Eco-Conscious: One Step at a Time

Sustainable living for beginners: Don’t feel like you have to go from 0 to 60 when trying to be more earth-friendly. Take it one step at a time.

We are inundated with messages about the environment and all the eco-friendly choices we should be making. Many of us care about our planet, but the list of things that we are told to do grows and grows and we can easily become overwhelmed and discouraged.

Making any major life change is difficult. If you feel overwhelmed, take it slowly. Just make one small change. When you have managed that and it has become a habit, make another change. Over time all of those small changes will add up to a significant shift in your lifestyle.

Wondering what change to make first? We have 10 ideas for you. We’ll start with a few simple ideas, ones that you’ve probably thought about doing, but might not have committed to yet. Then we’ll suggest some ideas to take living eco-consciously a little further. Don’t worry! All of our ideas are “starter” ideas. Ways to begin the journey to green living.

So, pick one, try it out, and let us know how it goes!

Idea #1: Recycle

Check with your local recycling center to understand what can or cannot be recycled in your area. Keep a bin near the trash can or in a kitchen cupboard to make it easier to recycle items as you cook or clean. In general, all cardboard, plastic bottles, glass, and newspaper can be recycled.

Idea #2: Reusable Water Bottle

Are you starting to feel a tinge of guilt every time you use a single-use plastic water bottle? Maybe it’s time to get out the reusable water bottle sitting in the back of your cupboard.

Idea #3: Reusable Coffee Cup

Speaking of reusable cups…. While you’re searching for that reusable water bottle, grab the reusable coffee cup as well.

Idea #4: Reusable Shopping Bags

By now, most of us have reusable shopping bags. They’re part of all sorts of giveaways and promotional items. We just need to get them out and use them! Store them in your car, so that they are ready to go when you make a grocery run.

Idea #5: Reusable Lunch Supplies

And the final suggestion in the “reusable” theme - invest in reusable lunch containers. Kitchen Stewardship has some great ideas in this article. Bonus for all of you packing school lunches - pick up tips for avoiding food waste in school lunches as well.

Idea #6: Water Conservation Kit

Conserve water (and save on your water bill) by installing a high-efficiency showerhead, a faucet aerator, and more with a water conservation kit like this one from Conservation Mart.

Idea #7: Party Supplies

Instead of paper plates and plastic silverware, put together a party set. You can purchase an inexpensive set of white plates that will go with any theme or put together a hodgepodge of styles from local thrift or antique stores. Same with silverware. Whatever you decide, having a set of real plates and silverware that you use for parties will also save you money in the long run!

Idea #8: Plastic-Free Food Storage

We’ve all been raised with Tupperware, Ziploc bags, and plastic wrap, but moving towards plastic-free food storage is better for the environment and also safer for us. Learn more about plastic-free food storage from treehugger.com and use your Tupperware to organize craft supplies, tools, and other odds and ends instead.

Idea #9: Reduce Food Waste

Plan your meals, eat what is in the refrigerator and cupboard, serve portion sizes appropriate for your family and guests, and don’t have lots of extra food around the house. If you feel up for it, composting the food waste you do create would be ah-mazing! Find tips for home composting here. Oh, and when purchasing food at the grocery store buy products in paper cartons, bring your own produce bags, and don’t forget Idea #4 (Reusable Shopping Bags). Or Idea #8 (Plastic-Free Food Storage)!

Idea #10: Reduce what you buy

Say what? Yes, reduce what you buy. Think about your purchases before you make them. Do you really need that new sweater? Or 5 different shades of lipstick? Or another kitchen gadget? Do you sometimes make a purchase, knowing that you already have whatever it is, because it’s easier to click a button or run into a store than it is to look under your bed or in your attic?

BONUS IDEA: Give a gift that grows!

And of course, when it’s time to buy a gift or host an event with party favors or giveaways, consider giving the gift of a tree - like Little Saps!

Whatever idea you choose, remember to start with one and grow from there. At Little Saps, we believe that big ideas have small beginnings. That applies to making the shift to green living as well.