Have you made all of the basic going green lifestyle swaps, and now you want more? Read our list of the next steps in going green for some great ideas!
By now, you’ve taken all of the basic steps in going green. You’ve switched to green cleaners. You’ve swapped all of your toxic makeup for natural makeup. All of your personal care products are squeaky clean.
You’d be lost without your reusable shopping bags. You use cloth napkins instead of paper ones. You used cloth diapers with your babies. And you, yourself, use eco-friendly period options like a menstrual cup and/or cloth pads.
There is still more you can do. You just know it. But what’s the next step you need to take in going green?
Here are 10 ideas to help you determine your next step in going green. Choose one that grabs you and run with it!
1. Choose Sustainable Clothing
Switching to sustainable clothing was something that has fallen near the bottom of our to-do list. Not because we don’t want to. Of course we do. The cost of clothing the entire family in only sustainable brands was outside of our budget.
So rather than trying to swap out our entire wardrobe, we’re trying to make better decisions when we need to replace worn out items. Since I’ve lost 35+ pounds this year, I’ve found myself in a position of needing some new clothes.
prAna is one brand I knew for their yoga clothes, but I didn’t know they made everyday clothes too. So they sent me a pair of their Kara Jeans and a Deedra Sweater Tunic.
I will need to have the jeans altered a bit (they are a bit long for me and I’m 5’7″), but they fit true to size. The sweater is so super cozy and warm, I know that I’ll be bundled up in it frequently this winter!
Best of all, I will know that my new clothes came from a brand that cares as much for the earth and its inhabitants as I do.
If you haven’t shopped with them before, prAna offers a line of sustainable, recycled, fair trade certified and hemp items. If you’re not familiar with why hemp makes great sustainable and eco-friendly clothing, read this. Pretty neat, huh?
2. Protect Where You Sleep
The bedroom is another area that is a holdout in going green due to the significant investment in replacing mattresses. We’re fortunate enough to have all non-toxic mattresses in our homes, but I know making that switch can be a big leap.
If you want to clean up your bedroom, but can’t make a big investment just yet, consider swapping your pillows first. After all, your face is laying on your pillow all night long (which equates to 1/3 of your life)! You want to be sleeping on a non-toxic pillow.
Avocado Green Mattress is one company that makes non-toxic, eco-friendly mattresses and pillows that are better for your health and the planet. They’re made from natural and organic materials, including 100% natural Dunlop latex (tree-tapped, similar to maple syrup), natural wool and organic cotton.
These pillows are a better choice because they contain no petroleum-based polyurethane foams to break down and no memory foams to off-gas. No chemical adhesives and no chemical flame retardants are used, so you won’t be breathing those toxic chemical odors.
Avocado is a member of 1% for the Planet, so they donate 1% of their revenues to vetted nonprofits related to the interrelated issues of climate change, healthy food systems, land management, water resources, pollution and wildlife diversity.
If you’re scared of buying a mattress you haven’t laid on, they offer a risk-free 100-night trial (with free pickups!), a 25-year warranty and free shipping anywhere in the USA. Their mattresses are even handmade in California.
3. Switch to Family Cloth
Switching from toilet paper to family cloth is a pretty hardcore green switch. I know people who’ve done it, but we’re not ready (and probably never will be).
Do you know how many rolls of toilet paper your family goes through each year? The average person uses about 30 rolls of toilet paper per year. Multiply that by the number of potty trained family members you have in your home and you’ll have your answer.
Did you realize you used that much toilet paper? If you want to cut back, consider switching to family cloth as your next step in going green. You could even use the family cloth for #1 and toilet paper for #2!
4. Update Your Furniture and Flooring
Over time, we all need to replace the furniture and flooring in our homes. It’s usually a big ticket purchase, so it’s something that’s often put off for longer periods of time.
If you need a new area of your lifestyle to attack, take a look at your furniture and flooring. Both of these items can off-gas all sorts of chemicals that are harmful to your health.
Next time to you need to update your furniture or flooring, look at non-toxic and green options. It is a little bit bigger monetary investment up front, but it’s an investment in your family’s health.
5. Minimize Your Belongings
If you’re like most families in the US, you have far too much stuff. We recently moved after 5 years and I was astounded at how much stuff we had collected without realizing it.
We’re currently in the process of sorting through everything so we can donate or sell anything that doesn’t offer value in our lives. I’ve been inspired to minimize my belonging more and more ever since reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.
I have gotten rid of over half of my clothes and my shoes, and I’m whittling it down more since I’ve lost weight. The girls are getting rid of toys they don’t play with and books they’ve outgrown.
And we have plenty of general household items that could be better loved by another family. Minimizing your belongings is one of the easiest things you can do when going green!
6. Attempt Zero Waste
In the US, we create a lot of trash. The average person creates 4.4 pounds of trash each and every day. That’s 1,606 pounds of trash every year!
Those numbers are horrifying. Where will all the garbage go if we continue at this rate? It could end up like a scene out of Idiocracy.
What can you do about it? Attempt to go Zero Waste. That means being hyper vigilant of all of your purchases so that you aren’t creating trash unnecessarily.
I wrote a post on Earth911 a couple years ago about Zero Waste Grocery. It is definitely a challenge to live a Zero Waste lifestyle, especially with children, but a worthy one!
7. Embrace Native, Drought Tolerant Landscaping
Do you have a landscaped yard? If so, do you use only native plants? Or does your yard look more like this one?
If you haven’t embraced native, drought tolerant landscaping, that’s a switch that can make a huge difference for mother nature.
By switching your landscaping to drought-tolerant native plants, you can save up to 550 gallons of water per year from just one plant. Not only will that have an impact on the drought, but on your monthly bill as well!
So consider updating your landscaping to native, drought-tolerant plants as the next step in going green.
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