So this is the last one! I’ve been meaning to post this for a week or so, but I hurt my wrist (I fell while hiking!), so I’ve been off the computer a lot.
#10 is a big one for our family! Reduce, re-use, recycle!
Buy less stuff. That one is pretty simple.
Use what you have on hand. There are some pretty awesome websites like Recipe Key and Recipe Matcher that help you find recipes based on what you have in your pantry.
Reduce your waste out put. I’m not asking you to hold it when you gotta go, but put your eggshells and coffee grounds in your house plants and tomato plants. Try composting. You’ll be reducing your carbon foot print and you’ll make your plants happier!
Re-purpose items! This includes eating your leftovers.
Here, here, and here are some great Pinterest boards that have re-using ideas.
Mend your clothes- including fallen hems, loose buttons and minor tears. Sewing kits are inexpensive. If you don’t know how to sew or even thread a needle, check out YouTube for some tutorials. And hey, you’ll learn a new skills!
In some areas, recycling is done by weight (like the majority of the recycling centers we have here). You bring all of your aluminum cans crushed up or your glass bottles in big garbage bags and they are weighed, and you receive a per lb. price.
In other areas (like where my in-laws live back east and very few locations here in So Cal) there are machines that you deposit bottles and cans into one at a time and a per piece bottle deposit is returned to you. Re-Planet is one of those companies.
Some areas mandate recycling- Where we live there are special cans: Black for trash, green for yard waste, and blue for recycling. The items that cannot be returned for a bottle deposit like milk cartons, soup cans, cereal boxes can be placed into the blue bin.
Recycling doesn’t only mean bottles and cans , it can also be to give an item a new life and a new home. Donate clothes and other household items to charity or use freecycle and help your neighbors. I especially like the Buy Nothing Movement.
You can also sell items on Craigslist, have a garage sale or sell your items via a consignment shop. They will go to a new home, you will have kept the stuff from a landfill, and you’ll have a little cash!
A few weeks ago I went to the Moms Meet Wow Summit and learned a lot of ways that any family can start their journey to going green. And it is a journey. It’s not something that you wake up one morning and think, “Today we go green!”. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Think about how much stuff you’d throw away: Cleaning supplies, food, household goods. That woud make a lot of trash all at once, and that’s definitely not the direction you’d want to go in.
Here are 5 steps to start your going green journey (all of these we’ve implemented at our house):
Reduce: In order to reduce our carbon footprint, we re-use as much as we can. For me the first step was to reduce the number of cleaners we had in the house, since a lot of them aren’t too environmentally friendly.
I made up some of the Dr. Bronner’s All Purpose cleaner (¼ c. soap in a quart of water in a spray bottle. Add ¼ tsp. tea tree essential oil if desired.) using a sample of the Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Liquid Soap, and I put it into a bottle that used to hold another cleaner. I washed the bottle thoroughly before mixing up the new cleaner. It REALLY gets the kitchen clean and because it’s an all purpose cleaner, I use it in the bathroom too! I really like that Dr. Bronner’s products are biodegradable, organic and are safe enough that you can brush your teeth with (but, yes, it does taste like soap!!).
Re-Use: I re-use as much as I can around the house. We’ve got re-usable lunch bags for Little Man (and that classy banana box too- keeps the bananas from getting beat up in transit), and one for the car (it’s replaced our car snack box). I cut up old beat up bath towels and use them to clean up around the house. I re-use containers as well. I cleaned out an empty formula canister and put Nesquik powder in it instead. I even re-used the formula scoop (since it’s smaller than the usual portion size, we use less each time!).
Recycle: We have a recycling bin with a lid on the patio and we put our recycling in it. Once it’s full we take it to our local Re-Planet Recycling center. We earn a little money and help the planet- nothing better! It’s a great teaching tool for Lil’ Man!
Walk: We are fortunate to live within walking distance of a grocery store (which is closing soon, but will re-open as a Smart and Final soon), as well as a park, and a few other places that we like to go. When it’s possible (aka not 100 degrees), I put Birdy in the Stroller, and we walk as a family to pick up whatever we need or to go have an adventure. There is a second bonus: When we are shopping, I am limited to what we can carry in the undercarriage/storage area of the stroller. It really helps me stick to my shopping list! Not only are we getting exercise, but we’re leaving our car at home and that cuts down on the pollutants that are in car exhaust.
Replace non-green stuff with a green counterpart as we can: When we finish up with a non-green product, I replace it with a green version. Like the cleaner above, once I used up the last of the Windex, I replaced it with the Bronner’s recipe for cleaner. We ran out of paper towels a few weeks back, and in it’s place, I’ve been using lint free cloths instead. I just wash them with the other towels when I do the laundry each week. I picked up AmazonBasics Microfiber Cleaning Cloth – 24 Pack for only $14.99. A few towels added to a load of laundry doesn’t cost anything extra either.
I love Recyclebank. Take quizzes, make pledges all in an effort to help “green” the planet! All of these green activities earn you points and those points can be redeemed for some pretty sweet prizes!
Right now there are several opportunities to earn a slew of points (I stopped counting after 750 points)! Once you’ve signed up (or signed in) Check out these great point earning opportunities– They take less than a minute and you’ll be on your way to earning points and rewards!
Not sure what to spend your points on? There are tons of great magazine subscriptions available, money saving coupons, as well as tons of great natural and earth friendly products!
They frequently have gift cards as well (for stores like JCP, Sears, Target, Lands End). I earn about $20/year in gift cards and numerous magazine subscriptions, just by taking their quizzes and pledge, and I learn something too!