In the switching of our home to become a more slow paced and green one I spent a bunch of time, last year, finding earth friendly alternatives to some of our most used products in our kitchen and home. Ones that were single use and headed for the landfill. And yes, I know that this won't save the world single handedly. But it is a step in the right direction to help spread the word of how we need to change how we live as a race. Lead by Example.
Statistics can be found all over online about each country's annual waste totals by region, person, etc. But I think what really hit my heart was is Canada alone we have over 10,000 landfill sites. And if we are serious about this global warming stuff, that alone needs to change! The sites where we literally bury our trash as it can't be recycled, produce HUGE amounts of Methane gas (among other things...). Yes, we are breathing this stuff in! So much for fresh air...Our plants and trees do what they can to clean it, but we are also cutting down and using up a large mass of that, faster than we can replant and re-grow. Okay rant over! But seriously you guys, this is a real problem. One that we really cannot keep overlooking.
Do you remember the cartoon in the early 90's, "Capitan Planet"? I do. The thing is, that although the concepts of "going green" and the "Three R's- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle" have been passed around for quite awhile, ultimately we as a whole have done very little to actually move the mountains of change that need to happen in order for us to save the bigger picture of Planet Earth. Recycle, sure we do that, but how often do we reuse or reduce the amount of stuff we throw out? Everything has a package. Even our packaging has packages!!
I am really wanting to help my kids realize that this world is the only one we have, and we really don't want to end up like those people on Wall-E. And sure that probably means things aren't as instantaneous or easy. But it does mean that we are helping to provide our grand-kids and our great-grand-kids, etc. with something to live on. I want them to know what our planet looks like green and fresh. To know where their food should come from. And that we actually can be a responsible race of people.
So I thought a great place to begin the new year, is to bring in some simple and cost friendly options for you and yours. The changes we make may be small, but they are mighty!
- My Amazing Glass "ello" Water Bottle! (Can find it in many colours on amazon for under $15CAD)
- Beeswax Food Wraps - Now I do still use plastic wrap for some things. But I definitely use less than I used to. I love them for wrapping my leftover half of cucumbers and peppers, along with other veggies.
- My Mason Jar Coffee To-Go Cup -this also counts for other reusable to-go mugs.
- Reusable Food-safe Baggies - for snacks and to help with the kid's lunches
- Cute Reusable Shopping Bags - "I always forget them!" is the excuse I hear and have personally used most for these. But as with any of these options, it's about forming new habits to allow us to enforce these greener options. My "Fix" for remembering them was that once the groceries were unloaded I hang them on the front door handle so the next time I go out I take them with me.
- Re-Use Glass Jars - Our town doesn't recycle glass, which is annoying, but that aside, I have found quite a few jars that I buy regularly are actually a great size to re-store things in. I also really love the sauce jars that are actually mason jars and look SO cute with flowers in them! (These ones you can also use with the rings and lids used in canning.) So take a closer look at your glass jar buying options.
- Go Green Lunch-boxes - I decided after the past few years of having too many containers, not to mention leaking containers- I took the plunge for the $60 a piece option. And I have not looked back since the beginning of school this fall. Best decision. And please note, these will last us for ages. And you can buy replacement sealers for about $12. I'm a bit of a worry-wart, so I hand was the lids, but the bases go in the top rack of the dishwasher every night and so far so good!
- Wool Dryer Balls - Those dryer sheets may smell nice but they are terrible for the environment. (I tried plastic ones, but they made SO MUCH NOISE!) I find the handmade ones work the best and can be found very regularly at our local shops and markets. But if you can't access those kinds of things in your area, Amazon carries a ton!
- Cheese Bags - This is a very recent thing I found when Christmas shopping. They are amazing and work beyond well! Our cheese always went moldy very quick in ziplocks. (Not to mention the throwing out of these single use plastic bags.) But these amazing cheese bags allow the cheese to breath but not dry out! They are truly a product miracle! And to top it off, you can just keep using them until they get grimy. Just be sure to only use one type of cheese in each bag. No cross pollinating your flavours!
- Mesh Produce Bags - These replace the plastic ones that are used for loose produce.
- Lastly, for now, just be wise. Look at the packaging of products when you purchase them. Can they be reused, recycled, etc? Can you buy it in bulk and reuse a storage bin, jar ,etc for it? If you use a certain product a lot, buying in bulk can also be cheaper! And don't be scared to google search how to make things from scratch to replace an ever growing number of convenience foods and mixes. The environment and your body will thank you for that!