Wednesday, January 22, 2020

GREEN LIVING :: Easing Into Sustainability

We started this journey last summer. We noticed that we were being wasteful in some
areas and that some of our habits were contributing to increase our chemical load.  Any
kind of changes when you have a full schedule and young kids can be challenging.
However, I’m here to encourage you to make those changes, however small they might
be. You’ll soon see how it only takes a little effort to get the ball rolling.  Once it’s going,
there’s no stopping it.

Here’s how we’re going about being more sustainable at home so far.  We are hoping
that our list of approaches will grow this year:

  1.  Reduce Paper Towel Use :: This one seemed like a tough habit to break.  We used to go through so many paper towels at home. We decided we would buy cotton cloths to wipe down counter tops and any spills.  We also bought a set for regular cleaning around the house. This simple measure cut down on our paper towel use dramatically. I used to buy 6 rolls each week and now I probably buy 6 rolls per month.  We just do a wash load with all the cloths at the end of the week and so far it’s been working well. I find that paper towels do the best job for cleaning glass and we still use them to clean the bathroom and for odd jobs here and there in the kitchen.  I’m not sure we’ll be able to let go entirely of them but we’ve made substantial progress.

  1. Switch to reusable sandwich bags :: I used to go through so many Ziploc bags a month for lunch packing or just regular food storage.  It was getting kind of crazy. I started to wonder about the plastics in our bags too since we weren’t buying the Ziploc brand most of the time.  We have switched to silicon reusable sandwich bags and I have to say I love them so far. I do miss the convenience of throwing them in the trash after use and not having to wash them but I feel better about my choice. I also kind of wondered whether the kids would forget to put them back in their lunchbox at school but they have been so good about it- no lost lunch bags!

  1. Switch to reusable shopping bags :: This one was tough to master. The grocery store next to our house stopped providing plastic bags and started charging for paper bags motivating most people to switch over to reusable bags.  I would say the biggest challenge is remembering to bring the bags along. We find that placing the empty bags in the trunk right after we empty them helps.  

  1. Eat local and seasonal :: This started to bother me last fall right around the time that we signed up for our veggie box.  Eating local and seasonal means that you are leaving less of a footprint in your environment. Eating "fresh" blueberries in January is nice, don’t get me wrong, but if you live in the Northeast like me do you think about what it took to get those blueberries to the supermarket shelf? 

  1.  No more plastic water bottles :: These are so convenient with kids, don’t get me wrong. The smallest pint sized bottles are perfect for little hands but it's just such a wasteful practice.  It might also not be all that safe for you. Did you know that they can isolate plastic molecules, microplastics, from the water in plastic bottles?  We don’t really know what those molecules are doing in the body so it’s best to avoid their intake. I found stainless steel water bottles for everyone on Amazon that we love.   We extended this practice to our coffee too. We have our own stainless steel coffee thermos and make our own latte at home. It’s much less wasteful and will help you save some money too. I still take the kiddos to Starbucks for chocolate milk but I’m not there everyday for my latte like I used to be at one point in time.  

These are some of the approaches we have mastered over the past few months to be
more sustainable.  What have you tried in your household? Let me know in the
comments below.

Thank you for reading this post!

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