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Sustainability: In Your Home

You Can Make a Difference!

You can make a real difference by being more sustainable right at home. You can grow your own food, make your own products, reuse or repair items instead of throwing them away, become more energy efficient, go solar, and so much more. This page has resources to help you along the way. 

Books

Buy Second Hand

Buying second hand reduces the energy cost to produce raw materials, create new products, and transport the products to you. It also keeps more waste out of our landfills. Thrifting or garage sailing can be fun activities that save money and resources, but there are many options available to you for buying second hand. 

 

Buy Local

Did you know you can buy a share of a local farmer's crops? It's called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). At the beginning of a growing season you can buy a share, almost like a subscription, of a farmer's crops. Then each week, you pick up your share of the harvest from the farmer. You get farm fresh veggies every week, and the farmer has a guarantee of crop sales before investing the time, money, and energy into growing the food. 

Conserve Energy

Drive less by walking, carpooling, and renting or buying a bike. 

Conserve energy in your house with these tips from the National Wildlife Foundation. 

Thinking About Going Solar?

 

Solar United Neighbors is a national organization that helps people go solar through education, advocacy, and connecting people with solar co-ops (groups of people in a specific area combine their solar buying power to lower the cost of their personal solar systems). Check out their site for Florida specific information on issues in solar. 

Consumer Reports gives an overview of things to consider when going solar such as leasing vs. buying, government incentives, installation, and up and coming new technologies. 

Instructables has a more in-depth article on practical considerations if you're serious about going solar. Should you get crystalline panels or thin-film, mount them on the ground or the roof? Read more to find out. 

Grow Your Own Food

According to Bill Mollison, known as the Father of Permaculture, “The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.” 

Don't have a reliable way to make compost? There are several places to find affordable soil. Orange County Landfill takes the yard waste from residents' yards and turns it into free compost available to Orange County residents. Monterey Mushroom in Zellwood sells organic compost for $25 a load. Whether you have a pickup truck bed or a dump truck, it's still $25. Make sure you call (407-905-4000) beforehand to see what days and times the compost is available.    

Mulching is a great way to keep moisture in the soil and protect your plants from the harsh Florida sun and dry Winter/Spring. Then when the mulch breaks down, the organic matter turns into rich soil. Did you know you can get mulch for free? Landscaping and tree services have to pay to drop off their mulch at the dump so they're happy to drop it off at your house for free. You can sign up at the websites below for a mulch delivery, contact landscaping companies directly, or flag down a truck. You never know! 

Downsize

Lower your carbon foot print by living bigger in a smaller space. For some people a $200,000-300,000 mortgage and a 40 hour a week job isn't sustainable. Many people also don't realize that there are other options. Living tiny is a sustainable alternative lifestyle that shifts the way we think about possessions and income. Yeah there's less space, but without a mortgage, rent, or large utility bills you don't necessarily need a 9-5 job to pay for your living expenses. The trade off can be more freedom with your time to do what you love. Check out the documentary Tiny and the Huffington Post article to learn more.