What ways do you #gogreen? What eco friendly changes have you made to your lifestyle? Have you always been more eco conscious or did you shift recently?
Regardless of where you are or when you started there is always time and space to move forward and to #gogreen
Instead of choosing to make eco friendly choices for one day or one week or one month, take time this Earth Day to consider the ways in which you can make regular and ongoing changes to your lifestyle that will be beneficial to the planet and your community.
Inspired by Maman on the Trail's post How Green is Maman on the Trail from 2016 I thought I would make a list too!
WARNING: This list will may appear long and may seem daunting or make you feel judged. Or perhaps you may not care. Regardless of how you feel, know that 10 years ago we would have had a list that was 90% shorter than this list. This has been a slow, long process that has taken us years to accomplish. We are extremely proud of the changes we have made to our lifestyle in the past 10 years and we want you know that you can make these changes too. Please know that we are not perfect and are not "green" all the time. Sometimes we throw a piece of plastic in the garbage when it should have been recycled. Sometimes we eat unhealthy food. Sometimes we use plastic take out containers. Sometimes we do things that are not green because the alternative is more convenient. We do the best we can as often as we can with the energy, resources and information we have available to us at the time. This is a learning and growing process for ALL of us!
ps. Once you read the list I bet you are doing more than you thought you were!
Here is a list of ways in which our family contributes to a sustainable, healthy and eco friendly future.
- Use our own natural cleaners (which means we also reuse the bottles that come with the cleaners).
- Use cloth towels instead of paper towels (we have not used paper towels for almost 10 years now!). Find them affordably at your local second hand shop.
- Use wash cloths instead of toilet paper for #1 bathroom visits
- Use cloth diapers and cloth wipes
- Use recycled toilet paper when we do need to buy it.
- Hang our clothes to dry on drying racks during colder weather or on the outdoor clothing line in the summer. This also ensures that your clothing lasts longer!
- Reuse our clothing multiple times before washing.
- Wash clothing using cold water.
- No dryer sheets or fabric softener. We use wool dryer balls instead (amazing!)
- Make our own laundry detergent as often as we can (we also use natural detergents that are premade when needed)
- Use vinegar as a rinsing agent in the dryer
- Use stainless steel and glass containers
- Use cast iron pots that will last a life time - literally.
- Use LED lights in our home and turn them off regularly.
- Keep our computers and small appliances unplugged as often as we can
- Use our television (yes we now have a television!) once per week
- Opt in for paperless billing
- Almost always choose the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator
- Buy second hand as often as possible OR purchase quality products that will last a lifetime
- Wash our dishes by hand (which in the city would use less water, but since we are in the country we are saving on the cost of running the dishwasher). We also do it this way because it is really challenging to find a safe and natural dish detergent for machines. I have never had any luck with the eco ones. By washing dishes by hand we can use natural and safe dish detergent.
- Heat our home using wood which is sourced from our own property.
- Use a programmable thermostat to maintain temperature in our home.
- Avoid using the air conditioner in the summer (we used it only once last summer!)
- We are installing this spring/summer a windmill up at our barn for the lights and electricity needed for the animals.
- Repurposing items or reusing items
- Avoid one time use and disposable items
- Purchase toys, furniture and other items from strong and durable materials like wood.
- Do all the work on the farm and in our home ourselves using as much locally sourced and recycled materials as possible
- Before making a large purchase check Kijiji or second hand shops
Personal Care & Clothing
- Wash our hair less often (I wash mine once per month)
- Share shower time (all kids shower at the same time sometimes with an adult too!)
- Adults shower every 2-3 days, children shower once per week in the winter and 1-2 times per week in the warmer months when they are getting really dirty)
- Use non toxic shampoos and soaps, typically locally made. The kids use the same soap for their hair and body (they don't need different products for different parts of their bodies).
- Make our own moisturizers (out of the lard from our beef cow)
- Use glasses instead of contact lenses
- Use a menstrual cup when needed
- No perfumes (sometimes essential oil as needed)
- Shop second hand for clothing
- Purchase clothing and linens made from cotton, wool, or hemp (preferably organic). Natural materials will not create problems in our waterways like synthetics do - they are also safer for your skin.
- Minimize the amount of clothing we are purchasing for our children. Check out our blog post on this topic!
- Choose clothing with reinforced knees
- Repair clothing and linens as needed
Food & Eating
- Grow our own veggies
- Raise our own beef and pork
- Avoid factory farmed meats and foods
- Meal plan so that we reduce the amount of food we are purchasing and wasting (though this one we struggle with!)
- Have our milking cow, a huge accomplishment for us (which means we reuse packaging for milk, yogurt and more)
- Use our left over scraps to feed our chickens/pigs
- Have our own laying hens (which means we reuse packaging for eggs)
- Make our own chicken broth and beef broth
- Can our own tomatoes, jams, pickles
- Ferment our veggies
- Freeze our veggies, fruits and berries from our own garden or from local vendors
- Make our own bread
- Make our own yogurt & kefir
- Brew Kombucha
- Make our own meals and rarely purchase premade meals/foods
- Eat little to no processed foods
- Use reusable jars and containers
- Dehydrate foods and store them in glass jars
- Eat in restaurants that source foods locally
- When not growing our own foods, do our best to support local producers via farmers markets and local grocers (Wendy's Mobile Market, Memorial Centre Farmers Market).
- Bring reusable grocery bags with us when we go grocery shopping.
- Avoid products at the grocery store that have packaging (although interestingly enough I find the organic products are the ones wrapped in extra packaging...argh!)
What changes can we make for the upcoming year?
This upcoming year we are going to direct our efforts into producing less waste all around. We often have extra fruits and veggies in the fridge that go to waste (well not really to waste as they end up food for the chickens, but they really should have been eaten by us in the first place). We also in my opinion throw out more garbage than we would like so we would like to reduce the amount of garbage we produce (which is challenging because of the farm).
We are going to focus on asking manufacturers and wholesalers to reduce their packaging as well. Often we receive our items for the shop in several packages - a box with plastic bags with plastic packaging. We are going to do our best to let our suppliers know that we would love to see less packaging with their products!
What ways does your family #gogreen? What tips do you have for others?