Earth Day: 7 Ways You Can Be a Greener Family
Just the other day, I was outside with the boys when we noticed this nest with a few beautiful blue eggs inside. Something about the fact that a mama bird chose to build a nest and safe haven for her babies in front of our home makes me the happiest.
It's especially heart-warming when Ryan wants to go outside to check on "mama" and "our babies" every morning.
Knowing that the decisions we make today will affect how our children get to live in 20-30 years makes me want to be more "green" as a family. I want to teach my sons about how everything in this world is balanced and how we need to care for ALL of our neighbors equally—the two-legged ones, the furry and feathery ones, and the planted-in-the-soil ones.
As a family, there is definitely more we can do to consciously live with less waste and support our local communities, but it’s not always easy!
Since it's a cause we care about, but don't often devote a lot of time or attention toward, I thought it would be a good idea to share a few easy easy ways to "go green" in your home and life this Earth Day.
1. Plan a swap with your mama friends.
Let’s be honest, many of us have clothes our kiddos only wore a handful of times before he/she outgrew them or the season changed. Swapping clothes with your mom tribe is great way to recycle.
You can also reuse and recycle cribs, strollers, swings, toys... there are always mamas in need of a sleep space or new entertainment for their babies.
2. Limit your use of plastic bottles.
It can be so easy to buy cases of water to grab for days when you’re running around town, but it's even easier to fill up your reusable water bottle on your way out the door!
I did a bit of research on banthebottle.net and the numbers are pretty mind blowing!!
Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. And, the average American uses 167 disposable water bottles in a year, and only recycles 38 of them.
Using a reusable water bottle is a win-win, you can save the environment and money by carrying around your own reusable water bottle. For the recommended eight glasses of water a day, U.S. water tap rates equals about $.49 per year... that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400!
For those times that you can't avoid a plastic bottle, make sure to recycle it when you're done.
3. Sign up for a grocery delivery service.
The last thing you should have to worry about when you’re a mom are extra trips to the grocery store, especially when you're hunting for hard-to-find brands and healthy foods.
You'll save time and hassle by signing up for a grocery services like Thrive Market. Not only do they deliver right to your home, but they specialize in sourcing organic and non-GMO brands.
Thrive is also noted for their commitment to becoming a zero-waste facility by diverting over 90% of their waste to a recycling stream or reusing it in some way. They strive to reducing the amount of waste they send to the landfill, because every bit of plastic that ends up in one leaks chemicals into our groundwater and soil.
If you're thinking that a grocery delivery service doesn't sound very "green", you can rest assured that they've thought of the entire warehouse-to-home process of getting groceries to your door.
Their packers (think of them like the baggers at your local grocery store) are master Tetris players, trained to pack as much as they can into each box. Their packaging is also completely recyclable, even the tape which is made out of paper!
4. Use reusable bags at the grocery store... and everywhere else!
When you do have to head to the grocery store, be sure to bring your own bags. Many states, including California charge you if you do not bring your own bags. And for good reason! Those plastic bags often end up in our oceans... not to mention they can't hold nearly the same amount of groceries as a reusable bag can. Be sure to keep your bags in your car for those unexpected runs to CVS, Vons, Target, and Trader Joe’s.
5. Avoid buying plastic toys if you can.
Melissa and Doug and Oompa make wooden toys. Oompa also makes a line of organic stuffed animals + dolls as well as a line or organic and eco friendly arts and crafts. Under the Nile makes stuffed animals that are 100% Egyptian cotton inside and out!
Green Toys makes their toys out a recycled milk jugs, how cool is that?! We've found these toys to be super durable, too. They can take a good baby beating!
The next time you’re invited to a kids birthday party or when your planning gifts for your own children be sure to check out these eco-friendly companies.
6. Cloth diapering is an option.
While it's a little contested on how "green" cloth diapering is, it is still an option your family may want to consider. A mama friend of mine was able to use her cloth diapers for 2 years and then pass them down to a second child for another 2 years of use! That's a LOT of disposable diapers not ending up in a landfill.
We decided to use Bambo Nature disposable diapers. We love that they’re free of harmful chemicals and allergens, like latex. They’re super leak proof and absorbent, last all night, and we've never had to worry about rashes.
7. Talk about recycling and waste.
It's not the easiest of educational topics to address, but it's important to talk with our kids about where things come from, how they are made, and how they can be reused. You can also make some pretty fun games out of sorting activities!
While everyone should make it a priority to produce less waste for future generations to worry about, we also need to do what works best for our individual families.
What would you add to this list? How do you teach your kids about recycling and reducing our carbon footprint in the world? Let me know in the comments.