25 Ways I Am Going “More” Green in 2011

Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Carnival

This post is part of the Earth Day Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction. Each participant has shared their practices and insights of earth friendly, environmentally conscious, eco-living. This carnival is our way to share positive information and inspiration that can create healing for our planet. Please read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Happy Earth Day!


It is Earth Day today and in celebration I thought that I would share the ways that I have been “Going Green in 2011.” Some elements have been easier to incorporate than others. However, I am devoted to going as green as possible so Tiny will grow up with a green mentality. All of the green choices I am making will be second nature to her. Here is what we are incorporating or have already incorporated:

1. I have used cloth diapers and cloth wipes since 2009 and line dry as much as possible! I am also slowly making the switch to using cloth wipes for myself and greatly reducing my toilet paper usage. The husband…not so on board with that idea himself.

2. Recycle more diligently! I am great at putting the appropriate items into the recycle bins but my husband is a little lackadaisical about it. Tiny does a better job than he does and she is only 2! I am really focused on helping my husband develop better recycling habits.

3. Eliminating our use of disposable bags. I am already in the habit of using reusable bags and bins to bag groceries, household items, and toiletries. For 2011, I started using reusable mesh produce bags and bulk grain bags! These are phenomenal!!!!!

4. I wash laundry in cold water instead of hot and dry on low or line dry as much as possible. Clothes and towels are getting just as clean.

5. I wear the same pajamas for several nights. It’s not like they are getting dirty! This saves on the amount of laundry I have to do.

6. I use a BPA free reusable tumbler and a reusable stainless steel water bottle instead of buying disposable water bottles.

7. I use washable cups, plates, and utensils instead of disposable wears.

8. I save and reuse scrap paper. Tiny colors on it and uses it for play. I use it for note taking as well as for wrapping up fragile items that I might need to store.

9. I repurpose as much as I can these days. Most of my repurposed items go to Tiny who finds all kinds of creative uses for them. I repurpose all of the glass jars that food items come in. They are built into the cost of the item you are buying so why not clean them and keep them to store leftovers, fermented foods, grains, and other bulk items.

10. I pay 95% of my bills online.

11. I have opted out of unsolicited mail.

12. Personally, I am great at turning lights off when I leave the room as well as unplugging electronics when not in use. Again, the husband has some room for improvement in the areas. Our house is lit up like a roman candle when he leaves for work at 6:00am! Drives me nuts. So that is a work in progress.

13. I use natural light whenever possible to avoid having to turn on lights.

14. I combine my errands and try to stay as close to home as possible. I take Tiny on walks to the store (which is about a mile away) when we need something quick. No sense starting the car for that.  I also now do a lot of ordering online.

15. I purchase my produce through a local CSA. I am supporting the local economy and getting local, organic produce at the same time!

16. I purchase as much as I can out of bulk pins to cut down on packaging materials.

17. I buy homemade or make my own shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, facial toner, and hair detangler. I do the same for Tiny. I am intent on branching into more toiletries this year.

18. I make as many household cleaners as I can and am working on adding to my repertoire. What cleaners I do not make, I purchase from work-at-home-mom businesses that are committed to reducing their environmental impact both in how they make their products as well as how they package and ship their products.

19. I am using more cloth napkins although I need to purchase more. Tiny makes big messes!

20. I am also using more cloth instead of paper to clean the kitchen. This is going well. I’d say I am at about 50% currently and striving towards 85%.

21. Reduce our water usage! This is HARD!!!! I do a lot of dishes, laundry, and bathing. Tiny usually needs a shower after morning play as well as an evening bath. I try to keep the showers brief and to only fill the bath tub half way. I fill the dishwasher to the brim! I load the washer machine up as much as is reasonable (which often times means I am not sorting clothes. Nothing has been damaged thus far!). I also turn off the water while brushing my teeth (and Tiny’s too.)

22. I now purchase eggs from our neighbor. They are humanely raised, organic, completely cage free chickens (and ducks)! This keeps money in my neighborhood and provides our family with a high quality egg for a better price!

23. I am now really conscious of my purchases. I buy higher quality, eco friendly, longer lasting products. The price might be a little higher (if I cannot find it second hand) but I do not have to replace high quality items as frequently.

24. I make sure that the tires on my car are properly inflated to ensure the best gas mileage possible.

25. I am going to “green my period” this year as well. Yep – goodbye Tampax, hello Mamacloth and Diva Cups!

And those are the ways in which I am going greener this year. I plan to add more and hope that by 2012 we are as green as we can be!

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day Blog Carnival - Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt JunctionVisit Monkey Butt Junction and Child of the Nature Isle to read all about the Earth Day Blog Carnival.
Going Green in 2011 – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses the way she and her family are going “greener” in 2011.

Our Greatest Teacher – Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro shares her experiences with her children and nature, their greatest teacher.

Dreaming of Spring Gardening – Erin of the Waterloons talks about the ultimate in local food, her backyard garden.

Earth Conscious Minimalism – Nada at miniMOMist thinks minimalism can help you save the world — as long as you don’t just toss everything in the trash! Check out Her list of places to donate (bet you haven’t thought of them all!).

Blessings to the Earth – Amy at Anktangle believes that a simple act, such as being intentionally grateful for our food, is just the catalyst we need to bring about large-scale change.

Eight Movies to Inspire Change – Mrs Green at Little Green Blog shares her top 8 movies that have inspired her to take action to make the world a better place. She’d love to hear your suggestions to add to her viewing list!

Can I Have a Green Period Too? Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the environmental impact of switching to sustainable menstrual products, along with offering a great Mama Cloth giveaway for anyone interested in making the switch (and for those who already have and want to increase their stash!).

An Eden to Call Our Own – Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how learning to care for the Earth starts in her own garden.

Elimination Communication – Melissa at the New Mommy Files discusses the environmental impact of diapering, and why elimination communication was the best choice for her family.

The Living Earth: A Meditation in Science and Reverence – Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante asks you to pause to wonder at the blessing of the fact that our living planet is here at all.

Earth Day Anthem – Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro created a poem in honor of Mother Earth, women and nurturers everywhere.

The Plasticity of Compromise – Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how she is working to compromise on healthy family living and avoiding plastics whenever possible.

Earth Day Resolutions – Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares why she has decided to make Earth Day resolutions, what those resolutions are, and how they are a step up from her current efforts at green living.

Is it time for you to say “Enough!”? Mrs Green at My Zero Waste asks you to rise up and say ‘Enough!’ on Earth Day.

Homeschooling with the Earth – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares her desires and dreams for Earth-based learning and the ways her two young children have already started a natural curriculum.

Beyond the Green Sheen – Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction offers some advice on how to avoid greenwashing and make purchasing choices that really have a positive impact.

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  1. says

    Wow, you have some great ideas! Good for you and Tiny! Keep working on the hubby, especially with the lights. Show him how the power bill is going down, that might inspire him to turn lights off more often. 😉

    Also, about your cloth napkins and cleaning cloths. When we decided to do this, we took the most worn out baby blankets we had and just cut them up! After a couple washes they frayed as far as they’d go and we have been using them for all our clean-up purposes. They’re only gonna be seen by us, so it’s no big deal to use them. We haven’t had to purchase paper towel in months!

  2. says

    Happy Earth Day, Jennifer! Great post! We do almost all of these. We have not done a CSA share yet, and we don’t have neighbors with eggs (we have neighbors with alpacas but not chickens ;-)It feels so empowering to make these choices, and we’re so lucky that our little ones will grow up with all of these things being second nature to them, as you said!

  3. says

    Lots of great ideas. Good luck with implementing all of them! It’s great that you make your own shampoo etc, I’ve been doing soapmaking for a couple of years now and I love using the soap I make. My husband is the same way with the lights, too, hahah!

  4. says

    AWESOME list mama! I am bookmarking this for future reference – I’ve done many of these things but still have a ways to go…I love getting ideas like this. :)

    I know one thing that has appealed to my husband about certain changes (like the lights, cloth wipes & diapers, etc.) is the money saving issue; if he doesn’t care as much about the environment, he may be more interested in his wallet! :) (I know that argument works for my hubby quite often).

    Thanks for the awesome post!

  5. says

    You all must be in a much better timezone than me!!!! :) I will be visiting all of you once naptime for Tiny hits…or bedtime…depends upon her view of napping today! :) Thank you for all the love. I cannot wait to read some great posts today!

  6. says

    I love your list. Simple changes like these can make a really big difference. I feel like you and I are in a very similar place in our reducing journey, too. This year we have switched to cloth only in the kitchen and I, too, am trying to learn to make my own – one toiletry at a time! I look forward to learning from some of your recipes and successes in that arena through this space.

  7. says

    Jen what are your suggestions for incorporating your natural tips into a Mama’s life like mine? I so much enjoy your blog but find that on top of a full-time job plus commute, part time business and just family my life is complicated. I envy you for being so natural/ healthy/ etc. you’re an inspiration. ( :
    I have a huge recycle box in my kitchen that gets everything but rubbish! ( :

  8. Jenn Collins @Monkey Butt Junction says

    I love that you buy eggs from your neighbors. That’s fantastic! I am a huge supporter of buying local, and eggs from neighbors is a wonderful example of that.

    It sounds like you’ve really done a lot to green your household. I’m inspired by your #17 – homemade shampoo, lotions, etc. I make soap and some lotions, and I’d love to learn to make homemade shampoo and conditioner sometime.

    Great post!

  9. says

    I love your commitment to greening yourself and your family home – this is where change begins! I am inspired especially by #1 – I use cloth diapers and wipes for my kids, cloth pads for my cycle but not cloth wipes for myself on a daily basis – I could be saving so much tissue paper with that!! So I’m definitely on board for this suggestion and I’m going to stock up on a new set of cloth wipes for my bathroom.

    One thing I can’t do where I live is recycle…it drives me nuts to live in such a natural place and have no means to recycle. I don’t buy all that many packaged goods and manage to make use of the containers but I do buy 2 items that come in cans and would love yours or anyones suggestion on reusing these somehow.

    Looking forward to more posts on the homemade toiletries.

    Thanks for being part of the Earth Day Blog Carnival. Onelove

    p.s – we are still expecting to see you in Dominica at some point in life :-)

  10. says

    I wish I had a neighbor to buy eggs from! You’re so lucky!

    This is a HUGE list and you are doing wonderfully! I do many, many of these things myself (and also find them to be difficult for my husband). I haven’t even broached the subject of ‘family cloth’ with him yet because I’m afraid of the response :)

    I’ve been greening my period, got the DivaCup (and am slowly getting used to it) and just bought two different kinds of cloth pads, one from a local company in Ithaca, NY while I was visiting my mother. I can’t wait to use them :)

  11. says

    Thanks for all of the wonderful comments. I am so glad that you are all able to take one or two things from my list. I am more thrilled that you are already doing a lot of them! Us mamas have to save this earth so our children have something left to enjoy!

    Carol – you have my wheels spinning. I think that your question is going to get an entire post. :)

  12. says

    Love this list for the Earth Day carnival! You are doing so much for your family and the earth. I often laugh when I hear people say that once people become parents, they stop being involved. Everyone I know has become more committed to doing what they can to protect the environment and make greener choices at home since having kids. What a great example you are setting for Tiny.

    And I have similar issues getting the hubster on board with some of it, too.

  13. says

    You’ve got some great things here. I do most of these, to some extent. I just can’t seem to make the jump on #25. I have terrible periods and am so afraid to spend money on mama pads only to find they can’t handle my period. C’mon menopause!!!

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