Earth Day 2019: Better Green Than Perfect

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Welcome to my 4th annual Earth Day post – a look at how green we are as a family, and a chance for you to stop and think about all the little & big things you do to help protect our planet. This year’s theme is “Better Green Than Perfect” (ya know, like better done than perfect) because…

“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.

Anne-Marie Bonneau
Earth Day 2019 - mamanonthetrail.com

The small changes and choices that we make every day add up – you don’t have to make all the changes today, tomorrow, nor even this year, and you don’t have to make these changes perfectly, but you have to make them. Set yourself some goals and go a little greener, in your own way, all the time – better green than perfect!

Take a moment to take stock of all of the little things you do every day that are eco-friendly. Go room by room through your house, think about your daily routine hour by hour, and use my list here as a guide. And then set a few goals for the next week, month, year, five years! And these goals can include phrases like “try to” and “do more” and “less often” and “more frequently” – better green than perfect!

As of Earth Day 2019, these are all of the eco-friendly habits we’ve adopted, changes we’ve made, and actions we’ve taken to go green AND foster a love of green spaces…

Earth Day small graphics_1 go green in the kitchen - mamanonthetrail.com

In the Kitchen we…

  1. buy food in bulk (or larger quantities)
  2. shop for bulk food using reusable bulk food bags (from Omaïki*)
  3. store bulk food in (used) glass jars
  4. meal plan and buy only what we need for the week to avoid waste
  5. cook from scratch and buy as little pre-made food as possible
  6. shop with reusable grocery bags
  7. use reusable mesh produce bags (from gogoBags)
  8. try to buy local & organic when we can
  9. cook large meals and save leftovers to avoid cooking on another night
  10. store leftovers in reusable containers
  11. no longer use plastic wrap, have reduced our tinfoil use drastically, and use beeswax wrap (from BOHO&HOBO) as much as we can
  12. use silicone baking mat instead of tinfoil
  13. pack lunches and snacks in reusable containers and reusable snack bags (from Kids Konserve*, Litsie Creations, gogoBags & Omaïki*)
  14. use reusable lunch bags
  15. use reusable tea bags (from gogoBags)
  16. keep the freezer full to save energy
  17. open the oven to heat the room after use (in the colder months)
  18. avoid using the stove & oven in the summertime as much as we can
  19. avoid disposable cookware
  20. refuse plastic straws (when we remember)
  21. refuse paper napkins (when we remember)
  22. drink tap water
  23. use the same water glass multiple times
  24. use a dishcloth and a dish towel
  25. fill the sink half-way one time and wash dishes from cleanest to dirtiest
  26. use all-natural plant-based eco-friendly dish soap (from Young Living*)
  27. try to avoid rinsing dishes after washing
  28. use cloth napkins
  29. use cloth paper towels (from Marley’s Monsters) almost exclusively
  30. save grey water for houseplants
  31. use an all-natural plant-based eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner to clean all kitchen surfaces (from Young Living*)
Earth Day small graphics_2 go green in the nursery - mamanonthetrail.com

In the Nursery we…

  1. use cloth diapers
  2. use the exact same cloth diapers with Scout as we did with Huckleberry
  3. use reusable fleece liners in the diapers at home
  4. use cloth wipes made from old shirts and pyjama pants (plus some from Marley’s Monsters)
  5. make our own all-natural wipe solution (we’ve since updated this recipe to use all-natural plant-based eco-friendly products from Young Living*)
  6. send cloth diapers and wipes to daycare (well, Huckleberry is potty-trained and Scout isn’t at daycare yet but I’ll leave this and the next point here still)
  7. send flushable bio-liners to daycare (from Bummis* but Omaïki* makes some great ones too)
  8. use Les produits de MaYa as an all-natural cleanser and moisturizer
  9. use all-natural plant-based eco-friendly skin care products (from Young Living*)
  10. fill the drawers with handmedowns and handmebacks
  11. try to make informed and sustainable clothing purchases when we do need to buy some clothing for the boys
  12. chose a mattress and mattress protector made of organic cotton
  13. repurposed shower cards as decorations and now we repurpose artwork from daycare as decorations
  14. use a manual breast pump
Earth Day small graphics_3 go green in the bathroom - mamanonthetrail.com

In the Bathroom we…

  1. use all-natural plant-based eco-friendly face wash, toner & moisturizer (from Young Living*)
  2. use all-natural mineral-based makeup (from Young Living*)
  3. use cloth make-up remover pads made from old t-shirts and pyjamas (plus a few from Omaïki*)
  4. wash with locally-made all-natural soap (from Shiva’s Delight) or all-natural plant-based body wash (from Young Living*)
  5. choose all-natural products from companies like Green Beaver* or Young Living* when we need something more for our skincare or hygiene routines (like lip balm, or a change in moisturizer, etc.)
  6. choose glasses over disposable contact lenses often
  7. use family cloth a.k.a. reusable toilet paper (from Bummis* and Omaïki*) (mostly me right now, but working on the others)
  8. use mama cloth a.k.a. cloth menstrual pads (from Öko Creations and Omaïki*)
  9. use a menstrual cup (from DivaCup*)
  10. shave my legs once every never (in the colder months, anyway)
  11. use Les produits de MaYa as an all-natural after-shave lotion (and more!)
  12. co-shower with Huckleberry when it works with our schedule
  13. only shower 1-2 times per week
  14. only wash my hair once a week
  15. use homemade natural dry shampoo (Maman Loup has the recipe)
  16. use all-natural plant-based eco-friendly shampoo & conditioner (from YYoung Living*)
  17. installed a low flow shower head
  18. use the same towel multiple times
  19. turn off the water while brushing teeth
  20. use a bamboo toothbrush and all-natural toothpaste (toothbrushes are from Go Green Baby and BOHO&HOBO, and we love Green Beaver toothpaste* and Thieves toothpaste from Young Living*)
  21. use handkerchiefs instead of facial tissues (Kleenex) as much as we can (from Omaïki*)
  22. use old dishcloths and dish towels to clean
  23. use an all-natural plant-based eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner to clean all bathroom surfaces (from Young Living*)
  24. use an all-natural plant-based eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner to clean the tub & toilet (from Young Living*)
  25. wash the dog with natural homemade dog shampoo
Earth Day small graphics_4 go green in the laundry room - mamanonthetrail.com

In the Laundry Room we…

  1. wear pants, sweaters and some tops multiple times before washing
  2. wear the same pyjamas multiple times before washing
  3. spot wash when possible
  4. wash most laundry with cold water
  5. run the dryer on low-heat
  6. use wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets (from Moss Creek Wool Works*)
  7. use all-natural plant-based eco-friendly laundry soap (from Young Living*)
  8. do the laundry later in the evening to avoid consuming too much electricity during peak times
  9. turn unwearable items into new items (like wipes, handkerchiefs, cleaning cloths, and more)
Earth Day small graphics_5 go green in your home - mamanonthetrail.com

In Our Lives we…

  1. keep houseplants
  2. do all of our cleaning with an all-natural plant-based eco-friendly multipurpose cleaner (from Young Living*)
  3. do not buy products in aerosol cans
  4. reuse packaging when possible
  5. reuse all bubble mailers, other mailer envelops and packages, and the air-filled packaging materials
  6. recycle whatever we cannot reuse
  7. wash our recycling containers with our dishes
  8. recycle electronics, batteries, ink cartridges, light bulbs, etc., appropriately
  9. try to throw away as little as possible
  10. try to repair items before getting rid of them
  11. use reusable water bottles
  12. buy secondhand
  13. donate to local charity-run secondhand stores
  14. host clothing swaps for adult & children’s clothing
  15. host book swaps
  16. participate in our local Bunz Community (to trade with neighbours)
  17. replace products that run out/break with a more eco-friendly alternative
  18. walk or carpool when possible
  19. have just one car for our family
  20. run multiple errands at a time
  21. park in one place and walk to run a few errands
  22. eat in restaurants that source locally
  23. keep the heat/AC low
  24. turn heat/AC off when we are away
  25. use natural lighting as late as possible
  26. turn off the lights when we aren’t in the room
  27. use CFL and LED bulbs
  28. turn electronics off at night
  29. unplug electronics when we are away
  30. use the library instead of always buying new books
  31. minimize TV time and maximize outside time
  32. observe a tech-free time from when daycare ends until bedtime
  33. use electronic to-do lists instead of paper ones (I also have an erasable pen for when I need a paper list)
  34. opt for paperless billing and pay bills online
  35. print as few things as possible (in fact we no longer own a printer at home)
  36. file our taxes electronically
  37. take the stairs as much as we can
  38. try to cultivate a minimalist lifestyle (slowly but surely)
  39. use a green-energy web service to host this blog! (check out Green Geeks*)
Earth Day small graphics_6 go green on the trails - mamanonthetrail.com

On the Trails we…

  1. try to “take only pictures and leave only footprints”
  2. unplug
  3. bring tap water in reusable water bottles (from HydroFlask and HydroBlu)
  4. use our HydroBlu water filtration products to filter water from natural sources
  5. bring snacks in reusable containers and reusable snack bags (from Kids Konserve*, Litsie Creations, gogoBags & Omaïki*)
  6. carry out our trash in a reusable trash bag (just a small wet bag)
  7. leave trails cleaner than we found them
  8. stay on the marked trails
  9. abide by park/trail rules
  10. bury or carry out Kirby’s doggie waste
  11. use reusable poobags (from Koselig Kids)
  12. use designated washrooms/outhouses
  13. use family cloth for #1
  14. continue to cloth diaper even when hiking/camping
  15. use eco-friendly and all-natural skin care products for the outdoors (from Les produits de Maya, Honey Pot Herbals and Young Living*
  16. volunteer as ambassadors (and now just as hike hosts) to our local branch of Hike it Baby
  17. help teach the next generation to love and appreciate nature
  18. partake in fun activities outside, like hiking, camping and geocaching, to help our sons learn to appreciate nature and all it has to offer
  19. work with many brands/companies that take care of our planet

Hey! That’s ~30 new changes or more eco-friendly improvements since last year! Go us!

(Changes/improvements that are new this year are in bold).

Earth Day small graphics_7 earth day 2020 goals - mamanonthetrail.com

No great change is made overnight nor in one fell swoop. These things take time, and effort, and some planning ahead, and we are far from perfect. But, better GREEN than perfect! Make one small change today, and plan to make some more in the coming days, weeks and months – you’ve got this!

By Earth Day 2020, these are the items I would like to see added to the above list…

  • stop using tinfoil altogether
  • stop using plastic zipper top bags altogether
  • pick up litter every time we are out
  • donate to AND volunteer with environmental organizations like Leave No Trace Canada and A Greener Future
  • engage in environmental stewardship projects with our students and our son

REDUCE – REUSE – RECYCLE – REPLACE – REFUSE

What are the most creative ways that you have greened your life? Do you see anything that we could add to our list? I would love to read your suggestions in the comment section below.

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One thought on “Earth Day 2019: Better Green Than Perfect

  1. Pingback: Earth Day Extravaganza (Post Roundup) - Maman on the Trail

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