So, you’re using canvas shopping bags on every trip to the store, you bought a nice BPA-free water bottle for quenching your thirst, you pulled out the cloth napkins and ramped up your recycling efforts. What next? Are you ready to add advanced eco-warrior moves to your planet defending repertoire?
None of these moves require lasers or x-ray vision–even the least adept eco-warrior has the power to follow this list! And ALL of these moves will save you money in the long run while you’re saving the planet.
1. Do NOT flush your old or unused medications down the drain or toilet–the build up of pharmaceuticals is one of the greatest threats facing our water supply. Call your county to see if they have a drop off or, if there is no safe disposal available in your area, mix the meds (crush the pills) with coffee grounds, wrap in newspaper and dispose in your garbage bin.
2. Opt out of pesticides and herbicides in your house and yard. Learn about nontoxic options (worm castings for fertilizer, corn gluten meal on lawns for weed control, spray vinegar or pour boiling water on weeds–or just pull ‘em out!). Besides reducing your family’s risk for neurodegenerative disorders, you’ll also reduce toxic runoff that poisons water sources.
3. Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products–ditch the dyes, perfumes, phosphates and other harmful chemicals by making your own cleaners (for example, hot water and a splash of vinegar will clean tile and glass, baking soda will effectively clean grout and metal surfaces). If you prefer to buy your products, retailers now sell all nature of environmentally friendly products–from dish soap to baby wipes to toilet paper. By opting out of phosphates and chemicals, you’ll improve your home’s air quality AND reduce the toxicity of your water system.
4. Do less wash. Yes, you heard that. According to the government’s Energy Star website, the average American family washes almost 400 loads of laundry each year. That’s over a LOAD A DAY! Enviro Girl does 6 loads of wash a week–tops–for her family of five. By using towels more than once and wearing jeans and sweatshirts a few days in a row, a family saves time, water, electricity and detergent.
5. Shop less. It’s true, by going shopping less often, people buy less, spend less and consume less. Plan your shopping trips with specific goals in mind. For example, Enviro Girl does her Target run once a month, buying only what her family needs and stays away from the dangerous impulse aisles like DVDs, clothes and housewares. Don’t shop as a leisure activity–next time you have a ladies’ day out, go bowling or on a museum tour, take in a local theater production or hike on a nature trail. Reduce your exposure to commercials and advertising–they all have the same goal: to make you discontented so you buy more stuff and spend more money. Enviro Girl immediately recycles the catalogs that make it to her house–it helps her resist buying stuff she doesn’t need. By consuming less we dramatically reduce our impact on the planet–we use fewer resources, produce less waste and make less pollution.
6. Start a compost bin. You can reduce your household’s waste by composting vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, old newspapers and yard waste. If you haven’t got room for a compost bin, perhaps you have neighborhood or local composting options for your food waste. This method of recycling biodegradable waste lessens the burden on our landfills AND creates a beneficial product for yards and gardens.
Tell the Eco Women: Are you up to bigger eco-challenges?