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Eco-Friendly Solutions for the Whole Family

Going green sounds great to most people, but doing it as a family can be quite a challenge. In addition to teaching children about the environmental impact of their actions, parents often have to teach them about self-control as well. Unfortunately, considering the consumerist society we live in, that’s easier said than done.

That’s why it’s important to remember that going eco-friendly as a family is about forming new habits and finding alternative solutions. The key is to make changes that won’t feel radical but will still make a significant positive impact on the grand scale of things.

If you and your family are looking for simple ways to go green in the upcoming period, the tips below are an excellent start. Give them a try, and see which ones best fit your lifestyle. You might just be surprised that none of them will pose that big of a challenge – and they may end up saving you some money as well.

1.   Ditch single-use items

One of the worst habits humanity has come to develop in the last century is relying on items that serve a purpose once and are then thrown out, ending up in a landfill or polluting our oceans. There are so many single-use items being used on a daily basis that we often don’t even realize we’re contributing to the problem. Without being aware of it, we create demand for coffee cups lined with polyethylene (plastic), plastic straws, PET water bottles, disposable cutlery, styrofoam containers, paper tissues, plastic bags. The list goes on and on.

We also mostly fail to realize that all of these objects have counterparts that are not only reusable, but also durable, of high quality, and some would argue better for our health. Thus, the first step towards going green should be to make a few small investments in the things your family uses the most.

Why not purchase a reusable water bottle? Or, if you’re big fans of straws, you can get ones made out of stainless steel or glass? Replace plastic cutlery with what you already have at home, and replace paper tissues with handkerchiefs. You can go as far as to reduce the amount of toilet paper you use by installing an affordable, easy to use bidet attachment.

2.   Drive less

CO2 emissions are a significant contributor to pollution, and driving (especially when you’re in your car alone) is a big part of the problem. Most experts agree that carpooling, using public transportation, or better yet, walking, are all much better solutions. The problem is, however, that not everyone has access to a public transport system, or is within walking distance from their job.

In these cases, a bicycle can be a good choice. Not only is it fast, but it’s also great for cardiovascular health, without being bad for the environment. If you need to cover larger distances on your way to work or simply don’t want to arrive exhausted, you could invest in an e-bike that will get you to your destination in no time.

3.   Say no to fast fashion

We don’t often think about it, but our clothing has a huge impact on Earth’s natural resources. Not only is the fashion industry a big polluter, but it’s also a well-oiled marketing machine that makes us think that what we’re wearing has to change every three months. Think about it this way: how many items do you currently have in your closet that you haven’t worn in the past year? Moreover, how many garments have you purchased for your children that they grew out of within just a few wears?

Fortunately enough, there are plenty of solutions you and your family can start implementing. Lowering the amount of clothing you purchase, opting for sustainable options, taking good care of what you already have, and donating usable items you don’t need anymore are all great ways to make an impact, however small. You can also look into more eco-friendly fabrics, or try to shop for secondhand items whenever possible.

4.   Downsize

Ok, we realize that moving isn’t a change that’s going to work for everyone, but if you’re really determined to minimize your ecological impact, it’s not a bad idea to consider downsizing your home. Tiny living doesn’t have to feel cramped, and it can have several positive impacts. First and foremost, smaller homes consume less energy. Secondly, they don’t offer that much storage space, which will automatically reduce the number of things you buy.

If, however, you’re not interested in making such a change, you can still make your home more eco-friendly. Investments such as installing a solar roof, insulating your walls, or planting a small garden (you can even do this in an apartment), are all ways to contribute to a greener future.

5.   Start a toy & book exchange

It’s no secret that children grow tired of their toys quickly. Unfortunately, they tend to be made from plastic and often end up in landfills or creating unnecessary clutter in your home. One of the creative ways you could get rid of unwanted playthings (books included) is to organize an exchange with families who have kids the same age. You could decide to rotate toys every couple of months, which allows your kids to have a feel of novelty, without actually spending money on something they’ll forget about within two weeks’ time.

In the end, there are numerous ways you and your family can make a positive impact, as long as you’re ready to make a few adjustments. If you’re only starting the process, let yourself take things slow. Making one small change at a time is much better than becoming overwhelmed by a new lifestyle and deciding that it’s no good for your needs.

In addition to the five tips mentioned in this article, there are plenty of other actions you can take. From purchasing packaging-free to composting or installing a low-flow showerhead, there is more than one way to contribute to a better future. The fact that you’re trying is already a big step in the right direction.

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