7 Tips to For Growing a Green Family + Giveaway
When we have more tasks to complete in a day than we can possibly accomplish, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of our lives and overlook bigger issues, like sustainability and our environment.
With summer upon us, the beautiful green that we are surrounded by is a reminder that it’s the perfect time to bring new, sustainable habits into our daily lives that we can stick with all year long. These seven practical pointers for going green will get you moving in the right direction.
1. Bring air purifying plants into your home. Improve the air quality in your home by introducing plants that act as air filters, absorbing the harmful gases and toxins from furniture, paints, and plastics. Peace lilies, golden pothos, and Boston ferns are only a few examples of the many plants that can help remove benzene and formaldehyde from the air in your home.
2. Look for local, seasonal foods. Eating local and seasonally means you are likely to avoid the food miles and greenhouse gas emissions associated with foods that aren’t in season and travel a long way to get to your table. In addition, seasonal foods can be less expensive and taste better. Because it is picked only when it’s naturally ripe, seasonal produce retains all of the nutrients and flavor that is lost when food is harvested prematurely. If you are feeling ambitious and have space, you can even start your own vegetable garden for the most localized produce possible.
3. Start a compost (or look for compost programs in your neighborhood). Don’t let your fruit and veggie scraps go to waste in the landfill, where they will ultimately contribute to climate change by emitting methane. Instead, start a compost in your yard or look for programs in your community that collect organic material for composting. Compost is a natural fertilizer and can be added to your garden or potted plants.
4. Swap or donate clothes. Swapping clothes that your kids have grown out of with other parents is a great way to share and/or get “new” clothes without actually purchasing anything. If you can’t think of anyone to swap with, then donating old clothes is another great option. Swapping or donating clothes helps with spring cleaning and extends the life of each item. (If you don’t have anyone to swap with, you can try a site like Swap.com or Schoola.com.)
5. Use non-toxic products. If you are taking on some serious spring cleaning, make sure you are using non-toxic cleaning materials because chemical-based supplies contribute to water pollution and can be harmful to your health. Websites and apps such as GoodGuide and EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning help to find safe and gentle cleaning products. You can also make your own with baking soda, white vinegar, and lemon.
6. Clean out your air filters. This season is expected to be warm as we continue to break records for global temperature records. For many of us, this means turning on air conditioning and (ideally) cleaning out or replacing the air filters. Air filters that have not been cleaned or replaced in a while can mean that free-flowing air is being blocked, making the system work harder to push air out. Clean filters will not only prevent unnecessary energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, but will also save you money on your electricity bill.
7. Plastic-free picnics. Nothing says summer like an afternoon picnic. To minimize your negative impact on the environment during these outings, swap out plastic single-use containers and utensils for reusable non-plastic items. It can be easy to rely on single-use plastic items such as water bottles, cutlery, plates, and cups, but it creates a lot of waste that will most likely end up in a landfill (or even in the ocean)! Look for glass jars and cloth bags to carry and contain your goodies and bring silverware from home to cut down on the waste you create.
Rosaly Byrd and Laurèn DeMates are co-authors and founders of The Sustainability Co-Op blog, which strives to understand and communicate the interconnectedness between global and local societal needs and environmental concerns. They are also the authors of the book Sustainability Made Simple: Small Changes for Big Impact, a comprehensive resource that introduces readers to the concept of sustainability and humanity’s growing impact on the environment; why it’s harmful; what steps government, companies, and other institutions are taking to help; and finally, what individuals and families can do to make a difference.
One lucky Game On Mom reader is going to win a Growing a Green Family Prize Pack, which includes a copy of Sustainability Made Simple and a Large Reusable Baggu Tote Bag! Giveaway is open to US residents who are 18 and older. Ends 8/17/17 t 11:59 PM ET. Good luck!