Most moms are so short on time that the added responsibility of “going green” might seem like too much to ask. Yet we’re eco-conscious and we want to do as much as our time and budgets permit to keep our family and our planet healthy. These simple “go green” tips won’t cost a thing–except maybe a little time and effort–but the results are worth it.
1. Doing dishes: I grew up doing dishes in sink full of hot, sudsy water, rinsing each soapy dish in another sink or plastic bowl with clean water. After years of doing dishes under running water in my rental apartment I’ve come full circle back to the less wasteful method I grew up with; I will not turn back. This method requires minimum effort–it actually makes doing dishes somewhat easier: several dishes at a time can soak while you’re washing the others.
2. Bathing the kids: If you bathe small children in portable or removable tubs, use eco-friendly soap and shampoo and reuse the bath water for watering plants in your garden or outside your house. You can also make an improvised toddler bathtub by using an inflatable kiddie pool. These simple steps will also teach your children about water conservation from early on.
3. No food goes to waste: If you live in a house with a garden or any outdoor space, create a small composter and discard all vegetable and fruit-based scraps there to decompose. If you live in an apartment, you can obtain very inexpensive countertop compost containers that will do the same job, such as this one by Norpro. Find a planted or landscaped spot near your home and use the final compost there to help the trees or flowers grow. Also: If you’re overwhelmed with leftovers from a party or event or you just have more than you can eat, see if there’s a food collection company in your area that will use leftover cooked food; you can drop off your leftovers there whenever your schedule allows.
4. Recycle old clothing: Whether you give it away to places like the Salvation army, donate to a local charity or sell to local second-hand clothing shop, most clothing is made from natural materials and shouldn’t end up in the waste bin without being recycled. Even better, reviewing your closet periodically and recycling everything you haven’t worn in a few years can help you declutter. You can also turn old clothes into new ones.
5. Recycle kids’ toys and books: Whether you inherit recycled toys from family and friends with older kids or through a local charity or family group, there’s no need to buy all-new toys–kids outgrow them quickly. Toy rental services like Baby Plays are another option.
6. Don’t buy bottled drinking water: Opt for a filtration system like reverse osmosis, use a filter pitcher or even a bottle with its own filter. Reducing plastic waste saves money, too.
7. Air-dry clothes if possible: You’ll save on your electric bill and make a positive contribution to the environment.
8. Reuse plastic containers from yogurt, applesauce or other food products in lunch boxes, for storing leftovers or freezing fruit and meals; sturdy ziploc bags used in packaging can be reused as well. And don’t forget to teach your children to recycle.
9. Shopping bags: Keep a set of your own reusable bags to bring along for grocery shopping. Many stores now offer reusable shopping bags; some retailers like Trader Joe’s even offer useful options such as insulated bags for frozen foods.
10. Conserve extra electricity when you’re sleeping or not at home. Appliances like TVs, Cable boxes, computers or even portable music players use electricity even when plugged in not being used.For tips on natural and chemical-free cleaning-check out 15 Items That Will Keep Your Home Clean and Green.