It’s hard to truly grasp the impact that small-scale changes to your everyday life can have on the environment at large; still, no matter how minuscule something seems, change is imminent. Similar to how saving a couple of dollars where you’re able to can really add up to something big down the line, making small adjustments to your day-to-day has the potential to make a sizable impact.
While many of us would relish in being a zero-waste family, going completely green isn’t always a feasible path for everyone. Luckily, however, becoming more environmentally-friendly is one of those areas where any little thing counts. If you are searching for ways to stay sustainable on a budget as a parent or a caregiver, here are some of our tips:
Wash clothes in cold water
Did you know that cold water is often just as effective at removing stains as warm water is? Or that there are some stains (blood, sweat, etc.) that actually set into fabric at warmer conditions? Many detergents also have enzymes that begin to work at lower temperatures, so washing your and your children’s clothes in cooler water is a great way to reduce your energy costs.
Research the sustainability practices of the companies you support
Unfortunately, we’re not always in a position to circumvent the poor business practices of the companies that we buy from, but sometimes we are! Of the list of consumer-goods that we shop regularly, what do we know about the companies that we’re buying from? Are they helping or hurting the cause? Are there any eco-friendly alternatives? Can these products be cut out completely?
The list of things you need to buy for your children through the years is significant, so doing a deep-dive on these brands is a great place to start. For example, we really like Seventh Generation’s new diapers, specifically because they’re made using only FSC® Certified, sustainably harvested plant-based pulp; this helps nurture our planet’s forests in a time when forest degradation poses a serious threat. The organization behind the certification, Forest Stewardship Council®, is one of the defining forces behind improved forest management, and aims to move the global forest narrative toward sustainable use, conservation and restoration.
Buy second hand where possible
If there’s one thing that we’ve all heard parents and caregivers say, it’s that their babies grow up FAST! While it’s easy to get caught up in buying cute clothes for them as they grow, our kids don’t always get to wear what we’ve bought for them for very long. Do away with that disappointment by shopping second-hand where possible; in doing so, you save more money and lessen your waste.
Teach your young ones about the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle
Children are sponges! While some concepts might seem too grand for them to comprehend, they’ll constantly surprise you. Instilling the importance of sustainability through lessons such as the three Rs is wonderful place to start. They’ll learn how to reduce energy consumption, reuse objects that can be multi-purposed, and how to recycle their waste. Instead of having to unlearn habits later on, we have the influence to get them started on the right track from an early age.
Sustainability isn’t an all or nothing cause. If completely revamping your lifestyle is too overwhelming for you, as it is for most people, there are plenty of little changes you can make that’ll still have a positive impact. With that, we hope that you’ll be able to incorporate some of the above tips into your everyday life and feel good for doing so!