Going green and committing to an eco-friendly lifestyle has never been more important than it is today. With the state of our planet, reducing our carbon footprints and doing our bit to help mitigate the greenhouse effect (which we’re all contributing to) needs to play an important part in all of our decisions.
If you and your family are looking for extra ways to be more eco-friendly, read on to see what else you can do to help our Earth remain hospitable for generations to come.
Rethink your disposables
When you have babies and toddlers, it’s a bit more difficult to be green, what with all the diapers and wipes.
However, there are things you can do:
- Have you considered switching to cloth diapers? These can be messier and still have an eco-impact, as you do need to wash them, but they will cause less damage than disposable diapers.
- If you don’t want to do cloth diapers, you can look for disposable diapers that have the least impact on the environment.
- When it comes down to wipes, try to cut your use in half – or make your own from old clothes.
- Use hand sanitizer on the kids’ hands as opposed to wipes when you can.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle
One of the pillars of green living is the principle of the three Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle).
In order to implement these simple concepts, start by thinking about the way you dispose of things. Is something really ready to be thrown out? Can you repurpose it?
- When it comes to clothes your kids have outgrown, toys they no longer play with, or cosmetics that don’t suit them, try donating them or giving them to someone who will need them. You can easily set up an exchange with other families from daycare, school, or work.
- Before you purchase something, think about your needs. A largely consumerist society has made us believe we need to have more of everything, but that’s just how we’re conditioned to think. Instead of making an impulse buy, see if you really need the item or if you can get it from someone else.
- Make sure the product you’re buying comes in recyclable packaging.
- Set up a recycling bin in an easily accessible area of your home, and do your research to learn where to send all your recyclable materials.
Get creative with transportation
How you get to places as a family is always one of the major questions when it comes to living an eco-friendly lifestyle. Walking is obviously the most eco-friendly option, but it’s not always possible.
Start by looking into electric bikes for yourself and the kids who are old enough to ride them. With electric bikes, you can cover greater distances and choose how much you’re going to exert yourself. That makes them ideal not only for family adventures, but also for instilling an eco-friendly mindset in your kids early on. If your kids are just learning to ride, fat tire electric bikes are great for beginners, as they provide a stronger grip and help improve balance.
If you do need to drive, make sure the car is as packed as it can be, and organize your day so that you can run multiple errands at once. You can also coordinate with family and friends to reduce the number of total trips you take. For example, if there’s no bus, consider organizing a carpool for families in the area to drop kids off to school.
Cut down on your energy
We all need to use electricity and water, but how we use it can be more or less eco-conscious. Here are a few simple ways your family can cut down on energy usage.
- Only do the laundry when you have a full load ready, as opposed to washing half a load.
- Turn off the lights you don’t need, and focus on teaching your kids to do the same.
- Charge your electronics as little as you need to.
- Air dry your dishes and your clothes.
- Spend as much time outside as you can, as opposed to sitting at home and looking at a screen.
- Turn the taps off when you don’t need them to run (when brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, etc.)
The key is to teach your children habits that are not only good for them, but that are also not wasteful.
Going green is a challenge for every family at first. With time, as you all adopt an eco-conscious mindset, these practices will become more and more effortless. Encourage everyone to recycle and keep a score of how well you are doing. Track all of your progress and make a game out of it—an exciting competition with yourself that aims to help our planet thrive.
About the Author
Hannah Thomas is a gardening and environmental enthusiast. Garden is the place where she feels most comfortable, that’s why there are always a lot of books and empty coffee cups on the back porch.