Being green is an ongoing process. So I am constantly making new changes to try to conserve resources and reduce toxins. Here are 10 changes that I made in 2010:
- Buy local. I was lucky enough to move last year to an area that has a strong emphasis on local goods and produce. We are surrounded by great local farms and excellent local shops. Now when I buy something, I always try to buy locally first.
- Buy in bulk from the farmers’ market and then freeze extra produce for use during the winter. Going to the farmers’ market was a no-brainer for me. But, it wasn’t until this past year that I started buying way more than I needed and then freezing it in large glass Mason jars. Now I have all of the local blueberries and green beans that I need all throughout the winter.
- Make my own bread, ice cream and yogurt. Every time I threw away a plastic bread bag or yogurt or ice cream container, I cringed. After realizing how easy it is to make my own bread, ice cream and yogurt, I will never go back.
- Go to the library or buy used books. I used to be somewhat addicted to the bookstore. If there was a book I wanted to read, I would buy it. But then I discovered my local library and paperbackswap.com. Anything that I want to keep, I get from either paperbackswap.com or one of Amazon’s used book dealers. Otherwise, I go to my local library.
- Reduce processed foods. This has been a resolution that I have been working toward for some time. We are almost there but it has been a long process. I still have some guilty pleasures like store-bought cereal, which I will happily give up once I perfect my homemade granola.
- DIY gifts. For Christmas and birthdays this year, I tried to give as many homemade gifts as possible. This includes things like homemade bath salts and face scrub, personalized coffee mugs with homemade chai, muffin and fruit baskets and more.
- Toy swap. We have formed a great circle of friends in our new town. I wanted to give something to them and their kids for Christmas without spending a lot of money or using a ton of resources. So I hosted a toy swap and potluck. It was a lot of fun and the kids were happy to walk away with something “new.”
- Cut out paper towels. We have been working on the same roll of paper towels for the entire year! In place of disposable towels, I have a stash of washcloths that I use for washing dishes and cleaning messes. Every time I do the laundry, I just throw them in.
- Turn down the thermostat at night. I have been reading a lot about other families who are committed to using less heat and alternatives such as warm clothes and lots of blankets. But I am a wimp! I just cannot handle the cold. But I have made some progress by turning the thermostat down about 4 degrees at night.
- Cut down on plastic. This is another ongoing goal. Although I wish I could go plastic-free, I keep trying to find little ways to cut down on plastic. I bought reusable produce bags this year and started buying more from the bulk bins at Whole Foods (using my own glass Mason jars). I also found a great shampoo bar to use in place of my regular bottled shampoo.
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