Here are 10 easy ways to go green today! These are all ways my household has gone green in the last few months so I can attest that they are easy and affordable! If they weren’t we would not keep them up. Trust me!
1. Recycle – So easy to do, just grab 3 or 4 biggish cardboard boxes (from your nearest recycling depot or supermarket) and label them “Paper”, “Plastic”, “Glass” & “Tin”. If this is too much effort get one box and label it “Recycling”. Toss all the aforementioned items into the boxes (after giving them a quick rinse first). When the box/es start to look a bit full take them to your local recycling drop off center. This is probably the hardest part! If you’re one of the fortunate few who have your recycling collected – what is your excuse??? Don’t forget to recycle batteries too. Pick n Pay have collection points for these.
2. Compost – Another no-brainer for those with gardens. Grab an ice-cream tub and place it near your bin. Empty all food waste – peels, eggshells, teabags, left over lettuce that has gone soggy in the bottom of the bag etc etc into this tub – avoid citrus, meat, dairy. When the tub is full dig a hole in your chosen flower bed and bury or add it to your compost heap….free compost. What’s not to like?
3. Switch to using an eco friendly washing powder or laundry ball. We first used eco soft washing powder which works great. Recently started using the green Icon washing ball from Verimark. Once off cost and this lasts for over 1000 washes so you save money too which is always useful! For slightly stained items I recommend using a prewash stain remover but otherwise a very easy switch to make the environment a healthier place.
4. Drive less – I always try to plan my trips to the shops, school, library etc to be in the same round trip, that way I’m not making loads of little short trips in my car. This requires a bit of forethought and planning but saving petrol, time and the planet is worth it. Alternatively organise lift clubs with other parents in your area who have kids at the same school or extra mural.
5. Swap your shampoo. Use natural beauty products where you can. I realise that you can’t switch everything here because sometimes there is only one foundation that suits your skin tone or moisturizer that loves your face but some of the items are easy. We have switched our shampoo and conditioner. Biodegradable and with no SLS (sodium laurel sulfate – look it up, it’s bad news!) and parabens means that it is so much better for the earth and our health. We’ve also switched toothpaste (a bit more expensive but I prefer knowing my children aren’t swallowing chemicals) and handsoap. It’s also worth swopping out cleaning products too. I have tried switching deodorant but haven’ been convinced by the results yet but here are many brands for both beauty and household cleaning so it’s worth trying a few to discover which ones work for you.
6. Donate old stuff – books, clothes, curtains, kitchen aids, computers, cell phones, toys, the list goes on….. whenever I have a clear out I think of anyone who might like the item before I throw it away. In South Africa we really don’t need to throw anything away because there is always someone with less than us. Another idea is to arrange a swop day with friends – esp kids toys or games – once they’ve played with them a hundred times the novelty wears off. Wouldn’t some ‘new’ free ones be great! Pass on good quality items such as maternity outfits, babygros and equipment, books you’ve read, to friends heading into the stage you have just moved out of, if you can’t think of anyone then find your nearest charity shop and take a box. They accept almost everything and sell it on to make money for those less fortunate. Try Tears, SPCA, Hidden Treasure, Save the Rural Child – there are lots of options.
7. Play with plants – learn how to take slips or cuttings and pop these into left over pots from the nursery. add some water and a bit of sun and soon you will have plenty of plants to fill the spaces in your garden or even give to friends as gifts. Lavender is especially easy to grow. Herbs are always winners. Start a little herb garden in one pot or a bed depending on the space you have and you will never have to buy (and waste) a huge bunch of parsley for a tiny garnish.
8. Buy free range or organic when you can. Yes sometimes it is more expensive but if health is important to you then it’s worth it! We try to only eat free range eggs and chicken. Also milk without the bst hormones. We don’t yet know what the hormones in food is doing to our bodies as the research is still happening and time will tell but surely the soaring rates of obesity and premature puberty are not good? Visit your local farmers market once a week and stock up on fruit and veg. Make it part of your family’s routine – I’m still working on this one as I’m so in the habit of dashing to the supermarket. I need to set a reminder in my phone that the market happens on Wed and Sat and plan around that.
9. Use energy saving light bulbs – replace the bulbs in your light fittings and lamps. buy one or two a month to save on the intial cost outlay.
10. Turn off – lights, appliances not in use, tv’s on standby. Unplug toasters, kettles, cell phone chargers all these items still draw a small amount of electricity even if the cell phone is not charging or the toaster is not toasting. Teach your kids to do the same. Don’t leave air conditioning or fans on in rooms where not one is sitting. Turn the tv or radio off if you are not actively watching or listening – you don’t need any extra background noise anyway (esp if you have kids!)
So there you have it – 10 things you can do TODAY! no more excuses. Try to implement at least 3 this week. And feel free to send me any other ideas you have….