Since January is Go Green month here at Le Petit Owlet I want to write about all the different ways we have gone green at our house and what an impact it has made for us!
Re-use containers and jars. I don't know about you, but I love glass jars. There are just so many uses for them and they aren't plastic (I hate plastic!). You can clean up all of your old pasta sauce, jelly, salsa, or any other jars and use them for so many different things. I have a few in the bathroom, one to store q-tips, makeup brushes, and random odds and ends. If you do any kinds of crafts or sewing you can store buttons, elastic, or even fabric scraps in them. Glass jars also make perfect change jars! If you really want to be green about it you could make some terrariums! That's going to be one of my projects when the weather is warmer. Besides jars, many food items come in resealable containers perfect for lunch or snacks on the go.
Collect rain water. We invested in two large 55 gallon rain barrels that have spigots on them. We could be putting them to use more than we are, but we use the water that we have collected for either drinking or watering plants. We have a Big Berkey filter that we run the rain water through before drinking (I don't suggest drinking the rain water "as is") and it's a wonderful way to cut down on our water usage!
Invest in energy efficient appliances. Our washing machine went to washing machine heaven not too long ago and with the amount of daily laundry we have, we had no choice but to get a new one. Luckily we got a great deal on an HE front loading machine, the store was having a sale and there was a rebate available (always check your city's rebates!). Not only does our detergent last a lot longer now, but our washer gets clothes extremely clean while using very little water!
Bring your own grocery bags. Plastic grocery bags are not good for the environment, bringing your on cuts down on waste. You can leave some grocery totes in the trunk or back seat of your car, or bring them with you if you use public transportation. If you ever forget them or don't have enough, request paper. Paper bags are recycleable and you can re-use them! I have used paper bags for wrapping up things that I have to mail.
Buy organic, free range, and grass fed. This subject is going to have to be an entire post itself, but the chemicals and hormones that they use of conventional fruits, veggies, eggs, and meats is far from environmentally safe, not to mention it's really bad for you. We don't eat meat at all in our house, but if you do go for the grass fed meat without hormones. Try to buy local!
Cloth diaper. Disposables are just that, disposable. Disposable diapers fill up our landfills and create so much unecessary trash that isn't biodegradable. Just the thought of how many dirty diapers one baby puts into a landfill makes me cringe. Newborns need about 12 new diapers a day, which is about 84 diapers a week. In two months that is about 672 diapers. After the newborn stage a baby will use approximately 7 diapers a day, 49 a week, and 196 a month. Add the newborn amount to that and you have approximately 2,600 disposable diapers from your baby alone. Now think of how many babies are born every day, approximately 216,000. Not all of those babies will be in disposable diapers, but an extremely large portion of them will be. Even if you cut that number in half that comes out to 280,800,000 disposable diapers in the landfill per year. Seriously? It's never too late to start cloth diapering, and even one person can make an impact, plus you will save a ton of money! Cloth diapers are way cuter than disposable diapers (and they don't have that weird chemical-y smell).
Ditch disposable everything else. I decided that since we were cloth diapering we might as well switch to cloth wipes too. I don't know why I didn't do it sooner but it is way easy. I made my own wipes and just soak them in water and put a fresh batch in the wipes warmer every day. When we use one we just throw it in the cloth diaper laundry and that's it! Saves money and we don't have to throw anything away. I'm about to make the switch from paper towels to cloth napkins, there's no reason not to! I never use paper plates or plastic silverware, but if you do you can start going green by cutting that out! There are some great travel silverware sets out there, you can get a couple of those for packed lunches, or just to keep with you wherever you go.
Recycle! I didn't mind sorting the recycling when we just had the bin, but now our neigborhood has the singlestream recycling. One bin, throw everything in. Easy as pie. The amount of waste that recycling reduces can be astronomical, so make sure you are recycling everything that you can!