Hey mama, we know that you
know that every
day should be Earth Day. But everyone can use a little eco-reminder now and then. Thankfully, it's easy to go green by making mini, environmentally friendly changes in your daily life and in your home—'cause even small steps can end up having a big impact on mama earth! Here are some suggestions beyond filling the recycling bin!
Use Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs
You've heard it before 'cause it's true: replacing regular lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) uses 75 percent less energy! True, they cost a bit more, but they pay for themselves in about six months. Even the simple commitment of turning off the lights when you leave a room saves energy. So open up your curtains and let the sun's natural rays light up the train table.
Use Cloth Napkins
Not only will switching from paper napkins to cloth save resources and reduce waste, your family may feel so fancy they'll actually start using those table manners you taught them!
Buying local foods from farmers markets or planting your own vegetable garden is healthy for your body, the local economy and
the environment. Locally grown food is usually sold within a day of harvesting, which means fewer chemicals, pesticides and other unnatural stuff to keep it fresh. You can also feel good that the money you spend goes right back into your community. Plus, since the food didn't have to travel, you've helped reduce a carbon footprint!
For birthdays and anniversaries, change of addresses or baby announcements, send environmentally friendly electronic greeting cards rather than traditional paper ones. You'll save a bundle on stamps (and avoid addressing those pesky envelopes!), as well as save a bunch of trees. (We love the ones from
Wash in Cold
Using the cold-wash laundry cycle uses less energy than the warm or hot settings. Extra bonus: A cold wash is actually better for getting out spaghetti-sauce splatters (or those telltale bright orange baby blowouts).
Line-Dry Your Clothes
On sunny days, kick it old school and hang clothes out to dry on a clothesline. You'll save energy by skipping the dryer, and nothing smells better than fresh sun-dried linens. No time for the line? Throw a dry towel in the dryer at the start of a load. It will suck up a lot of the moisture, reducing the amount of time and energy it takes to dry all that non-spaghetti-sauce-stained clothing that you just washed in cold water!
Turn Down the Heat
Did you know that every degree you lower your heat, you save up to 5 percent on heating costs? That means way more cash for college (or new sexy sandals), if you keep your heat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. And for extra savings and safety, turn your water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce your kids' risk of getting scalded from faucets.
Creating a compost pile
is a lot easier and more fun than you would believe! And since you're experienced dealing with kid manure, working with a little sweet-smelling cow manure or fertilizer and garbage will be a breeze (just maybe not a totally fresh breeze!). Your kids will love helping you in the yard, and you'll love paying Mother Earth back for that not so environmentally friendly SUV you've been driving the past few years.
Recycle Running Shoes
We know your kids "run" through sneakers faster than you can replace them, but the one doing the most running is YOU ... to Target for another pair. You can at least feel good about one thing: recycling their old sneakers
. You'll feel proud as you keep those princess Velcro light-ups out of the landfills!
Reduce Wipe Waste
Use diaper-wipe refills instead of purchasing the hard-shell case every single time you need a new box of baby or sanitary wipes. The refills use about 90 percent less packaging! Feeling super-crunchy? Make your own eco-friendly, chemical-free baby wipes
You don't need harsh chemical cleaners for every simple domestic diva task. Wash your little crawler's (or big kid "Five second rule!" caller's) floors with a homemade solution of half a cup of vinegar mixed with one gallon of water. And clean kitchen surfaces with naturally antibacterial lemons
. You'll save on expensive cleaning supplies at the store and you'll save your family from exposure to toxic chemicals.
Recycle and Rethink Garbage
Think before you toss! Some of the items destined for your trash can (and a landfill) could be used by your family again and again. How about
sanitizing and reusing some of the bazillion plastic zipper bags your family goes through? Or instead of going crazy at the craft or toy store when boredom strikes, how about getting crafty with household items like TP rolls
, other recyclable craft items from around the house
or offering the kids household recyclable items that make great play props