We all know we should be doing more, but you know what, sometimes life gets in the way. Between school runs, PTA meetings, running a household and god forbid having a cup of coffee in peace, making eco-friendly changes to the way we live day-to-day seems like a step too far.
If this sounds like you, you’re in the right place. Because not only is it easier than you think to become an eco-friendly mom, it might even save you time and money. Making smart choices doesn’t have to be a drain on your resources.
Here are, in no particular order, the 15 changes that you should make today to lead to a happier, more eco-conscious life.
1. Ditch the single-use batteries
How many of us are guilty of having a junk drawer filled with odds, ends and an unbelievable amount of single-use batteries? AAs, AAAs, Ds, that round one that you bought a few years ago which doesn’t seem to fit in any item in your home. And yet, when little Tommy gets handed a present on his birthday, suddenly you have every battery you need except the type that fits in his new remote-controlled car. The struggle is real ladies.
Rechargeable batteries are an absolute no-brainer. You can get a handy box, like this one from Energizer, which plugs into your mains that can charge up batteries within a few hours. Yes, rechargeable batteries will cost you more as a one-off, but they’ll last for 500-1000 charges so you’ll be saving in the long-run. And the best part? That’s a whole lot of single-use batteries that are prevented from ending up in landfill.
2. Reusable drink bottles
If you don’t already have a reusable drink bottle, now is the time. There are so many beautiful bottles available in stores and online, so the biggest hurdle will be choosing one! We love the Liberty Fabrics range from S’well, but there are much more budget-friendly options too like the Mira Insulated Bottle at $16.95.
For kids, the range is massive. And with great looking reusable bottles for as little as $4 a piece, there’s no excuse not to get one for the entire family.
3. Bring a bag
Don’t get caught out next time you need to pop into the store for a loaf of bread, keep a reusable bag in your handbag for those ad-hoc purchases. Instead of adding needless paper or plastic to landfill, a compact grocery bag can do the same job and last you years.
A canvas or cotton mesh bag is best for longevity and easy to pop through the washing machine if they get grubby, but for the best budget-friendly option, use a tote that you already have lying around the house.
This one seems like such a simple idea, but can often be one of the hardest to execute. Where are you meant to find time to make yourself a healthy, delicious and nutritious lunch when you’re already responsible for feeding your seemingly-bottomless family?
Not only will making your lunch prevent you from having to buy single-use plastics meals when you’re out and about, but it will also save you money and give you more energy. Put 10 minutes aside in the evening to pack some leftovers or make a sandwich, and you can go to bed knowing you’re ready for the day ahead.
5. Invest in wax-wrap
A must-have in every kitchen, wax-wrap is an ingenious invention that can be used to replace saran wrap completely. Made by melting beeswax into a square of fabric, the wrap contains antibacterial properties and a malleable stiffness for wrapping around sandwiches, bowls, or anywhere else that you’d usually reach for the saran wrap. Wash them with warm soapy water, and they’ll last for ages, and to give them a quick refresh, just give them a light press with an iron.
You could make them yourself if you’re feeling really budget-conscious, but from $3 a wrap, they’re not a large investment.
6. Buy Used Products
We’re all throwing away way too much “stuff”, and toys and clothes are probably two of the things we’re most guilty of as parents. I don’t know about your kids, but here at MommySavesBig there are two things that our children have in common, they don’t stop growing, and their interest in a new toy seems to be over before it began.
Next time your child needs a new wardrobe or a refresh of toys, take a look at what is for sale on local selling sites, you’d be amazed at the quality of what some people no longer have a need for.
7. Meat-free Mondays
The mass farming of meat isn’t doing our planet any favors, and while a completely plant-based diet isn’t for everyone, we can all do our part to reduce the problem. If you’re a family that eats a lot of meat, start by making one day a week totally meat-free. Swap bologna sandwiches for peanut butter and jelly and try out some vegan alternatives to meat or a great plant-based dish for dinner. Allrecipes.com have all the inspiration you need.
8. Veg Boxes
If you’re going to be buying more vegetables, why not consider getting a veg box delivered? Not only does it cut out the middle-man, but all that plastic-wrapping too! As a bonus, a weekly delivery means there’s one less grocery trip you need to make, and you’ll be supporting local industry.
There are a huge range of companies offering fruit and veg deliveries at varying price points, so search the internet for those in your local area and make a quick comparison at what you get for your money.
9. Buy in bulk and decant
This is our absolute favorite tip as its one that not only is going to save you money, but it makes life easier and saves the planet too. Instead of wasting money on those small bottles of liquid soap, household cleaner, toilet cleaner, shampoo and conditioner, buy them in bulk and decant what you need into smaller bottles. One bulk container can last you more than six months, depending on your family’s usage and means that your weekly shopping list will get smaller and cheaper.
10. Toilet paper
It may not be glamorous, but it’s a regular fixture on every grocery list. What if we told you that you could save trees and only have to buy toilet paper twice a year? Companies like https://us.whogivesacrap.org/ produce recycled toilet paper (not as gross as it sounds) that they deliver in beautifully wrapped recyclable paper in quantities of 24+. They not only help the planet but look great in your bathroom too.
If you’re not already part of a carpool, it’s time to start! The chances are that there is someone near you who has children at the same school or preschool and would love to share the burden of the school-run. Not only does carpooling reduce carbon emissions, but you may find that you free up spare-time if you find someone to share the school-run with.
12. Walk More
We could all do with walking more and driving less, but how do you work that into your busy lifestyle? Why not take the kids for a walk to a local park after school, or explore the neighbourhood during the weekend? The fresh air is incredibly good for your mental wellbeing, and moving more is a great way to lose weight and improve fitness.
13. Bake Snacks
Take a quick peek in your trash bin. Which wrappers do you get through the most? Granola bars? Potato chips? Why not save money and waste by making them at home? Granola bars, in particular, are simple and quick to make, and often taste better than what you buy in stores.
14. Bring a Cup
We know that caffeine is one of the tools many parents have in their arsenal to make it through the day. But if you’re a sucker for a Starbucks, you should be aware that those paper cups aren’t recyclable. The plastic lining that’s used to waterproof the cup doesn’t biodegrade, meaning that it’s going to end up on landfill. For a few dollars, you can purchase a reusable bamboo travel cup which will last you for years. Better still, many coffee shops will give you a discount if you bring your own cup. Win/win!
We know this one may cause a few of our readers to look away in fear, but it wouldn’t be an eco-conscious mom article if we didn’t mention reusable diapers. The average baby wears 2500 diapers in the first year of their life, and around 1800 per year after that.[x]
When you consider that the very first disposable diaper ever made still hasn’t decomposed, it’s a pretty terrifying thought of just how many diapers are out there. Reusable diapers have come a long way in the last few decades, so it’s worth investigating whether making the switch is the right option for your family. Many, like the Elementals range by BumGenius, even come with built-in poppers so that they can fit children from 8-35+ pounds.
Yes, they may be a little more work, but they do look ever so pretty.
So, with 15 tips on how to become an eco-conscious mom with limited fuss, which will you implement first? We can’t wait to hear from you.