8 SIMPLE CHANGES TOWARDS A GREENER HOME
8 SIMPLE CHANGES TOWARDS A GREENER HOME
MAKING CHANGES TOWARDS AN ECO-FRIENDLY LIFESTYLE CAN SEEM DAUNTING BUT THESE IDEAS ARE QUICK AND EASY!
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It’s no secret that making greener choices are important. Deciding where to start when everyone has a different opinion on what is or isn’t necessary definitely doesn’t help! While our household is nowhere near perfect, and our goal for 2020 is to improve that, I did a walk through the house and realized there are changes that we’ve made that were so easy to make we’re better off than I thought! So here’s my list of simple, eco-friendly changes you can easily make towards a greener household.
1: DITCH THE PAPER TOWELS, SCRUBBERS AND SPONGES.
Say goodbye to the one time use products in your kitchen and replace them with reusable versions. I’ve seen some interesting ones (like a bamboo based paper towel you can throw into the washing machine?) but honestly, all you need is a stash of kitchen towels and rags.
Our kitchen towels are from Ikea, Dollarama and Value Village. Our rags are a mixture of dollarama, Ikea and handmade by my mom!
Wash the dishes, wash the counters, clean the spills – then toss them into the washing machine and repeat! I have a small wet bag hanging under the sink they can be thrown in and then take the bag down when it’s time to wash. It helps stop any mold, smell or mildew problems! If you’re thinking ‘oh no, not more laundry!’ I hear you. Mine get washed with our regular towels usually. AKA, laundry that’s already being done anyways.
2: BETTER BAKING
I remember years ago when my mom switched our aluminum foil and parchment paper over to silicone liners and I never looked back. You can find them at Dollarama for cheap! Nothing has stuck to a pan since, they’re easy to clean and goodbye cooking waste.
So when I saw these at Ikea one day I immediately grabbed them for baking. We make snacks like muffins from scratch on a regular basis. While paper liners might not seem like much, the waste and cost eventually add up. You’ll never have a muffin or cupcake ever stick again!
Since they’re thick and won’t absorb liquids or fats, they’re fairly versatile. I’ve done breakfast egg muffins, mini shepherds pies, biscuits, mac n cheese bites… A lot of food outside of the baking world to be made in a muffin tin without worrying about greasing the pan.
Tip: if you make a big batch of muffin tin food, they’re freezer safe. I recently did a huge batch of mini shepherds pies, froze them in the liners and then popped them out and stored them frozen. When it was time to eat, I just popped the right amount of them back into the liners, popped them into a muffin tray and then reheated from frozen in the oven!
3: NO MORE TAKEOUT CUPS
This one can be a really hard habit to get into and after years I’m still not perfect at it. However, try it out and see! Invest in two things: a travel mug and a water bottle.
Stick to metal, make sure it’s leakproof and aim for one that keeps your drinks hot/cold. While I love my Starbucks ones in the background, they are awkward to carry around after. I also got some great aluminum options for the kids.
I prefer the DavidsTea tumblers for myself (this is an older one, but I love their new lock top versions) and have for years. They can keep my coffee or tea hot all day long and if you’re a tea person, there’s a storage compartment somewhere on almost all of their tumblers for loose leaf tea! If you’re a coffee person, you could use their tumblers like a French press technically.
I also recently got the toddler a DavidsTea one that is awesome – the bottom of it opens so you can fit ice if you want and it’s perfect kid size! It took some time for her to get used to the twist off top, but it’s nice not to flinch and worry about it breaking every time she drops it.
Then I got the twins some Klean Kanteen bottles with the sippy lids. When they outgrow the sippy lids I only need to replace the lids, not the whole bottle!
If you already have a stash of plastic at home? Don’t ditch it! It’s always better to use what you already have in your home before you replace them.
If you really love a straw tumbler, I would suggest getting a small wet bag to keep inside your bag or purse. They have a waterproof lining in them, so when your drink is finished your could put your empty cup + straw into it and not have the leftover splashing. If you’re like me and you’re a coffee drinker, it would also protect your bag of smelling like coffee all the time.
4: GOODBYE PLASTIC SNACK BAGS
Say hello to reusable snack options!
I have a small stash of the Bumkins snack and sandwich bags. I love tossing them in the diaper bag filled with cheerios, goldfish, grapes, crackers and cheese… Simple snacks!
They’re both machine washable and dishwasher safe but I usually wash them with the dishes in the sink quickly. The only downside is the twins haven’t quite gotten the hang of holding them so I got them these Skip Hop snack containers.
They’re a great starter snack container for babies and toddlers because of the no-spill opening and the lid means it can be tossed into a diaper bag with no issue! Similar to the snack bags, they’re great for cereal, goldfish, grapes, blueberries, cheese… Aim for snacks no bigger than a quarter for easy removal through the opening.
5: THE EGGCELENT ECO EGG
I was pretty skeptical of this little guy when he was first introduced to me and it has a bit of a learning curve. That being said, this little egg could replace the need of buying regular detergent for your family and save a whole lot of plastic jugs from getting sent to landfill.
Because let’s be honest: as much as we want to believe those jugs are all being recycled, most of them aren’t.
The Eco Egg is good for 720 washes – that equals three years of laundry for the average family! The inside is filled with these pellets that… um.. science your laundry clean. That’s the best way I can describe it.
I don’t use it on our cloth diapers (I follow Fluff Love University for all my cloth diapering care, and they say it doesn’t contain strong enough ingredients to properly remove human waste) but use it on our every day laundry.
Warning: you will need to pretreat any hardcore stains (think grass, pasta sauce) but outside of that you’re good to go! I have a basket that is dedicated to clothes that need stains in the laundry room. Once it gets full, I’ll either do an Oxyclean soak or I’ll pretreat it all with the Butcha Farmers Stick and then wash!
6: JARS ON JARS ON JARS
I feel like this one is a great example of a switchover you can do overtime so you don’t feel overwhelmed. You have a few options with jars:
- Buy them brand new in bulk (I frequently buy them unpackaged at Dollarama for $1 each)
- Buy them at the thrift store
- Save all the pasta, pickle, jam and etc jars you use
- Put a notice up in your local Buy Nothing group you’re looking for them
- All of the above
It mainly comes down to whether or not you need a certain size to fit your cupboards and how picky you are about your jars matching! I’ve done a mixture of the list above and as I finish a bag of product, I replace it with a jar and start buying it at a store like Bulk Barn.
You can do it outside of food too! It’s common to buy dish soap, shampoo + conditioner, laundry soap and household cleaners in zero waste stores!
7. RECYCLING IS COOL
When you need to buy packaged food, try to buy from brands who are doing their part in reducing waste.
We exclusively buy toddler snacks from Love Child Organics for this reason. All their squeeze pouches, snack bags/wrappers and cereal bags are recyclable through Terracycle! Rinse, package and then mail to Terracycle for free.
I keep a bag under the sink so when I’m emptying the dish rack I can simply open the cupboard and toss them into the bag.
While many people have the goal to be zero waste, I fully understand that sometimes you just need to have those snacks on hand, and this is a great middle ground.
BAKE, BAKE BABY
Bake your own bread!
I was going to say bake all your goodies but that sounds like a lot of work. So, pick one item you find you’re buying a lot of and make the switch to homemade. For us that was bread. It was getting sad to see how many bread bags were ending up in our bag stash but baking bread was daunting.
I ended up getting a bread maker for f r e e on my local Buy Nothing group (score!) and have been making our own bread ever since. Bread machines are awesome: toss the ingredients in, press start and it takes care of the rest.
Not a bread family? You could choose muffins, cookies, oat bars, energy bites, homemade granola for yogurt… There’s a long list of items we buy packaged that have the possibility of being made at home, it’s just up to you to decide which one is most worth your time!
There it is! Eight of my top, super easy, can’t go wrong changes you can make around the house. There are more to come, so make sure to check back and see more changes you can make around the house as you move towards greener living!