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4 Easy Changes My Family Made to be More Eco-Friendly

Learn about the changes we made and habits we adopted that make our household more sustainable.

4 Easy Changes My Family Made to be More Eco-Friendly

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For years I’ve been inspired by eco-friendly, environmental-warrior blogger moms. But that kind of dedication always seemed too difficult to incorporate into my own life—until last year.

I’m a sucker for New Year’s resolutions, so in 2023, I vowed to try and cut down on our household waste. Our bin was exploding on garbage day and I wanted to see if I could change it, even just a bit.

Since then, our family has tried to find more ways we could be a little kinder to our planet. It's been easier and more successful than I expected—even with ever-changing work schedules and a super busy kid. If we can do it, anyone can.

Here are some simple ways to start reducing your environmental impact.

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Buy reusable versions of items you use the most

We were big on plastic baggies and single-use plastic wrap. I used them for leftovers, on-the-go lunches, and many other things. We swapped out the disposable bags for a set of sustainable silicone ziplock bags that are sturdy and long-lasting. They are leak-proof and you can wash and even put them in the freezer.

I also bought what resembles shower caps to replace Saran wrap. They come in three sizes and can stretch across bowls and produce. They're easy to wash with warm soapy water.

person holding a reusable produce bag at the grocery store iStock

I bought washable cosmetic pads to replace the cotton ones I used daily. I throw them in a little mesh bag in my regular wash and keep them stockpiled in my bathroom cabinet. They’re super soft and come in lots of cute colours. I use them for toner, astringent and micellar water, and keep a few specifically for nail polish remover.

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Finally, I made the biggest change when I switched to using a menstrual cup instead of tampons and pads. Women will use as many as 12,000 tampons in their lifetimes, and those with plastic applicators can take years to decompose. You can use a menstrual cup for months and some for years.

The cup came with a learning curve but it's been a great change. I wear it on my heaviest menstrual day and never worry about bringing extra feminine hygiene products. I’ve also had less cramping with the cup.

Get a compost bin

Most cities provide regular wet garbage pick-up. Keep a bowl on the counter for food scraps, coffee grounds and egg shells then dump the bowl into your city bin each night. Or you can invest in a compost bin that will deliver rich, healthy soil you can use in your flower and garden beds.

compost bin laying on a table with food scraps coming out iStock

Grow your own food

The more we grow, the less we have to buy, which cuts down on our carbon footprint—and our expenses. Berry bushes grow wild and free on one side of the backyard. We grow raspberries, blueberries and our latest addition, goji berries.

The other side has tomatoes, peppers, beets and beans. We buy the baby plants at The Home Depot every year and put them in pots or in the ground.

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We have an herb patch along the side of the house that comes back on its own every summer. In the fall we harvest all the herbs, dry them out, and store them in mason jars. We also have a small hydroponic growing system to grow fresh herbs indoors. These are easy to find online and they are completely automatic, providing all the water, food and light the plants need.

person picking herbs out of a vegetable garden iStock

Make household cleaning products

I promise you that eco-friendly products are easy to throw together with items you already have in your kitchen. They work just as well as store-bought products and will save you a lot of money. Plus, you’ll have fewer harsh, harmful-to-the-environment chemicals in the house. Discover some easy and effective recipes.

Turn eco-friendly choices into habits

Being eco-conscious doesn't mean totally transforming your lifestyle, eating only organic, vegan foods and making your own clothes. But you don’t have to completely turn a blind eye to the needs of Mother Nature either. What is one easy goal you could set right now that would help eliminate waste or give a little back to the planet? Try switching to a reusable water bottle or swapping out that plastic bottle in your shower for a shampoo bar.

Once these things become habits, add another eco-friendly endeavour. It becomes a wonderfully eco-responsible snowball effect. And before you know it, you’ll have a healthier household and a happier environment.

display of eco-friendly products iStock

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