It’s no secret that we consume far too much. We buy too many things. We don’t recycle as much as we should. We should all be more eco-conscious, there is no doubt about it, but I fully appreciate that changing old habits is an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. So many of the blogs and publications I read on sustainable living suggest eco-living products that are exorbitantly expensive, as if living with a planet-conscious sustainable mindset requires you to be rolling in the big bucks. Unbelievable price tags on organic cots and organic baby products… they are pretty, sure, but are they necessary?
Do you have to be well off to be eco-conscious? Surely not.
On top of the hefty price tags attached to “organic” and “eco” labelled baby furniture, toys and clothing the sheer volume of information can be very overwhelming. I have often felt totally inundated with options and information and research and daily I feel like I’m completely unable to live up to my environmental ideals. When feeling completely overwhelmed I try to remind myself that even making little changes, make a difference. Every little thing I do does make a difference. Being aware of what we buy and the footprint we make on our world doesn’t have to be elitist and you don’t have to do it all to make a positive impact.
You certainly don’t need to be rich to make good choices for your family and the planet.
Making changes in our day to day life is essential to changing the way that we look at the world and the affect we have on our planet (and our hip pocket too).
There are lots of things that we can do to encourage sustainable living, be friendly to our planet and raise our kids in a world where what you have does not define who you are… whilst saving money along the way too. Consuming less saves money and is much better for the planet, and every little change you make in your day to day life, makes a difference in the long run. You don’t have to live in a mud hut, or give up TV, or eat only organic to care about our world and the impact we make on it.
Here are a few little tips for consuming less while you have a baby on your hip:
1. Go cloth in the nappy department. You don’t have to use them all the time or at night or traveling or whatever if you don’t want to. Using cloth even 30% of the time makes a difference, and they are really easy to use. Trust me.
2. Don’t drain the bathwater. Use the bath water to fill a top loader washing machine, or to soak dirty clothes, or to water your garden. It’s a pain in the butt sometimes, sure, but it actually does make a difference.
3. Use your local library. Every area has one. We live in a pretty small town and there is a great library with an excellent selection of books for both Bo and I, it has a kids area with puzzles and games to hire out too. Libraries still exist and they are an excellent resource for any parent (or, human). Check with your local council and find out where your nearest toy library is, I know where mine is, we haven’t visited it yet but I think when Bo gets bigger it’s going to be a wonderful resource for us.
4. Compost your food scraps. Whether you eat a lot of processed food or not, it’s likely that you produce a fair amount of food scraps every day. During the toddler years, I’ve discovered, these food scraps multiply by a hundred. If you don’t have chickens or dogs to feed the scraps to then all of the goodness in your scraps is just going into your bin and into landfill somewhere, which is a terrible waste. Mine does at the moment too. We are all bound by circumstance, and gung-ho outdoor composting doesn’t suit everyone’s lifestyle or living arrangements. Bokashi bins are an excellent solution for the less keen (or able) compost-er, an in-kitchen compost system without smell or mess that avoids trekking outside in winter or digging in the garden when it’s cold and miserable outside.
5. Buy second hand. We buy second hand everything from cloth nappies to clothes to kitchen appliances and furnishings, if I can source it second hand, I will. Not only is second hand extremely cost effective it is really kind to the environment… I avoid the big chain op-shops these days because I find they are getting more and more expensive, smaller church run jumble sales are fabulous, as are tip-shops and local buy and sell pages. Does your kid care if she has a brand new bike? Of course not!
There are thousands more little things you can do to encourage sustainable change in your house. This is a very brief list of a few of my personal favourites, even if you only implement one or two of them in your house you could be making a big difference.
What is your favourite tip for consuming less and saving your money? What don’t you want to live without?