When my daughter recently came home with an Earth Day assignment to create art from trash we both had a pretty good laugh about it. You see, she's already known as the person who won't throw anything away in our house and loves to make little projects with everything she can get her hands on. I'm not a fan of the clutter, but I love watching her creativity. This had me thinking though, what are some other ways we can make Earth Day assignments a regular thing all year long, just like her little trash art projects? I came up with 5! Keep reading for easy ways to be green all year long.
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Instead of buying and tossing a bunch of plastic bags, try reusable sandwich and snack bags, or snack containers. We have a bunch of little bento snack containers from when S was a toddler that we still use for work and school lunches, they're super handy. Use reusable wipes and diapers (AKA cloth diapers and wipes) instead of disposables, at least some of the time. I'm a cloth diapering newbie so I've started with switching just at nighttime when I know the baby only has pee diapers and that alone is saving me from using another two disposable diapers a night. Oh, and bring your own bags to the store! This allows you to have a sturdy bag for carrying all your groceries (no more ripped paper or plastic bag incidents that lead to groceries all over the parking lot), but some stores reward you with cash back for bringing your own bag. I like that I can offset the CRV fee on my drinks by bringing my own bag and that I can wash them between uses.
Travel with Friends
Have a long commute or big distance to travel for work or fun? Save money, miles and wear on your car, and your sanity by checking out megabus.com for your transit needs. I love the idea of having someone else drive so that I can do things like entertain the kids or get work done. Plus, traveling with others in a double decker bus helps to reduce emissions.The megabus.com buses are equipped with a GreenRoad system to help drivers avoid high traffic areas and potential road dangers while assisting in the reduction of fuel consumption. All buses have free wifi, restrooms, reclining seats, safety belts, and are ADA compliant for a comfy and safe ride to destinations across the United States!
Refill Instead of Rebuy
Not all bulk buys are environmentally friendly, but some bulk purchases like refill bottles are. Instead of purchasing a ton of little hand soap bottles, buy your own nice hand soap container then refill the soap from a large bulk soap container. Similarly, buy your dry ingredients in bulk and fill up your own pressure sealed containers for a nicer looking pantry that's well stocked.
Try S' class project for yourself and turn trash into art, or some sort of treasure! Pinterest is full of upcycling ideas. Not a fan of upcycling things you're going to throw away? Be a part of the Earth Day conversation by submitting an eco-friendly inspired masterpiece to the megabus.com Megabus Masterpiece Contest! The winner gets to see their green travel inspired artwork on a megabus.com bus and receives a $1,000! Submissions are due on April 22 with the winner chosen in May. Enter your art in the contest, HERE!
Donate or Sell
Using your recycling bin isn't the only way to recycle — gently used clothes and household items can be recycled through donation! Not only will you be clearing out the clutter, but you'll be helping others and getting a nice donation receipt to use come tax time. I like to go through my clothes and the kids' clothes to see if there's anything that doesn't fit anymore (or that hasn't been worn in 6 months) every few months to find items to donate. We just moved so I donated a lot while packing and plan to comb through everything and reduce the number of items in my garage even more by donating or selling items I don't need as I find them in the slow unpacking phase. If I know something has a significant value or is brand new I typically try to sell it first, then donate it if there are no takers. (I donate a ton of clothes and household things but usually sell toys and tech type items.)
Plant a Garden
When you plant a garden filled with produce you'd normally get from the store it cuts down on your carbon footprint and gives you fresher ingredients. Any food scraps can be put into a compost bin that's then used in the soil of your garden! Having a green thumb sure is "green"!