Well last month was Earth Month, and I would have liked to do this post then, but alas, I have a young baby, and the best laid plans of mice and men, you know. So, it’s May, but of course there’s no WRONG time to care about the earth! I’m sure you’re all familiar with some basic go-green tips, like take shorter showers, unplug or at least turn off unused electronics, and bring reusable bags to the store. If you’re ready to crank it up a notch, here’s a few more things to try! (plus one to skip!)
Eat less meat
GASP!!! How dare I?!? We ‘Muricans eat a LOT of meat. And even i you don’t want to look into how animals are treated before we eat them, one thing everyone should look into is the environmental impacts of the meat industry. Between water and grain consumption, the amount of land deforested daily and used just to feed animals, and pollution from methane and manure, raising meat really does a number on the environment.
While I’m not advocating veganism or even vegetarianism (although if you can do it, more power to you!) there is most likely room in everyone’s diet to eat just a LITTLE less meat. Meatless Monday is a pretty popular trend, and there are plenty of carnivore-friendly veg-based recipes you can find online or at the library. I have a very meat-eaty husband, so this has been one of my current projects. I’ll do a post soon (ha! Soon-ish? Someday?) on some of our favorite non-meat dishes. Another idea if you can’t TOTALLY ditch meat in your meals is to use it as a garnish rather than the main dish. So instead of a big hunk of meat with a small side of veg, make a super delish VEG dish, and just sprinkle a taste of meat on top.
Get it local
I’m talking about food. Do you have a farmers market nearby? A farm that does a CSA? Or maybe you can grow a little of your own? The closer you live to where your food is produced, the less environmental impact you have. Even most grocery stores (where I live anyway) label the farm where some produce comes from, allowing you to pick more local options. (A lot of people define “local” as within about 150-200 miles) You can also try to find local cheese, flour, etc. You can easily look up where most companies are located. Eating from local sources means your food will be in season too, and that means fresher, better tasting stuff. You can also sometimes find locally sourced honey, milk, eggs, and even meat!
Use less disposables/plastic
I’ve started reading a lot about plastic use, and how it’s everywhere, and the impact of all that trash. Once I did, I was shocked by how much plastic is just EVERYWHERE. Everything is plastic! There are a lot of zero-waste and no-plastic blogs you can read, and some of the ideas were doable for me, and some were definitely not. I don’t think we can fully escape plastic, but there are things we all can do to cut back our use. For instance, make some reusable dishcloths! Here’s my pattern for some you can knit. They really cut down on paper towel use.
One thing that I started thinking about in the bathroom was the shower curtain liner. It gets nasty, moldy, and while I would try to wash it, it never got TOTALLY clean again, and eventually I’d just toss it and get a new one. What a big giant chunk of plastic waste! So I decided I wanted to try a cloth one, like they have a hotels, but I didn’t really want to spend much money. I happened to be at Goodwill, and it occurred to me that there might be shower curtain liners there. (Actually, I was looking for fabric, and saw shower curtains, and said OH YEAH!) I found one in a lovely shade of green that matched my bathroom perfectly. And it has magnets to hold it in place. And it was less than two bucks. I must say, I’m very happy with it. It’s quieter and warmer somehow than the plastic one, and it seems to work just fine. No leaks!
Reuse and repurpose (and be patient)
This goes along with the last one, in a way. When looking for replacements for things, or thinking about buying new things, think about how you can reuse an OLD thing, or find it used. Like, for example, getting a shower curtain liner at Goodwill. Also, I washed and saved the old plastic one, and I’m going to get Hubbins to rig me up some kind of frame with a cover for growing lettuce in the winter.
Another example I have is with sheets. We had ONE set of sheets for the first two years of our marriage, and it got pretty used up. We were gifted a new set, and then I decided I wanted to tie dye a set (another post for that!) I didn’t want to pay full price for sheets just to dye them, so I didn’t know what to do. Then a friend asked us to do a garage sale for them, and get rid of or keep the extra stuff. Guess what didn’t sell? A white sheet set! Seven dollars for dye, and we have a custom tie-dyed sheet set! And with the old sheets? Another post for that as well, as there are a lot of things you can do with some old sheets!
Being patient is not one of my strong suits, but I’m finding a lot of joy in not buying new stuff all the time and finding really cheap deals (and keeping stuff out of landfills!)
And one to skip…
When looking into using less plastic I found tutorials for making your own beeswax covered cloth to use instead of plastic wrap. It seemed easy enough, and I had beeswax, and I had fabric. Well. It isn’t that easy. And I didn’t like how it turned out. So. Skip this one. Instead, buy some nice reusable fabric snack pouches like these. I had some plastic ones but I’d like to get fabric. And I also want to invest in some nice glass food storage like these.
That’s it! Easy things to go a little greener in your everyday life. What do you do to be green?