The idea of sustainability or “going green,” can feel very intimidating. But making sustainable choices is not as difficult as it may seem. There are many small steps you can take to make a big impact.
For the past few years, I have tried to slowly transition to more green options for my family. I started with swapping out paper towels with my own homemade version (sown strips of flour sacks), reusable straws, cups, and silicone baggies. I had some trial and error in trying to make my own facial cotton pads and when I suggested to my husband we use cloth strips instead of toilet paper I was met with a firm “never going to happen.”
We used cloth diapers with my daughter for a few months but decided it just didn’t work for us. My approach is not an “all or nothing” mindset, to me that is not attainable, but I believe little swaps go a long way.
Ways to Make Sustainable Choices
Reuse and find multiple uses for products
A quick search on Amazon and you will find endless options for alternative reusable products for any area of your home from food storage containers to feminine hygiene products. Not only are these reusable products, many times they are also super cute! By swapping items that are a one time use such as plastic storage bags, plastic wrap, or paper towels you decrease the amount of waste you and your family are producing.
My favorite reusable items
- Canvas shopping bags
- Silicone baggies of various sizes
- Silicone food savers (instead of plastic wrap)
- Reusable straws
- Flour sack “paper” towels
Here are some things you may already have in your home that can be reused or be considered a multipurpose product:
- White vinegar– useful as a cleaning agent in so many ways, and for cooking.
- Vodka– besides making a Moscow Mule, vodka can also be used to clean or make air freshener (we buy the cheap stuff for this)
- Rags, or old t-shirts- instead of using paper towels use cloth. T-shirts can easily be cut into strips and make great cleaning rags
This may be the easiest option to make a big impact. Many items are not recycled appropriately. Oftentimes, it can be as simple as reading the back of a product to see if it is recyclable. Sometimes there are even explicit instructions on products such as “remove lid before recycling” or “rinse container before recycling”
Just recently I realized that the plastic bag my bread comes in is recyclable but the cardboard container I buy my quick oats in is not. By following the directions you can help ensure that the products will actually be recycled.
In the case of sustainability, the internet is such a useful resource. You can quickly find DIY recipes on Pinterest for household cleaners or beauty products; use this to your advantage!
Remember, this is not an all or nothing idea. Sometimes you just can’t find an alternative that works or works for your lifestyle, and that is OK. Making changes that you can stick with, no matter how little they may seem truly can make a difference.
Start with one thing and find a solid alternative before jumping to the next idea. It may be an initial investment but can really pay off in the end.
When we live green at home it is likely that those habits will carry over into our work and other aspects of our life!