Going green starts in the home. Here you can work together as a family to keep the planet as unspoiled and untouched as possible. As you incorporate environmentally healthy practices into your everyday routine, you will set an example for your children, spouse, neighbors and those around you. Before you even step outside, you can start to make your footprint light.
You have to eat, numerous times per day, so go green in the kitchen. Teach yourself to exist without paper plates and napkins. If you have kids over a lot or host many parties, invest in melamine or plastic utensils and dishes for guests to use, to save your nice table settings. Buy fabric napkins, and throw them in a bag at the end of each meal. Once or twice a week, wash your napkins and prepare them to be used again. Wait until you have a dishwasher full of dishes before running it. When you hand-wash dishes, fill a sink with water, instead of letting the faucet run throughout the process.
Go paperless, at least where you can. Sign up for email notifications from bill collectors and utility providers. Pay your bills online, either directly to the provider or through an online banking system. Sign up to receive email newsletters from any of your affiliations that provide this service. If you run a business or nonprofit or if you volunteer with a community group, encourage the clients or members to receive emails whenever they can. Keep reminders, calendars and notes on your computer rather than on sticky notes all around your office. When you print a page and either don’t use it or don’t need it, don’t throw it away. Flip it upside down, and stack it with other pages. When you have a large stack of pages, staple them together and give them to your kids for a coloring book or doodle pad.
Teach yourself and your children to limit the amount of toilet paper you use with each flush. Two or three squares are probably enough each time. Replace your toxic cleaning products with earth-friendly or homemade cleaners. Assign a different-colored cup to each family member, and let them use that for swishing and midnight drinking, as opposed to those tiny paper ones. Limit the amount of time water is running for baths and showers. Lead by example by shutting the water off when you brush your teeth, apply facial masks and other processes using the sink.
- green kitchen image by Leonid Nyshko from Fotolia.com