When you decide you want to go green (or get greener) it can be daunting to decide how to begin.
Some general tips:
When you run out of something, don't replace it or replace it with something greener. A few years ago when I ran out of paper napkins, I just never replaced them (and dug out of a bin in the garage the cloth napkins I'd been given as a wedding present years before). When I decided it was time to replace all my mismatched and weathered tupperware, I decided to invest in Pyrex. Recently I ran out of quart-sized and sandwich bag ziploc bags simultaneously. What a great time to search for alternatives and give up disposable plastic zippies all together!
Use less. Look around and see if there is something you can do without. Try using one less beauty product or dumping the synthetic air freshener. This will limit your exposure to the many chemicals in products as well as reduce your carbon footprint.
Buy less. Before buying something, stop and consider whether you could do without this purchase. Can you borrow from a friend, fix something or reuse something you already own instead of buying something new? Ask yourself whether you would be willing to pack this item up in a few months if you were to have to move suddenly. Try waiting a week and see if you can find a different solution (or source of satisfaction) besides buying something new. Think especially hard before bringing more plastic into your house. Also, consider the amount of packaging when making a purchase. Even if it's cheaper, don't buy the individually packaged rolls of toilet paper at Costco.
Go Green Gradually. Unless you have tons of time and money, small steps are probably best. This approach is more affordable, more sustainable over a long period of time, and easier for your less enthusiastic spouse to go along with. Make a list of everything you want to do, and then start with the easy and cheap ones. If you try to change everything at once, you risk burning out.
Find a blog you like, and make changes according to the topics covered. The Green Baby Guide was the only blog I read until I started blogging myself. When they discussed eco-friendly dishwasher detergents, I noted their favorites and purchased it when my detergent ran out. When they talked about washing cloth diapers in cold, I started experimenting with using warm instead of hot. You could also subscribe to a weekly/monthly e-newsletter from a green site. It's nice to just find one or two sources of information or inspiration, and use them as your guides for change.
|Pace yourself. Making major lifestyle changes is not a sprint.|
Some ideas from my blog to get you started:
- Lazy and Cheap Ways to Be Green (a series of posts)
- 10 Easiest Ways to Reduce Toxins in Your Home
- Green Cleaning
- 10 Steps to Help You Avoid Eco-exhaustion - It's so easy to feel overwhelmed when you first jump in to being green!
- QUIZ - Are Cloth Diapers for You??? - Cloth diapers are a great way to reduce your child's exposure to chemicals, help out the earth, and save tons of money. I switched from disposables to cloth when my first child was one year old.
- Frugal ideas - lots of green moves can save you money (using cloth diapers, making more of your own food, living in smaller home. . .)
- Healthy Child Healthy World's 5 Easy Steps
- EWG's Healthy Home Checklist
- EWG's Guide to Healthy Child Care
- The Daily Green's Easiest Ways to Go Green
- The Daily Green's One Easy Thing (eco tips for everyone)
- Green Living Tips