Don't get overwhelmed by all that we have to do. Just pick one thing to do at a time. Once it's habit, add a new one. I'm not even up to 100% of this list, but I'm working on it!
23 Ways to Green Up Your Life:
- Implement a One In, One Out rule for all gifts and purchases. If you or your child receives a new gift donate an old one or save the new gift for re-gifting.
- Shop with reusable bags. Cuts down on petroleum used for plastic bags. OR take your plastic bags with you to the store.
- Wash all clothing in cold water.
- Stop using plastic bottles. Use stainless steel instead. Even sippy cups now come in stainless steel.
- Utilize Freecycle.org or Craigslist.org. If you're hanging onto something for sentimental reasons, treat it with respect. That dusty corner in your garage is NOT the right place for your grandpa's old catcher's glove. A good rule of thumb when going through your things is to ask yourself these 3 questions: 1) have I used it in the last 6 months? 2) have I displayed it respectfully (i.e. a nice collection)?, or 3) is it broken? That catcher's glove could enhance someone else's collection, could be displayed nicely in a shadow box on your wall, or repaired and used by your child.
- Use reusable materials to pack lunches like this one from Kids Konserve.
- Once your little one is on solid foods (and so are his poops) try switching to cloth diapers during the day. Diaper covers are so cool these days they're great at holding in bigger kids' #2's.
- If using disposable diapers, make sure to flush the #2's. It's less waste in our landfills and less stink in your house. And buy chlorine-free nappies. They're gentler on little bums.
- Make sure all windows & doors are weather-stripped and sealed.
- Donate or recycle your electronics. Domestic violence shelters for battered women are always in need of cell phones, too.
- Place electronics on a power strip and turn it off when not in use.
- Unplug anything not regularly used like the lamp in the spare room or the toaster oven. Even just sitting there it sucks juice out.
- Have Electricity Free Weekends (or Weeknights). With the exception of climate control and food storage and cooking, unplug everything. Live by candlelight and look for new entertainment. Anthony and I have done this one before and it's challenging! It's also a lot of fun.
- Try the 80/20 rule. Choose reusable products such as napkins, plates and dish towels at least 80% of the time. For the other 20%, look for processed-chlorine-free (PCF) recycled-paper goods with the highest post-consumer-waste (PCW) content possible. Also, look for biodegradable goods such as Twist.
- Support Local Farmer's Market and join a CSA.
- Use biodegradable laundry detergent and dish washing liquid.
- Utilize online bill pay and forgo the mail.
- Sign up for services that eliminate junk mail. 41 Pounds and Green Dimes are two great choices.
- Opt out of the phone book. Call your local phone company to make arrangements.
- Wrap your water heater with insulation. This can keep as many as 1,000 pounds of CO2 a year out of the upper atmosphere.
- Don't use your garbage disposal. It wastes water AND energy. Compost instead using a Kitchen Compost Crock. And if you don't garden, find a buddy or neighbor who does or find a local composting group who could use your collection. I don't garden, but my neighbor does and we have an agreement that I'll bring my compost to her.
- Don't use pesticides. Use real bug power instead.
- Use an electric mower, not gas. It costs ~$5 a year for the electricity and nearly $5 for two mows with a gas mower. Not to mention the gas is stinky and a mess.
If you have any additional ideas, please let me know and I'll add them to this list!