Simple green changes I made this year on my quest to become a little more eco-friendly everyday.
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As the year is coming to a close, I’ve been reflecting on some of the easy, practical changes I’ve made this year to go a little further in my eco-friendly journey.
Most of these were money and resource-saving. And they all seemed to fall under the same categories – reusing, reducing, or making simple swaps.
In the hopes of being transparent and maybe inspiring others to make some changes too, here’s a few little things I switched up in 2019.
I’ve kept up with my usual recycling and upcycling habits.
Some examples are thrifting instead of automatically buying new and meal planning to be sure I’m making the most of the food we have on hand.
Almost all of my and my children’s clothing is second-hand. We’re lucky to have large children’s consignment sales a few times a year in our area, and they are a gold mine for gently used (and often brand-new!) clothing and shoes for my children.
My family knows not to try to recycle any glass bottles before they ask if I want to keep them. I use them for everything! For example, r
For the last few years, I’ve found that making do with what I already have is just really satisfying to me!
As far as reducing, I’ve focused a lot on food waste in 2019.
But, in an effort to freeze leftovers and extra food before it spoiled, I found that I was starting to lose things in our freezer. A simple running list on the side of the fridge changed all that! No more lost, freezer-burnt leftovers!
Saving water has been one of my main goals for years. I’ve finally convinced my children to turn off the water while they’re soaping up their hands. But I knew I could make changes. too.
I had fallen into the habit of letting the tap run while I scrubbed my dishes. With some conscious effort, I’ve finally broken that habit! We use a lot less water every month now!
I’ve also made a lot of swaps in our daily routines to more sustainable products.
We’ve also stocked up on a set of glass food storage containers. I like to use jars for homemade salad dressings and anything pourable. But we were in need of ways to store our leftovers and prepped food. We just received this set in green and I’m very impressed so far!
I also made an easy swap in my nighttime routine. I realized that I was going through a very large amount of cotton balls every week taking off my eye makeup. So, I knew I had to do something about that. While I was researching buying pretty flannel cotton rounds on Etsy, I actually found some terry cloth rounds at the Dollar Tree. They might not have a super cute pattern, but they work amazingly well. At the end of the week, I toss them into the wash in a mesh bag, and they clean up beautifully!
After shopping for groceries with the same reusable bags for years and years, but a few months back I had to put aside a few. They had tears and holes, and I was probably a trip or two away from losing a carton of eggs out of the bottom. I ended up picking up this pack of canvas bags. They’re perfect. The size is just right and they have a nice, wide base so they’re easy to pack. I really love that I can throw them right into the wash to keep them clean.
In a search to find a way to help cut down how many ziptop baggies I end up using and throwing away, I finally decided to pick up these velcro bags. I’ve been reusing the larger gallon bags for years, but the small ones just don’t hold up as well.
I’ve also been playing with Castile soap a lot this year. Castile soap is made from vegetable oils and is known for its gentle cleaning and long-lasting bubbles. One of my new favorite uses is this toilet scrub by Rubies & Radishes. It’s been working just as well as the store-bought cleansers, and I love that I can make the scent whatever I like.
These types of changes may involve a little investment upfront. But, they are much better for our wallets and the environment in the long run.
Not every one of the green changes I made this year worked our perfectly, though.
I tried my first shampoo bar in 2019. I’m motivated to be able to use fewer plastic bottles, but, unfortunately, I haven’t found the right bar for my hair type as of yet. When you switch to a shampoo bar, there is an expected adjustment period for your hair. There may be some time where it can feel dryer or greasier than usual. But after almost a month, my thick, wavy hair never seemed to adjust.
If anyone has any shampoo bar recommendations, I’d love to hear them in the comments!
There are a few changes that I haven’t been able to cross off my list yet.
I’d love a reliable replacement for plastic zip-top bags that I use in my freezer. There’s also a couple of farmer’s markets in the area that I want to find time to visit regularly. And, I’d love to add a rain barrel for our water conservation efforts.
Of course, these are all obviously small changes, but
making those practical changes is what this site is all about.
There’s always room to grow and make new earth-friendly changes.
What green changes have you made this year?
Tell me in the comments below so I can be inspired and start making plans for 2020!