This post contains affiliate links. But, all opinions are 100% mine.
Happy Earth Day, everyone! Isn’t EARTH the greatest? No seriously, it provides us with food, water and oxygen so we can sustain life. Without it, we would literally cease to exist and I think that we all take that for granted sometimes.
So, in honor of Earth Day, I thought I’d share with you some of the things our family is already doing as well as some new ideas we are implementing to reduce our carbon footprint. All of these things are easy to do and most of them cost little to nothing to implement! So, they are little effort with huge impact! Hooray for a healthy planet!
1. Use Reusable Grocery Tote Bags
Do you have a mountain of plastic grocery bags in your home? I hate to admit it, but we do. We own reusable grocery tote bags, but unfortunately, aren’t always in the habit of bringing them to the store. So, I’ve started leaving the reusable bags in our cars so we always have them on hand. No more excuses for using the plastic grocery store bags!
2. Use reusable produce bags
There are a couple ways of doing this. You could invest in these reusable bags (above) so you avoid the plastic produce bags at the store or you could simply reuse the plastic ones the store provides by washing them out and using them again. This is something new we are implementing in our home. Eventually, I’d like to invest in the mesh bags above, but for now, we will reuse the plastic produce bags that we already have in our house from previous shopping trips.
3. Wash and reuse Ziploc freezer bags
Growing up, my mom used to wash and reuse Ziploc Freezer bags and I never gave it much thought until recently. It occurred to me a couple months ago that she is a genius for doing this because (1) it reduces waste and (2) it saves money! This is another new thing we are doing in our house.
We have been composting for a couple years now and couldn’t be happier. We started with a single barrel compost tumbler, but learned the hard way that a Dual Compost Tumbler is much more effective. The dual system allows you to have one side that you are actively composting while the other side has useable compost. What do you do with compost? Well, we mix ours into the soil for our garden. It’s full of nutrients and is absolutely lovely!
This is one of the most expensive suggestions on my list, but in my opinion, it’s worth it. So, if you can afford it and are interested, take the plunge! I was a little intimidated by composting at first, but it is so easy to do with these bins! Our local Costco brought in a dual compost tumbler for a pretty reasonable price so we scooped one up to replace our old one. But, we ended up keeping it so we have three bins to work with. 🙂 You could also compost without a bin (free, except for some tools). Here’s a great tutorial for composting without a bin.
5. Grow an herb and/or vegetable garden
My Love and I didn’t start out with the greenest thumbs, but we quickly learned a lot about planting and maintaining a garden. We started with some herb boxes in our apartment but put in a Square Foot Garden when we bought our house so we could maximize the herbs and vegetables in our garden. The book is fantastic with lots of information about when to plant different things, how much sunlight and water plants need, etc.
There are tons of benefits to growing your own herbs, vegetables and fruits… (1) You know what you’re eating because you are controlling what goes on and in your garden, (2) you are saving money because produce can be pricey where seeds and plants have much higher return on investment (3) you can harvest what you need and not end up wasting anything and (4) you aren’t purchasing items that are packaged in plastic!
This one is pretty obvious. Most, if not all, cities offer a recycling service. For some, you have to sort the items, but we’re spoiled where we live and can just dump it all in one bin.
7. Print on both sides
This is a super quick and easy way to reduce paper waste. Just change your printer settings to have your printer print on both sides. If you don’t have a printer with dual side print capabilities, you could just feed the paper back through to print on the back. It might take a little more effort, but hey, you’ll be saving trees!
8. Unplug electronics when not in use
Did you know that some electronics continue to use electricity even when they are turned off and/or are not on the charger? It’s true! TV’s, cell phones, phone and computer chargers, etc. all continue to siphon power even when the electronic is turned off! By simply unplugging devices that aren’t in use, you can save electricity, which not only saves the planet but also saves you money!! For larger electronics, like TV’s and gaming units, you can plug them all into a power strip that you can power off when not in use. For chargers, just unplug them when they aren’t charging devices. Not only does this suggestion not cost you anything, it saves you money!!
CFL bulbs use up to 75% less energy and last longer than traditional batteries, which means less waste! So, next time you buy light bulbs, consider switching to CFL’s if you don’t use them already.
10. Use gift bags instead of wrapping paper
Most wrapping paper is not recyclable and ends up in land fills. So, instead of purchasing wrapping paper, consider switching to gift bags. They accomplish the same result and they can be used over and over and over again. Which means – no waste!
There are so many ways to reduce your carbon footprint and be more green, it can be overwhelming. But, you don’t have to completely change your lifestyle and/or go to extremes. Every little bit counts, so implement the changes that work for you and your family and that you can maintain long term. That is what we did and once we form new habits, we research and incorporate new ways to reduce our impact on the world.
Happy Earth Day!!