“Going Green” doesn’t have to be a dramatic overhaul of your entire lifestyle. And it doesn’t need to happen all at once. Making small changes in our daily routines can add up to big change for the planet. Here are 8 small changes you can make to make your footprint just a little bit smaller. Which one will you try first?
Go to the library
Your neighborhood library is the ultimate green resource for books, magazines, music and movies. Make applying for a library card a rite of passage for your children, ramping up their excitement for their first selections from your local branch. Save book-buying for truly special tomes and vow to borrow the rest. This way, you’ll live more simply and have the added benefit of saving another item from being shipped if you’re one to shop online. The library is an eco-friendlier alternative to buying books, in which another green option would be to recycle or giveaway the books to good will or to share with a friend.
Don’t go to the landfill
Save your old items – clothing, home goods, books and more – from filling up a landfill by scoping out good places to donate them. It always feels good to pare down what you own and there’s no better feeling than giving to those in need. Your local Goodwill or Salvation Army will always accept donations. Check your area for homeless shelters and charities accepting donations in good condition. Check out our post about what to do with your kiddos’ old clothes for some other ideas.
Cut back on meat
Studies show that a meat-heavy diet can have a pretty serious impact on the environment. From fossil fuel to water and grains, raising livestock for consumption eats up an enormous amount of our natural resources. To mitigate your carbon footprint when it comes to your dinner plate, try treating your family to vegetarian meals a few nights a week for an eco-friendlier option.
Cut back on waste
Say no to disposables whenever you can. You’ll send less trash to the landfill by bringing reusable totes to the grocery store. Buy rechargeable batteries. Never use plastic cutlery. Pick up pretty table linens on the cheap from resale shops or estate sales so you’ll never resort to paper napkins. Outfit your babies in cloth diapers and shop the bulk bins at your grocery store to cut down on packaging. There are infinite ways you can reduce the waste that you generate. Start with baby steps and small changes and you’ll find that these changes don’t need to disrupt your routine.
Make your own household cleaners
Skip the heavy duty chemical-laden cleaners in favor of making your own. You’ll safeguard your health and that of your family, and you’ll help keep our water and earth toxin-free. Stock up on white vinegar for all purpose eco-friendlier cleaning, baking soda for scrubbing and essential oils like peppermint and sweet orange for their sweet scents. Ecocentric Mom strives to introduce our subscribers to healthier cleaning options available for sale, but you can also check out our guide to DIY cleaners.
Limit air travel
Hopping aboard an airplane is hardly fuel efficient. When feasible, choose train travel over a trip to the airport. Studies show that Amtrak is nearly 33 percent more fuel efficient, thereby eco-friendlier, than traveling by plane.
Dispose of your meds properly
If you have expired or unused drugs collecting in your medicine cabinet, think twice before you flush them down the toilet or toss them in the trash. Drug residue has been collected from our nation’s waterways, adding to the toxic toll we take on the environment. Check with your community about “take-back programs” which safely dispose of unused medications.
Say no to bottled water
This one’s a no brainer: Ditch commercially sold bottled water. Instead, buy a reusable glass or metal bottle and fill it up at home like this one. If you’re worried about water safety, purchase a water filter that hooks up to your sink – or invest in a pitcher with a water-filtering system.
Have any other tips to share with our eco-mom community? We’d love to hear from you.