Photo by Ben
40 Ways to go Greener at Home by Simple Mom appeared in my blogger reading list earlier this week. Though I didn’t have time to read her post then, I began to think about what our family does. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that we do have a substantial list! Most of our earth friendly practices were born out of a need for frugality or for the benefit of our family but they’re green none the less!
- Cloth Diapers: We switched to BumGenius 3.0 cloth diapers (a one size, all in one read more here). A bit of an investment but better for baby, more economical and better for the earth! We also use cloth trainers for my toddler. I only have 8 BG diapers so I have to do a load of wash every night. I make the most of that load by adding any other whites or lights that we have in with the diapers. Helps me keep up a bit on laundry too 🙂 Swim diapers are also a really cool alternative to disposable swimmers…they’re cute too!
- Cloth Wipes: Recently I began using cloth wipes too. Since I am already using the diapers, why not use the wipes so then I can just put the wipes inside the soiled diaper and toss the whole think in the diaper pail rather than trying to figure out where to put the disposable wipes while I finish the job.
- Baby Food: While I still buy some baby food, I generally try to make my own. Less packaging! Less Cost! Better for Baby!
- Toys without Batteries: Too many toys these days require batteries and “entertain” the child. While some of these are fine, I believe that children should learn to entertain themselves and use their imaginations. Toys with batteries are also noisy and drive my dh crazy. Battery-eating toys are also not great for the environment either!
- HE Washer: We have a high efficiency front loading washer which uses less water and requires less soap.
- Cold Water: Unless I am washing some heavily soiled items (diaper etc.), I try to wash on cold. My clothes come out just fine!
- Soaps: We currently use Ecos, Nature Clean and soap nuts for washing our clothes. The soap nuts are compostable, and the nature clean comes in a box, lined with a bag and it has a little spout on the front. I only need 1 tablespoon of soap for a load (even heavily soiled diapers!). Recycle the box and spout and all you’re left with is the bag as garbage. It says it does 129 loads but I get more out of it that that.
- Less Laundry: Clothes worn once aren’t always dirty (by adults anyway). My husband and I shower everyday (I know, not environmentally friendly or frugal but we feel it is an essential) but we reuse our towels for the week before washing them. If you’ve done a good job in your shower then you should be clean!
- Clothesline: Coming soon. We live in a new subdivision that had a by-law against clotheslines (imagine that!!) Last year they lifted it so this summer I’ll have a clothes line. Hurray!
- Avoid Chemicals: Not good for you, your family or the earth. Avoid them when you can. We use e-cloths here and have been very happy with the results. Our lawn isn’t perfect and I pull weeds constantly (a lot of work) but I don’t have to worry about my little ones eating dirt & chemicals because our lawn is just dirt! (Fish Mama talked about Chemicals here and when it comes to spiders – I’m all for chemicals!!)
- Composting: We started last summer. Not hard but we don’t do it in the winter because I don’t want to shovel all the snow to get out to it.
- Recycle: Recycle what you can but keep in mind that recycling still uses energy etc. to do so it isn’t totally earth friendly. It’s best to try use products with as little packaging as possible, regardless of if it can be recycled.
- Packaging: Avoid individually packed items or convenience foods when you are able. We all take advantage of this convenience from time to time but try to avoid it on a regular basis. Thermos and Innate make some great stainless steel cups! Take them with you everywhere you go to avoid buying packaged drinks.
- Energy Efficient Light Bulbs: This is my husband’s domain but I know we have them.
- Turn your Heat Down a few degrees and your a/c up a few degrees. Doing it gradually will help you adjust and you’ll save lots too!
- Plan Your Outings so that you can get all your errands done in as few trips as possible.
- BYOB: Bring your own bags to the store when shopping. Most stores here sell them for $0.95 but dh saw them on for $0.37/each at Fortino’s.
- Buy Second Hand: When we first had Chloe, I would have balked at this because we had the money, why buy used? Well, it makes better use of your money, there is nothing wrong with most used things (I have huge issues about having to be able to wash/disinfect things) and it is better for the environment. After all, if everyone bought new and discarded it when finished, our landfills would be overflowing and we would be creating a lot of pollution with excessive production.
- Cloth Napkins: We switched a couple years ago. Ours aren’t actually napkins; they are small cotton dish towels in very cool bright colors. We got them on sale and love them!
- No Paper Towel: Because we use the e-cloth for windows and we use cloth napkins, I was thinking we should eliminate paper towel all together. At first my husband balked (after all where would he de-grease his bacon?!) We started using cotton flour sacks and though we still have some paper towel in our stock-pile, we haven’t used it and we don’t miss it!
So it is only 20 things I came up with but these are what Works for Me. After reading the article by Simple Mom, I could add to the list, but I won’t. You’ll have to go HERE for more ideas! Isn’t it amazing how going green can save you green $$?
Happy Earth Day!
Great list! Thanks for the link.
My favorite resource for feeding my baby is http://www.babyfood101.com.
The site features adult food recipes that allow you to feed some food to your baby.
I hope this is helpful.
We do just about all that too. I keep paper towels on hand when the stomach flu hits and a child might not make it to the bucket.
I bought a huge mess of cloth napkins at a garage sale and then bleached them. about 50. I have saved all the old t-shirts and made rags out of them. But I think with the next round I will make some reusable bags.
Oh i was happy to go though the list and find that we do most of that too! The energy bulbs are pricey to start with but are well worth it, the one we have on the front porch last 5 yrs!! One other thing we do is reusing your water bottles and only using water bottles for when you are out and about cause at home there is nothing wrong with tap water!Love sandy
Great tips! Click on my name for some more.
One thing you didn’t mention is eating less meat. That not only reduces pollution but frees up grain and water for people to eat and drink, and it saves money too!
The best way to clean cloth diapers is to pre-rinse them off in the toilet using a Hand Bathroom Bidet Sprayer. So convenient and if you are trying to help the environment (and your pocket book) you can give it a double whammy by virtually eliminating toilet paper use at the same time as you benefit from using it on the diapers, by using it on yourself. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: “if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn’t wipe it off with paper, would you? You’d wash it off” Available at http://www.bathroomsprayers.com they come in an inexpensive kit and can be installed without a plumber. And after using one of these you won’t know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. Now we’re talking green and helping the environment without any pain. One review: http://jonathanandandrea.blogspot.com/2009/04/spray-it-or-scrub-it.html
I like the idea of using the flour sacks to replace paper towels.
How do you store everything? And do you do those greasies with your dipes, or how do you keep them from smelling till you wait for the wash?
It’s nice to “meet” you! Appreciated this post. You may have noticed I mentioned recently reading a book called Go Green, Save Green–sounds like it’s right up your alley. I hope to write about it soon!
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Terrific work! This is the kind of info that should be shared across the web.
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