Earth Day 2016: How Green is Maman on the Trail?

Earth Day 2016 -

Earth Day is like New Year’s for eco-enthusiasts: a time for celebrating, congratulating and making promises for the future. For me, it is a chance to take stock of what I am already doing to reduce my impact on the planet, and to make some resolutions for the coming year. Also, it’s just another excuse to make a big list of awesome and set some goals. And that is exactly what I have done here.

As of Earth Day 2016, these are all of the eco-friendly habits we’ve adopted and changes we’ve made…

Earth Day 2016 -

In the Kitchen we…

  1. buy food in bulk (or larger quantities)
  2. store bulk food in (used) glass jars
  3. plan meals so that we only buy what we need
  4. cook from scratch
  5. shop with reusable grocery bags
  6. store leftovers in plastic containers
  7. pack lunches in plastic containers
  8. use reusable lunch bags
  9. use vegetable scraps to make broth
  10. keep the freezer full
  11. open the oven to heat the room after use
  12. avoid using the stove & oven in the summertime
  13. avoid disposable cook wear
  14. drink tap water
  15. use the same water glass multiple times
  16. use a dish cloth and dish towel
  17. fill the sink one time and wash dishes from cleanest to dirtiest
  18. try to avoid rinsing dishes after washing
  19. use cloth napkins

Earth Day 2016 -

In Huckleberry’s Nursery we…

  1. use cloth diapers
  2. use cloth wipes made from old shirts and pyjama pants
  3. make our own mostly all-natural wipe solution
  4. fill the drawers with handmedowns
  5. chose a mattress and mattress protector made of organic cotton
  6. repurposed shower cards as decorations
  7. use a manual breast pump

 Earth Day 2016 -

In the Bathroom we I…

  1. use homemade moisturizer on my face
  2. use cloth make-up remover pads
  3. wash with locally made all-natural soap
  4. choose glasses over disposable contact lenses often
  5. use mama cloth
  6. use a menstrual cup
  7. wash the dog with natural homemade dog shampoo (I’ll share the recipe soon, I promise!)
  8. co-shower with Huckleberry
  9. only shower every other day
  10. use homemade natural dry shampoo (Maman Loup has the recipe)
  11. use 95% biodegradable shampoo & conditioner
  12. installed a low flow shower head
  13. use the same towel multiple times
  14. turn off the water while brushing teeth
  15. use old dish cloths and dish towels to clean
  16. clean the mirror with vinegar and water
  17. clean the sink and tub with an all-natural cleaning product

…and I guess Bookworm does a bit of that too.

Earth Day 2016 -

In the Laundry Room we…

  1. wear pants, sweaters and some tops multiple times before washing
  2. spot wash when possible
  3. wash most laundry with cold water
  4. hang most laundry to dry inside year round and outside when the weather permits
  5. use wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets

Earth Day 2016 -

In Our Lives we…

  1. keep houseplants
  2. avoid buying products in aerosol cans
  3. reuse packaging when possible
  4. recycle whatever we cannot reuse
  5. recycle electronics, batteries, ink cartridges, light bulbs, etc., appropriately
  6. try to throw away as little as possible
  7. try to repair items before getting rid of them
  8. use reusable water bottles
  9. buy secondhand
  10. donate to local secondhand stores
  11. participate in our local Buy Nothing Project (I have a post in the works about that one!)
  12. replace products that run out with a more eco-friendly alternative
  13. walk or carpool when possible
  14. run multiple errands at a time
  15. eat in restaurants that source locally
  16. keep the heat/AC low
  17. turn heat/AC off when we are away
  18. use natural lighting as late as possible
  19. turn off the lights when we aren’t in the room
  20. use CFL and LED bulbs
  21. turn electronics off at night
  22. unplug electronics when we are away
  23. minimize TV time
  24. use electronic to-do lists instead of paper ones
  25. opt for paperless billing and pay bills online
  26. file our taxes electronically
  27. use a green-energy web service to host this blog!
  28. take the stairs as much as we can

Earth Day 2016 -

On the Trails we…

  1. try to “take only pictures and leave only footprints”
  2. unplug
  3. bring tap water in reusable water bottles
  4. bring snacks in reusable containers
  5. carry out our trash
  6. leave trails cleaner than we found them
  7. stay on the marked trails
  8. abide by parks/trail rules
  9. use designated washrooms/outhouses
  10. (I) use family cloth for #1
  11. lead our local branch of Hike it Baby
  12. help teach the next generation to love and appreciate nature

Not bad, not bad at all!

Earth Day 2016 -











Keeping in mind that we are on a budget and these changes take money and time, I have come up with a few more changes to make in the coming year.

By Earth Day 2017, these are the items I would like to see added to the above list…

  • compost
  • reduce use of tinfoil
  • use only in season fruits and vegetables
  • shop local first
  • replace some plastic with glass (lunch containers, water bottles, etc.)
  • use less plastic in general (Ziploc bags, take out utensils, straws, packaging)
  • purchase and use cloth snack bags
  • save and use grey water
  • use eco-friendly dish soap and laundry detergent
  • take shorter and colder showers
  • replace Kirby’s nylon leashes and collars with a hemp or canvas version
  • use family cloth
  • minimize car use
  • pick up litter every time we are out
  • adopt more of a minimalist lifestyle


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.

75 thoughts on “Earth Day 2016: How Green is Maman on the Trail?

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  5. Arfa Moore

    Great post, If you want to do away with this environmentally damaging habit, one of the best ways that you can do is to get yourself an eco-friendly bag. Eco friendly bags are reusable bags that you can use anywhere.

  6. Elizabeth Cox

    I don’t feel that my efforts are super creative but in our home, we recycle, we cloth diaper our son, we use wool dryer balls and we avoid buying plastic cutlery.

  7. Mandy Frantz

    We use cloth diapers! And I am going to be purchasing some mama cloth soon! We also reuse as much as possible.

  8. Joanie Roy

    We will use cloth diapers for our little one. I love shopping from local business (etsy, products made in quebec…)

    1. Monica Post author

      There are so many amazing eco-friendly products made in Quebec! We love Les produits de MaYa, Omaïki (and Lötus), Momzelle, Ékolubi and more!

  9. gloria patterson

    I have cut my use of paper towels by 90% if not more. A roll of towel last me 6 weeks or more.

    I have stopped buying plastic storage containers and the one i have left are very few. I am using glass containers for storage in my pantry and refrigerators. And the best part is I bought them all at thrift stores, and all it took were new lids and rings for mason jars and rubber rings for lidded jars.

    1. Monica Post author

      Paper towels is a big one for us! We just bought some UNpaper Towels from Marley’s Monsters and that’s definitely helping curb our use.

  10. Jen Dantuma

    I’m a naturally frugal person, so I’m always looking for ways to make do, etc. My most creative ways that I’ve greened my life is beginning raised bed gardens in galvanized metal water troughs (looks adorable and keeps out bunnies, etc.), I save all holey socks, old towels & dishcloths to use as rags (even clothes that are in super bad shape), and I use the fallen branches from my trees to build trellises and tepees as flower and vegetable supports. One more thing – when my terra cotta flower pots get broken, I save all pieces and in top of flower pots as a mulch substitute.

  11. Crissie Woolard

    Not very creative but one thing we have started doing this year is a compost. It is actually very neat and my children love doing this with me

  12. Allison

    It’s not super-creative, but I’ve made a major effort to green my life by using cloth diapers and wipes with my daughter. & I am the only one of my friends & family doing so, so I suppose it’s creative amongst my circle.

  13. Soozle

    Its not really creative, persay, but I grow my own veggies outdoors when the weather permits and have started sprouting indoors and growing greens inside too!

  14. Cheryll

    We’ve really made a push in the kitchen…buying bulk, using reuseable containers, cooking from scratch whenever we can and growing our own veggies. We’ve also made efforts to reduce light use (use LEDs). We have lots more work to do.

  15. natalie nichols

    We went from disposable diapers to cloth. I don’t know if we’re making a difference but we like cloth better either way.

  16. Robin Diaz

    We have stopped watching TV, we were a one car household for about a year (we will be soon again once we can afford a truck with a backseat big enough to fit a couple carseats), and we’ve switched from washing with hot water to cold. We’ve also started washing dishes by hand with all natural soap and we’ve started washing laundry with soap nuts!

  17. Wanda Tracey

    I have been going green by composting and using the compost in my garden.We have been enjoying a tree that we planted too and I just read somewhere that one tree can produce enough oxygen in one season for ten people.

  18. Kayla D

    The most creative way we have “gone green” is by allowing our small livestock to aid in controlling bugs, yard growth, etc. It works wonderfully, brings a lot of joy, and prevents us from having to run the mower so frequently.

  19. Allie f

    I’ve handmade reusable dish napkins/paper towels by using old bandanas and tye dying them with natural dyes!! Fun and eco-friendly!

  20. Émilie Godbout-Beaulieu

    I turn off the water while I’m in the shower and lathering myself with soap. Every little bit helps! 🙂

  21. Tracy

    That’s great! I don’t think anything I do is super creative but one of my favorites is planting a garden.

  22. KBear

    This is a great post! Gives me lots of ideas! The most creative way I have greened my life would have to be utilizing reusable items for gift wrap! Reusable fabric bags, newspaper, etc 🙂

  23. Laurie P

    the most creative ways that we have greened our life? most recently, repurposed my kiddos cloth diaper flats and now use them around the house for dusting, cleaning…..totally ditched paper towels, etc.

  24. nicky

    What a great list of ideas! I’ve been using cloth pads for a while, and think they are great. Also, reusable travel mugs, showers instead of baths, hanging laundry to dry, and washing in cold water instead of hot.

  25. Jenna D

    We’ve worked hard to reduce the amount of waste we generate by purchasing items with less/recycled packaging, or in bulk from shops that will allow us to use glass jars to fill. We are mindful about preparing the right amount of food, or being creative about ways to repurpose leftovers into another meal, and we have been vigilant about composting everything we can!

  26. Nathalie Demers

    We use worn out clothing items as rags in the garage and around the house for cleaning. We strongly believe in handmedowns, and pass on clothes to charities.

  27. Leigh Kitchens

    I was shocked at how many of the items on your list I already do without thinking in an effort to save money (which also saves resources). I thought I was the only one who leaves the oven door cracked to let the heat out into the room in the winter! LOL. Your list also gave me ideas about what to work on for this coming year too! Thank you.

  28. Laura

    The most creative way that we have greened our lives is by purchasing mostly used products. I hate the fact that so many usable items go into landfills. Not buying new is a great way to help promote a ‘green’ society.

  29. Lynda Cook

    This was a great post, after reading I didn’t realize I was already doing so many of these, and I have room for improvement but every little bit helps!!

  30. Rosanne Robinson

    Wow, this is a terrific list and a great reminder that if we all practice going green, it can add up to making a big difference. We don’t have any creative ways to go green, but we refuse to purchase products that contain chemicals or products encased in hard plastic. We purchase all natural cleaners, personal care items, and laundry detergent.

  31. Gabrielle Nomdefamille

    We’re always trying to be Greene, but now I always stop myself to ask if. Something can be used just one more time before being recycled/composted/trashed. By get Big another use ou Of everything l as comes into my house and my life, helping me cut waste and clutter all at once. The get now a big one is reusing coffee grounds for a face scrub or something onrertilize my plants. Works great!

  32. Lori L.

    Some ways we’ve gone green include cloth diapering, recycling, being mindful of energy consumption and switching all lights in the house to LED. Walking whenever possible instead of driving the van and buying clothes at thrift shops.

  33. Ashley Chassereau Parks

    I don’t know if any of our ways of going green are creative, but we cloth diaper, mama cloth, compost some, recycle when we can, make our own wool dryer balls, and try to use eco friendly products in our home.

  34. jan

    I really love this list! Need to post it for the kids. The most creative way that we have greened our life is by requesting no gifts for birthdays and holidays. So many items were being received that were not truly necessary or even all that wanted.

  35. Debbie S.

    What a great list of easy ways to go green. We keep our deep freeze as full as possible. We clean with vinegar. we have signed up to receive most of our bills online. we garden without chemicals.

  36. kathy downey

    It was so refreshing to read this post again with friendly reminders,we recycle when ever possible,we buy all food in bulk and donate used clothing and other household items.This year we are putting in another small garden.

  37. Olivia

    Would love to do more but so far we do the following, use reusable containers for lunches and storage (still trying to get rid of the throw away wraps and foil but aren’t quite there yet, switching over to un-paper towels, we still have our keurig but only use the reusable cups don’t buy the disposables anymore, we recycle and hope to home compost in our new home (previously we had green bin roadside pickup), I was laundry in cold and hang to dry inside and outside so we hang dry all year round. I only shower every other day, use cloth makeup remover pads, cloth menstrual products and a menstrual cup. We also NEVER buy disposable water bottles, my husband and I each have one that we use every single day and love. My office buys cases and cases of disposable water bottles and it kills me just watching them use them. Our other big thing is I’m building our stash of cloth diapers and wipes to use when little one joins our family.

  38. Renee Rousseau

    Our family has become proficient at recycling this year. We also try to go green with gifts for family and friends. We just bought our newborn niece the cutest cloth diapers!

  39. Molly

    These are all really good ideas! Lately, I’ve been bringing all my food to work in reusable snack bags or glass containers. I also bring home any kitchen scraps that I can compost, rather than throwing out at work. We also walk to our cvs, rather than driving (unfortunately, that’s about the only store we can walk to, due to busy roads). We’re also planting all native plants in the garden (not counting the vegetable garden) and are going to install a wet garden to help manage the excess rain water. I’m also taking a Life Cycle Assessment course and am trying to implement ways to reduce the carbon footprint of our products at work, and design them to be more green.

  40. Melissa Stutzman

    Trying to add more each year but so far we compost and recycle, hang clothing out to dry when the weather is good, make our own cleaning products, use dryer balls when we use the dryer and we have solar panels. When our little one is born in June we plan to cloth diaper and use cloth wipes.

  41. M Hobson

    We buy in bulk for food and toiletries. We pack leftovers in reusable containers and use wool dryer balls for softening and static reduction.

  42. Maddy k lewis

    We buy in bulk when it comes to food, cleaning products/tolieties, baby products, we also use ego friendly cleaning products, and laundry products to wash our clothes! We go paperless with everything as well

  43. Ashley Walker

    The best way I’ve “greened” my life was by cloth diapering my children and also using my goats as an eco friendly method to clear land for people who didn’t want to use machinery, especially in delicate ecosystems like land next to wetlands and sensitive environments.

  44. Rebecca Hurley

    The most creative way that I have “greened” my life is probably using the diva cup….I don’t know if that’s creative – but it’s definitely unique in my circle of friends!

  45. DJ

    We compost and recycle, but this year we also ditched our microwave to be healthier and help cut energy waste.

  46. Amber Ludwig

    We get our water from a local spring!! We are so lucky to have that option 🙂 I also like to shop resales for our clothing much more than I use to!! Such a great way to cut down on so much unnecessary clutter and overabundance of stuff that ends up in landfills one day anyways!

  47. KD

    It is great to revisit this a year later.

    In 2016 we planted our first garden (had only lived in apartments without balconies until then). We grew kale and flowers in our front yard, and vegetables, herbs, and flowers in the backyard. This year we will do two plantings of spinach/kale and do more container gardening (as we only have a bit of space in the garden beside the house).

    I do many items on the kitchen list already, but usually compost my veggie scraps and buy veggie bouillon cubes. I’ll try to save them to make broth first, then compost them.

  48. Wendy

    We have made a couple of new changes this year. My daughter gave me some reusable produce bags for shopping – love them!! We are also now using paperless paper towels and napkins. All the simple changes add up!

  49. Jennifer Thompson Valdyke

    The biggest waste I saw oir family using was the plastic produce bags. We used reusable shopping bags but still used plastic produce bags until i found reusable mesh bags for produce. Game changer!

  50. Tannis W

    We try to compost as much as possible and then use that in our vegetable garden. We use cloth diapers and wipes and hang them to dry on a wash line.

  51. Ashley Stone

    I don’t necessarily think our ways of going green ate creative…but so far this year we have started using reusable paper towel, face wipes and produce bags. We cloth diaper and I use a Diva Cup. I hope to complete more and more things off your list this year.

  52. Elizabeth Matthiesen

    ‘fill the sink one time and wash dishes from cleanest to dirtiest’ this was something that I was taught in Cookery class at school 50 yrs ago and have been doing ever since. 🙂 I also used cloth diapers on my 7 kids and that was 40 yrs ago. Something new is that I now open the oven door when I’ve finished cooking. I also have my heating set to 18C during the daytime and only turn it up for about 2 hours in the evening.

  53. Kim D

    I’m not sure how creative it is but I have been getting better at reusing in the kitchen. For example, we just finished a jar of fermented pickles (so good!) and instead of dumping out the juice and reusing the jar I just cut up some carrots and radishes into the left over juice and put it back in the fridge for a second round of pickles!

  54. barbara parker

    There are so many on your list we have been doing for years. With a new baby I am trying to get the parents to use more cloth diapers. It sickens me to think about how long they last in a landfill. I work with gardens and landscaping so I politely try to get my customers to go natural on everything and always offer an alternative to products they use.

  55. Jose Mari Gamboa

    I agree that Earth Day is a great reminder that people should take care of our environment. I wish companies and the government pushes for the things on the list. I like the way people are finding new innovative ways of looking for energy, especially electricity, that does not affect the environment.

  56. Ashley Chassereau Parks

    This is an awesome list!! I do a lot of these, but I got a lot of good ideas to implement from this list too! I would love to move to an organic mattress and buy food in bulk or grow more food to put up for winter!

  57. Elishia

    This is an impressive list! I didn’t realize how many of these things we do already, mostly just to save money! I’m interested in trying cloth makeup remover pads next, I think.

  58. KD

    I’m impressed! You’re doing a lot, and have new goals for 2017!

    I’m doing a number of the things on your list, but not all. One other thing my daughter and I do is eat no meat/poutry/fish. We became vegetarian for health reasons, but I appreciate that it helps the planet too!

  59. Ai

    Wow! That’s quite a list! Thanks for sharing and inspiring others! We do some of these things, but we have quite a ways to go before coming close to 88. But we’re moving towards it. 🙂

  60. CourtneyLynne

    These are definitely some great reminders! My daughter and I planted a sunflower on earth day. I’m not exactly the best gardener so I’m keeping my fingers crossed I can make the thing grow for my daughters sake lol


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