I apologized to my husband the other day, saying that I have changed a lot since we first met.
I care about things a lot more than I used to. I am crazy about recycling. I look at the ingredients in EVERYTHING I use to make sure it is healthy for my family and the environment. I get seriously upset over forgetting our reusable grocery bags at the store. I refuse to buy products because they are packaged in plastic that is just junk that will go straight in the trash.
But after talking about it, I realized I have nothing to be sorry about. The world needs more people to care. People need more people to care, and there is nothing to be sorry about when it comes to conservation and trying to make the planet a better place!
So, what are some of the things I am trying to accomplish in my home to help the environment, you ask?
It is no secret that a family (especially with small children) generates a ton of waste. People on this planet are currently generating 2.1 BILLION tons of waste, A YEAR. That number is staggering, especially since there ultimately will be nowhere to put all this waste. The oceans are starting to build up with trash. Though some waste is inevitable, as a family, we are now doing our part to reduce our contribution of garbage output.
Here are 11 Quick and Easy things you can do to reduce your garbage output as a family too!
1. Quit using straws! Plastic straws are one-use, wasteful crap. As wasteful as it gets! If you are asked if you want straws with your coffee at the coffee stand, the answer is NO. Instead of buying your kids one-use juice pouches with disposable straws, opt for a gallon of juice that you can pour into a reusable sippy cup.
2. Ditch the produce bags. The more I think about plastic, one-use produce bags, the less sense they make to me. Produce is dirty and covered in pesticides. I am going to wash it as soon as I get home, no matter what! Simply put your produce in your shopping basket, and ask it to all be put in a single paper bag for the trip home. Once home, scrub it all down, then put in your produce drawer in the fridge!
Earthwise Deluxe Collapsible Reusable Shopping Box Grocery Bag Set with Reinforced Bottom Storage Boxes Bins Cubes (Set of 2)
3. Buy your milk and juice in recyclable containers. Say no to plastic containers, and always buy in paper or glass so it can be recycled.
4. Shop second-hand on Offer Up! I have a very tall two-year-old, and I feel like I am typically shopping for clothes or shoes for her every 6 months (ugh). Have you ever noticed between tags, disposable hangers, shopping bags, there is a ton of waste! Shopping on buy/trade apps like Offer Up gives you the opportunity to snag something that doesn’t have all the waste attached to it. Plus, I have perfected the art of finding a great deal on there – I find new and barely worn clothes for less than half the original price all the time!
5. Speaking of shopping bags, its time to ditch them. Bring your re-bags to the grocery store, always. When shopping for general items, say no-thanks to the big plastic shopping bag for your little tube of mascara. If you are shopping at a mall, ask for a large bag for your first stop, and add items to the existing bag as you go. You don’t need all those bags to prove you got some good finds.
6. Compost! A lot of waste that hits the trash bin happens to be food waste. Start an outdoor compost for the things that can’t go down the garbage disposal and let them naturally break down. You don’t need a ton of space to do it – check out this small yard composter that I use!
Redmon Green Culture 65-Gallon Compost Bin
7. Get yourself a reusable water bottle and/or travel coffee mug. Water bottles and coffee cups count for millions of tons of things hitting the trash every day, in overwhelming numbers. Work got us these Yeti tumblers as Christmas gifts and not only does it help the environment, but it keeps my coffee super hot for HOURS!
YETI Rambler 30 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler with Lid
8. Use natural cleaning products! I can’t think of a single cleaning product that I have purchased over the years that didn’t come in a plastic bottle filled with harsh chemicals. Over the years, we have forgotten that some of the best cleaning products are natural ones! Things like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon do wonders cleaning a number of things. Check out her blog post here for more ideas!
9. Resist the urge to go crazy for holidays. Decorating is of course festive and fun, but do try to skip the urges to purchase cheap or one-use decorations. If you are buying things for your kids birthday party that you intend to throw in the trash at the end of the day when the party is over, then don’t! I also love buy/sell/trade websites for decor too. Instead of throwing your whole perfectly crafted ‘1st birthday’ set you made just for a photo-shoot, neatly pack it up and post it on a website to pass along to the next family.
10. Knock it off with the plastic sandwich bags. The plastic snack bags. Pretty much all the bags. They are all one-use landfill-stuffers and are extremely wasteful! I have a glass “Snapware” set just like this one and pack lunches for everyone in our family in them. The small round containers are great for my daughter’s goldfish crackers, and the larger round ones great for reasonably sized lunches. I love them and feel a lot better about not throwing a plastic bag in the trash every time I pack myself a sandwich.
Snapware 20 piece Tempered Glasslock Storage Containers with Snaplock Lid , Microwave & Oven Safe
11. Invite your friends to do the same. There is nothing better than spreading the word on how easy it has been to reduce waste in your household, and inspire other families to do the same!
Okay, I know that is a lot! If this is on your goals list, I suggest you Pin or Print this… something where you can look back on it and check in to see what you have accomplished in your household and keep checking away at it over time.
This is NOT meant to be a brag fest and I for sure am not able to accomplish these things ALWAYS. However, I give it my best effort, and I feel my best effort helps! Is there something that your family does to live a green lifestyle? I would love to hear it!
X.O. – Abbey Co.