Nine Quick Ways Every Mom Can Help Mother Earth
This year, I’m taking a new approach to Earth Day. Instead of feeling guilty about all the things on my to-do list that I haven’t accomplished (making my own household cleaners with natural ingredients, setting up a clothes line in the backyard so I can line dry my clothes, looking into cloth diapers, switching all the light bulbs, faucets, and toilets in our house to efficient ones), I decided to give a little thought to what busy moms can realistically do for the environment, with the limited time and energy we have. After searching a bunch of websites, here’s what I found:
- Ditch the bag habit. Do you really need a bag for the pack of gum you pick up at the gas station? What about a bag for the jug of milk or pack of toilet paper? If the bag doesn’t make carrying the items we purchase any easier, tell the cashier, “no thanks.”
- Remember: it’s in the bag. Pick up reusable shopping bags and make sure to put them back in the trunk for the next grocery trip as soon as they are empty! If you can’t leave the store without the disposable bags, don’t toss them out right away. Whether you choose paper or plastic, reuse them as trash bags for tiny waste baskets around the house, lunch bags for work, easy clean up for cat or dog poo, or a way to conceal the stink of a dirty diaper before you toss it out. Need more ideas? Check this out: http://planetgreen.discovery.com/home-garden/reuses-plastic-bags.html.
- Save trees with the click of a button. Pay your bills online. Switch to online versions of your favorite magazines and newspapers. Get off junk mail lists—here’s how: http://www.ecocycle.org/junkmail/index.cfm.
- Don’t just throw away old stuff. Give your old clothes to the local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Post the furniture you just replaced to http://www.freecycle.org/. Donate or recycle your old batteries and electronics (go to http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/materials/ecycling/donate.htm to find a local donation center.)
- Look for greener options. Products that are better for you and the environment are popping up all over the place these days. Instead of the dish soap or toilet bowl cleaner you’ve always used, see if there’s a more natural or environmentally friendly version that will serve the same purpose. If you can find time to make your own, check this out: http://www.divinecaroline.com/22156/23878-cheap-clean-green/2.
- Rethink the temperature of your home. Drop it a few degrees in the winter, especially when you’re not home or when you’re sleeping. On spring or summer days when it’s not too hot, open the windows to cool the house instead of using the air conditioner.
- Unplug electronics when done using them. Appliances and other electronics that are plugged in use power whether they are on or off. This goes for cell phone chargers, toasters, microwaves, hair dryers, curling irons, etc. If you can plug it, you can probably save energy by unplugging it.
- Limit water use. Think full loads of laundry, shorter showers, and turning the water off while you’re brushing your teeth.
- Buy things in bulk. It saves you money and reduces waste with less packaging! It’s a win-win.
Happy Earth Day!