In honor of Earth Day, I thought it would be a great time to jump in and share some small mindful changes you could consider making to make a larger impact on the environment and your overall health.
As with everything I talk about, this too is a journey. Living an eco-friendly life has been a step on my wellness journey that started a decade and a half ago. Once you can start to make changes and be cognizant of the impact, you will likely start finding ways to make other changes without much thought.
Today I wanted to share a list of small changes you could implement with little to no effort or cost. In fact, some might end of saving you money over time because your use of anything and everything disposable (i.e buying over and over again), will hopefully decrease and be replaced with a reusable option.
In The Kitchen
- Replace plastic with glass. Yes, even with your kids. My kids have always used glass, but even if yours haven’t, you can still start working with them on this. This will be a gradual process but two cheap options you could start with are Pyrex containers for food and mason jars for glassware.
- Stop using disposable plastic bags (i.e. Ziplock). If Pyrex containers don’t work for your travel needs, there are plenty of other options available now. Two of our family favorites are Lunchskins and Stasher bags.
- Say no to disposable silverware. Bring your own silverware in your lunch box and tell restaurants no thank you with take out. I use a bamboo set similar to this for on the go.
- Get a stainless steel or glass water bottle. Again avoiding plastic is best but at a minimum stop buying disposable water bottles and if your starting point for a reusable one is plastic, remember that is still a small step in improvement. Our family uses Hydro Flask.
- Cloth napkins. Buy 2-3 per person in your family (we have 3 sets). We reuse them multiple times until soiled before washing and often will share one napkin between two people (unless of course we have guests). I then keep a small basket in my pantry that we can toss them in and wash them once a week. I also have one I throw in my lunch box for work or when we are on the go.
- Buy products in glass and keep the bottles. We have a couple of products that I love the jars they come in – my mayo is one. Once the product is gone, we soak them in really hot water and then remove the label. Coconut oil helps remove the sticky glue. If it is too hard to remove the sticker, I don’t keep it :). These can then turn into drinking glasses.
- Use your drinking cup multiple times. Our family really only uses a glass at dinnertime and we all have a designated spot we put them on the counter (so we know whos is whos) and will use them for a couple days before washing. Throughout the day we just drink water and use our water bottles.
- Skip the disposable coffee filter. Most coffee pots have a reusable filter that works just fine.
- Use a reusable straw – throw this in your bag to use at restaurants as well.
Around The Home
- Buy recycled toilet paper and paper towels. We buy ours online at Costco and then it is shipped to our house so saves me time as well.
- Unplug appliances that aren’t in use. Blow dryers, chargers, toasters, etc.
- Turn off the lights. I know this is silly and as a kid you swore you would never be that parent, but it’s true…how often are we telling our kids to turn off lights when they leave a room?! Also, in general use natural window light as often as possible.
- Turn off the water. Don’t let water run unnecessarily. For example, while you are brushing your teeth.
- Recycle. Recycle. Recycle. Even glass. They now have curbside glass options available, but we still take ours to the big glass recycle dumpsters our city has around town. We have three bins in our kitchen – trash, recycle, glass.
- Use plastic bags you have gotten from stores as trash liners and consider not replacing every time you empty the trash – just dump the contents.
Out And About
- Bring a bag for your purchases. This takes time to get in the habit of but keep reusable bags in every car you own and just start trying to get in the habit of brining. If you forget, opt for paper or skip the bag all together. (An easy place to say no thank you for bags is when you have left overs from a restaurant or take out. Just carry the food.)
- Don’t put your produce in a plastic bag – just place in your shopping cart or buy a reusable bag.
- Speaking of skipping… skip the receipt. It is a waste of paper and often coated with BPA. Lots of stores will do email receipts or you can do receipt look up with returns, so don’t need one at all.
- Don’t buy individual portioned out products. I know people think this is great for kids but just buy a normal size of the product and portion out yourself in some reusable bags like ones I mentioned above (Lunchskins and Stasher). This will also save you money because the individual containers are often more.
- Bring your own container for leftovers at a restaurant. This is a tip from a coworker of mine and something I am going to try to get in the habit of doing. She likes something like this that is collapsable and can go in her purse.
What is one thing you think you could start implementing today? Do you have any other tips?
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