love momma earth

We all know the drill with recycling: separate aluminum from paper and glass, put them each in their respective bins, and turn them in to designated places. We know to not throw batteries or printer toner cartridges in the trash, but to turn them in to special centers. We know all this, but actually doing the recycling is the tough part. I don’t know about you, but I personally feel very bombarded lately with recycling messages and requests and I feel like no matter how much I try, it’s never enough.

Well, the truth is … a little can go a long way. And while not all of us are earth’s best friend and are scared of the commitment to always do what’s right for our planet, there are little things that we can all do to help without much effort. Recycling does help, but what would help more…is to cut back on our consumption. And such a thing is difficult in a country where the economy and entire system is based on consumerism. Even so, please consider the following tips as ways to …well, cut back with little effort just by using less.

  1. Unplug it! And this refers to anything that’s plugged in to an outlet and you’re not using right now, such as:
  • phone charger
  • microwave oven you use only once a week/month (you know, the one you keep plugged just for the clock?!)
  • Cordless vacuum-cleaner (it doesn’t need to suck up electricity constantly. Just plug it a little before you are ready to vacuum. a little inconvenience can go a long way)
  • DVD/VCR player you use rarely (yes, it still sucks up electricity)
  • electric cordless shaver (just charge it right before you need it)
  • and more! just look around your house.

2. Air instead of water! If an item of clothing is not dirty (maybe it just smells like the food you just cooked), instead of tossing it in the laundry basket immediately, put it on a hanger and let it aerate in the fresh airoutside for a couple of hours (or more). You will be amazed at how wonderful the fresh-clean smell sticks to it immediately and you cut down on your water and electricity use by not doing laundry* as often.
*On that note, you should only run your washer when you can fill it, not just for a shirt or two. Otherwise, it is a BIG waste of water and electricity.

3. To bag or not to bag? Your recycling bins don’t always need to have plastic bags in them. For example, the ones where you recycle paper–which is clean — just empty them straight into your recycling collector outside, no need for a bag.

4. The real cost of free? Well over abillion single-use plastic bags are given out for free each day. In a landfill, plastic bags take up to 1,000 years to degrade. As litter, they breakdown into tiny bits, contaminating our soil and water .(This info courtesy of reusablebags.com) That being said, NEVER toss a plastic bag in the trash. Please collect them in a spot that’s not in the way in your house and either turn them in to your grocery store or re-use them.

5. Bulk it! Consider buying whatever you can in bulk (flour, sugar, meat, milk, detergent, etc.) in order to cut back on packaging consumption. This will also save you money, besides it being good for the environment. And if the quantities are too much for you to handle, just share the product with a friend –this way you’ll all be saving $$ and saving the planet!

6. Paper for cloth! Whenever possible, consider replacing paper napkins with washable and reusable ones. For example, if you clean your windows with paper towels and Windex, consider using a cloth instead; just throw it in the washer when it gets dirty and then reuse it on and on. The same goes at the dinner table. As often as you can replace paper napkins with cloth ones you are cutting back on waste.

7. Bring your own! This might be on a fine line between being easy or difficult, but it’s one of my favorites! Talk about those plastic bags, if you just had a bag of your own (preferably fabric –they last longer because they don’t break as easily; even if they break, you can sew them up; they clean up nicely if you need to wash them) that you always brought when you went shopping, you wouldn’t have to find a use for all those plastic bags you keep accumulating. For the more ambitious, consider buying a set of plastic reusable silverware and plates to use instead of the one-use ones. If everyone did the same for every big gathering, at the end there would be NO pile-up of dirty plates and utensils in the trash. How awesome would that be?

thanks for reading and I hope you have a good week!