Earth Day, first celebrated in 1970, is considered the birth of the “Going Green” movement. This day of environmental awareness has grown over the years and for that reason, is celebrated each April 22nd.
HOW TO HELP OUR PLANET
We’re just one household, what can we do to help the planet? In a nutshell, reduce waste. How? Make small switches in daily routines to consequently produce a little less waste every day.
MAKE ONE SIMPLE SWITCH EVERY MONTH
Little things will make a big difference as a result. Celebrate Earth Day and try Going Green. Here are simple steps we can take to switch one habit at a time. What will you try first?
CHOOSE REUSABLE ITEMS
These items are handed out for free, so why not take advantage of the generosity? Because they are terrible for the earth and easy to substitute. Therefore, strive to eliminate disposable items.
TRY THESE SIMPLE SWITCHES:
- Throw a fork in your purse to use instead of the plastic version.
- Use reusable straws to eliminate the plastic waste clogging our waterways and killing wildlife.
- Dine-in or take your lunch to work. Think about the waste due to take-out; the bag it comes in, individual containers, disposable silverware, packages of condiments, to-go cups, and straws.
- Keep plastic grocery bags from the landfill by using reusable grocery bags. I put them back in the car after unloading. Note to self: Remember to take them into the store! I also crocheted a colorful tote to use at the farmer’s market.
- Choose reusable netted vegetable sacks for produce rather than wasteful plastic bags.
- Go Digital. Take notes on your computer and communicate via e-mail rather than using paper. Avoid tree loss and paper waste while switching to online newspapers and magazines. If reading a book online isn’t your thing, pass it on, or similarly donate it to a library.
- Choose e-statements from banks and creditors, e-tickets from airlines, and automatic payments for bills, to eliminate even more paper.
- Once a year, I make my favorite recycled items, fire starters. I save paper egg cartons, dryer lint, and used candles all year. Check out the post here.
- Place dabs of dryer lint into each hole of the carton (half the size of an egg).
- Melt the remains of candles and drizzle a light coat over the lint.
- Close the egg carton, and there you have a natural fire starter.
- Finally, divide each carton into three starters. They work perfect!
- Add dryer lint to a toilet paper core and wrap in newspaper to make a fire starter. I don’t get the paper, so it’s the egg carton version for me.
- Donate old clothes, equipment, and furniture.
- Above all – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
SAVE MONEY IN THE LONG RUN
These suggestions require an upfront expense but will save money in the long run and reduce garbage waste considerably. There are some easy ways to celebrate Earth Day every day and begin the Going Green journey.
- Refill water bottles, preferably glass.
- Use refillable storage containers (mason jars are my favorite) and then choose to refill non-perishable foods from bulk bins available in many stores. (nuts, cereal, rice, oats, beans, spices, dried fruits, etc.)
- Purchase bee’s wrap, a natural and safer alternative to plastic wrap. Cover a bowl, wrap cheese, a sandwich, fruit, and vegetables. Made with organic cotton, beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin, bee’s wrap is therefore washable, reusable, and compostable. Try Bee’s Wrap online or the DIY recipe below.
- Eliminate paper products that account for a third of the waste in landfills. Wash dishes instead of using paper plates. Use washcloths, towels, and earth-friendly sponges that are cheaper and reusable. No waste necessary!
- Use cloth diapers. This requires a commitment, but Mother Earth will appreciate your help.
- Buying in bulk is a great way to reduce waste at home. Smaller packages not only cost more, but adds more waste to landfills.
Repurposed items are trendy. Besides, it’s a great way to make the most of the resources we’ve used; t-shirt totes, seed starter egg cartons, pallet furniture, vase bottles, storage jars, and the list goes on. Pinterest is another great resource for repurposed ideas. Take a moment to recognize the potential in reusing what we have to create something new and useful.
BUY COMPOSTABLE ITEMS
All-natural items can decrease trash output and to help live more plastic-free. We have the option of putting natural materials in the compost bin rather than the landfill. Rather than buying plastic or metal, consider natural alternatives.
- Bamboo toothbrushes
- Natural loofas
- Jute twine
- Use a wooden platter for serving
- When replacing kitchen utensils such as serving spoons and spatulas, consider wooden options.
- Instead of a fake Christmas tree, use a potted tree and plant it after the holiday.
- Make a wreath out of pine branches and pinecones instead of the plastic version.
Use natural ingredients to clean rather than chemical-laden cleaning products. I love the fresh smell of lemons; luckily they have amazing antibacterial qualities. Similarly, baking soda and vinegar are great cleaners, non-toxic, and cheap.
- Squeeze lemon juice on a stain, let sit for a few minutes and wipe away with a wet cloth.
- Vinegar is an amazing disinfectant. Add equal parts water and vinegar to a glass spray bottle to clean countertops. Spray on mildew, let sit, then simply wipe away.
- Remove soap scum with a paste of baking soda and dish soap. Scrub with a toothbrush to remove stubborn patches.
- Use a combination of baking soda and vinegar to clear a clogged drain. Add approximately two tablespoons of baking soda to 1/4 cup of vinegar. It makes me giggle when the mixture bubbles. Pour into the drain and let sit for 30 minutes. Run hot water down the drain. I do this once a month, allow it to work overnight, and run hot water in the morning.
- Use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to scrub the toilet. Add dish soap for tough stains and to make your sink sparkle also.
- Try mopping your floor with a mixture of baking soda and warm water. Add lemon juice for a fresh scent, instead of chemicals.
DOUBLE DUTY – LEMON VINEGAR CLEANER
- Cut up leftover lemon and place into a jar of vinegar.
- Let soak. Add more lemon pieces as you use them.
- Soak for a few weeks.
Use the lemon-infused vinegar for cleaning.
- Mix vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio for heavier cleaning.
- Use a 1: 3 ratio (vinegar to water) for everyday cleaning.
- Exact measure isn’t necessary, add 1/4 vinegar to a glass bottle and fill with water. I use this as a spray anywhere I previously used store-bought disinfectant.
- I also add orange and lime pieces to the vinegar for a citrus scent.
Make natural potpourri instead of inhaling artificial smells from an aerosol can. Your health and the landfill will thank you.
I love to use my essential oil diffuser to infuse the air with natural scents.
- I have luck battling seasonal allergies with a combination of peppermint, lavender, and lemon.
- Basil and lemon provide a Tuscan air.
- Lime is refreshing and hints at the margarita to come.
- In the winter, put a pot of water on the stove or plugin a mini crockpot – let the smells of the season swirl in your home; cinnamon sticks, anise, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla, cranberries, orange peels.
- The possibilities are truly endless. Earth Day – Every Day – Going Green
Save money and know what ingredients are in your toothpaste. Homemade toothpaste will clean your teeth just as well as store-bought without chemicals and potentially harmful substances.
This paste won’t foam as store-boughten does. It will seem weird at first; so keep telling yourself you’re not ingesting the foaming chemicals. It will taste salty due to the baking soda; you’ll get used to that also.
To use, dip your toothbrush into the jar. If you share with others, use a mini spatula to put the paste onto your toothbrush.
Here are three popular recipes to make your own toothpaste.
Baking Soda Toothpaste
The mouth and teeth are constantly attacked by acid. Baking soda can neutralize harmful acids without damaging the teeth. This non-toxic substance boosts mouth alkalinity, neutralizes acids, and therefore cleans bacteria and plaque.
- 1/2 cup baking soda.
- Stir with water until reaching the desired consistency. It will not be as smooth as traditional toothpaste.
Coconut Oil Toothpaste
Coconut oil prevents candida within the mouth, hence reducing bacteria that cause cavities.
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon natural green stevia
- 2 tablespoons bentonite clay
- A couple drops of peppermint oil, according to taste
- Combine to form a smooth texture.
- Note: You can leave the stevia and bentonite clay out if you choose.
According to the American Dental Association, xylitol significantly decreases tooth decay.
- 4 tablespoons warm coconut oil
- 6 tablespoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon xylitol
- A couple drops of peppermint oil, according to taste
- Stir the mixture until it forms a paste texture.
DIY BEE’S WRAPS
While these instructions work, I’ve tried several recipes and had the best luck and highly recommend this recipe.
Beeswax pellets work best. If you use a brick of beeswax, you will need to grate it first.
Use 100% cotton, tightly woven fabric. I had a large cotton tea towel in my drawer, so I used that.
What you will need:
- 100% Cotton Fabric (tightly woven)
- Pinking sheers
- Beeswax Pellets
- An old towel
- Parchment paper
- Jojoba Oil (optional)
These wraps won’t be as sticky as purchased wraps, but work better with use. On the bright side, they won’t stick to each other.
- Cut the fabric into 8”, 10”, and 12” squares with the pinking shears.
- Lay an old towel on your ironing board.
- Place the parchment paper (3” larger than the fabric) on the towel.
- Next, add the square of fabric to the parchment paper.
- Sprinkle the beeswax pellets or grated beeswax over the fabric. Use two tablespoons of wax for each 12” fabric square. You’ll certainly figure out how much to use after ironing your first wrap.
- Optional: Spritz the fabric with jojoba oil for pliability.
- Add another layer of parchment paper, once again, larger than your fabric.
- You can cover the layers with a towel, but I found it easier not to.
- Set your iron for cotton, and iron the parchment paper using a constant motion. As the wax melts, push it around with iron pressure. Take a peek and add a few more pellets if necessary.
- Once coated, I put (the fabric) over the towel bar in the bathroom. It only took a few minutes to dry.
That’s it, certainly an easy DIY, and they’re ready to use. The heat from your hands will help mold the wrap into shape.
LITTLE STEPS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
I hope you found this article helpful. Remember, little steps will make a big difference. Which habit will you switch first? Please share your ideas for making every day Earth Day and your Going Green journey.
Earth Day – Going Green!