This is the quick and dirty list of things you can do, in any order, in any combination to become more and more green in your daily life. Many of these are obvious but, often forgotten.
Out & About
- Refuse! Wherever possible refuse one-use items.
- Carry reusable shopping bags (many different varieties!)
- Carry a water bottle so you never need to buy bottled water or juice
- If you prefer hot drinks, carry a travel coffee mug, no need for a cup, a sleeve nor the plastic lid (Bonus, a travel mug can keep cold beverages cold too)
- When you enjoy the cuisine of your favourite food truck, or spending a night on the town, prepare yourself for taking food away by carrying a collapsable food container
- While traveling pack a travel fork, spoon and if you insist on sipping through a straw, a reusable straw (baby utensils work great as travel utensils)
- If you enjoy the cafe experience, ask for a for here mug and/or plate if they don’t offer.
- To battle that runny nose or sneek-attack sneeze, carry a handkerchief or two. When used right and washed frequently there is no need for disposable tissues.
- The easiest way to be green while shopping is to avoid shopping but, let’s be reasonable
- Seek out a zero waste market if you are fortunate enough to have one near you
- Look to see if your city has a market for soaps and cleaning products where you can refill old containers with these products. This beneficial for two reasons, less packaging waste and the soaps sold in this way are most often environmentally friendly. Rememeber, molecules washed down the drain will find its way to the waterways.
- When possible find plastic alternatives, for example, condiments or apple sauce in a glass bottle
- Paper towel is entirely unnecessary and nothing more than a convenience item. Old dishcloths, tea towels or rags can be repurposed for wiping up messier spills, so long as they are washed in hot soapy water you can wash the ick out of anything. If you’re cleaning up something biohazardous, fine, use paper towel but, consider the recycled paper options.
- Paper napkins. Lose them! We have used cloth napkins for centuries and in the days before decent laundry soap and machinery. If for convenience you must use paper napkins, remember to buy recycled or biodegradable napkins that can be composted after use.
- Hosting a party and don’t have enough dishes, or you don’t want to wash the dishes afterward, there are greener disposable options, namely those that are made of recycled material or biodegradable for disposal in the compose as opposed to the trash bin. The greenest option, don’t host parties you can’t clean up after but, what is the fun in that.
- Cloth diapers! Babies can produce a lot of waste and said waste is then wrapped up in a disposable diaper. AND these diapers are actually quite spendy. By making an initial investment you can reduce your garbage contributions, reduce rash and chemical reactions on your baby’s bottom and save money to boot!
- Cloth baby wipes. 1 metre of flannel fabric with a hemmed edge will make 20 baby wipes. When pre-moistened and kept in a wetbag they are just as efficient for cleaning up messes at both ends.
- There are increasing options for green toothbrushes, the most common being the bamboo option. When you’re finished with your toothbrush, unless the bristles are also compostable, don’t forget to employ your pliers to remove these bristles from the bamboo handle.
- Discarding items in order of priority: compost –> recycle –> trash. Compost as much as you can, recycle what can’t be composted and pay attention to the items in your trash. Gradually you will notice less and less garbage the amount of recycling and garbage as you get more and more comfortable
- Tackle lunch kit bulk with snack and sandwich pouches instead of plastic containers.
- Fro those items you hope to heat up for lunch, pack them in glass containers.
- Plastic stir sticks are the devil. Opt for compostable wooden or pasta stir sticks. If you are strapped for a stirrer and can’t find a spoon in the staff kitchen (we all know spoons are worth more than gold), a knife will work just fine.
- If your printer has misbehaved, as they so often do, pop any blank sheets back in the tray or use the unprinted side to create a note pad (cut to any desired size and staple).
- Disposing of coil-bound documents/guides/etc., uncoil that sucker manually and recycle/reuse the paper.
I’m only getting started, stay tuned!
**Note: each item on this list will be the topic of a full blog entry in good time.
I’m preparing to go on vacation soon and I would love some tips on how to take a greener vacation!
By the way I love your blog!
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Thanks for the feedback, Kim! I will definitely post some tips on making your vacation greener STAT!
Hi Kim, this is just a note to let you know I have created the greener travels post. Enjoy your holiday!