Reducing waste in the garage

This blog post is part of our “Room by Room” mini-series, where we look into ways to reduce waste across all divisions of a household. You can find all the articles listed here.


When it comes to turning your home into a green and eco-friendly living space, the garage would understandably be the last on your list, but it can be so much more than just a storage space for your car and a box of your kid’s old toys.

Bottom line - If you have a garage, you have a real chance to make an environmental difference.

Let’s start with some simple fixes that make the biggest difference:

1.      Use insulation (not valid for detached garages)

Your garage will trap in the hot summer air, and the chilly winter air which makes it harder (and more expensive) to heat or cool the rest of your home. Insulation can be achieved in a few different ways, but here is what we think are the simplest:

-        Garage door – Line the bottom of your garage door with weatherstripping or a garage door threshold to keep the weather out. This will help to regulate the temperature to that of your home which means you won’t be spending as much on heating/cooler.

-        Windows – If there are areas around your garage windows that are not sealed, this will be having serious impact on your energy bill. The higher the R-value on insulation, the better it is, and it keeps your environmental footprint small. Look for renewable insulation such as wood, cotton, or aerogel.

2.      Consider your lighting choices

Windows are a great and cheap way to increase lighting in your garage, but you will still need some form of lighting to be able to safely see objects in darker areas. When it comes to energy efficiency, CFL and LED bulbs are well known, however LED is generally the best choice for your garage as they are bright, last longer and highly resistant to the cold. If you think you can get away with no lights at all during the day, why not consider skylights to save having to use any energy during the day?

3.      Make a mini recycling station

Reduce your footprint on the environment by setting up different bins for different types of recycling, clearly labelled so your family can easily use. If you’re not sure exactly what materials can be recycled, check out this A-Z of recyclables. You may be surprised! Check out the graphic below for a quick reminder.

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As you can see, making your garage green doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming. You can implement these simple suggestions one at a time, and then use your imagination to come up with other ways to turn your garage into the greenest one on the block!