New Years Resolutions usually revolve around saving money or losing weight, not going green or doing good things for the environment. Most resolutions aren’t kept for more than a month or two with the resolution falling to the way side verses being maintained and achieved. This is usually do to the goals being set to high and not being obtainable. This New Year, feel good about yourself, maybe lose some weight, save some money but best of all be some sparkling shade of green this New Year with these 9 easy and very manageable and obtainable tips:
1. Make a list. Write down exactly what your family can do to help the environment this New Year and pick one of these to start with. When you’ve mastered eating only veggies, limiting your meat intake or buying organic beef…move on to the next item but the list is what applies to YOU and YOUR family.
2. Reduce and Reuse. Recycling is easy and with Earth911.com it’s even easier to know where and how to recycle items. Now move on to reusing and reducing. Find new ways to use an item before putting it in the trash or recycling it. Try reducing the amount of items you buy and perhaps the junk food that fills your grocery cart and this will help the environment, your waist line and pocket book.
3. Advocate. If handmade natural toys ruffle your feathers and gets you excited request that local stores carry the items and support the companies carrying the natural toys. Want to see more of an organic selection at your grocery store, tell the manger and tell him or her every week. Advocate for the changes and products you want to see. Get to know your legislators and voice your opinion, they don’t know unless you tell them. Great sources, Moms Rising for advocating and Natural Pod for handmade wooden toys.
4. Plant a seed and take a cooking lesson. Yes, grow something and eat it. Maybe not an entire garden or start a farm but plant some tomatoes and start there. You’ll enjoy the home grown taste of your own accomplishments, save money and might decide to grow more the next year. Then take a cooking lesson and learn how to cook the food, try new spices, flavors and appreciate home made food and family time cooking and eating the food. Eat. Drink. Better. is a great source for bringing the farm to the table.
5. Clean green and natural. Green doesn’t have to cost a fortune and with some vinegar and baking soda you can clean more than you imagined. If that isn’t going to work for your family make sure you buy cleaners that are concentrated, biodegradable and don’t have phosphates. The word “natural” isn’t supervised and has not protocol so anyone and everyone can use the word, don’t be fooled…same with “green”. Using your common sense goes a long ways. If it’s bright blue or green, how natural is that?
6. Pick a holiday and green it. Yes, it is possible. Choose one holiday and start small with buying less consumables and wasteful items. Maybe it’s a birthday party, have a charity party and everyone brings toilet paper to donate to local shelter along with a small gift for the birthday boy or girl. Get creative but start small so it isn’t a shocker to everyone and it’s achievable. Just deciding to not use wrapping paper for one holiday or event is a start! ECHOage is a great environmentally friendly birthday party idea.
7. Swat the fly. Bugs are pesky but pesticides are dangerous. Buy a few fly swatters, use an organic plant based insect control for wasps, try natural methods for killing the bugs and if all else fails call on integrated pest management before bombing the house. Visit Beyond Pesticides for more information and facts.
8. Be Thrifty. Garage sale, use the library, freecycle or craigslist, mom to mom sales and clothing swaps. These are all hip and trendy now and the best thing is, you save money and it’s easy. Children grow like weeds so garage sale for new clothing, arrange a clothing swap at a local church and if you need big or small items, good guess someone is giving it away or selling it for next to nothing. Be resourceful and think before buying.
9. Ditch the plastic. Just don’t use it and if you can avoid it. Choose glass whenever possible. Glass storage containers, baby bottles, drinking glasses, etc are just going to be safer with all the plastic scare and debate going on. Stainless steel is another safe option but plastic, it’s just not good for the environment and possibly your health. If you have to use plastic at least choose BPA free plastic, limit plastic wraps and go with wax paper or aluminum foil. The Soft Landing, Zrecs Guide or Safe Mama are excellent resources.
Being a “Green and Clean Mom (or dad)” isn’t a contest or special title that only certain people hold or are entitled to. Being green is doing something for the environment and for your health. Limiting exposure to toxic chemicals on your foods or in the personal care products you use is doing some green for your immediate environment but it also keeps our earth cleaner. There is no race or contest and it isn’t a competition. These 9 tips for having a greener and cleaner New Year for 2009 are starting points, ideas and they’re practical. Just start somewhere and that is better than starting nowhere.
Cheers to a healthier and greener 2009!