Well, I have missed a couple days of my ‘posting-every-day-for-thirty-days’ goal, but instead of beat myself up over it, I am going to give myself some grace and just get back on the horse.
Today I want to share a list of small changes we can all make in our daily lives to better love this planet that we live on. I haven’t incorporated all of them into my life yet, but I am working on it and hope to keep finding more ways! If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them!
Shop at Goodwill, Vintage shops, and yard sales.
Not only can you get the books, toys, clothes, and other items you need more cheaply, you get to be part of the process of diverting items from the landfill. Plus, if those jeans have already been washed you know they won’t go shrinking on you when you take them home and wash them for the first time! And an added bonus: you could be supporting small businesses depending on where you choose to shop.
Some of my favorite pieces of clothing have been from thrift shops and consignment stores. Most recently, a sweet leather jacket and a pair of forest green capris. And while I was in Denver, Colorado recently I purchased some awesome pins from Regal Vintage. Plus, we got to chat with the guy who was working there and he told us about how the store is his family’s business and how he’s seen the city of Denver develop over the past decade.
Choose less packaging.
Instead of buying all those individually packaged snacks, why not buy in bulk and then separate them into reusable bags like the ones listed here. While it will take a little extra time and effort, in the long run it’ll save you money and help stop additional waste being added to landfills.
(Note: I haven’t done this yet… But reusable bags are a Wish List item and I definitely plan to have them by the time I start packing lunches for little ones. Right now, we go through about a box of plastic snack/sandwich bags about once a year.)
And on this same note: USE A REUSEABLE WATER BOTTLE.
Buy Eco-Conscious Products
There are so many things we use on a regular basis that we could easily substitute with more eco-conscious options. Some of those include:
Bamboo toothbrushes > Plastic toothbrushes
DivaCup > Tampons
Reusable Straws > Disposable Straws
Reusable Sandwich Bags > Disposable Sandwich Bags
Reusable coffee filters/AeroPress > K-cups
I have a friend who swears by the DivaCup, know a family who loves their reusable straws, and my husband and I ADORE our AeroPress. I am putting in an order right now for bamboo toothbrushes, and as I mentioned earlier, we will hopefully be getting some reusable snack and sandwich bags soon too!
…and is always true of the internet, someone else has made a similar list here!
Remember to bring those reusable grocery bags!
You’ve heard this, you know this… now find a way that works for you to remember to actually do this! Whether it is keeping a stash of them in your car or writing yourself a reminder note… Doesn’t help having them if you don’t use them!
Honestly, I love using my reusable bags. Not only does it make carrying my groceries into the house easier, I know that I won’t have to feel as guilty when I see pictures of dying turtles eating plastic… (Not that doing these things is about minimizing our own negative feelings… but it definitely is a perk!)
Almost all banks and businesses now have a paperless option. Now, every once in a while I need and appreciate having printed copies of my bills/receipts. But if I am being honest, 95% of the time those things just end up in my recycling bin. So take a look at your pile of mail and decide what you need in a physical form and what you could stand to get sent to you via email.
Reduce your water consumption
Turn off the sink when you brush your teeth, take shorter showers, don’t run the dishwasher until it is full, fix leaky toilets, change fixtures to the ‘water conserving’ versions.
Reduce your energy consumption
Turn off the lights, unplug electronics when you aren’t using them, turn down/up the temperature of your home (especially when you are going to be out of town for a couple days!), walk/ride a bike/take public transportation/carpool when available, buy a car with good gas mileage.
Can you reuse those empty glass jars that your marinara sauce came in? Could it become a flower vase? A container for leftover stew? Storage for craft supplies? Be creative!
Donate your gently used clothes and other items to a thrift store instead of tossing them.
Use all those cardboard boxes that you get your Amazon shipments in for fort-building with your kids. Or deconstruct them and save them for the next time you, or a local college kid, needs to move. Or when you need to send packages at Christmas.
Toilet paper rolls are a favorite among the kids that I babysit. They can be used for so many different crafts, from binoculars to owls. The lists of activities are endless: here and here and here and…
Use old magazines to collage or scrapbook (by yourself or with kiddos). Kids often love getting to flip through the pages and cut out the vibrant colors to form their own creations. (Just make sure they are child-appropriate magazines… You wouldn’t believe some of the images that are used for advertisements these days!)
Really there is no excuse in this day and age NOT to recycle. Instead of one bin, simply put it in the bin right next to it!
Know what your local recycling plant accepts and stick to that. Don’t contaminate an otherwise good batch of recyclable materials with something that can’t be recycled.
Teach your kids to get in habit of recycling.
You can even go one step further and buy things that are specifically packaged in recyclable materials.
It’s always kind of funny (though never surprising) when I make my own lists and posts and then find someone who has made an equally comprehensive, if not better list than my own. Check out this awesome article on Greatist.com for more tips and ideas!