Yes, you read that right, a tree-free home can actually help the planet! We are not talking about live trees, though. Feel free to have as many of those in your backyard as you want. This is about reducing your consumption of products made out of trees, such as paper. Especially if they are disposable ones. Creating a tree-free home can seem like a daunting task. But if you take it one step at the time, it is completely doable. Here are some tips for you to start.
Whenever possible, switch to cloth
If you use paper napkins, stop. Buy a couple of sets of nice cloth napkins. They work the same, they look pretty and they actually make you seem fancier. Your guests will be impressed. Make sure to have at least a couple of sets, so you are not napkin-less when you need to wash them. Paper towels need to go too. Replace them with cloth towels (you can make your own by cutting up some old cotton t-shirts). get a small container to store the sued ones in your kitchen until you wash them for reuse.
Reuse, recycle, reduce waste
If you usually need to print documents, do so in paper that has already been used on one side. Reuse envelopes, wrapping paper, note pads and any other paper product you can. For paper products that cannot be reused (say, toilet paper), consider buying bleach-free, recycled and with the highest percentage of post-consumer waste content available. Consider getting a dry-erase board instead of buying post-its, or buy a bunch of letter magnets for the fridge to leave messages to your family.
One of the greatest advantages of the modern world is that is easier than ever to be paperless. Call every company that sends you bills and ask if they can send you only digital copies from now on. Buy an e-book reader and stop buying paper books and magazines. As an extra advantage, you will save so much space and you will be able to carry your entire library around. If you are afraid of tiring your eyes, make sure you buy a reader with an e-ink display that reduces glare (and saves so much battery). If you truly will miss paper books, consider buying only used books. They are cheaper too! Finally, say goodbye to your paper planner and download an app for your phone or computer. They usually have more functions, they are easier to use and they can track everything from birthdays to grocery lists.
Avoid buying freshly-cut wood
If you are doing construction work at home, look up alternatives to newly cut wood. For example, bamboo is resistant, looks great and it grows really fast, so it’s an eco-friendly alternative. Straw bale, cob and natural linoleum are great too. If you have an eye on a specific type of wood, find local places to buy used wood. You can get pieces that still look great, without cutting down additional trees.