For those of us who didn't grow up making healthy and earth-conscious decisions, the transition to an eco-friendly lifestyle filled with safer and organic products can feel like you're giving up many things including convenient, effective, and lower-priced items and flavorful food. The good news is that making green changes can be as simple as you'd like it to be.
Start with easy swaps and, when you're ready, move on to bigger things. None of it has to be complicated or expensive. From personal care products to ways to green your home, you can find products and methods that can meet your needs.
This Reusable Beeswax Wrap Is The Sustainable Alternative to Plastic Wrap
DIY as Much as You Can
There was a time when the smell of bleach, synthetic pine, or ammonia was synonymous with having a clean home, but that's no longer the case. Many commercially available cleaning products are considered to be toxic, and they can also be expensive. For pennies on the dollar, you can create your own cleaning products that work every bit as well, won't leave any residue, and will leave you feeling great about doing something healthy for you and your home. Here are just a few options you can make:
- Aromatic spray cleaner using vinegar, water, and your favorite essential oil
- Mold and mildew remover using vinegar
- Disinfecting sprays and wipes using natural products such as lemons and vinegar
- Carpet cleaners using baking soda and other natural ingredients
Skip the Car From Time to Time
While cars are usually necessary, for shorter routes, choose to walk or ride a bike and you can easily save emissions and sneak in the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Less air pollution and a healthier heart are pretty great effects from a simple decision to skip the car for a short trip, right? If you'd like to save more on emissions, you can even consider skipping gas entirely with an electric vehicle.
Get Into the Habit of Recycling
Recycling isn't just about plastic and paper. You can recycle food by composting and products, toys, and clothing by upcycling or donating them. But if you have a broken item, recycling the right way in the trash will keep it out of the already choked landfills.
To get into the habit of recycling, use buckets, bins, or inexpensive trash cans to set up bins if your town's recycling center requires sorting. You can save aluminum and other metals to take to a local scrap metal center for some extra change. It takes a good amount of metal to add up to anything substantial, but every bit helps.
Composting is another ideal way to recycle. By using food scraps you can create quality nutrients for your garden, even if it's a container one. A quality composter can be purchased for under $80, or you could easily make your own with free pallets or garbage cans.
There's another upside to recycling. Depending on where you live and what your trash and recycling service charges are, you may be able to save money each month by lightening your weekly and monthly waste.
Grow Veggies at Home
You can save on organic foods at the grocery store by buying in-season, but starting a vegetable garden is also a great way to save money and get in touch with your food. You may even find that it helps you lower your stress. Seeds are generally inexpensive, and you may be able to harvest your own for the following year or get them free from swaps.
Start with easy to grow varieties for the biggest bang and learn as you go. Gardening can be done for nearly free, and you can always start small, though any size garden does require a bit of elbow grease.
Cook More Meals From Scratch
In addition to growing your own food, another great way to be more green is to limit the consumption of commercially farmed foods. The supply chain drains the Earth's resources and the result is often an over-processed food product that is costly and provides little to no nutritional value.
From dinners to lunches (which can be packed), you can save a bundle and make organic options the norm much more simply. To give you more bang, you'll want to look at your method of preparation as well. Work to phase out plastic containers, spatulas, and spoons from the kitchen, especially when these items may come into contact with warm foods. Instead opt for glass, stainless, bamboo, wood, or reusable bags for containers and utensils. It may also be beneficial to skip the non-stick coatings, which have been potentially linked to a variety of health problems if they break down from overheating.