“One straw won’t make a difference.”
- Said 100,000 people….
I can’t remember where I saw this quote, but it really hit me. When some small actions seem silly and like they won’t make a difference, remember that thousands of others may be thinking the same thing. Each small action does make a difference and continues our joint path to a better, cleaner Mother Earth!
Here are a few small actions that my family and I have made in our home to be a little more conscious of our actions and our waste. We’re not always perfect, but every little bit helps!
1. Swap plastic bottles of water and single use coffee cups for reusable bottles and cups
This is such an easy swap to make that has such great results. Think about it…swap 1 coffee cup and at least 2 bottles of water a day for a year as a family of four and that’s 730 coffee cups and nearly 3,000 plastic bottles of water!
2. Swap plastic, single use straws for reusable straws- silicone, bamboo, stainless steel.
At our house, we only use reusable straws with the kids. When out and about, I opt for paper straws or no straws at all when possible!
3. Swap paper towels and napkins for washable ones.
With little ones in your household, you go through A LOT of napkins, wipes, paper towels which creates a lot of waste. One easy way to reduce some of that waste is to use washable paper towels and napkins. Even by using one for each of my 1 year old’s 3 meals to clean her up, that’s a huge save each month and year! Plus, eventually you’ll save money as well—win-win!
4. Buy local produce (even honey!)
Buying from local farmers is great for so many reasons! Not only are you supporting your community but you’re lowering the carbon emissions since you’re not buying something that has traveled thousands of miles to your grocery. Plus, you tend to get fresher produce as well since it hasn’t been sitting on a boat for days or weeks. Buying local honey also helps to support the natural ecosystem in your area and is also rumored to help with your seasonal allergies.
5. Upcycle old t-shirts & other clothes that are beyond repair into dust cloths for cleaning and more!
We’ve all got those t-shirts in our dressers that have too many holes and unsightly stains. Instead of throwing them in the trash, give them a second life as a cleaning cloth!
6. Shop pre-loved clothing, pass clothing on to siblings/family/friends, and hold clothing swaps within your community.
One of the best ways to stop waste is to keep them in the landfills by keeping them in use as long as possible. Rather than buying a new wardrobe every season (which can be so difficult with growing kids), shop for pre-loved clothing or pass items on to others for new use. (We hope to have a pre-loved section of our website one day--stay tuned!)
7. Reuse old candle containers, sauce jars, soup cans as planters.
This is one of my favorite things to do! To me, it gives the plants so much personality and having a plant filled home can not only clean the air around you, but I personally feel plants make me happier.
8. Use wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets
Dryer sheets are usually made of plastic substances (containing PFAs) which we all know isn’t good for our environment or landfills. Not only do you avoid additional waste and eventually save some money by switching to wool dryer balls, but it reduces the drying time saving on energy as well!
9. Swap plastic bags and cling-wrap/foil for reusable pouches and silicone lids.
You’re not only eliminating unnecessary waste here but you eventually save money once you get the use out of them. Did you know that foil NEVER biodegrades? The only way to get rid of aluminum foil is to smash it into a baseball-size (or larger) ball and recycle it!
10. Repair (and then eventually recycle) your clothing, shoes and linens.
This one can seem tough, but it doesn’t have to be! Spend a little time with a needle & thread (and maybe some YouTube videos for learning) or go to your local tailor to make needed repairs and give a new life to your closet. And once clothing, shoes, undergarments are beyond repair–make sure you’re recycling them! They should NEVER go into the trash!
Since so many of you asked–I’ve put together a list of companies that will take your old items to either be resold or recycled, keeping everything out of the landfills! You can find the list HERE. I will be adding to it regularly and if you ever have questions on any of it or would like to see something else added to the list, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What new actions will you be taking to make your home a little greener for your family and Mother Earth?