Simple Environmentally-Conscious Hacks in Your HomeJump To Recipe
Numbers 35:33-34 (ESV) “You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.”
Being environmentally conscious isn’t an all or nothing approach. No one lives a 100% sustainable, eco -friendly lifestyle. If you do, please contact me so I can thoroughly inspect every aspect of your everyday life. lol
Really, I liken it to caring for your surroundings (aka your environment).
I have always hated seeing litter in public. Last year, I volunteered at a beach clean up and a freeway clean up. It is outrageous the amount of trash littered along the roads and freeways! Come on people, pick up your trash!
Also, even as a kid, I hated seeing people smoke outdoors after a rainfall. (really I don’t think anyone should smoke but especially not after a fresh shower from the sky!)
I digress. Living a life that helps the environment doesn’t have to be complicated or burdensome.
I like the analogy of the boy picking up starfish one by one on the beach where thousands of starfish lay, and throwing them back in the ocean, saving them from dying.
An older man saw the boy throwing the starfish one by one and questioned him saying what difference could he make?
Then the young man picks up a starfish and throws it back into the ocean and says, I made a difference to this one! *insert the image of Spongebob with teary eyes*
I am a frugal girl who loves to be resourceful anyway I can. I don’t like wasting things! I was raised to appreciate the things we did have and to not be wasteful.
Now I am not claiming to be the environmentally conscious guru. I am human. I love Keurig k-cups (I have a reusable k cup too). I drink bottled water (which I recycle). I use paper towels. I use plastic products. I don’t buy all organic products. Cloth diapers gross me out.
Okay, now that I got a D- on how environmentally friendly my life is, let me find some redeeming extra credit points to balance things out.
10 Things I Do to Lessen Waste/Be Environmentally Conscious:
1. Reuse glass jars
Hey Mason jar lovers, I am talking to you! I too love Mason and Kerr jars to keep organized and my food fresh. Did you know keeping berries in glass jars helps them to last longer? I also keep empty glass jars from pasta sauce, jelly, pickles, etc. and reuse them for spices, coffee, homemade pickled onions, pickled homemade radishes, kombucha hotels, and so on. I also reuse the plastic Talenti gelato jars too!
Composting is so simple! Just throw in used coffee grounds, banana peels, vegetable scraps, strawberry tops, potato skins, cardboard, newspaper, dried leaves, grass clippings, pretty much anything that is biodegradable into a bin. I bought this stainless steel jar for small scraps before transporting them outside in my compost bin.
3. Recycle plastic bottles, aluminum cans, glass bottles
Depending on where you live, you can get paid to recycle plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and glass bottles. California is ranked in one of the top ten most environmentally-friendly states. If you look on the side of a water bottle, or soda can, you will see “CA CRV”. The California Refund Value is the amount paid per beverage container, either 5 cents for under 24 ounces and 10 cents for 24 ounces or greater. Currently, there are only 10 states (sad) and Guam that pay for recycling: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Vermont.
4. Monitor spending
Money doesn’t grow on trees! How many of us know that but don’t act like it’s the truth? Although I like to be frugal, the shopping-lover inside me likes to emerge whenever there is something cute advertised. I suggest creating a monthly budget on a spreadsheet (Excel or Google Sheets) or on an app like Mint. Now the point of this exercise is not to feel guilt for your spending habits, rather to see where your money is going and opportunities that you can cut back on. Every little bit adds up! Maybe you go out to eat once, twice a day, or visit Starbucks daily. That is one way to cut back. Maybe you buy gas at the most expensive gas station out of convenience, well check out local gas prices, and aim to fill up at a cheaper station.
5. Shop second hand and donate unused clothes
I wasn’t hooked onto thrift shopping until the Goodwill in my city opened up. They had a very nice store layout and their clothes were very organized! My friend Danielle is an avid bargain hunter and can find amazing deals at Goodwill, and other discount stores! Her style is beautiful, and it looks like she spent a small fortune! I discovered from her there are so many possibilities with buying second hand. Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thismodestlife/ I’ve found so many amazing clothes at Goodwill and other discount stores for super cheap. If there are clothes that don’t fit me anymore, or I don’t want, I donate to Goodwill and it is nice knowing they aren’t going to be clogging up the landfill! In my post about (insert link of how I scored…) I discovered an online second hand store called Swap.com. Here is a coupon code for 40% off your first order by using this referral link: https://refer.swap.com/s/merrymaddenmail
6. Save tissue paper and gift bags
I save all the tissue paper and gift bags I get from Christmas and birthdays. The only bags I won’t save is if they are crushed/unpresentable. I will reuse them when I give gifts, and that way I don’t have to go out to the store and keep buying new ones. Gift bags can be a little pricey, so I like going to Dollar Tree for gift bags if I need a specific kind or size that I don’t already have. Another little tip-if the tissue paper is too crinkled, trying flattening it out with your hands and fold fist. If that doesn’t work, carefully iron it with something over it so it doesn’t burn the paper.
7. Reduce, reuse, recycle
Before you throw an item away, ask yourself these four questions: if it’s broken, can I fix it? If it is in good condition can I repurpose it? Can this be recycled or even upcycled? Is this in good condition that I can sell it? I was in my parents’ neighborhood, and I saw 5 rusty iron plant stands sitting on the curb. I knocked on the door of the home where the stands were and asked if I could take them. The lady said, oh sure, I am moving and don’t want them anymore. I saw potential in the plant stands, and with a bristle brush to scrape off the rust, and a few spraint cans, they look brand new! Three of the stands are very tall and brand new, they can easily run over $100 apiece, and I got them for free, only had to pay for spray paint. I am not skilled with spray paint so my husband did it for me. He also spray painted my old desk that I will be using in our craft room/office!
8. Don’t throw away napkins
When you order takeout from a restaurant, they usually include a small stack of napkins in your food bag. I know I always have a stack of napkins that are leftover or that I didn’t use. What I do with them is keep them in my car-because let’s be real-we all have those pimple spottings when we are at a stoplight, and it much more sanitary to use a tissue/napkin to pop a pimple (if you absolutely must and it is ready to pop) than our fingers. Also, if your nose starts to run, or a spill needs to be wiped up, etc-napkins come in handy!
9. Plant a garden
Sounds intimidating, but it can be so easy! Start small by planting herbs in small gardening pots, and ‘grow’ from there. There are several vegetables that are easy to regrow from the grocery store! I bought green onions last year, and I planted them in water and they had a healthy root system for months. I planted them in the dirt last month, and they are thriving like never before! I also had a red onion that started to develop shoots, so I planted that in my little garden as well. There are also other easy types of gardens that you can create- a succulent garden, flower garden, and even a rock garden!
10. Participate in Ohm Connect Hours
I discovered this company that makes saving energy into a competitive game. It is called Ohm Connect and you earn points (that you can cash out) for saving energy and by beating your forecasted energy use goal. Ohm Connect alerts you when a challenge is coming up. Challenges that for one hour, for example most of the challenges we’ve participated in are from 7-8 pm. We just turn off our lights, unplug appliances for an hour, and then we get points. For every 100 points you earn, you earn $1 and can cash out via Pay Pal, Amazon or Target gift card, Ohm Connect store credit, or to donate to a charity! You can also collect tokens to use for prizes or protect your energy streak. It is a great incentive to save energy and cut down on your energy bill!
10 Products I Use to Lessen Waste/Be Environmentally Conscious
- Stasher bags:
Stasher bags are silicone bags that you can freeze, microwave, use in the oven, and are dishwasher safe. Stasher bags do not contain BPA, PVC, or latex. These bags are reusable so you don’t have to buy plastic sandwich bags as often, or at all. Stasher bags come in different colors and sizes to accommodate your needs.
- Copper coffee filter/reusable Kcup:
Our Cuisinart coffee maker has a reusable copper mesh filter so we don’t need to buy paper filters. Also it comes with a reusable K Cup that I can scoop coffee into for single serves. Also, there’s a company called Gourmesso that has compostable k cups!!
- Reusable straws:
I love my coffee/beverage tumblers. Straws are perfect to omit the ‘I missed my mouth and now iced coffee is spilled on my shirt’ scenario. Reusable straws are perfect for on the go, or at home. Bring your reusable tumbler and straw to Starbucks, or another coffee shop sometime to save on paper cups.
- Wool dryer balls:
According to Natural Resources Defense Council https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/ene_14060901a.pdf, Americans dry on average 5 loads of laundry per week. So at least 5 dryer sheets a week are being used and tossed away. Dryer sheets can cost anywhere from $1.99 (34ct) to $9.99 (200+ct) depending what brand you buy. Dryer balls can be used over and over again and the one time cost is about what you would spend for 200+count dryer sheets. Wool dryer balls allow hot air to circulate the clothes in the dryer better, reducing dryer time and saving energy costs.Plus, you don’t have to buy fabric softeners anymore!
- Compostable Clorox wipes:
I use Clorox wipes to disinfect my home, and these are even better than the regular Clorox wipes. They are safe around kids, pets and food.They’re made out of plant-based cloth that makes them 100% compostable! When I am done with these wipes, I just toss in my compost bin. If you are sensitive to chemicals, these wipes clean without harsh chemicals or fumes.
Compostable bowls, cups, and plates
- Bamboo drying rack:
Bamboo is a beautiful renewable resource which makes it a sustainable alternative from using plastic dish drainers. What I love about this drying rack is that unlike wood, bamboo is antibacterial so it won’t stain or mold. When my dishes are dried, I can simply fold it up and put it away in my drawer.
- Cloth napkins:
Save on buying paper napkins and paper towels by reusing cloth napkins at meals. I think it is easy to grab a paper towel to wipe a small part of your mouth, you probably didn’t need a full sheet to get the job done. Cloth napkins will make you look fancy, and you’ll be cutting out waste. I bought white napkins as they are universal and can match anything. I just soak mine in bleach to get the stains out.
- Amazon smart plug:
Smart plugs allow you to monitor energy use from your smartphone. By using smart plugs in your home, you can control when devices should turn off or on. Smart plugs will alert you if a device/appliance starts using significant amounts of energy. Did you know that there are some devices that are using energy even when not in use? This is known as “vampire draw.” An Amazon smart plug can help you identify these devices so you can save on your energy use.
- Love Home & Planet Rose Petal & Murumuru Re-Wear Dry Wash Spray:
This spray is a must for those clothes that are iffy. It’s like dry shampoo for hair! For clothes that you feel can be worn a second or third time (no strong odor or stains), this spray helps to preserve the life of clothes so you don’t have to wash your clothes after one wear. Unfortunately I have a sweating problem, so I only wear shirts once before washing, but for cardigans, skirts, and pants, this is a great spray and it smells so good too! It is available at Target.
- Beeswax Reusable Wraps
How cute are these? You can even make them yourself with an Etsy DIY kit! These little wraps are great for covering/preserving food and are essentially press and seal cling wrap, but reusable. It is easy to seal food and containers with these wraps as it just uses the warmth from your hands and a little squeeze. They are washable (hand wash only) just clean with cold water and gentle soap.
Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for more tips!