by Lynda Fassa, author of Green Kids, Sage Families
It's Earth Day! And for the umpteenth time you're being asked to Go Green—and save green
, while you're at it! Don't worry, I'm not gonna green-guilt you—it's OK that you drive a car, and the Birkenstocks can stay waaaayyy back in the corner of the closet, where they belong. But I do want to share with you some ways that you can make a positive impact on your family's health, and keep on budget too.
Making your own cleaning products is a cheap, easy and effective way to get on a green path. Baking soda
is a great tub and toilet scrub. White vinegar
—one part to two parts water—is the best all-purpose and glass cleaner there is (just don't use it on marble—it will stain). Olive oil will get wood gleaming and clean. Also, ditch the paper towels
and get a rag bucket. Cut up old T-shirts, stack them under the sink and keep a bucket next to them. Reach for clean rags for any spills or wipe-ups that you'd ordinarily use paper towels for. Toss wet or dirty rags into the bucket, and when you have enough for a load, head for the washing machine. Finally, don't forget the best cleaning tool of all, a little elbow grease from your tween. (Good luck with that!)
Cook for 12. Organize a meal swap with a couple of good friends (who happen to make delish nosh) and do a trade-out. It's basically the same work to make your homemade pesto for 12 as it is for four, and greenwise, you'll be reducing the carbon footprint by only processing the sauce and cooking the pasta once—not the three times it would be if each family did it themselves. But the real benefit is the two meals you get in return!
Green your baby.
Feeling really ambitious? Give cloth diapers a try. I already know what you're thinking, but 50 million disposables go into landfills in the United States each year and you could totally make a dent in that! Plus, some experts say that babies who are cloth diapered take to potty training
more quickly. How's that for motivation?!
Still not convinced? Consider an eco-friendlier diaper, like gDiapers
or Seventh Generation Diapers
And no matter what you choose on the diaper front, you can still make a green difference with your baby's wipes. Many commercial baby wipes are too strong for baby's bottom. A simple solution of water with a drop of lavender oil works just fine (or make your own baby wipes
with any "recipe" you like!). Use cotton balls or pull apart an old sheet and launder (along with the cloth diapers, maybe?).
So go ahead—get your green on, my frugal friend, and Happy Earth Day!report abuse