This comprehensive article is for all you aspiring eco-moms out there looking for easy green tips to help you and your family live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Even if you already consider yourself pretty green, I think you’ll still find an idea or two to further reduce your carbon footprint.
Let’s start by talking about what “being green” even means! Really want it comes down to is reducing your impact on the environment.
As I mention in my article on Raising a Green Baby featured on Birth Eat Love:
Everyday things from cooking to showering to driving all use the earth’s resources in one way or another. We want to make smart choices to have the smallest environmental footprint possible.
Another aspect of being green is about health and happiness, keeping things as natural as possible to reduce the toxins entering your body.
Nothing sounds bad about any of that! As moms, we all want to leave the world in the best shape possible for our children.
So without further adieu, let’s start these easy green tips you can incorporate into your family’s everyday life:
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Steps to Achieve Your Eco-Moms Status:
1 | Rethink Your Laundry Game
The easiest green tips for your laundry are actually regarding the drying process.
Sure you could make your own detergent (many super eco-moms do!), but I wouldn’t qualify that as an “easy” change to make.
Why are dryer balls such a big deal?
Well they improve the drying cycle by physically separating the wet clothing. This allows the clothes to dry more evenly and quickly (and therefore use less electricity).
If you think you’re going to miss that “dryer sheet smell”, try a few drops of lavender essential oil on the balls before placing them in the dryer.
2 | Avoid Plastic Around Food
The one place it is almost impossible to stay away from plastic is at the grocery store. Between plastic jars, bags, wrapping… it’s everywhere!
Here are a couple of easy green tips you can use at the grocery store to prevent excess waste:
- Try to buy from the bulk section when you can. Many places will let you bring in your own glass mason jars, tare the container, add items and then reweigh it. This is a great way to buy nuts, oatmeal, candy, and more!
- Skip the plastic produce bags entirely if you’re just buying a handful of an item (like 3 pears), the checkout people can weigh it just the same and you’re going to wash them at home anyway. For items that require a bag (brussel sprouts, green beans, etc), invest in these reusable mesh produce bags.
- When possible, purchase raw and deli meats directly from the counter. Bring your own container so they don’t have to wrap everything in plastic.
- Last, but not least, good eco-moms not only purchase, but remember to bring their reusable grocery bags. And if you get super cute ones like these, you’ll actually want to use them!
3 | Say Goodbye to Paper Towels
Rather than using paper towels for cleaning and drying, switch to reusable towels. This is one of the first green tips our family integrated into our lifestyle because it’s so simple!
Grab old kitchen towels, cheap washcloths, or rags and put them in a deep drawer (no need to fold, who has time for that?). When you need to clean up something or wipe the counter, grab one of the towels instead of paper products.
Have a tub under the sink for soiled towels. When the tub is full (or you run out of clean towels), throw them into the laundry cycle under the sanitize setting.
Now, there may still be an occasion when you need to use a disposable towel. Bamboo towels work just as well and are a much more sustainable option than paper products. I get our bamboo items (napkins and tissues too!) from Public Goods.
As a side note, Public Goods is a pretty cool webstore for eco-moms who are trying to make more sustainable choices for their family. They sell their items at cost and make their profits from annual subscriptions. Their products are all-natural and they make responsible choices in their packaging to minimize their carbon footprint. If you want to give it a try, here’s $20 off.
4 | Reducing, One of the Ultimate Green Tips
There are many reasons to embrace a more minimalistic lifestyle.
For starters, buying less saves you TONS of money. Concentrate on fewer items that are good quality and things you actually need.
Second, it’s a way more sustainable way to live. “Stuff” needs to be produced in factories, shipped, wrapped in packaging, shipped again to a distribution center, and then ultimately shipped to a store (or to your house). The more you buy, the bigger your carbon footprint.
To make it even worse, if you buy cheap products they’re less likely to be good quality and last a long time. So you’ll have to repeat the buying process more often.
Finally, it’s so much easier to keep your house clean when you have less stuff! Read some of my other cleaning tips in the link below
5 | Reuse Over Recycling
Almost as important as reducing how much we buy is trying to reuse as much as possible.
When eco-moms are looking to purchase new items for their households, before they run to the internet or stores they look into buying used. You can find amazing deals on good quality items at thrift stores or through Facebook Marketplace.
People get rid of their old items for so many reasons. Maybe they’re moving and don’t want to take it with them or maybe it was given as a gift and they don’t want to insult the giver by returning it. Many of these items are like-new! And at a fraction of the original price.
One category of items I find especially beneficial to purchase used (I prefer Facebook Marketplace) is furniture. If you have a truck or van (and a helpful friend!) you can snag some AMAZING deals.
Furniture can be expensive to dispose of and it’s a tricky thing to sell online because many people expect it to be delivered. This is why you can snag some amazing deals! Couches that retail for $1,500 I’ve gotten in excellent condition for $300 on Facebook.
On a similar note – if you have an item you no longer need, consider donating or selling it rather than throwing it away. That way your trash can become someone’s treasure!
Note that this even applies to broken items. I list them on Facebook Marketplace for free, disclosing they are broken, and handy people jump at the opportunity to try and fix it to use themselves or for resale.
6 | Eco-Moms and their Monthly Visitors
Ok, let’s talk periods. All many moms know are disposable pads and tampons. Reusable options are often connected to “hippies” and made to sound gross.
I won’t go into too much detail, but believe me when I say that there are many more sustainable options than traditional period products! They’re super simple to use and really aren’t “grosser” than using pads or tampons.
Menstrual cups (the most well-known model being the DivaCup but personally I’m a fan of the Blossom on Amazon since it’s cheaper and works just as well) are a great sustainable substitute for tampons. Sure it has a bit of a learning curve, but tampons do too.
The wonderful thing about menstrual cups is that you clean and reuse them over and over so there is little waste (except the water used to wash). Plus many eco-moms report that because they allow for “free bleeding”, periods are often shorter and with less side effects of cramping. Talk about a win-win!
For those sanitary napkin users (or those who want a backup from their cup on heavy flow days), I can’t recommend absorbent period panties enough.
Not gonna lie, the sound of bleeding into my underwear originally sounded disgusting, but turns out it was way cleaner than trying to use a pad! The layer that actually comes into contact with your body is porous so the blood goes straight through to the absorbent layer inside. This means you really don’t come into contact with the blood!
After the pair has been used, quickly rinse it in cold water and let it air dry. Then wash with other clothes in your regular laundry (just remember to remove before putting it in the dryer). I’ve used the Thinx brand and mine have lasted for years. You can get Thinx period panties and lots of others on Google Express.
7 | Water Management
We’ve all heard the basic green tips for conserving water: turn off the sink when brushing your teeth, lather your hands without running water the entire time, avoid long showers, etc.
Remember that your appliances also have a large impact on how much water you are using. Make sure your dishwasher and laundry machines are efficient models.
The second part of this green tip may fall a little past the category of “easy”, but if you live in a single family home should be a serious consideration for you.
Consider setting up a rain harvesting system. If you’re not familiar with the concept, go check it out on YouTube (I’m a visual person).
The idea is that these eco-moms set up barrels that collect rainfall, usually connected to their gutter system to catch as much as possible. Then the water can be used for gardening, washing your car, or for fun outdoor water activities with the kids.
I’ve linked to some awesome Amazon products above that make setting it up easy peasy. But if you want to get super fancy you can make your own. People even connect hoses to their barrels that run directly to their gardens!
8 | Embrace the Bars
Toiletries can also be a major source of plastic waste. Remember than even though items may be marked “recyclable”, the recycling process is often energy intensive. Also depending on the type of plastic, your facility may just end of discarding it anyway if they’re not able to process it.
For these reasons, let’s explore some green tips to avoid items in plastic all together.
My family has done really well with soap bar products. They sell bars that are specific for your hands, face, body, and even hair (to replace shampoo). I used to get my bars at our local mall at a store called Lush. I even brought in my own Tupperware so I wouldn’t need a shopping bag.
Now you may not have a Lush (or similar) store near you. Well I’m happy to tell all you eco-moms out there that there are plenty of other options.
I’ve found a decent bar selection at Target and Walmart, but my favorite is at our local Whole Foods. And Whole Foods soap bars are cheap, like $2 each! For comparison, I was paying $7 at Lush and $1.75 at Walmart. But the ones at Whole Foods are larger and much better quality.
I’m a little pickier about my shampoo bars. Those I get at the website I mentioned earlier, Public Goods. Their shampoo bars are currently only $5.50 each (compared to the $9+ I was spending at Lush). But even better – they work great, they’re sustainable, and made with all-natural products.
I tried, but I couldn’t get into using bar conditioner. I use the conditioner from Public Goods where the bottle is made of sugarcane. And then they sell zero-waste bottle refills! Once more, if you want to give Public Goods a try, here’s $20 off.
9 | Reduce Gas Consumption
If you sit down and think about it, there are many times when you could skip a trip in the car. Here are just a few easy and basic green tips eco-moms can use to reduce gas pollution from their personal vehicles:
- Carpool when possible
- Meal plan to prevent extra trips to the grocery store
- Take public transportation (sure it takes some extra time, but kids love riding buses and subways).
- When making multiple stops in the same shopping center, park centrally to avoid having to move your car.
- Plan to leave the house on time in the morning so you can walk your kids to the bus stop or to school rather than relying on driving.
- For trips that are slightly further than walking distance, dust off your old helmet and ride a bike.
Those are just a few ideas, if you sit down and think about your individual situation I’m sure you can think of more!
When purchasing a new car, I highly recommend checking out electric options. Eco-moms look super cool driving electric cars.
Now that electric vehicles are more popular, there are models ranging from luxury to more budget-friendly options. And electric cars save you money on gas and are overall less expensive to maintain.
We’re now an all-electric family – my husband and I both drive electric vehicles. For local driving it doesn’t make any difference, we just charge at night and never have to worry about visiting the gas station. For road trips, we make ~20 minute stops every couple of hours. Just enough time for the kids to get a short break and for us to stretch our legs and grab a bite to eat.
10 | Make Smart Shipping Choices
Shipping? Yes, believe it or not there are “greener” shipping options eco-moms can take advantage of.
While of course there is some controversy on the eco-friendliness of shipping, sometimes it’s just unavoidable. You have to mail a birthday present, buy something specific online, or maybe you’re one of the buying or selling used clothes from BST groups like I recommend.
Shipping via USPS is one of the greenest shipping options. For starters, all of their packaging is recyclable and they allow people to reuse packaging and poly mailer shipping envelopes. USPS trucks also automatically deliver to every neighborhood 6 days a week, which means they’re not making a special trip (or increasing their carbon footprint) to deliver a package.
So when you have the option, opt for USPS shipping services.