We’re all busy. Sometimes it feels like between work, home, family, friends and other competing responsibilities we struggle to do it all, let alone find time to save the planet. With two young children, a business, work, acreage, family, friends and everything else, we know it’s hard! So here are some easy things you can do to ‘go green’. Some are small, but everything adds up! And as a side benefit, you will also save money.
Turn things off when you aren’t using them.
Switch your light bulbs to energy saving models (such as CFLs or LEDs). This one thing reduced our power bill by 20%
Purchase appliances which are energy efficient models - check the stars on the Energy Rating label.
Turn off lights when you leave the room.
Buy second hand, op shops and garage sales are awesome!
Accept hand me downs. Or even ask for them!
Attend or host a clothing swap. Why not plan one with friends?
Borrow, especially for things that will only be used for a short time (baby items, anyone?).
If you’re not up for second hand, try to buy sustainable, ethically-made clothing from natural fibers. Basically avoid ‘fast fashion’ - inexpensive clothing that is rapidly mass produced. You might feel like you can’t afford to do this, but you actually need way less clothes than you think, and why not go for quality over quantity?
Try cloth nappies.
Not up for cloth nappies? Purchase eco-friendlier options.
Use cloths or reusable wipes instead of disposable wipes.
Not up for that? Try using less wipes. Or cutting them in half.
Switch to a natural, safe nappy cream, or make your own - there’s a really easy recipe using coconut oil, chamomile tea, beeswax and lavendar oil.
For swimming, opt for reusable swim nappies.
Try reusable breast pads instead of disposable ones.
Cleaning and Laundry
Purchase eco-friendly cleaning products. Choose non-toxic, natural, safe options. Just because it claims to be ‘green’ doesn’t mean it is - read the label and do your research.
Make your own eco-friendly cleaning products. There’s many different recipes out there based around ingredients such as vingear, baking soda, lemon and essential oils - all you need to do is google.
Use cloths instead of paper towels for cleaning. I highly recommend Norwex!
Don’t run the dishwasher or washing machine until it’s full.
Ask yourself if you need to wash it. Is it really dirty? Can you wear it again?
Use cold water for washing.
Hang dry instead of tumble drying.
Beauty and Hygeine
Use a microfibre face cloth instead of disposable beauty wipes. Norwex makes great face cloths that only need to be used with water.
Try bamboo - toothbrushes, hair brushes, cotton buds.
Choose beauty and hair products which are eco-friendly, non-toxic or natural. Again, do your research and read the labels.
Try making your own beauty and hair products. There’s a lot of different recipes out there for face scrubs, dry shampoo, hairspray, deodorant etc - why not give it a go?
For that time of the month, try reusable cloth pads or ‘period’ undies.
Better yet, try a menstrual cup.
Not up for either? Purchase eco-friendlier pads and tampons.
Food and Drink
Use metal straws instead of plastic ones. Or skip the straw completely.
Use a reusable water bottle. Remember to take it when you go out so you don’t need to buy bottled water.
Instead of getting takeaway coffee, sit and have it in a ceramic mug.
If you do get takeaway, bring your own keep cup to the cafe.
Avoid coffee machines at home that use single-use coffee pods. Can’t give up your Nespresso? Opt for biodegradeable coffee pods.
Use nude or litter-less snack and lunch boxes to bring food out or pack lunches. Choose metal over plastic if possible.
Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins. They look fancier too!
Swap paper towels for actual cloths and towels. Norwex makes the best kitchen cloths!
Try beeswax wraps or silicone covers instead of cling wrap or aluminium foil.
Instead of plastic bags, try reusable silicone bags or pouches. Instead of baking paper, try reusable silicone baking sheets. Or try compostable or biodegradeable versions.
Collect glass jars and use instead of plastic storage containers. Large Moccona jars work really well!
Opt for wooden or bamboo kitchen tools - avoid plastic.
Try foregoing a bin liner. Not up for that? Use compostable or eco-friendlier bin liners and bags.
Recycle!!! And make sure you are doing it correctly. This is a great article. You can also download the app they mention called ‘Recycle Smart’.
Try composting. If you don’t have space to make your own compost pile, you can store your scraps in the freezer and then drop them off at a community compost hub - your local council should be able to tell you where you can find one. If you live in Brisbane, check this site.
Choose products with less packaging. Avoid single-serve snack pouches (I am really guilty of this one as I have young kids!).
Bring your own reusable bags to the shop, including produce bags.
Try shopping at a bulk food store or farmers market and bringing your own containers.
If buying meat, choose options which are produced in an ethical and sustainable manner - why not order farm direct or from a co-op? If you are in Southeast Queensland, two local co-ops are Highbrit Beef and Free-range Family Co-op - they even offer home delivery!
Buy organic fruits and veggies - and better yet, why not order farm direct or from a co-op? Hillfields Farm in Ipswich is a great example of an organic community supported agriculture farm which offers weekly fruit and veg boxes. You may hear me mention the above farms and co-ops quite a bit, but it's because our family orders from them, we love their products, and we truly believe in what they do. It's so important to put your money where your values are.