This is the year to give your family a fresh start by making small changes to make a big difference – for the planet’s health and for yours! Going green does not have to mean making huge sacrifices all at once – by making one small change each month, you’ll find that at the end of the year your family is living a much greener lifestyle. Not only can you eat greener and shop greener, you can also reduce your carbon footprint a ton of other easy ways. It feels good to be making a positive impact on the environment and for your family. These tips can help your family make that transition smoothly – or if you’re up for a challenge, try them all at once!
1. Shop for organic baby/kids products and clothing
When shopping for products for your kids, it’s important to realize that a lot of products on the market contain ingredients that are not only bad for the planet, but also bad for your child’s health. You should always read the labels of any product before you buy it and be on the lookout for harmful ingredients like parabens and phthalates or anything that’s been treated with fire-retardant chemicals.
Silkberry Baby makes stylish and eco-friendly clothing for little ones that is silky soft – your baby will love it!
2. Plant a garden in your backyard
If you have the room for it, growing your own fruit and vegetables at home can save you a lot of money and provides your family with healthy, nutritious food. You don’t need a big space to grow a garden and it has an immensely positive impact on the environment. Use eco-friendly methods to maintain your garden, like composting and collecting water in a rain barrel.
3. Take public transportation
Everyone knows that most cars are not friendly to the environment and they contribute to global warming. Of course for most of us it’s not possible to go completely car-free, but you can make a more conscious effort to walk or take public transportation more often. Instead of driving to the store that’s only a few blocks away, go for a walk. You can even try to make the commitment to go without a car every Saturday or Sunday so the family can get some exercise!
4. Donate old clothes, toys and books
If your kids have gently-used clothes and toys they have outworn, donate them to a local thrift store or we love the GOOD+ Foundation. This is a great family activity and teaches children the importance of giving back as well as supporting the local economy.
5. Use reusable bags
Plastic bags are terrible for the environment and yet many supermarkets and stores still continue to use them. Don’t give in just because it’s easy – always keep reusable shopping bags on hand or in the trunk of your car. This way if you decide to make a last-minute purchase you will always have the more eco-friendly option available. I love the BAGGU brand.
Also be sure to use reusable bags for your child’s school lunches. We love Woombie’s b-Green Smart bags!
6. No more plastic water bottles
Similar to the plastic bags, plastic water bottles are also incredibly harmful for the environment and they’re still in widespread use. Don’t buy these plastic bottles for your family – have a reusable water bottle designated for each family member. These can be refilled over and over again so you can save money on buying water bottles.
We love Bubi Bottles! These foldable bottles are a fantastic water bottle option because they are BPA and microbial free, can be used hot or cold, and they roll up to save space when they’re empty!
Another favorite is the GroGrow Eco Baby Bottle from Pacific Baby with anti-colic nipple, spill-proof with tight fitting cap, and stylish silicone grip.
7. Switch out your lightbulbs
Your family should replace all regular lightbulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs which last up to ten times longer than normal bulbs and require less energy. While a traditional light bulb requires 100 watts of power to operate, an eco-friendly light bulb puts out the same amount of energy while using only 20 watts.
8. Use green cleaning products
Typical household cleaners usually contain many harsh chemicals that you don’t want to be using in your home. You can search for all-natural home cleaners or even make your own with simple ingredients you probably already own.
Genesis 950 is a must have all-purpose surfactant based cleaner that is safe for your entire home. It removes all types of stains and odors without any of the toxic chemicals.
Another absolute favorite eco cleaner is BunchaFarmers stain remover stick. It’s AMAZING! My son loves sweet potatoes which is great but it stains very badly. BunchaFarmers stain remover gets any stain out! Sweet potatoes, blow out stains on clothes and more.
9. Take shorter showers
You can cut down on shower time by installing a waterproof timer in your shower or use a water-saving shower head. For every two minutes you cut down in the shower you conserve more than 10 gallons of water. Another good idea is to shower during the warmest part of the day to reduce hot water use.
10. Teach your kids to recycle
It’s easy to practice recycling on a regular basis and you should teach your kids to recycle too. Place labels on the bins so kids can clearly see what goes in which bin. Color coding them can also be a big help. You may also want to print out a chart that shows what kinds of items go in each bin.
11. Find ways to reuse paper
Instead of tossing out barely used notepaper, put it in a special pile that your kids can use for homework scrap paper and art projects. Use both sides of every paper, make gift wrapping paper out of newspaper comics, and save old magazines for scrapbooking and collage art projects.
12. Unplug and be technology free
We’re always so glued to our smartphones and other electronic devices which can zap a lot of energy and quality family time, so set aside a day every weekend where everyone in the family is forced to unplug their electronics. Take this time to talk about what’s going on at school and work, make dinner together, play some games, read a book, etc. Any time where your family can bond is time well spent.
In our home we have technology free zones like during mealtime and also during “family time.” I look forward to playing Rose, Thorn, Bud when our son is older. Each family members shares 1) the highlight of your day (rose), something that went wrong today (thorn), and what you look forward to tomorrow (bud.)
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Written by Tasha Mayberry, Editor-in-Chief of BIBB Magazine
Tasha is a work-at-home mom’preneur and has lived green for many years, but has increased her green living since getting pregnant in the summer of 2015.