Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My #1 Tip for Earth Day

Being a green/eco-friendly blogger, Earth Day is a little like Christmas. It's the one day each year that you can count on most people to at least considering how they could make a change in their lifestyle to better take care of our earth. Whether that be to increase their recycling, turn the water off when they are not using it, or pledge some money to an environmental advocacy group...chances are Earth Day is the day when it's most likely to happen and for that I'm grateful.

"Hi, my name is Ashley and I am a Tree Hugger."
Earth Day is also a time when people look to me, Mrs. Green Blogger herself and say, "What's one thing that I can do to go green on Earth Day?"  My answer: "Buy yourself an Earth Day present." Sounds funny right? But I'm serious! On our birthday we get presents, on Christmas we get presents, most of us get presents on Valentine's Day, not to mention other smaller holidays like Mother's Day and Father's Day...so why not Earth Day?  Now I'm not talking about buying a present for the Earth, I'm talking about a present for yourself or your family.  Specifically one that will help you to go green throughout the year.

One my most recommended ways to live a greener lifestyle is to switch from using disposable products to reusable ones. So this Earth Day, I invite you to treat yourself to an Earth Day present that will help you go from something disposable to something reusable.

Think about it, by swapping out cloth napkins for paper towels, or a reusable water bottle for plastic ones, you not only reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill, you cut the time it takes to manufacture, transport, sell and buy the disposable product, and you even save some money in the long run because you don't have to keep re-buying the same thing over again.  Better yet, making the switch to reusable products to disposable ones can sometimes help protect you from being exposed to chemicals such as BPA and phthalates.

Now I know the world of "Green products" can seem confusing, intimidating, and expensive at times, so to help you out I'll share a few of my favorite reusable green swaps that I've found which I love, trust, and use daily. Even better, I purchased these products within my own money...no product placements here, so you can trust that what I'm sharing is my own honest opinion, not one I'm being paid for.

Here's a video walk through of my favorite green products..

Let the green shopping begin...

1. Swap out plastic water bottles for a reusable glass one. I like this one: Smart Planet Hydro 1 Glass Water Bottle with Silicone Sleeve ($15).

Smart Planet Hydro 1 Water Bottle

Mason jars are a go-to for me as well.
These Ball MasonJars (Quart size) cost me $10 for a pack of 12.
2.  Instead of plastic straws you could use stainless steel straws (I've broke more glass ones than I can count, so I now use stainless steel ones. I haven't had any issue with metallic taste or anything).   I like these: RSVP Endurance Stainless Steel Straw Set of 4 ($9).

Can you tell I like chia seed drinks? Click here to learn more.
3. Switch from dryer sheets to reusable wool dryer balls. Here's ones I like: Every Day Willow Wool Dryer Balls Set of 3 ($18) Read more here: "Goodbye Dryer Sheets!"

Every Day Willow Wool Dryer Balls

4. Switch from paper towels and Kleenex boxes to cloth napkins. In the past, I've bought mine off Etsy (here's one of my favorite Etsy stores for cloth napkins: Moo Cow Momma), but lately I tried making my own by "serging" cotton flannel. I love how they turned out and how I got to pick my own fun fabrics. Post me a comment below if you are interested in a tutorial on those.  Read more here about my switch to cloth napkins: "How I Use, Clean and Store Cloth Napkins." Or see how I make my own here!

Cloth napkins I made by "serving" cotton flannel fabric.

5. Switch from using Ziploc bags and instead use reusable snack bags. I have accumulated several brands over the years, the one you see below is: Lunchskins Reusable Snack Bags Set of 3 ($25). I also like one called Itzy Ritzy Snack Bags which have a zipper. ($9)

Lunchskins Snack Bag
6. This one is more for the ladies, but you could switch from using tampons and pads to using a Diva Cup, menstrual cup ($25). Read more here: "How to Green Your Period."

Diva Cup Menstrual Cup

Or if that's a little too "green" for you, you could use cloth pads. I like this brand from Mommy and Me Creations: Heavenly Cloth Menstrual Pads (set of 6- 9" pads for $45).

Mommy and Me Creations: Heavenly Cloth Pads
7. If you have babies, you could try using cloth diapers. Whether that be using a service for a week (here's the one we use: Metro Cloth Diapering) or just buying one cloth diaper to use in addition to your disposable ones, either way could help you green your diaper routine. Read more here: "Going Green...One Diaper Change at a Time" or "Ways to Go Green During Postpartum & with Newborns."

The cloth diaper, cover, cloth wipes and Snappi we use.

Little Mila rocking the cloth diaper (minus the cover).
8. While we're on the topic of babies, you could swap out plastic baby bottles for glass ones. I love these: Evenflo Classic Baby Bottles Set of 3 ($5). Read more here: "My Green Pumping & Baby Bottle Routine."

Evenflo Classic Glass Baby Bottle

9. Next you could trade out plastic kid plates/cups/bowls for stainless steel ones that will last longer and be free of chemicals and plastics. I like this set by Untangled Living Stainless Steel Dish Collection Set ($36) that includes a bowl, cup, plate, fork and spoon (though I seem to have lost both the fork and spoon right when I needed them for this photo/video). 

Untangled Living Stainless Steel Dish Collection Set
10. Instead of using baby bibs that only last a few weeks and have to be thrown out you could try Baby Buddy Bib Clips $8 (we call them Bear Clips because of the little bears on the clips). They work by clipping onto any cloth napkin, towel, or even paper napkin and cover your child's clothes while they eat. Read more here: "My Favorite Green Baby Bib."

Baby Buddy Bib Clips aka "Bear Clips"

Avery eating up her Chipotle, wearing her Bib Clips.
11. Last up, why not get a shirt to show that you're taking steps to live a greener life? Here's the shirt I was wearing in the video: "One Earth One Chance" and here's a link to the other eco-themed shirts in my online t-shirt shop: "Ashley's Green Life Spreadshirt Shop."

So there you have it, a few ideas to get you started shopping for your Earth Day present. Have any more to add to the list? Share your recommendations below. And of course, Happy Earth Day!

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