Around the time that Jane was born, we noticed how much trash we were creating as a family (bags of diapers will do that!), and we started to make an effort to do more to reduce our impact on the environment. We started buying our dairy products from a local farm that reuses their glass containers, my husband built us a big recycling center in our back hall, and we even started composting our food scraps. These things are a just start, I know there is a lot more we can do, but our small changes were such easy swaps to be more eco-friendly. I thought that Earth Day would be a great chance to share a few of the items I use to be bit more conscious of my impact on the environment. Reusable Bags. The grocery store we frequent most often got rid of plastic bags entirely, so it’s not even an option anymore and it makes me so much more diligent in using them! Now I never leave the house without them, and try to use them at all stores I go to. We have some large sturdy “box totes” that also make grocery shopping so much easier — no more food falling all over the trunk when you drive out of the parking lot. I also invested in a set of reusable mesh produce bags so I don’t have to use plastic for fruits and veggies — I get asked about them every time I grocery shop, they’re awesome. They also make me gravitate more towards loose produce vs that in plastic packaging, which is usually cheaper — an added bonus!
Goodbye Paper Towels. Having a kid, life is just one giant mess. We realized when Jane was born that we were using so many paper towels and napkins to clean up messes. We swapped out those paper products for a big set of cloth towels — we keep blue ones in the bathrooms and red ones for kitchen messes — that get washed and reused. We also use them as napkins for all of our meals, which I find to be more enjoyable for our eating experience!
Food Storage. I am so proud to report that I haven’t purchased saran wrap, foil, or plastic food bags in almost a year. We invested in a big set of glass food containers and all of our leftovers and lunches get stored in those. For bigger dishes, I use pyrex baking dishes with lids to transport food, and have a great set of reusable nylon bags for Jane’s snacks. I’m guilty of grabbing a to-go coffee from the coffee shop a bit too often, and need to remember my reusable coffee mug when I’m on the go (my husband uses his every.single.day — he’s my role-model!).
Composting. My husband gets all of the credit for this change at our house. He built us some homemade compost bins for our yard, and empties our countertop compost bin every morning. Working on a food blog, I cook 7 days a week at home and create a TON of food waste. I try very hard to reduce food waste by meal planning and using up all of our weekly ingredients (I call it my empty fridge challenge — I want the fridge to be bare by the end of week!), but what is discarded now goes into the compost bin!
Like I said above, these things are only a start. My big challenge for myself is to keep up with these small changes, but also find ways to continue to do better! I’m looking for some more eco-friendly swaps for our cleaning supplies (if you have recommendations, share them with me!). And I need to challenge myself to reduce consumption too. It is hard, especially in the field that I’m in, where it seems all bloggers talk about is what to buy.buy.buy and what is trendy now.
A few blogger friends of mine started a no-shop challenge at the beginning of the year and it inspired me, I’ve been thinking about it every time I’m about to hit buy on something that I probably don’t need, and I’m amazed at how many times it’s made me stop and reevaluate. Another consumption challenge that I’m working on is thinking about the difference between buying fast-fashion/decor/products vs items that will last long term (a lot of the items I listed above are a prime example of that mindset) — it’s something to work on!