A couple of weeks back I posted about the small steps we have been taking to move away from plastic in a bid to go green. The reaction I got to that post was so enthusiastic, I’ve decided to follow up with further tips on small changes that can make your family life more environmentally friendly.
It’s easy to be green
Being a parent brings a lot of responsibility with it. The most obvious one is the care of your child. Their physical and mental welfare is your greatest concern from the moment of their birth. Your outlook on life changes. The world around you suddenly seems at once more precious and more frightening. Maintaining the world as it is or, better yet, making it a healthier, less endangered place is one of my personal goals as a parent. I want my children to see the beauty of the natural world and to enjoy rivers, forests, oceans, mountains, fresh air, fresh food and so much more. But the sad truth is that if we don’t all pull our weight, make some changes and strive actively to create less waste, that goal will be damn hard to reach.
There’s lots of ways you can do your bit without breaking your stride, or the bank, so here are a few ideas to ponder and put into action.
Turn your thermostat down
It is a small change but it can make a huge difference to the amount of oil you use. Turning your thermostat down by just one degree can reduce your fuel consumption by 10%. Happily, this is a change that will save you money too, even if you’re already getting your heating oil from a competitive supplier like Emo.
Reduce your paper towel usage
I remember when my mam started to buy kitchen roll (paper towels to the non-Irish among you). I thought they were amazing. Now, less so. Yes, they are handy for spills, but when you think about it, it does seem a bit nuts to go out and buy paper that is packed in plastic foil just so you can go home and gradually over the space of a week put it all in the bin. Dish cloths, old tea towels or old hand towels are an ideal, washable alternative. The change over is easy. You just need to stick with it and pass the paper towel tower in the supermarket next time you go.
Turn to the light side
By now you are probably well aware that LED lights are way better for the environment than old-fashioned light bulbs and even halogens. They use just a fraction of the energy that other bulbs do and they last for a decade or so. One by one as bulbs blow or you change light fittings, opt for LEDs. Again, a small easy change. You just need to think of it when the time comes.
Save your arts and crafts scrap
One of my favourites! If, like us, you do a lot of crafts, yourself or with your children, or you sew, don’t bin the leftovers at the end of a project. Even if it’s just a few scraps of fabric or coloured card, you can do all sorts of creative crafts with them. Here are a few ideas I have had over the years. Maybe you’d like to give them a go?
Sewing Machine Embroidery Cards made with fabric scraps.
Papercraft Bunnies with coloured card and giftwrap leftovers
Change your cleaner to one that’s greener
Off the shelf cleaning products can contain a host of harmful chemicals and often the job they do can be done with household products like vinegar, lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda and a dash of elbow grease. The environmentally-friendly cleaning products you can buy may be a bit pricier than the regular stuff, so homemade alternatives are worth looking into. To start with, even just swapping out one product for a greener version is a good idea. Just do what you can, it all adds up.
Ditch the air-fresheners
Rather than buy air freshening products containing chemicals and artificial scents, try opening your windows and doors for a while each day and using plants to clean the air. There are several varieties of houseplant that are said to be great at filtering the air and providing extra oxygen at the same time. Look for the low maintenance ones. That’s what I am doing. I’m been eyeing up the offshoots of my mother in law’s spidler plants since I read that NASA tests showed them to be the best at purifying air. Now all I have to do is learn macrame and make myself a plant hanger.
[Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post. All photos and opinions are my own. ]