Greening Your Home – Revisiting the 3 R’s

By Rae Ann Dougherty, CWCC Member

What used to be the “3 R’s” of “Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic,” today refers to “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”  Although many are seeking renewable energy generator options, these are expensive; but even on a shoestring budget, you can green your home.  An eco-friendly home is more efficient and healthier!                                     

A green home is one that is constructed, renovated, and maintained with healthy, nontoxic building materials and furnishings.  Since we spend nearly 90% of our time indoors, it is important that we are diligent in creating a safe, toxic free environment.  Take small steps, including replacing conventional products with more ecofriendly options … while remaining vigilant of the “greenwashing” that exists in today’s marketplace.  Avoid greenwashing by seeking third party certifications.

It’s simple to make a positive impact in your home.  Each small incremental step yields a huge impact overall.  For instance, if everyone who purchased a traditional synthetic based all purpose cleaner instead purchased a green one, there would be 74,000 TONS less toxic chemicals in our world … on ONE day in ONE state alone!  Small changes really add up to huge results!  

While the opportunities are endless, review your practices with the few listed below.  These range from closing your window shades to using green cleaning products. 


Make a commitment not to buy anything new this year unless absolutely necessary. 

  • Repair before you replace
  • Look around your house and repurpose
  • Search garage sales, consignment shops, swap meets, and thrift stores
  • Use reusable bottle systems  such as wowgreen™  
  • Xeriscape with native water tolerant plants
  • Incorporate salvaged materials into home improvement projects
  • Replace paper napkins with cloth


“The only sensible long term way of developing long term solutions is to do it on a sustainable basis.” (Tony Blair) 

  • Weatherization around windows, doors and vents
  • Close shades during the day in the summer and night in the winter
  • Seek air conditioning alternatives, such as evaporative coolers
  • Select cold water laundry
  • Fix leaky fixtures and install low flow fixtures
  • Design irrigation system to conserve water
  • Choose low and no VOC paints and sealants


Plastics are in everything from coffee canisters to clothes, even our food!

  • Leverage the recycling programs offered by your waste handling company
  • Use carpet take-back programs
  • Leverage synthetic clothing recycling centers
  • Return your plastic bags to your grocery store
  • Leave your used plastic gift cards with the stores that recycle them (e.g., Best Buy)
  • Buy products with significant recycled content 

Anna Lappé reminds us “Every time you spend money you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”   There is so much that can be done.  Know that whatever YOU do WILL make a difference.  So start today!

© 2011 by Rae Ann Dougherty, owner of Green Cleaning Products LLC

Rae Ann Dougherty is a professional in the environmental field, and for the past 35 years has served as the environmental and sustainability leader in multiple large multinational corporations.  Rae Ann is now working to provide solutions to residential and commercial entities with a line of product choices.  These products are non-toxic, have zero impact on the environment, and are safe. No more greenwashing, as these are certified by a third party such as the US EPA.  Learn more at Rae Ann can be reached at (720) 746-0803 or

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