Some of you may know this about me, so I apologize if you’ve heard it before.
Of all the causes a person can be passionate about, the environment is the cause closest to my heart. I am constantly preaching to my family about recycling, littering and avoiding the use of plastic as much as possible, and my husband gets frustrated with me for strictly enforcing our recycling rules. See, he tends to believe our family’s little changes won't make a difference. But I disagree—because if our family’s changes inspire our neighbors to change their habits, the impact of our efforts starts to multiply and, eventually, our collective changes start to make a real difference.
I am constantly looking for alternatives to using plastic, and if I do have to use something like a Ziploc bag, I always find a way to wash & reuse it. I am so adamant in my refusal to use plastic that it took us months to figure out how to design appropriate packaging for our undergarments. There were so many cool, inexpensive packaging concepts—and they all involved using plastic. But I knew we could come up with an alternative and that we didn’t have to compromise for the sake of cost-savings. After all, I am a mother of two young kids and I am very concerned about the environmental mess we are leaving to our children.
So in honor of Earth Day, I challenge everyone at home to make some small changes of their own. Here’s what you can do:
- Compost your food waste.
- Use cloth towels instead of paper towels.
- Use reusable canteens or buy glass bottles for your beverages (instead of plastic).
- Try your hand at gardening.
- Turn off the lights when you leave the room (this is something I definitely need to work on).
- Use reusable snack packs instead of disposable plastic bags.
- Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth. I was amazed when I learned how much water we waste when we brush our teeth with the water running.
- Go paperless.
- Shop at farmers markets.
- Support local businesses that practice sustainability.
- Go meatless. If everyone skipped red meat one day a week, it would make a big difference on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted.
- Repurpose jars and containers. Wine and other glass beverage bottles make pretty vases.
- Volunteer your time or donate to an environmental organization like The Wilderness Society, The Sierra Club, 350.org, Environmental Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth, or the Natural Resources Defense Council.
- Before you throw something away, consider whether it can be donated or repurposed first.
General upcycling tips:
We dye a lot of things in our house once they get stained or start looking a little dingy. Consider pillowcases, socks, t-shirts, napkins, and dish towels a good place to start. I find that tie-dyed napkins make for a colorful, inviting table setting!
If you have kids:
- Let’s face it: kids are really messy, especially when they use their clothing as napkins. LOL. Some stains I just can’t get out, which is where dying comes into play. For tough stains, I either dye my kids’ clothes darker to hide the stains or I tie-dye them to camouflage the spots.
- When kids grow out of their pants, make them into shorts. And when kids grow out of their long-sleeved tops, make them into tanks.