There are lots of fun activities in and around the metro for Earth Day. But if you’re planning to stick close to home, and wonder how you can integrate some green thinking into your family’s day-to-day life, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Small steps can make a big difference in the impact of your family on our environment – and they might help you save some money, too.
It’s never too early to get kids started. (In fact, my two-year old daughter is already the one who admonishes her friends if they leave their bedroom lights on when she’s over to play.)
Perhaps you’ll consider some of these ideas and pledge to integrate them into your family’s lifestyle through the year:
- Make the switch to rechargeable batteries, where appropriate.
- Collect and use rainwater for flowers and gardens. It helps to implement drought-tolerant native plants, too.
- Stop using that dryer! When possible, hang clothes on a clothesline. (Most kids love to play in the flapping sheets, too!)
- Do only full loads of laundry.
- Start shopping in local consignment stores when possible (and sell to them, too!)
- Unplug electronics when not in use.
- Utilize natural daylight when possible, and switch off lights and other electronics as soon as you leave the room.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper.
- Host a toy or clothing swap!
- Buy in bulk when possible, to reduce packaging waste and shopping trips.
- Always re-use the other side of the paper. If not in your printer, then for your grocery or to-do list.
- Vow to shave some time off everyone’s shower time – and use an egg timer to follow through. And I’m sure you’re already using a low-flow shower head.
- Buy locally raised food when possible. You can find a short list of suggestions here, but check for local fruit stands in your area. Or check out a co-op of sorts.
- Use a water filter instead of purchasing bottled water, and purchase reusable water bottles.
- Avoid new clothing purchases that require dry cleaning (and toxic chemicals). Who doesn’t want to lessen, or eliminate, that bill?
- Make your own cleaning products.
- Join your local Freecycle group, if you haven’t already.
- Participate in the twice-annual turnoff events.
- Make over your lunch boxes: instead of plastic baggies and the like, use resealable containers or wax-covered paper alternatives. Instead of juice boxes, use a no-spill reusable bottle.
- Have dinner by candlelight – if not every night, at least a few. It totally changes the mood, too.
- Take advantage of the warm weather and cook outdoors – or even find meal solutions that don’t require heat! (They do exist!)
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