This past year I’ve done a lot to “go greener” and think more consciously about eco-friendly living. Here are some of the things I’ve done:
• I now make all my own household cleaners. Everything from laundry soap to tub & tile cleaner. Not only do I feel good about using cleaning products that are healthier for the planet and my family, I’m saving money while doing it. If you’re interested in making your own easy cleaning products, I highly suggest checking out The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier. It has really simple recipes for home cleaning products, and everything I’ve tried from this book works beautifully.
• I’ve replaced all hand soap and body wash in my house with liquid castile soap. A little castile soap goes a long way. I dilute the soap with water and a few drops of essential oil and put it in soap dispensers in the kitchen and bathroom.
• I switched to a natural facial cleanser and moisturizer. I love the A-D-E Creamy Cleanser and Beta-Ginseng Hydrating Day Creme by Earth Science.
• I replaced my PVC shower curtain with a fabric one made of cotton. Not only can I pop the fabric shower curtain in the washing machine, and use it for years to come, but now my family isn’t inhaling toxic compounds every day.
• I buy locally made items as much as possible. Not only is it good for the environment (very little fuel was used to get the product to the store), it’s good for the community and local economy too.
• I get my shoes repaired instead of throwing them out. This all started when I couldn’t find a pair of shoes to wear for my wedding last May. I really wanted to wear my favorite pair of retro black ballerina flats, but the elastic on the ankle band had broken off. I found a locally owned shoe repair shop, and they fixed them for me for $7, which is considerably cheaper than buying brand new shoes. After that, I vowed to get any injured shoes repaired instead of throwing them out.
• I made both my husband and I our own reusable coffee cozies. So now when we get coffee or tea while we’re out and about, we use those instead of picking up one of those disposable java jackets.
• Instead of buying books, I check them out at the library.
Here are the eco-friendly things I’ve done for years, and continue to do:
• If I need something, I try to find it at a thrift store before buying it new. Most of my wardrobe has been acquired this way. Also, I feel lucky to live in Portland, where we have an amazing fabric & craft thrift store, the Knittn Kitten. When I go shopping for my sewing and crafting supplies, I always hit the Kitten first.
• Recycle! Jars, bottles, mixed paper, etc. I’m all about making sure those curb side recycle bins are full each week.
• Donate unwanted items to Goodwill. Whenever I’m getting rid of something I don’t need anymore, I always ask myself, “Can someone else use this?” If the answer is yes, I drop it off at Goodwill.
Finally, here are my “green goals” for this year:
• Find a really great natural shampoo & conditioner
• Incorporate more eco-friendly cosmetics into my make-up bag. Currently, I use Dr. Haushka’s liquid eyeliner and Physician’s Formula Organic Loose Powder, but I want to find natural versions of blush and mascara that I really like.
• Utilize the public transit system. I don’t drive much to begin with, but I really would like to start taking the bus and the MAX more often.
• Buy more locally grown produce. I’d like to hit up the weekly farmer’s market and farms on Sauvie Island more often.
Do you have any suggestions or tips for eco-friendly living? I’d love to hear them!