With this coming Tuesday being Earth Day, we wanted to share some simple steps that my family is taking to consume less, waste less, and take better care of the earth. Love to hear what tips and tricks you in the Momtrends community have too! Leave them in the comments below so we can share ideas and all do more to reduce our impact.
1. Cloth napkins instead of paper. As a family of five, we can go through a whole lot of paper napkins in a day, so I've been trying to move us to use cloth napkins more regularly. We don't use cloth napkins exclusively, but we're up to using them for every dinner and most lunches at home. Plus they are easy to throw into any random load of laundry during the week. I loving these polkadot ones from West Elm, seersucker for spring at Food52, and this fun print from Pier 1.
2. One cup a day. I'm also working with my three boys to use just one drinking glass a day instead of a new one at each meal and every time they get thirsty throughout the day. In the morning, each boy gets a glass cup (we have these from IKEA) with their name on it with a Sharpie - yes, a Sharpie. The cups get rinsed out and put back on the counter or in the fridge after meals so they're available for the boys to reuse. And the Sharpie washes off with a quick scrub before I pop it into the dishwasher at night. Honest. Try it. (Side note: We use this trick on adult wine glasses too. Wine charms have always seemed a little too cutesy for my taste and really, who can remember whether you're the grape cluster or the wine barrel after your second glass. A gold Sharpie for the win!)
3. Waste-free lunches. We are getting close to waste-free lunches thanks to Planetbox. Each day's lunch used to use 4-5 plastic baggies x 3 kids = too much waste. With the stainless steel Planetboxes, I'm now using zero plastic bags for lunch. A huge trash saving! The Rover has multiple compartments for younger kids, the Launch is ideal for older kids and adults, and Planetbox partnered with musician Jack Johnson for a limited edition Earth Day set of “Aloha” magnets for the Rover lunchbox. They cost more, but will definitely last you for multiple years.
4. Compost made simple. I'm always a little disheartened by the amount of food that we waste. From uneaten food on my son's plate to beet tops from the CSA that I never ended up juicing, there is a lot going into our trashcan that I know could be composted. Composting is one of those things I've thought about for years, but it always seemed a bit daunting. The space, the smell, the layering and "stirring" left it on "someday" file for longer than I'd like. But we're about to jump in with the Lifetime Dual Composter. The rotating drums mean no "stirring", the dual-barrel design allows you to fill up one bin and let the other "cook", and the durable material keeps animals out and smells in. I still don't like wasting food, but at least now, we're scraping our leftovers into this and putting them to good use in the garden. (Have a smaller space? Consider Lifetime's compact Compost Tumbler.)
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5. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag). My city recently joined the growing number of cities that are banning plastic bags and charging you for a paper bag. Just like any habit, it takes a while to remember to bring your bags every time, but I love the direction we're headed. I now leave at least one in the car, one in my purse, and the rest at home. One of my favorites to tuck into my purse is the Petunia Pickle Bottom Faraway Foldout. This shopping tote is super lightweight, but sturdy enough to hold a full load and folds up into a cute clamshell. It works just as well on a trip to Trader Joe's as it does to Target or the farmer's market. Oh, and it comes in a collection of stylish prints.
6. Master of the Lights. I have a thing about leaving lights on. The guilt of wasted electricity and money kicks in if I walk by a room with the light left on. Recently I started enlisting the help of my three boys to make sure all lights are off before we leave the house. We've divided the house into areas and each morning, before we head off to school, a quick reminder of "Light patrol!" has each child running to his section of the house to shut off all the lights.
How is your family reducing, reusing or recycling? Tell us your favorite ways your family is helping the Earth below!
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