Whether or not you cared about the environment when you were single is irrelevant. What matters now is that you are consciously aware (and perhaps a little mortified) at how large your family’s carbon footprint really is. Well, if you are looking for super easy ways to lessen the impact your family is having, you will love this list.
1. Spend More on Quality – Okay; obviously, there is no demand to buy the most expensive name brand ski coat for an 8-year-old who will grow out of it before next season. However, when the 16-year-old who has been snowboarding for a while, and will not likely lose interest in the sport, is ready for a new board, spending more on a quality product that will last is better than buying a cheap board that will crack and end up in a landfill before the end of season. Make sense?
2. Stop Burning Wood – You probably know smoke is filled with toxins that damage the environment and your health. It is actually blamed for triggering asthma attacks and allergies in children, and then there is the increased cancer risk to consider. Burning wood also contributes to deforestation and robs animals of their natural habitat. You know all this, but you love your fireplace, so what do you do? Easy, enjoy a safe, ecofriendly fire with a bio ethanol burner. You can find some great ones at stores like Ethanol Fireplace Pros.
3. Litter-free Lunch – If everyone in your family is getting brown paper bags with plastic bags inside, this is a tremendous amount of garbage. Not to mention, it is a huge waste of money. Buy everyone cool lunch totes and invest in some BPA-free food storage containers.
4. Reusable Bags – If you don’t already use reusable shopping bags, buying these is a must. Wait until you see the fun colors and designs they come in. You should also buy reusable mesh produce bags. They are machine washable, and the best thing about using them is not having to fight to get them open like you do with plastic product bags.
5. Ecofriendly Cleaning Products – Years ago, ecofriendly cleaning products, detergents, etc., were ridiculously expensive. Not anymore! In fact, Seventh Generation dishwashing soap costs less than popular brands. You can always just use vinegar and water to clean a lot of things, too, and don’t forget garbage bags made from recycled plastic.
6. Stop the Mail – You probably pay most of your bills online anyway, so why haven’t you switched to electronic billing? Do you even open those paper bills that arrive in the mail anyway or do you just log into your account and pay? You might as well stop the newspaper subscription and read it online, too.
7. Solar – Buy solar lanterns for all the kids. Put them outside during the day and they will be charged to use at night when they are doing their homework. No need to turn a desk lamp on. Plus, they are handy to have if there is a power outage.
8. Eat Organic – Eating organic foods isn’t just good for your family’s health; it is a positive action for the environment. Fish stocks are killed by the fatal algae blooms produced by fertilizers, and pesticide residues pollute lakes and rivers and harm wildlife on land.
A few other ideas include putting plastic on windows in winter, sealing cracks, switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, plant a tree (or two or three), recycle, compost, catch rainwater with a rain barrel, and use an outdoor clothesline or an indoor drying rack.