While many homeowners have made efforts to be eco-friendly by upgrading their houses, few think to make changes in their garages. However, as with the rest of your home, you can go green in your garage. Here are a few tips to use your garage storage system and other means to made a difference for the planet:
Make a recycling center
Instead of throwing out cans, plastic bottles and paper, consider recycling them. You can divide your recyclables by type without creating clutter in the garage. For instance, consider using wall cabinets to divide types of recycling. You may put a bin in each cabinet and label the outside of it. One cabinet would contain a bin for plastic while the other has paper. Doing this hides the blue bins, but gives you and your family a guide for going green. You can also post a list of items that can be recycled in each category. That way, you'll have no questions over whether a certain item is recyclable. Hang that notice on your wall panel over the cabinets. Just remember to put your bins by the curb come garbage day!
Upgrade your door
Most people don't heat their garage and so don't think to insulate it. However, by making your attached garage more airtight, you'll help insulate your house. Now you don't have to totally insulate your garage the way you would other rooms (though you can) – getting a new garage door will help. Select insulated doors to install in the passage between your home and the garage. The less energy your home loses, the better your energy bills will look.
Buy and store nontoxic cleaners
You know the soap and glass cleaner you keep on hand to wash your cars? You may consider replacing it. Chemical-based cleaners can pollute the air, or cause your family to inhale less-than-healthy toxins – doesn't sound very pleasant, does it? Fortunately, your local drug or hardware store is sure to have chemical-free vehicle cleaners!
Once you get the new products, along with wax, sponges and clothes for cleaning, you can organize them right in the garage. That way, you'll have the cleaning supplies right on hand when car-washing time comes around. You can place all the items you'll need to get a good wash inside a Soft Storage Bin. Furthermore, consider using a wall hook to hold your hose when you aren't using it – the hook will fit nicely next to your bin.
Change your light bulbs
You probably know that compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs are better for the environment – both last longer than incandescent and use less energy. However, have you thought about putting these bulbs in your garage? You can replace the bulbs in fixtures you've installed, as well as in your garage door opener (many units feature an overhead light).
Consider storing extra light bulbs in your garage storage cabinet. That way, once your lights do burn out (which will take a while with CFLs and LEDs), you'll have new ones on hand.