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Eco-friendly is a mindset

Being environmentally friendly isn’t just a thing you do–it’s a mindset. A way of looking at all aspects of your life. But it doesn’t have to be intimidating and overwhelming. There are many ways in which you and your family can be more eco-friendly. You don’t have to do ALL THE THINGS. Doing something (even something small) is always better than doing nothing at all.

Importance of being eco-friendly

The most important reason for us as parents to be more conscious of how we live is because we need to keep our planet as beautiful as it is for future generations. It’s about not being selfish and understanding the long term impact of our decisions. That said, there are a few very simple ways we can adjust our lifestyles and habits.

Respecting nature

One of the simplest ways we can be more eco-friendly is helping our children develop a love of nature. Spend time outside enjoying the little things–smell flowers, touch rocks, stare at clouds… these are all things kids do anyways–they are programmed to see beauty in nature and it’s part of our job to try to take a step back and allow them to appreciate their surroundings. If kids develop a love of nature, they will instinctually want to make choices that help our planet.

Here are just a few things you can do with your kids to help them develop better sense of respect for nature.

  • Go for walks and point out interesting finds (flowers, rocks, moss, bugs etc.)
  • Visit your local nature center or farm
  • Head outside in all kinds of weather (there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices!)
  • Teach them to clean up after themselves when they are outside (talk to them about what it means to litter)
  • Plant a small garden (bonus: often kids are more willing to try fruits and veggies that have helped plant and grow)

Ditch plastic as much as possible

Seriously. STOP BUYING SO MUCH PLASTIC NON-SENSE. Please. Not only is it bad for our environment, it’s bad for your health.
Single use plastic water bottles, plastic kids plates and cups, plastic snack baggies, plastic wrap to cover left over toddler dinners, plastic toys. Plastic, plastic everywhere.
There are so many comparable options that can easily eliminate all this plastic we consume.
Here are a few of my favorite items to swap out.

  • Buy everyone stainless steel water bottles. My favorite is the Pura Kiki. It’s more expensive, I know. BUT it’s literally a birth to adult cup. Seriously. Check out my post about it.
  • Invest in silicone “plastic” bags. Not only are reusable but you can cook food safely in them (hello sous vide!). I got these ones by Stasher. They have multiple sizes–I love the gallon ones for storing half eaten things of bacon. The sandwiches size is perfect for storing cut fruits and veggies (or sandwiches!) and the snack size is great if you like to portion out snacks for your kids.
  • Buy some beeswax wrap instead of using plastic wrap or tin foil. I love the smell (smells like honey) and they are easy to take care of–just wash in cold water with a little soap. We have a bunch of different sizes all made by Bee’s Wrap.

Simple ways to be more green

Compost!

Seriously, this isn’t as hard as it sounds. Buy a little guy for your kitchen (we have this one) and one for your yard. I like this one for the yard because it has two chambers so you don’t have to wait for it to be done “composting”–you can dump your steady stream of half eaten veggies, eggs shells, apple peels and produce that goes bad because you forgot it was sitting at the back of the fridge into it without worrying. You can read more about composting strategies here but don’t be intimidated. We just throw all our raw stuff (no cooked foods allowed) and some leaves in and turn it every few weeks. Done. Amazing soil to use either for gardening or just to let your kids play in…my kids LOVE dirt.

 

 

RUN to buy this rain water collector.

No joke. My kids will play with this for hours. Filing up bowls and dumping them into other bowls. Making mud pies. Helping me water the plants. It fills up with one rain. Just FYI it collects the rain from your gutter! I didn’t realize that until it arrived.  Yes, it’s plastic. But it’s recycled plastic–and you are conserving water vs using the hose all day. You can also buy this little stand which makes it easier for the kids to get access to the water.

Try to use more natural fiber materials like organic cotton, wool and bamboo.

Or buy from Buy Sell Trade groups on social media. That way you are saving money and also reusing materials.

 

Consider cloth diapering!

I promise it isn’t as hard as people think it is–in fact, it’s pretty much the same as using disposable diapers now that we have more modern cloth diaper options. If you use disposable diapers, use a brand that is eco-friendly like these ones–they are bamboo and biodegradable.

Use cloth wipes when you are home.

We use them for cleaning wet bums, wiping dirty hands and faces, wiping counter spills, wiping our kids down when we don’t have time for a bath….the list goes on. This is an EASY way to stop using paper towels and excess baby wipes. We love these cloths wipes by GroVia.

Watch your toy buying habits

Consider either not buying so many toys (research has actually shown that too many toys inhibits children’s creativity and  hinders focused play) or if you feel compelled to buy, try to look for toys made from sustainable materials or buy from companies that value sustainability in their production of products.
One of my favorite places to buy toys is The Natural Baby Company.  The company is owned by a mama who does an amazing job of finding and bringing high quality and eco-friendly products to her customers.

Make your own cleaning supplies

There are many simple ways to make cleaning supplies. Not only is it better for the environment because you’re not going through so many plastic bottles, it’s also better for your health to use less toxic cleaning ingredients, and it’s cheaper in the long run. We bought a bunch of these glass bottles with chalk labels and we make an all purpose cleaner, a glass cleaner, a tea tree oil cleaner, and we also make “bum spray” which we use to clean wet bums and dirty kids. All the cleaning recipes I use are going to be posted here.