Tips For Being A More Eco-Conscious Mom

Saturday, August 26, 2017
Part of caring about our children's future means doing our part to make sure that the world they grow up in is as beautiful as the world in which we were raised.

Pollution, atmospheric depletion, groundwater contamination, heavy metals, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity are all present and immediate threats to the planet which could negatively impact life for future generations. Forward-thinking moms are looking for ways to parent, but with lower environmental impact. Here are some of the things you can do right now to be an environmentally kind mom and reduce your carbon footprint and those of your children.

Make Turning Things Off A Habit

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According to data, the average American family leaves the majority of their appliances on, even when they’re not using them. Kids are terrible at this sort of thing, thanks to the fact that they don’t pay the bills and are constantly flipping from one activity to the next. I'm always finding lights, appliances, and electronic devices plugged in and turned on all over our house. We need to encourage our children to get into the habit of switching things off when they’re not in use, like lights and lamps, TVs, and hair appliances (if you have girls!).

Don’t Run The Washing Machine or Dishwasher Until They Are Full
Dishwashers and washing machines use around 500W of power. That might not sound like a lot, but when you consider that the average flat screen TV uses about 50W and the average LED light bulb around 10W, you soon realize that these machines use up a lot of energy.

If you want to reduce the amount of energy your home uses, then it’s essential to use your washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full. Given that there is little difference in energy usage when these machines are only at half capacity, it always pays to fill them up completely before putting them on a cycle. Not only will you use less energy this way, but you’ll also save on your energy and water bills.

Build An Eco-Checklist
Keeping track of all the ways you can stay green can be tricky when you’re a busy family constantly on the go. That’s why it’s a good idea to use a checklist: a sort of scorecard where you can tick off various jobs as and when they’re complete. For instance, you could allocate Monday evening as recycling night when you audit and dispose of all your plastics, cans, and paper. Tuesday could be floor cleaning night, using a DIY floor cleanser you made yourself. Wednesday could be something else, and so on.

Build An Environmentally-Friendly Shopping List
The majority of the food people buy in the supermarket didn’t come from fields in the local area. Instead, it originated halfway around the world and was shipped to your town on a huge, diesel-guzzling transport ship. Being an environmentally kind mom, therefore, means choosing local, seasonal foods at the grocery store. This might mean that you can’t have oranges in the winter and spring berries in the fall, but it does mean that you’re consuming few food miles with each bite of food you and your family eat.

Having a shopping list also helps to cut down on food waste. According to the UN, agriculture emits more carbon dioxide emissions than all the world’s transport combined. So every piece of food you eat embodies a large amount of CO2. When you throw out food, you’re helping to add to the CO2 in the atmosphere for no good reason. But with a shopping list, you can carefully plan your meals and cut down on food waste.

Choose Environmentally-Friendly Household Products
Many products we use regularly in the household - even so-called baby products - contain harmful chemicals which don’t break down naturally in the environment. Learn more here. As a result, eco-friendly moms always choose products labeled “biodegradable” or “non-toxic.” These household products are usually made from natural products themselves, like essential oils and botanical extracts. In addition, some companies even use renewable energy, like solar, to power their production processes, making their products truly environmentally friendly in every way.

If you’re not sure whether you’re using eco-friendly products, you might need to conduct an audit. Look out for soap products with environmentally harmful chemicals in them, like PCBs, and have them disposed of safely by professionals.

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Reuse All Your Bags
The world uses about 1,000 billion plastic bags every year. Sadly, most of those bags end up in landfills, but some make it out into the wider environment, causing devastation to local habitats. Worse still, the majority of plastic bags take around 100 years to break down in the soil, meaning that they could still be around when your great grandchildren are elderly.

In places like Kenya, the plastic bag problem is so out of control that the government has taken the extreme measure of banning them outright. They’re just so bad for the environment.

Reusing bags is easy. The average bag for life is good for over 200 visits to the supermarket. That means that even if you use a bag for life every week for four years straight, you won’t have to replace it.

With that said, it can sometimes be hard getting out of the habit of using regular plastic bags when you hit the grocery store. But the more you remember to take your reusable bags, the more the habit will become like second nature, and you’ll never go to the supermarket without your bags again.

Organize Your Stuff To Avoid Buying New
The chances are that most of the day to day stuff you need around the house you already have. Tools, socks, toiletries: it’s all somewhere, just waiting to be found. Instead of going out and buying new things as soon as you lose you old items, start by organizing your home in a better way. Make sure that there’s a place for everything so that you know exactly where everything is in advance. This way, you can keep using all your household items until they break and actually need to be replaced.

Click here for more tips on becoming an environmentally-friendly mom.

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