In honour of Earth day, on Sunday, I thought I would share 10 easy ways to make your home a little more eco-friendly. The one thing I have discovered is that being more eco-friendly in our homes can take some time. It’s hard to just wake up one morning and say “This is the day where I change everything!” . A part of me would love to do that, but the logistics and money involved don’t really make it a realistic option.
However over the past several years, we’ve continuously made small steps toward becoming a greener household. We’ve embraced, eco-friendly products, recycle anything and everything we can, we have a vegetable garden, and make most of our meals at home from scratch. Here are ten more ways we’ve made changes in our home that are easy and you can change too.
- Switch to cloth napkins. I used to think cloth napkins were for fancy occasions only but I’m not really sure why. Maybe I thought I’d just be adding to the laundry. I do laundry everyday, so throwing in a couple of cloth napkins into one of the loads is easy peasy. I asked my mother-in-law if she had any she wasn’t using and she gave me a whole big stack of them. They are all we use now, except when we have a whole lotta people in our house. Paper napkins are now for fancy occasions;)
- Skip the straw. Plastic straws are devastating to our oceans and the animals who call it home. When Madelyn was just little we bought some reusable straws and have been using them ever since. I also keep a stash of paper straws on hand for when we need a bunch of straws at once. I am currently working on sourcing some reusable silicone straws for the kids.
- Use less plastic. Plastic is a hard thing to escape. Almost everything is made with plastic these days. A few simple changes we have made to cut back on our plastic use are: glass food storage containers (This is a big one for us. There are also a ton of health reasons to switch to glass.) , reusable shopping bags, reusable produce bags, reusable water bottles (metal for mom and dad, silicone for Madelyn), wooden toys (yes we have plastic ones too, but wood is a great alternative and our kids really love their wooden toys plus I think they are kind of charming), etc.
- Make your own air fresheners. So incredibly easy to do. I just add a few drops of my lavender essential oil to some water in a misty spray bottle. I also like to add a couple drops of essential oil into the bottom of a clean vacuum bag. The house smells so good after I vacuum. Next on my list is I want to make my own cleaning products.
- Try hand me downs, clothing swaps, and thrift shopping for your kids clothes instead of always buying new. Yes, I for sure buy new things for my kids, but I have also bought a ton of things second hand. The twins are wearing all of Madelyn’s old clothes and friends have been kind enough to pass on some of their gently worn items to us too.
- Use rags instead of paper towel. I used to use a ton of paper towel for everything. We now have a hearty stock of rags I use for the majority of my cleaning. Most of my rags are old dish cloths, socks, towels, and t-shirts. The prefect re-use.
- Buy produce that is in season. Not only does this have a huge environmental impact, it will also save you a lot of money. It’s a simple and easy rule that we follow pretty well in our house. (Here’s a guide I found to help you know what’s in season when. Click here .)
- Use dryer balls. I am on a bit of a mission to reduce and eliminate our use of single use items. Dryer sheets are a one time deal and then go straight into the garbage. I recently purchased some wool dryer balls to try out. I love that I can add my own essential oils to them in my scent of choice.
- NO one time use products. So #8 leads me into our next eco home change. We want to reduce and eventually eliminate one time use items like….coffee shop coffee cups (I am so bad at this…this is a current goal of mine), dryer sheets, paper towel and napkins, straws, saran wrap (I’m looking to switch to bees wrap), makeup wipes, etc. I have been busy pinning away tons of great ideas over on Pinterest. Check out my “Reduce Waste Cleverness” board here. This is actually one of the main reasons why we still use our drip coffee maker. No pods heading to the garbage dump here.
- Compost / Green Bin Recycling. We really have no excuse not to do this in most communities in the Greater Vancouver area. We have an amazing Green Bin collection service where we can recycle yard and food scraps. We have a small compost bin on our kitchen counter that we line with newspaper. It gets emptied at least once per day. It is the simplest change we have made, since it’s basically done for us. And no, it does not attract rats or racoons. Everything else seems to attract them, but not the green bins.
Collectively, we all need to do better and make some changes. If we shop smarter by supporting local business, purchasing ethically sourced materials, and buying local and sustainable goods, we can make a big impact. One thing I know I have got a lot better at over the past five or so years is consuming less. One pair of jeans can last me a long time, t-shirts can be worn year round, and buying items I truly love will lead to me wearing them for years to come. I definitely have a lot of room for improvement, but this is a good start. Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! Happy Earth Day!