1. I switched from paper towels to cloth napkins. Cloth napkins are extremely pricey, but I found some plain white ones at Target. I believe they were 12 for $10. Since Spring Break, we have lowered our paper towel consumption down to 1 roll every 6-8 weeks. There are times when I really would just prefer to use a paper towel, but for the most part we are using cloth napkins and hand towels. I went out this weekend and bought some fabric quarters. I plan to make some fun double sided cloth napkins when I find a free moments. I thought this would encourage us to use cloth napkins at work and school as well.
2. I have switched to biodegradable paper plates. I have used the kind made out of corn and out of potato. Both work well. I do not use these for every meal, but in a pinch they work perfectly. I have also stopped throwing them away after one use. I rinse them off and dry them. We use them 3-4 times before we throw them away.
3. We have switched over to using more natural laundry detergent and fabric softener. Here are some suggestions to try:
- Purex Natural Elements: I loved using this detergent. It is reasonably priced, smells great and does not irritate Little Js skin. If you do not have an HE washer, this is the way to go.
- Seventh Generation: Blue Eucalyptus & Lavender is my favorite. This detergent can be used in any kind of washer and is 2X concentrated. It is hypoallergenic and has a natural water softening agent. They also have a free and clear formula available.
- Mrs. Meyers Clean Day: This is the detergent we are currently using. It has natural ingredients and smells fantastic. I have used all of the fragrances and have not decided on a favorite. You can use this detergent in a regular washer or a HE. All Mrs. Meyer Detergents contain borax; therefore, they are excellent at fighting stains.
4. I have been using half the recommended amount of laundry and dishwasher soap. I have also been using the shortest cycle to wash. I have not noticed a change in the cleanliness of my laundry or my dishes. The big plus... I am saving money because my detergents are lasting alot longer.
5. We bought a tankless water heater when we remodeled the kitchen. The water is no longer constantly heated. It is heated upon use. It takes a couple minutes to heat up, but it was well worth it.
6. Planting a garden has not provided us with the bounties I had hoped for due to Texas having record heat this summer. I will be planting another garden next summer with the intent of having fresh produce.
7. We bring our own bags to the store. I keep a couple in the car for unscheduled outings. I do have the grocery store bag my meat in plastic though. I have not figured out a way to transport the meat home without it leaking. I reuse the bags though during dinner that night. I throw all my trash into the bag during preparation and then discard of the bag once dinner is made.
8. I bought T Man the Laptop Lunch Box and I have the Vivo Square Bento Box. We plan on having a trash free lunch during the school year... especially by bringing our own cloth napkins and silverware. T Man also has a stainless steel water bottle. The only trash we should have would be on the days T decides to buy milk at school. I just do not trust milk in a container until lunchtime.
9. We no longer purchase individually packaged products. I buy in bulk and separate everything. This saves on throwing away the packaging as well as puts cash in our pockets. Prepackaged servings just cost more.
The above includes drinks. I try to not purchase juice boxes and individual drinks if possible. I prefer to by 2 liters, etc. and pour out the exact amount we want to drink. The saves on packaging and waste. My boys tend to drink have a juice box and then run to get another one because the first one is either old or hot.
10. Composting: This is something I had full intentions of doing this summer, but did not get around to. With my garden not working out quite as planned. I decided to wait and try this next summer.
I have actually incorporated all things 1-9 into my life this past year. I did not make all the changes at one time. I started with one and added on as I became more comfortable. Until writing this post, I did not realize how much I have done on becoming more earth friendly. If you asked my family, they probably haven't even noticed the changes. I may be well on my way to becoming a green momma and I didn't even know it!
*I found a wonderful blog called Pretty Green Girl. You just have to go check out her blog to see what I mean.*
Some Green Sites to Check Out:
- Baggu was by far my favorite. It has reusable bags in a variety of colors and sizes. Baggu has an adorable drawstring bag that holds up to 5 additional bags. This would make an excellent gift for any family or friend that might be venturing into a more green lifestyle. Oh, don't forget to look at the mesh produce bags... perfect for the grocery store or local farmers market.
- Twist Clean: Bamboo cloth at its finest. You find anything from kitchen scrubbers to euro sponges... biodegradable, cleaning wonders.
- Love For Earth: A earth loving mommy sales tons for snack sacks, cloth napkins, etc on ETSY. Let's just say organic and super cute.
- Envirosax: Eco friendly reusable sacks. They have a variety of designs. Check out the super cute kid sacks... bright and friendly.
- Piggy Paint: Non-toxic, odorless, kid friendly nail polish. What more needs to be said.
- Life Without Plastics: Tons of products to help remove plastics from your life.
- Reusable Bags: Choose from a wide variety of reusable bags. Really just too many to choose from.