned from selling the recyclables.

Use earth bags.

Take along your own earth bags (if it’s foldable, it’s easier to put in your purse), reusable water bottles and even home-cooked food whenever you leave the house, and insist that cashiers stash the goods in your tote and not in plastic—hopefully, you’ll inspire others to do the same!

Re-use coffee grounds.
  • Use as fertilizer: Scatter grounds around the base of your plant and press down. These can also be sprinkled on your lawn.
  • Turn them into an odor-eater: Dry grounds thoroughly. Place them in clean netting, tie, and use as an odor absorber for your ref.
  •  Deodorize your hands with them. Keep it in a small container, and rub onto your hands to remove the smell of onion or fish.
Re-use plastic water bottles.

It takes 450 years for these pesky plastic water bottles to break down or decompose.

Here are some tips on how to use them and keep them out of the landfills a little longer.

  • You may use it as a Sick-Pack: Fill the bottle with water. Pop it in the freezer and have an ice pack ready when needed. Just wrap it in a thin towel and it’s good to go.
  • Or as a Kitty toy: Fill a clean, empty water bottle with rice or multi-colored stones, seal the cap and you’ve got a new toy for kitty.

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