Happy Earth Day! While I think it is great that people become hyper aware of environmental issues for at least one day a year, it is far more important to adopt a greener and eco-friendly lifestyle everyday of the year! I myself have things I need to improve on, but here I am going to share a few things that I do to help be a little greener! Every little thing helps!
Chelsea's Tips for Making Everyday Earth Day:
1, Purchase a Glass or Stainless Steel Reusable Water Bottle. I personally prefer the stainless steel ones, only because I have broken a few glass ones because I am graceful :). This reduces the amount of plastic bottles used TREMENDOUSLY! I have been using reusable bottles for a few years now, and it really does make a difference! The less plastic used, the better! Klean Kanteen is a great option for stainless bottles. They just so happen to be having a 40% off sale on all bottles over 40oz for Earth Day!
(Photo from KleanKanteen.com)
2. Swap out plastic bags for reusable ones for shopping! There are even cotton bags made for produce and perishables to avoid using those plastic bags in the produce section at the grocery store.
(Pictured: Flip and Tumble Produce Bags)
3. Use reusable rags for cleaning instead of paper towels. We rarely buy paper towels anymore, if ever. We have designated rags for cleaning, as well as towels for hands and drying things. Once you stop buying them, you will notice how often you use them just out of convenience! Totally unnecessary.
4. Make your own products! From cleaning products to face oils, I make a lot of my own things these days! I make my own: All-Purpose Cleaner, Floor Cleaner, Room/Air Freshner, Face Oil, Deodorant (sometimes), Body Butters, Scrubs, Face Masks, to name a few!
I tend to eyeball my ingredients when making my cleaner, but here's a simple DIY All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe that is similar to what I make:
2 Cups Distilled Water
2 tsp Baking Soda
1-2 Tbs Castile Soap (I use Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap. I use it for soooo many things!!)
4 Tbs White Vinegar
30-40 Drops of Essential Oils. I have made a blend of Peppermint, Orange, and Clove for cleaning. I love how it smells!
Mix everything together in a spray bottle minus the essential oils. Add oils until you are satisfied with the scent. Alternatively, if you do not have distilled water, you can boil your water first! I use this for all counters and surfaces, spills, etc.
5. Re-use spray bottles and containers to make your own products. Make sure to clean them really well first!
6. Use Coconut Oil. If you haven't yet heard of the million and five ways to use coconut oil, you've been living under a rock! I eliminated buying body lotion, shaving cream, teeth whitener, and many other things by using coconut oil instead! I also add it to many of the products that I make myself! It is so versatile, and eliminates more packaging by using one products for many different things. I not only use coconut oil, but others like avocado, olive, hemp, and grape seed all the time! They last far longer than say a traditional bottle of lotion, and each oil has different uses and strengths! Olive oil is great for rashes and skin irritations like eczema! Oh, and you can always use these oils in the kitchen as well!
7. Compost your organic waste. If you are lucky enough to have a backyard, start a compote bin! If you don't have a yard, you can always start a kitchen container on your counter! Get one here. If you aren't down with composting, you can also utilize certain scraps to make things like soups and stocks to help reduce your waste.
8. Check out what your city recycles. I WISH I lived in a city that did curbside compost pick-up (One day I WILL live in Portland, but hopefully San Diego catches on soon). Here is San Diego's City Guide to what can be recycled:
(Image from The City of San Diego site)
9. Swap everyday essentials made from plastic for bamboo alternatives! Examples: toothbrushes, cooking utensils, cutting boards. A GREAT bamboo toothbrush option is WooBamboo! I was fortunate enough to get a free toothbrush of their's at Expo West, but after learning about their products and practices, I would have purchased one! They have toothbrushes for everyone in the family, including pets! The toothbrushes are biodegradable minus the bristles, which are recyclable, as well as the packaging which is also made from recycled materials. They're also about to release a line of floss which is made from biodegradable silk, coated in natural wax, and the packaging is the case, which is made from plant-based plastic making that biodegradable as well! (Talk about awesome!). Oh, and their ink is soy-based! I got to see the floss at Expo West as well, and I'm really excited to try it!
10. Be involved in your food! Grow your own foods, cook more often, save and eat leftovers, preserve your foods (pickle/ferment, jar/can, dehydrate, etc.), and, and be mindful of what is in season. Growing food is relatively easy and affordable, and doesn't require very much space with all the amazing options we have these days like vertical gardens and hydroponics! Urban gardening is the jam. Literally, if you're into making and canning jam :). I cannot wait until I have some land to have a larger-scale urban farm (More on that later)!
But seriously, if you're interested in hydroponics on a small scale, check out Back To The Roots! A closed-loop, sustainable farm that fits on your kitchen counter? Sign me up. Back to the Roots' Water Garden (formerly AquaFarm) converts ammonia-rich fish waste into nitrates that feed the plants growing above. In return, the plants clean the fish's water ... and you get food out of the whole deal. backtotheroots.com
On a larger scale, I saw one of these guys at The San Diego Earth Fair last weekend! They are called Tower Gardens, and are aeroponic gardens, which allow you to grow 30% more, 3x faster, with 98% less water! So innovative! Get your own here!
11. Trade things! I recently discovered a group on Facebook in San Diego called San Diego Backyard Fruit Exchange. We've gotten eggs, citrus, veggies, and even a Kombucha SCOBY from it! It is amazing! It's not the only group either, there are different kinds of Trade groups all over! I HIGHLY recommend it!! It is completely free, a great way to network, save money, and trade things you have in excess in exchange for something you need!
These were just SOME of the veggies we were able to trade for a few months ago!
I hope you find these tips helpful! These are things I do often (minus my garden this year), and it is a great way to start being green! I really strive to be as green as I can with what I have. I hope to become even more green everyday!
Spend some time outside today, the Earth is a beautiful place!
Some of the content and photos were created by and sourced from Delicious Living and New Hope Network. The rest of it is my own, or sourced from where they are mentioned!