Eco Friendly

Christmas Gift Bags

We are all about reducing waste whenever possible here at Little Family on the Big Lake. With the holiday season fast approaching, I have been thinking about Christmas morning. This year, Little One will be 18 months old, and we are so excited to be experiencing Christmas with him. I wonder what he is going to think of what Santa brought him and all the fun we will have…then I turn to the cleanup. Sure, watching Little One rip off wrapping paper may be fun, but I can’t help thinking about all the waste the wrapping paper has created. So this year, gone is the wrapping paper that only lasts a day. Introducing Christmas gift bags!

On average Americans go through 4 million pounds of wrapping paper each year. To put that into prospective, that is 5,787 football fields! Obviously, this is waste that can be greatly reduced. Gifts can easily be wrapped in alternative materials that could be recycled instead of wrapping paper that sits in a landfill. I have seen brown paper bags and newspaper be cute wrap ping options. But after a trip to Joann’s and seeing all the cute Christmas fabric I decided to go with Christmas bags. Brown paper bags or newspaper is still a good option for those larger packages, though.

There are of course some cloth fabrics bags available on line, you can find them here. However they are really easy to make!

Materials Needed

I got 100% cotton fabric from Joann’s’ and 100% recycled cotton yarn to be used as the draw string. These bags can be reused over and over again. We got a couple of prints that matched well and creates a cohesive look under the tree.

From one yard of fabric I got 8 bags that are around 15” * 10”. I did change sizes to bigger and smaller for different sized gifts.

Process

Step One

The first step in this process is to cut the bags to size. You will need two even pieces of fabric cut to your size of choice to make each bag. A fold in the fabric can be utilized as one of the sides, too. That way you would only need one piece of fabric.

Cutting Christmas bag fabric
Step Two

Next, finish the edges of the fabric to prevent unraveling. I choose to do this by using a serger, but a zig zag stich along the edge or a French seam could be utilized.

Finishing seams
Step Three

If using two pieces of fabric, stitch the two pieces of fabric together using right sides together along the long edge. If you are using one piece of fabric, start with this next step. Along the top edge fold the fabric down between ½” to 1 inch and press it with an iron. This will form a case for the yarn to go in to form the draw string. Stitch down the folded piece, back stitching at the start and end of the fabric.

Creating casing
Sewing casing
Step Four

Then line up the two pieces of fabric right sides together. Stitch along the edges of the fabric, avoiding the top of the bag and the casing that was created so the casing isn’t stitched closed. Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and the end.

Christmas bag
Step Five

Next using a safety pin, tie the end of a piece of yarn. Cut the yarn a couple inches longer then the bag opening. Thread the safety pin through the case opening and push it through until the other end takes the yarn with it. Line the end of the yarn up and tie it off around 1 inch from the end. I like to fray the ends up to the knot.

Inserting draw string
Finished cloth Christmas bag

Repeat the steps for all other bags that you would like to make. These bags are a simple design and there fore can be made relatively quickly. If you can spare 10 minutes this is a great project!

I hope you liked this Christmas gift bag! I loved matching the fabrics and creating a cohesive look for under my Christmas tree. For close family I plan on using the Christmas gift bags, because I can probably get them back. For those other gifts, like the secret Santa at work, I plan on utilizing brown paper!

Have you thought about implementing Christmas gift bags too? Let me know in the comments below.

Check out my other zero waste swap here!

Zero Waste Travel Kit

Zero Waste Travel Kit

Have you ever been in this situation? You’re at a restaurant and didn’t finish your food, so you ask the waiter for a to-go container…and they bring you a Styrofoam monstrosity (insert big sigh here). I just know that this Styrofoam container is going to be sitting in a landfill for the next couple hundred years. I have been saying for a long time that I needed to stop contributing to this. Now I can’t change what restaurants give out, but I can change if I choose to accept it. No more…instead I am going to bring my zero waste travel kit! 

I made this kit from things I already have in my home. I keep it in my car for whenever it is needed. With using this new kit I also had to implement a process at home. I didn’t want to make a kit, use it once, and then never get it back to the car. We have all been in this situation with other things.

The new system is as follows. Once the items are washed they are placed next to our key bowl. On the next trip to the car it is taken with the keys. It’s pretty simple, but it is important to spell out the expectations. 

Below are the items that I have included in the zero waste travel kit. While I encourage you to use items that you have around your home, I will link similar items, too. 

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart 

Identifying Situations

So when building this kit, the first thing I looked at was the types of situations that I find myself in. I didn’t want to put something in my kit that I would never use. 

Most of the time I have need of the kit at restaurants when we have left over food. However, I would like to do an experiment to see if fast food places would put the food in my container instead of in their wrappers. I’ll let you know how it goes! 

I also find myself needing some of my zero waste products when I am shopping, so those items have gone into the kit, as well. I normally bring shopping bags with me when going to the grocery store, but when I don’t have a bag, it is nice to have a back up. 

If you set out to make your own zero waste kit. I encourage you to look at the situations that you encounter when you wish you had a zero waste alternative.

Items in the Zero Waste Kit

Large Container 

Beeswax Wraps 

Water bottle /mason jar 

Produce bag 

Straw 

Silverware

Grocery Bag 

Zero Waste Travel Kit

Travel Kit

Everything for this kit is contained in a large plastic container that I already owned. While I don’t love using plastic, I would rather be putting it to good use instead of throwing it in the recycling. This container is great for taking those leftovers home in instead of using Styrofoam or cardboard takeout containers. 

I have also included beeswax wraps for any other leftovers that need to be wrapped up or for shopping. I can foresee it being useful for bulk bin purchases. 

The water bottle or mason jar is also an essential for my zero waste travel kit. Most of the time I bring a water bottle with me but sometimes I forget. I also included a mason jar as a good alternative because it could be used for both drinking or food storage. Double duty! 

I included a straw because restaurants tend to bring you one. I like to bring my own and use one of the 5 R’s and refuse the disposable plastic type. Having an extra straw is also handy for my son, since he’s only one year old and drinks better out of glasses with a straw. Also, waiters sometimes bring us a plastic sippy cup, but I would prefer a regular glass and give him one of the reusable straws to use. 

With this kit I included some silverware. These ones are just plastic ones that I picked up some where. Instead of buying new ones, try reusing some old ones. I did link some bamboo ones that are made of a more sustainable material.

The produce bag and grocery bag are for when I find myself needing them while shopping. I got this grocery bag from a conference that I went to. I made the produce bags and you can, too…check out my post on how to make a product bag here.

Have you tried making a zero waste travel it? Let me know how it went!

Beeswax Wraps

Plastic wrap is one of the easiest things to eliminate from your home on the journey to zero waste. When you really think about it, there are alternatives to everything that plastic wrap can be used for. One of the more obvious is just using containers instead. But for those items that need to be wrapped, try beeswax wraps.

There are so many beeswax wraps on the market, like these. They are a great choice, but did you know that you can make your own? I know, pretty cool! Instead of purchasing a pack of 3 for $18.00, you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. Also, you can use left over fabric that you already have…truly zero waste!

***Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart.

Materials Needed

Fabric – It’s best to use 100% cotton and a looser weave. Also, it works better with fabrics that are dyed instead of printed. I personally like gingham fabric.

Beeswax Pellets

Grape Seed Oil

Jelly Roll Pan

Oven

Pinking Shears

Parchment Paper

** I linked the supplies needed, but if you already have the supplies needed, use those instead of buying new.

Beeswax and grape seed oil

Process

First, press the fabric with an iron and cut it to size using the pinking shears. I normally use 12 inch by 12 inch squares but the beauty of this is that you can custom make any size you need.

Pre-heat the oven to 175* F.

Lay the fabric down on the jelly roll pan over a piece of parchment paper. It’s best if the fabric is completely flat. However, if the fabric is bigger then the jelly roll pan, then just fold the fabric over on itself.

Place 1-2 tablespoons (depending on the size of the fabric) of beeswax pellets on top of the fabric, spreading them evenly. Next, add 1/2 teaspoon of grape seed over the fabric.

Place the pan in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until all the beeswax is melted. Once done, take it out of the oven and check that the fabric is covered. A basting brush can be used to move the melted beeswax around. More beeswax can be added at this point if needed, and then pop it back into the oven. Once this is done, take the fabric off the jelly roll pan and gently wave it through the air until it’s dried This should only take a minute or two.

Repeat as needed.

beeswax wrap before heating
beeswax wrap after heating in oven

Care and Maintenance

Beeswax wraps can be used in place of what you use plastic wrap for. However, you shouldn’t use it for raw meat.

Beeswax wraps can be hand washed with soap and water, then laid to dry. The wraps are good for 6-12 months. When they are showing some signs of wear and tear, they can be placed in the oven again with more wax. If it gets to the point where they cannot be used anymore, they can be placed in the compost bin (I strongly recommend cutting the fabric into small pieces first.)

Notes

The beeswax is not easy to get off the jelly roll plan, so use an older pan or one designated just for this project.

I have tried the ironing method to making the wraps. Place the fabric with beeswax on a piece of parchment paper and fold the paper over the top. Next, iron until the wax is melted. This worked well to make the wraps but I did get beeswax all over my ironing board.

Beeswax wraps are a great zero waste switch. Have you tried them? Let me know your thoughts down below!

Next, check out my zero waste switch to produce bags.

Homemade Peanut Butter

As you may have noticed by now, we try to live a zero waste lifestyle. For example, we have slowly been substituting the items we would purchase and finding a zero waste alternative. This week our zero waste switch is peanut butter! I love peanut butter. It’s one of those items that if I were stranded on a desert island, it would be my food choice. Because of this, we go through a lot of peanut butter and many plastic tubs. So join me on this journey to make delicious and easy homemade peanut butter!

Peanuts

The first step in homemade peanut butter is finding peanuts. For this I headed to the bulk bin at my food co-op. This is a great option because you can get just the amount that you need. If you don’t have access to something like this, I know there are other stores that sell peanuts in bulk. Try these on Amazon if you can’t get them local.

There are two types of peanuts available. The first is the regular peanuts that are roasted and normally salted. The second are those that are meant for making peanut butter. My whole food co-op had one bin for each, making my choice really easy.

getting peanuts for bulk bin
Making the Peanut Butter

Homemade peanut butter is really easy to make…if you have the right tools. For this recipe, a food processor is a must. An interesting note: some co-ops have a machine that will make the peanut butter for you in the store!

Simply place the amount of peanuts you want into the food processor (I used about three cups). Blend until creamy. This can take a while but it will come together. It was really chunky when I first started and thought I had done something wrong. It took between 7-10 minutes to form a smooth consistency. I ended up adding a bit of olive oil and salt to my peanut butter mixture to enhance the flavor.

Peanuts in a food processor
finished peanut butter in food processor
Enjoy

That’s it! Easy, right? Now no more buying plastic jars of peanut butter that are full of other ingredients that you don’t need.

What do you think – can you make the switch to homemade peanut butter? Let me know in the comments below! I found this to be way easy and I am kicking myself for not making the switch sooner. Oh well, better late then never!

Next, see my last post about a zero waste switch to shampoo bar.

Switching to Family Cloth

Zero Waste Switch to family cloth

A couple years ago, I watched a YouTube clip about switching to family cloth. At the time I though it was a little crazy, like it just wasn’t for me. Fast forward to now, we as a family are trying to be more Eco-friendly, and this brought me back to family cloth.

It wasn’t weird to me for two reasons. The first involved reflecting on what everyone used before toilet paper was invented – they used cloth . The second reason is that I use cloth wipes for Little One during diaper changes. If it worked for our ancestors and it works for my Little One, then why can’t it work for me, too?

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart

Starting Out

After exploring multiple choices, I decided to make mine out of flannel fabric. So off to Joann’s I went! After much consideration I decided to go whimsical with the prints. I purchased 1 yard of each of the fabrics, one each for the upstairs bathroom and main floor bathroom. There was also a 70% off sale on flannels – I swear it was like Joann’s knew I was coming! I got both for under $5. If you don’t want to make your own cloths, try these. We have these flannel cloths for Little One and they work great!

Switching to Family Cloth
Preparing the Cloth

The first thing I did when I got the fabric home was prewash them. This is my rule whenever I bring new fabrics into my home. Next I pressed the fabric with an iron to prepare them for cutting. The pressing will ensure that the fabric is nice and flat for cutting. I used a mat, rotary cutter, and ruler to cut the fabric into 5.5 inch squares. You can decide on any size, but I found that this size made the most of my yard of fabric and is the relatively same size of a sheet of toilet paper. After cutting the squares, I surged each edge to prevent fraying during the next wash. If you don’t have access to a surger, you can perform a tight zig zag stitch or do a small rolled hem.

Making the Switch

I found two little round baskets at a garage sale and that is what I’m using to hold my clean cloths. Of course, you can use any container you like. I also added a wet bag to each of the bathrooms. Right now I am using my son’s wet bags (we have so many of them!). I may switch later to a container of some sort or a trash bin with a fabric liner.

One of the hardest transitions for me was remembering to throw the cloth in the wet bag and not the toilet! I haven’t actually done this but I did need to stop myself a couple times and throw it in the right place.

Washing

We are currently on a schedule of washing them 2 times a week. However, this would largely depend on the amount of cloths and your own cleaning schedule. I also don’t want them to smell so washing them more often wouldn’t be a bad thing. I wash them on a normal cycle with laundry detergent. The family cloth is added to the cloth diapers that we already wash and sorted out after the drying. Each of our cloths have a different pattern from everything else, which makes sorting really easy.

What About Guests?

So being a good hostess I wouldn’t want to make guests use family cloth, unless they are comfortable with it. We do still purchase toilet paper but have switched to a more Eco-friendly brand. They are a bit more expensive, but the payoff is that we use way less of it.

End Result

I love that we switched to family cloth. It feels so much better not flushing toilet paper every time. I also feel better not wasting so much money purchasing toilet paper.

Something that I think about a lot is what I am teaching my little one. For him while growing up, this will be normal. Other than when he is out and about in the community, he will be using family cloth from the time he was born. It is important for the environment that we make these small kinds of switches and stop being so wasteful. Teaching this to future generations is one of the essential practices to make an impact.

Have you considered switching to family cloth? Let me know your thoughts, comments or questions down below. Also, if you have already switched to family cloth, let me know how it is going!

Thinking about other Eco-friendly switches? Check out my post about switching to bar shampoo.

Zero Waste Switch to Family Cloth

Raise an Eco Conscious Child

How to Raise and Eco Conscious Child

My husband and I are trying to become more Eco Conscious, and with that, we are trying also to raise and Eco Conscious child. While Little One is only 15 months old right now, there are still things we can implement in our home to help with this. Here are our 5 tips on how to raise and Eco Conscious child.

Practice Eco Friendly principles in your own home

Children learn so much form their environment. if you practice environment-friendly principles in your home, your children, by extension, will also learn about these principles, too. Check out my post here about Eco-Friendly Rules to Live By.

Discuss It

Talk to your children about the importance of being Eco Friendly. Discuss specifically about what it means, how to do it, and why to do it. Ask them their ideas on how to be more Eco Friendly. Children are very insightful!

Encourage Learning, Experimenting, and Increasing Understanding

Encourage learning about the environment whenever possible. Whether in school, from books or on your travels, no opportunity should be wasted. I personally love the Green Kids Crafts Box for children, which encourages learning and experimenting.

Get them out and go for a hike or swimming. Allow them to examine the stick or the fish swimming around. Letting them explore their world will increase understanding and help develop a passion for preserving it.

Involve the in Changes

When you want to m them help you make a change, involve the kiddos. Have them help you with it. It helps them take ownership of the problem and the fix.

Be Politically Active

Go Vote! Vote for representatives who also care about the environment, and involve your child, too. Discuss the candidates, what they stand for and why you are choosing one over another. For as many small changes that we make at home, we really need organization on a large scale to make a big impact.

What other tips do you have for raising and Eco Conscious child? Le me know in the comments below!

How to Raise and Eco Conscious Child

Night Time Cloth Diapering Solutions

Night Time Cloth Diapering Solutions

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I love cloth diapers! You can read all about that here in my post about reasons to cloth diaper. One of the biggest challenges when cloth diapering is finding night time cloth diapering solutions.

During the day we change Little One’s diaper about every two hours. But at night, if he is sleeping, we are not waking him up! So with that being said, we have developed some methods to help cloth diapering at night. Here are some tips for making your night a little less stressful.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart

Check the Fit

If your Little One is experiencing leakage at night time, the first thing to do is check the fit. We have all of our night time diapers set to a size bigger then the day time diapers. The reason for this is my second tip…

Double stuff

Try double stuffing the diapers. We like to use two inserts of bamboo, one with the 4 pile and one of the 5 pile inserts. The smaller insert goes on top since it absorbs faster. We have tried triple stuffing but it just created to much bulk.

Change up the inserts

Some inserts absorb a larger amount at a faster rate than others. The selection out there includes bamboo, cotton, hemp and microfiber inserts. We personally use bamboo and they work just fine for us. But if you have a heavy wetter you may want to try cotton or hemp inserts. They are able to absorb more liquid. The microfiber inserts are able to absorb really fast but are not able to hold as much saturation.

Growth Spurts

So every once in a while Little One would be going through a growth spurt, which would cause the fit of the night time diapers to allow leakage. During these times I would try all the above tips…sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn’t. In those times I just remind myself that it will be a short term phase. Normally it will resolve itself within two weeks.

Waterproof Mattress Pad

So if leaking happens, a waterproof mattress pad is a must! I definitely don’t want Little One to leak, but if he does I would like to be able to protect the mattress.

Change During the Night

If there is a transition period, changing diapers during the night could be a good option. This is especially true if your Little One is a heavy sleeper and you can change the diaper without him or her waking up. We were not blessed with a light sleeper, so this is not a possibility for us. When Little One was a newborn we were able to change him before feedings.

I hope these night time cloth diapering solutions will help you with your Little One. Let me know in the comments down below if you have any other tips or night time solutions!

Check out my post on Reasons To Cloth Diaper and my Cloth Diaper Routine.

Zero Waste Switch To Bar Shampoo

You all know by now that I’m all about reducing plastic waste in our home. One of the small but meaningful ways I have found to do this is switching to bar shampoo!

I made the switch last winter when I was at my wits end with my hair. At 6 months postpartum, I had lost my pregnancy hair and it was now falling out like crazy. I seriously didn’t know what to do. I even talked about it with my doctor and had some tests done. Fortunately, everything was normal. It can just be something that women go through during and after the pregnancy process…grrr!

Around that time I stumbled upon Chagrin Valley, the maker of a variety of natural personal care products, including shampoo bars. I was sold on the concept. I ditched the shampoo in the plastic packaging and haven’t looked back. The switch even had an impact on my postpartum hair problem and helped it make a comeback!

Picking The Shampoo

Chagrin Valley makes picking a shampoo easy for two reasons. The first is that you can do a search according to the specific issue you are having with your hair, as well as exclude products that you are allergic to (tree nuts free for me).

The second is that you can order sample sizes of all their shampoo products. I ordered 4 to start with and each one lasted me 6-8 weeks on medium length hair. The sample size gave me an opportunity to try them out and decide which one I liked the best. The different ingredients can have different effects on your hair so some trial and error is needed.

Making The Switch

When making the switch to shampoo bars there is a bit of an adjustment period. Everyone’s hair is different and will react differently. When first starting out you will want to do an apple cider rinse to help cleanse your hair of your previous shampoo. Chagrin Valley does sell rinses but it’s just an apple cider and water mix, which you can easily make yourself.

There are a couple of different styles to washing your hair when using a shampoo bar. Chagrin Valley’s website has a great help section that gives tips for different hair types. I found that rinsing my hair first, lathering my hands with the shampoo, then putting the lather in my hair from forehead to end works best for me. I also do an apple cider rinse every time because I found it works best with my fine hair.

Other Products

Chagrin Valley sells a bunch of other natural products, too. I recently started using their moisturizer and it is fabulous! While it’s not as zero waste as the shampoo bar, it comes in a glass container with a metal lid, which is acceptable.

You can find their products here on the Chagrin Valley website.

Chagrin Valley Moisturizer

Do think you could make the zero waste switch to bar shampoo? All of the options that Chagrin Valley provides makes it a really easy and seamless transition. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Next, check out my post on zero waste switch to felted soap here!

How To Find Stress-Free Kids Crafts

I have always loved crafting. As a kid I was doing projects literally every day! My mom had an in-home daycare and she did a fantastic job of facilitating fun craft projects focused on learning letters, science, animals, space, shapes, colors, the list goes on and on. I often reflect back on this time and now that I have my own Little One I think of how much work that must have been! Little One is not quite to the crafting stage yet and just thinking about it stresses me out a little bit. So in this post we explore a resource on how to find stress-free kids crafts.

That is why I was so happy to find Green Kid Crafts. They have taken the stress away from me having to figure out projects. They are a monthly subscription box that delivers age appropriate, education-focused, and Eco-friendly crafts right to your door step!

I don’t know about you but I am busy. Both my husband and I work, and between getting dinner ready, keeping the house semi clean, and trying to have quality time with Little One, it doesn’t leave much time for planning out craft projects.

Just so you know – read through to the end for a special offer!

**Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As a Green Kids Crafts associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you buy from them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers’ best interest at heart

The Contents

Green Kid Crafts offers both subscription packages or single purchase boxes for the kiddos. All the boxes contain 4-8 projects and are developed around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math).

The boxes range from ages 2 years to 10+ years. I wanted to try one even though Little One is still a bit young for the boxes. So I got one and did all the crafts myself…just kidding. But I did get one for my niece in the 10+ category and she loved it!

Why Green Kid Crafts

There are many subscription boxes out there, so why this one? I personally gravitated toward this box for a number of reasons:

First, they are very Eco-friendly, as I try to be with all my crafting. Green Kid Crafts is actually a carbon neutral company! There will be more on that below.

Second, there are multiple activities in each box. I have checked out some other subscription boxes, and while very cool they often offer one or two activities. Green Kid Crafts offer 4-8!

Third, every box focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math! The boxes are developed by child development experts, and you can click this link to read bios of the child development team. I think it is so important to know that the projects are thoughtfully created by a team of experts.

The Company

As my husband and I keep considering the types of consumers we want to be, it is really important that we know where we put our money. That’s why we support companies like Green Kid Crafts – they hold and implement so many of the values that my husband and I believe in, too.

Green Kid Crafts was started by a mom wanting to encourage learning, development and creativity in her own kids’ lives. Mom power! She is an environmental scientist committed to creating a product that has as little impact on the environment as possible. They also have a partnership with the CarbonFund, and, like I mentioned before, is a carbon neutral company.

They use 100% recycled materials for all of their packaging, as well as implement sustainability into the contents of their boxes.

Green Kid Crafts partners with One Tree Planted, and they plant one tree for every online order! Click below to find out more.

The Blog

The Green Kid Crafts website has a blog that is packed full of fun activities to do with your kiddos. You can easily do some projects at home by following their clear directions. So when you are wanting to plan projects, Green Kid Crafts makes it really easy. Just go check out their blog page and pick from all of the wonderful activities they have available.

Special Offer

For a limited time you can get 60% off your first STEAM box! By clicking this LINK here. I will also receive some credit when you use this LINK, so thank you in advance for helping keep Little Family on the Big Lake up and running.

Or you can click the Order Now button to check out Green Kid Crafts subscriptions boxes. And don’t forget to use the code SUMMER19 and receive 50% off your first order. I am not sure how long this sale is running.

But to get the 60% off use my special link!

See their site for full promo code details and terms and conditions.

I hope you like the Green Kid Crafts boxes as much as I do. Let me know if you got a subscription box and what you thought of it in the comments below!

Next, check out my post on how to make a felt vegetable garden.

Eco Friendly Rules to Live By

Eco Friendly Rule sot Live by

There is so much focus this day in age on the environment and becoming Eco friendly. But how exactly does one do that? While still learning about how to become more Eco friendly, my husband and I created our rules to live by to make our lives and home more Eco friendly.

All Products Must be Cruelty-Free

So this first one doesn’t have a direct correlation to more sustainable living but it is very important. Any product that comes into our home must be cruelty-free. There are so many reasons that cruelty-free is important. I could definitely go on a long rant, but I won’t at this time. But let’s list the top reason – no animals were made to suffer in the production of any of the products.

There is an indirect correlation to green living when purchasing cruelty-free products. Many of these products tend to be more Eco friendly just because they tend to use better natural ingredients.

I want to take a moment to note that it is really hard to find medications that are cruelty-free, but I wont stop looking. If we really need something for our health and well being we will use it, but we try to find a cruelty-free option if possible.

Thrift Or Garage Sale First

People are constantly cleaning out their homes and trying to find new homes for all of their stuff. I find the best deals at garage sales and thrift stores. I often search there first before I would consider purchasing something at a store. Reuse is a main principle of sustainable living because it isn’t contributing to the demand for new product.

Try DIY First

Try to make what you need before purchasing it ready made. This could be really complex like a piece of furniture to something simple like that pan of lasagna instead of the freezer section one. You develop skills as a craftsmen, as well as have a sense of pride in your creation!

Purchase Things That You Need

There is so much advertising out there trying to get you to purchase their products. It is really easy to just start buying random items. However, it is important to stop and think “Do I really need this?” In most cases, you don’t. While this is an Eco friendly rule it is also good for your budget.

Purchase Quality Over Quantity

When making a purchase, I often spend a little more on something I know is going to last over something that I will have to replace soon. So many things are designed cheap just to toss out later on. I try really hard to find things with long lifespans in order to reduce buying new again.

All Clothing Must be at Least 80% Cotton Or Other Natural Material

Have you ever heard of micro plastics? They are tiny pieces of plastic that have completely invaded our environment on every level. One of the main ways they enter our environment is from washing our plastic-based clothing, i.e. polyester. During the washing cycle, these materials shed tiny pieces of themselves and work their way into the air and water. By wearing clothing that is made from natural fibers, you will not be adding to the micro plastics via laundry.

Purchase The Plastic Free Alternative

There are so many plastic products out there, but there are a growing number of alternatives being put on the market. Instead of grabbing that plastic jar of pasta sauce, reach for the glass one. Instead of getting the plastic laundry bin, grab a wicker one. You might be surprised how many plastic alternatives there are out there. Try to reduce plastic when ever possible. Make simple swaps for things made with natural materials. That includes things made of wood, grasses, wicker, glass, and paper.

Grow It If You Can

While having a big garden is a dream of mine, it’s not a reality right now. But even growing my own herbs in the window sill can have a positive effect. A small action like this can reduce your plastic waste by not having to buy the fresh herbs from the grocery store or the dried herbs in the spice section. There is also all the energy that it takes to move the products to the store. By having it right at home you cut out all the transportation needed to get the product to its (usually far flung) destination.

Eco Friendly Rules to Live by
Walk/Bike Whenever You Can Instead Of Taking The Car

To cut down on emissions from the car, walk or bike whenever it’s possible. Public transportation is also a better option. Something that just breaks my heart every day is having to drive to work. I work just a couple of miles from my home and could easily bike, but I need my car for work so I have to bring it with. I wish I this wasn’t so. My husband drives 30 miles to work and we recently purchased him a new car that has a much higher MPG, so every little bit helps no matter your mode of transportation.

Say No To Single Use Items

Straws, plastic silverware, cling wrap, plastic bottles, produce bags, chip bags, the list goes on and on. It’s simple – say no to things that are used once and then thrown away!

VOTE

You have power in your vote! Make it known to your representatives that the environment is a priority. Support people who believe the same thing as you. Get out there and vote and encourage everyone you know to vote, too! There are many people who go out for the big elections (2020, for example) but voting on your more local positions are just as important. A perfect example of this is voting for city council members who would support and encourage green buildings and businesses in your town.

Hang Dry Clothes

Why turn on the dryer and use unneeded electricity or gas when you can hang dry clothing? Whether it’s outside or on a clothes line or racks inside, it is easy to air dry clothes. Now that we have our own home it is easy to have drying racks right there in the laundry room. Honestly, I have flashbacks to my college dorm room when my roommate and I shared a drying rack. It seemed like we always had it set up in a corner of our small shared room, but it worked well!

Use Renewable Energy Resources

Whenever possible, use renewable energy. An obvious way to do this is to have solar panels on or near your home. While great, they may not be feasible for every family. There are other ways to use solar, though. Try solar lights or investing in a solar garden through the electric company. Check out your community – you may be surprised what resources are out there.

Eco Friendly Rules to Live by
Reuse, Refuse, Recycle, Rot and Reduce

Know and use the five R’s. Reuse products, refuse single use items/plastics, recycle whatever you can, compost (rot) what you can (see my post about composting here), and reduce waste in whatever part of your lifestyle you can.

Make Your Own Cleaners

Instead of purchasing bottle after bottle of toxic cleaners, try making our own. They often work just as well, if not better, than the store bought products. They are also way cheaper.

So those are my Eco friendly rules to live by. My family and I are not perfect, but by following these guidelines it has helped us drastically reduce our waste and become more Eco conscious consumers and people.

What do you think of these Eco friendly rules to live by? Do have anything to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Eco Friendly Rules to Live By