I admit, my family is VERY green, crunchy, eco-friendly, tree-hugging…whatever you want to call it. It’s just who we are. But it’s likely that if you didn’t know me and we had morning tea together I really wouldn’t seem odd and my house wouldn’t be that different from yours.
Are you still reading this or did you tune out because I said “crunchy” and you cringed? Hear me out. There are some easy-peasy little changes you can make this year to not only green up your lifestyle but also to save you some moolah…and I promise no one will call you “crunchy”.
Switch from disposable to reusable whenever possible. Napkins, towels, shopping bags, sandwich baggies, produce bags… I have found that my kids LOVE to pick out their own cloth napkin before meals. I have a basket on a shelf filled with several fun prints. And even my 2yo will wipe his own hands and face when he chooses his own napkin! I also take advantage of microfiber automotive towels for home use. They work great to clean mirrors and glass when coupled with homemade vinegar-water solution! They are also much better than paper for quickly soaking up water spills! Just wash with your regular laundry and you won’t even notice more work on that end of things (b/c no parent needs more housework – let’s keep this stuff simple!)
Reduce your electricity usage. Sure, we’ve all heard about how great the new light bulbs are. And they are. But…have you really thought about electricity vampires? For one month we decided we’d unplug anything in the house that was stealing electricity overnight while we were sleeping (tv, radio with clock, rechargers, computer, etc). WOW! A noticeable difference in our electric bill! Now it’s habit.
What about your grocery bags? If you already have them, USE THEM! Keep 4-5 in each car and once you use them, make a habit of putting them right back in the car. Better yet, have your school-age child do it for you! Have you considered using them for more than just groceries? Try bringing a bag or 2 with you whenever you go into a store. If looks are an issue, shop for a few that fold up small and have a pleasing design on them. Whatever helps you use them!
Like I said, it’s easy being green. There are so many ways to go about it. Think of a few baby-steps your family can take to make our world a little less trashy and a little greener. Chances are your kids already have some ideas of their own.
Cayce Emanuel is the Charitable Events Co-Manager for HighCountryMommies, an occasional Occupational Therapist, a busy mother of 2, and the owner of SustainableHomestead.etsy.com where she creates “quality handmade items for your stylishly sustainable home.” She also can be found blogging about her journey at www.SustainableHomestead.