Little Green Lives

Family lifestyle blog with a hint of green

Zero waste arts and crafts supplies for kids

sam Jennings17 Comments

Over the last year our family has worked hard to reduce the quantity of garbage produced, We bulk buy our dry foods, use material bags for all other foods, utilise capsule wardrobes, own minimal toys - but until recently our arts and crafts supplies have been my guilty secret. Oversized boxes and draws housed every variety of paint, glitter, pen, crayon and sticker imaginable. I feel more than a little guilty when I think about the quantity of arts- and crafts-based garbage we have produced during the last five years: my once weekly trips to the Dollarstore to top up on supplies a distant and regretful memory.

 So is it possible to apply a zero waste attitude to kiddie arts and crafts supplies? The answer is absolutely, and here is how!

How to keep Christmas simple, reduce stress, expense and garbage, and have yourselves the best Christmas ever.

LIVING SIMPLYsam Jennings1 Comment

Living a very simple, minimalist life is our goal for 2017.

This year I asked all family members not to buy the kids any gifts (toys/books/games) this Christmas. They don’t need anything and in fact already have too many toys. The sheer volume of stuff overwhelms and distracts them from creative play. Plus I spend my days picking up their blocks and Legos and train tracks. If I had $1 for every time this week, I’ve stepped on or put away Sky or Marshall or one of their paw patrol cronies! 

It’s most definitely not my desire for my little people to go without. The truth is, I only want to maximise the experience for them. Just shifting the focus from all the gift-giving to a one of Christmas as a magical day and event.

Become a conscious consumer -  how what we buy can do the ‘most good, least harm’ for the planet

LIVING SIMPLYsam JenningsComment
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Making informed decisions is extremely important to me. But scrutinizing every item you purchase - from the brand of Soya milk in your morning tea, to that new winter coat or the ingredients in your favorite shampoo - can feel exhausting and overwhelming. With so many conflicting ideas and opinions about ‘doing the most good’, it’s easy for consumers to become confused and disillusioned.

Like many people, I have moral, ethical and social viewpoints. I strive to lead a zero-waste life. I support Fairtrade. I adopt environmental friendly, sustainable principles and enjoy a vegan diet and lifestyle. I want to be a conscious consumer so I try to study the things I buy. And the truth of the matter is, sometimes the more you know, read and research - the better informed you make yourself - the harder it is to make simple decisions. Morals, ethics and social viewpoints can get tangled up and contradictory.

Little Green Lives - Become a conscious consumer -  how what we buy can do the ‘most good, least harm’ for the planet?

Here’s what I mean.

Take Veganism.

Several years ago, I chose to adopt a vegan diet. I made my decision considering the benefits for the environment, taking a stand against factory farming/ mistreatment of animals combined with the well-researched health benefits. Animal agriculture is a leading cause of climate change. In the beginning I’ll admit I became complacent, assuming I’d made the ‘ultimate good’ decision for the planet. Then several years on when I  began to scratch the surface, I discovered that simply ‘going vegan’ was not enough. For example the soya bean (a vegan staple) in its varying forms posed a dilemma. To meet growing demands, soybean plantations have expanded, contributing to significant deforestation to climate change. There is soil erosion and other environmental impacts to consider from the ever-increasing use of pesticides, not to mention the genetic modification, the treatment of small farmers and encouraged exploitation of workers.

Little Green lives - Become a conscious consumer -  how what we buy can do the ‘most good, least harm’ for the planet?

Now, Imagine you’re in the market for a new winter coat or jumper. What material should it be made from to ensure the least social and environmental impact?

As a vegan I don’t want to purchase wool in view of the well-documented mistreatment of sheep on large farms. As an environmentalist I don’t want to purchase a synthetic fibre because of the chemicals used in its manufacturing and its inability to decompose once in the landfill. Wool (a natural fiber) is essentially a renewable resource, yet is produced by methane producing sheep, not to mention the volume of water and chemicals used in processing wool.

You see, it goes on and on.

Cotton is also a natural fiber, but non-organic cotton requires huge amounts of pesticides in the farming process. The polluted runoff enters aquatic ecosystems. Then there’s Polyester (a man-made fibre). Its production creates high levels of dangerous emissions. Made from petrochemicals, these synthetics are non-biodegradable. Nylon manufacturing creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

So, short of making our own clothes, what do we do?

We can research a little, inform ourselves, and trace the products we buy back to the source and know how they are produced. And we can also spend our money as if we are casting a vote. If we want certain practices to stop, or ensure we’re not contributing to them, then don’t buy certain items. Utilize your vote as a consumer: choose to avoid purchasing certain products linked to deforestation or harmful labor practices.

We need to peel back the layers of greenwashing, consumerism and materialism to make choices that actually do the most good for the world and the environment.  

Going into the holiday season how can you feel good about the choices you make, so you can eat, buy and use items relatively guilt free?

Here’s one way.

Zoe Weil developed the concept of MOGO, short for ‘most good’.

She said: ‘It takes enormous motivation to find out who and what was harmed or helped to supply us with our basic needs, let alone everything else we indulge in. Because our lives are inextricably connected to everyone and everything across the globe through economic globalization, to make MOGO choices means that we must become conscious of these connections and make choices that help rather than harm.”  

She describes the principle of applying the 3 I’s: inquiry, introspection and integrity to our life choices.

To bring inquiry to our decisions, we must continually seek knowledge by asking:

  • Who or what was or will be harmed or helped by this choice?
  • How can I find out?

Introspection is simply understanding what matters to you.

Finally, we must commit to living with integrity. And choose to behave according to our values to the greatest degree possible.

So here is how I apply these ideas to our lives.

I ask: do we really need this? Consuming less is the single most important change to make. There is currently a trend to consume a lot for a little, getting something for nothing essentially. Buying junk we don’t really need. If we change that behavior, there'd be a lot of benefit to labor and production practices. And a lot less garbage generated.

Little Green Lives - Become a conscious consumer -  how what we buy can do the ‘most good, least harm’ for the planet?

I ask: can this be bought second hand, swopped, or can I make it? And if it’s no no and no, then I take the time to read labels, do some research and then stick to the brands I trust. When and where I can, I shop locally and support farmers’ markets and artisans. I shop in stores where the owners have done the thinking for me, and discover local brands. Organic cotton is always an improvement to conventional cotton: it saves lives, is better for the environment and better for farming communities (look out for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) logo/ label). Clothes made in your country of residence may go a long way to ensuring Fairtrade.

Little Green Lives - Become a conscious consumer -  how what we buy can do the ‘most good, least harm’ for the planet?Let’s strive to inform ourselves, to do what we can as individuals and families. If we can all consume less and vote with our purchases (and by not purchasing), we can catalyze real change. The earth will thank you for it.

If consuming less in terms of clothing/fashion is of interest to you check out this post about the benefits of a capsule wardrobe.

Thanks for popping in

Sam

 

Zero waste birthday parties are definitely NOT zero fun

LIVING SIMPLYsam Jennings5 Comments
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 Little green lives - How to host a zero waste birthday party

In all aspects of life, less truly is more. And in the context of a child’s birthday party, less garbage can = less stress and more fun.

Birthday parties are notorious for taking huge amounts of time and energy to organize, costing too much money and creating bags full of garbage.

When I first talked to friends and family about Theo’s birthday party, the first question many asked me was, ‘What’s your theme?’  

Is the measure of a good party which cartoon character we endorse, or colour coordination and material accessories chosen?

Theo’s only interest was spending the morning playing with his friends and at some stage blowing out a candle and devouring a slice of birthday cake.

Going into it I wondered if I could host a party loved by all, children and adults alike, which produced zero garbage and saw only a few, thoughtful gifts exchanged.

The answer was yes yes and yes

When I first discussed the birthday party with the invited guests (six of Theo’s friends plus their families), I’m sure it came as no surprise that I would shoot for a greener option.

Rather than sound surprised, skeptical or shoot me a funny look, people were happy and excited. They found it refreshing. No wasted time, energy and money spent sourcing and purchasing gifts. And in return they wouldn’t see yet another loot bag enter their home, full of plastic bits and bobs they would later find scattered and abandoned on their living room floor.

Here’s how we pulled it all together:

Our Zero Waste Birthday Party

Make it very clear that it's the presence of guests that’s required, not presents. It’s often necessary to go beyond a ‘No gifts please’, and make sure this is very clear by explaining why.

Keep numbers small which means more quality interactions, less stress, less noise, less clean up.

There are so many green party games/activities on Pinterest, we opted for none as ultimately the kids just wanted free time to be together.

Send paperless Invitations

Rather than waste trees, set up a simple event on Facebook or use one of the free evite invitation systems.

Table wear

We simply used what plates, bowls, mugs and glasses we had and borrowed the rest from friends.

Guests are not judging you on your coordinating crockery. Personally, I love an eclectic mug collection.

Little Green lives Zero waste birthday party

Food

Keep the food simple, generally you’re only providing snacks, less on offer means less food wasted. I prepared:

A gigantic bowl of homemade hummus with veggie dippers.

Fresh bread straight from the oven. We prepped two large loaves which were popped in the oven just 30 minutes prior to guests arriving. Who doesn’t love a house that smells like a bakery. Friends are always impressed by your bread making skills but seriously ours is a five minute job.

Homemade baked goods, banana muffins, granola bars, chocolate cake drizzled in chocolate icing.

Bulk bought snacks - banana chips, raisins, pretzels, chocolate covered peanuts, dried apricots.

Birthday cake made by a good friend, all Vegan!

Drinks

We served only freshly ground coffee and teas.

Mimosa’s (because who doesn’t need to take the edge off of 16 small people’s noise) made with freshly juiced oranges and sparkling wine.

No loot bags

We chose not to give. After a fun morning of playing, tasty snacks and a slice of birthday cake, what could kids need really? But if you’re wanting to give, I’ve seen some other green bloggers make and give green goodie bags using paper bags with seeds for planting and homemade goodies inside.

I had every intention of making a jar of bath bombs for each family, but as usual time escaped me. Homemade playdoh in a mason jar would be a very easy and cheap gift to give if you felt compelled to give something.

Gifts

Little Green Lives zero waste birthday party

Despite my ‘please please do not bring gifts’ request, we did get a few, but those we did receive were very thoughtful, with no plastic packaging in sight.

Gifts received

A T shirt hand screened by one of the guests (Check out sun+stars co page). I love to support local artists so this will be treasured.

A bundle of hand decorated envelopes, with his good friend’s new house address (so they can be pen pals)

A pack of socks

Two of Theo's favourite chapter books.

Decorations.

I wanted to make decorations which could be kept and used for all future family birthdays, so I decided on homemade bunting. If getting crafty is not your thing there are so many beautifully made ones to buy on Etsy, but with a couple of hours and a sewing machine, they are surprisingly simple. I made three long strings of bunting for less than $10.

Little Green Lives zero waste birthday party

You got this Mama.

Let’s be the change we want to see in the world. Let’s start a trend of zero waste birthday parties.

Would love to hear about it if you do.

Come join us on Instagram

Thanks for popping in

Sam

Little Green Lives Zero waste birthday Party

5 benefits of a capsule wardrobe: Could you live with 30 items of clothing, including shoes!?

LIVING SIMPLYsam Jennings14 Comments
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Little Green Lives - Capsule wardrobe

How do you fancy saving yourself time and money? Doing less laundry? Reclaiming lost space in your over-stuffed closets, all while making an important contribution to the environment? It may sound too good to be true but it’s possible and the key is in these two little words: capsule wardrobe.

 Like me, you can truly benefit from owning and purchasing less clothes.

 

Those who adopt minimalist principles in their wardrobe choices are discovering more productivity, less stress, less distraction, less expense and more peace.

- Becoming Minimalist Blog

Have you any idea how many items of clothing you own? 50? 100? (No judgements here, I’m just curious.) How about sale items, purchased impulsively – the ones that’ve never seen the light of day, and maybe even still have the tags on them? In the store window, wow, they looked irresistible yet in reality it’s your comfortable old faithfuls you always turn to. Your closet is full yet you still everyday stare into it feeling uninspired…

That was me 6 months ago!

 

Little Green lives - Capsule wardrobePhoto by Magnolia Coasts Photography

 

What is a capsule wardrobe?

It’s a mini wardrobe made up of the versatile pieces you LOVE to wear. Say 30 to 40 items - you get to determine. Occupation, lifestyle and to some degree season will influence, but capsule size shouldn’t be based on the square footage of your walk-in! And all clothes, shoes and outerwear count. Pajamas, accessories, fitness apparel and special-occasion outfits don’t. Those are the basics.

Personally, as a busy stay-at-home-mum-of-three, I need my wardrobe to contain comfortable, breastfeeding-and-playing-on-the-floor-friendly clothes. But still stylish. I currently own 30 items of clothes and shoes. Most of it can be worn year around.

Photo by Magnolia Coast Photography

Little Green Lives - Capsule wardrobe

 

 Why choose a capsule wardrobe

I’m always on the hunt for affordable ideas which will simplify and declutter my life whilst fostering a more sustainable existence. In an effort to embrace minimalism, a natural starting point was my wardrobe. Then I learned about the impact clothes have on the environment. In adopting a capsule wardrobe, I realised I could marry minimalism to style and environmental sustainability.

Owning a capsule wardrobe contributes to a lifestyle of increased consciousness, choosing to buy and own less. A focus on what you need, rather than what you want. Less shopping, less consumption, less waste. Less background noise and more of what matters. That’s why I do it.

And like me, maybe you have a tight budget, your closet space is limited and you find yourself overwhelmed by the endless laundry and your concern about the environmental impact of our appetite for fast fashion? These, too, are all reasons I went for it.

Little Green Lives - Capsule wardrobe

Why is buying hard on the planet?

Statistics show consumers send 30 kg of clothes and textiles to the landfill each year. This presents a problem. Synthetic fibres don’t decompose for decades, while woollen garments do decompose, but in doing so produce methane, a greenhouse gas which contributes to global warming. And still today, the pay and conditions of those manufacturing the clothes we wear requires careful consideration.

As Kate Fletcher puts it, “Fast isn’t free, someone somewhere is paying.”

 

The people responsible for producing textiles as well as the environment pay the ultimate price for the fast, disposable fashion trend.

Photo by Magnolia Coast Photography

Little Green Lives - Capsule wardrobe

 Adopting a capsule wardrobe – laborious or liberating experience?

Maybe your morning routine is similar to ours. 6 am to 8.15 am is total chaos. No matter what time we wake up, or how organised we are, or how we distribute tasks, the precious minute’s tick away in a blur of spilled porridge oats, endless delay tactics, raiding the clean laundry from the dryer and lost shoes. I’ve just minutes to shower, choose my clothes and get dressed. Owning a capsule wardrobe has saved me so much time and stress. Knowing that all my clothes work together and that everything fits well allows me to grab and go.

Critics claim it leads to boring monochromic colours. I use mainly neutral tones including lots of denim, but believe me the key is adding pops of colour with accessories. My fav pieces are my scarfs, and leg warmers and bum warmer from Honeybea Designhive and my now-4-year old mittens from SLO , both from local Toronto makers made from up-cycled sweaters.

 Little Green Lives - Capsule wardrobe

 

Personally, as a woman who previously did love to shop and keep up with the latest trends, I’ve found implementing a capsule wardrobe to be totally liberating. When you have less of something you come to value, enjoy and respect what you do have. Keep only the clothes you love, those that fit and make you feel good. Get creative with different combinations. Become a regular at local thrift stores. Discover new looks. Trade items with friends or upcycle. Not only is it a great move for the environment but you WILL feel the change in your daily life.

 

5 benefits of a capsule wardrobe

1. Getting dressed is super easy. Let’s wear what makes us feel good. Choose clothes which can be layered (worn throughout the entire year).

 

2. Less consumption.  Let’s simplify and consume less for social and environmental reasons. ‘Conscious consumption’ is the best option.

 

3. Gain a better sense of your style, what looks and feels good on you. 

 

4. You can identify what your wardrobe truly needs.  Think about your clothes more intentionally and more specifically. Less cost - buy what you actually need.

 

5. Less storage space required. Less clutter. More of what matters.

 

Feeling inspired? Ready for the capsule wardrobe challenge? 

Could you cull to 30 pieces of clothing?

 Love to hear what you think.

Thanks for popping in

Sam

Next up is a capsule wardrobe for these little monkeys

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Mason Jars - The little glass jars making a big environmental impact.

LIVING SIMPLYsam Jennings9 Comments
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Little Green Lives Mason Jars

Has she really gone and written a whole blog post about Mason jars? An entire post about a simple glass jar with a lid…?

The answer is yes, and I promise by the end you will totally understand why.

The jars that were once only used by Jam-making grandmas are suddenly trendy, but also your affordable and aesthetically pleasing answer to needless waste.

Little Green Lives - Mason Jars

I must admit I have become a little mason jar obsessed of late. We have made a complete transition to using only glass for kitchen storage and here is why.

Quite simply its…

Better for you

Mason jars and glass storage containers can easily move from your freezer or fridge to your oven then directly to your table, saving you heaps of time and washing up. Glass is cleaner than plastic: it’s non-porous surface doesn’t absorb colours, smells and most importantly germs. There is no risk of harmful toxins leaching into your food.

Better for the environment

Use glass rather than plastic to significantly reduce landfill space. Plastic’s recycling process is less efficient than for glass. Treated with care, your glass containers will live on indefinitely.

 And if one does take a tumble and break (as they do when you have little people), you can recycle it without guilt:

  • Up to 80% of all recycled glass can be reclaimed.
  • Recycled glass uses 40% less energy than manufacturing new glass.
  • Recycling doesn’t compromise glass’ quality or structure and no toxins are produced during it’s recycling.

A few facts from a great post on the copywriterskitchen Blog.

Your investment in glass, is an investment in sustainability.

It’s not necessary to go out and buy glass jars, use what you have. Take the label off that jar of pasta sauce and repurpose it to house your bulk-bought quinoa, your salad leftovers, or for transporting a smoothie to work.

5 uses of Mason jars to lessen your environmental impact

  1. Great way to organise and store dry goods

Honestly one of my biggest motivations for using mason jars is the visual component. I love the way our glass cupboards look housing row upon row of jars full of seeds, spices and grains. Jars are so practical for storage. At a glance you can see the quantity of what you have, so your weekly shopping list is less guesswork. If you read my post about being on a journey to being a zero waste household, you will know I love to take my jar’s and fill them directly at bulk stores.

As a time saving tip, why not store the dry ingredients of your favourite baked goods, bread, granola bar’s and muffins in jars? I do. It makes preparing a healthy snack for your kiddies’ lunchboxes a 5-minute job.

 2 . Perfect in the fridge

Mason jars (wide rimmed ones) are perfect for storing leftovers in the fridge. At a glance you see what needs to be used, reducing food waste, and saving you money. Don’t let that extra serving of mushroom risotto make its way to the back of the fridge in Tupperware, never to be seen again. Keep it on view so you can be prompted to take it out for lunch.

 

Little green lives jars-in-the-fridge

3) Pack lunches

I challenge you to look at this picture and not want to make one of these for your lunch tomorrow. So many mouth watering healthy possibilities. Those colourful layers, brimming with nutritious goodness. Try storing all your salad ingredients in the jars to keep them fresher for longer, and make it easier to access healthy food when you’re pushed for time.

Little Green Lives mason-jars-salad

 

4) Preserve it like you mean it. 

Nothing beats the taste of homemade strawberry jam lathered on crusty bread. It’s also the season for apple sauce or roasted pumpkin soup. Whether you make a small batch each season, or you want to get serious about preserving the season’s bounty, stock up on jars if you plan to do some fall preserving.

5) Gifts

If you have a friend who has had a crappy week, nothing beats an enormous Mason jar of full of homemade split pea and coconut soup garnished with home-grown coriander delivered to her doorstep.

On Isla’s 3rd birthday, a good friend gifted Isla a huge jar full of homemade bath bombs. They’ve been a huge hit, such a great idea and so simple to make.

But I have my limits. In many of the trendy little cafes in my local neighbourhood, your cold and hot beverages are served in Mason jars, however, I wont be abandoning by big red tea mug just yet.

Love to hear your thoughts/ideas, For more helpful tips and recipes why not follow us on Facebook

Thanks for popping by

Sam

Do you have to go broke to go green? Not if you follow these 3 tips

LIVING SIMPLYsam Jennings6 Comments
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A little more about our journey to going green.

Are you intrigued by the idea of minimising your families’ impact on the environment? But you’re quite certain that if it's going to mean you have to do any of these:

  • scrape baby poo off real nappies of an afternoon
  • dig a compost heap at the bottom of your garden
  • re-mortgage your house to afford organic food
  • wear bamboo and hemp clothes

…then you’re going to politely decline.

I didn’t wake up one morning, in a hazy, sleep-deprived state, and declare with my first cup of tea in hand that today was the day we are ‘going green’. There was no defining moment of clarity, no direct source of inspiration. It was more of a slow trickle effect, unnoticeable to outsiders at first. Yet after a couple of years introducing small changes into our day to day, my friends now cite me as their ‘green’ point of reference.

I’ve become very passionate about adopting a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. It continues to be a journey which I weave into every aspect of our lives.

I want to share with you how - even with three young children, and extreme sleep deprivation and a tight family budget - we’re finding our path. And you can too. It’s really all about the tiny victories. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

What does embracing a green lifestyle mean to you? Walking more, driving less? Touring the weekend farmer’s markets with hipsters filling wicker shopping baskets of their vintage bikes with kale and rainbow carrots? Going off the grid towards self-subsistence? Organic spelt and vegan baked goods? Composting? Babies toddling about in cloth nappies decked out in fair-trade organic cotton clothes? Is it recycling more? Or becoming a family that produces just a single mason jar’s worth of household garbage for the year?

Little green lives - No need to go broke going green

Going green means different things to different people. To some it's minimalism. To others it’s waste equals food. To some it demands a complete lifestyle overhaul, an all-or-nothing leap. And still others find a middle-way, a slow progression towards resourcefulness, consciously embracing a more simplistic approach, making, re-using or simply going without.

There are no rights and wrongs. There is no competition, no code of green conduct. Like any new lifestyle it's the feel-good component that sustains you.

Going green is a huge industry. ‘Green’ ‘eco’ ‘natural’ ‘organic’, they’ve become very hip, which is good for the environment. Greenwash is even better for business: these three little words have become smart marketing tools, doubling the price tag. But like my husband Jonathan’s granny Elno tells me, “Honey, growin up, all my beets were organic.”

Does it really have to cost the earth to save the earth? Is ‘green’ pricing people out of the market? Is it possible to embrace an environmentally friendly lifestyle on the average family budget?

Yes. And here’s how

3 ways to reduce your families’ environmental impact on a budget.

  1. The food you eat
  • Organic food. If (like us) eating 100% organic is not financially possible, take a look at the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists. They refer, respectively, to the fruits and vegetables that are the most and least contaminated by pesticide use. For example, organic oranges or bananas (thanks to their thick skins) can be lower priorities than organic lettuce or carrots. Choose wisely which organic produce to buy, this will dramatically reduce the amount of pesticides you consume in a cost-conscious way.
  • Rather than wasting money on processed food that often comes in several layers of unnecessary plastic packaging, why not try to make your own crusty bread loaf, or a tomato and sweet-basil pasta sauce, or some roasted red-pepper humus? Choose simple recipes, with few ingredients. Eat better, and create less waste.
  • Buy dry-foods in bulk stores. Seeds, nuts, dried fruits, spices. Buy the exact quantity of food needed. This reduces food waste and the quantity of household garbage produced (see this post) for ideas. And once this is a habit, then try taking your own glass jars back and forth to the bulk store.

Little green lives

Little Green Lives - no need to go broke going green

  • Use glass jars to store food in your fridge. Leftovers are more easily spotted.
  • Buy produce in season and food which has been locally grown.
  1. The clothes you wear
  • Minimalism and the ‘less is more’ concept. Choose clothes wisely. Buy less, be a conscious consumer. I've found owning a capsule wardrobe (Just 22 items) to be very effective. (Tune in next week to read my new post on my capsule wardrobe).
  • Use thrift/charity stores/trade with friends (Toronto folks, check out I Spy Clothing. An amazing way to buy and sell good quality used kids’ clothes.)
  1. Your cleaning products and cosmetics
  • Ease into a greener way of life slowly. Rather than replace all your current cosmetics/cleaning products, use what you have then purchase greener alternatives or make your own products.
  • DIY cleaning products and facial products can be incredibly easy to make. Use the simple, natural ingredients you will have in your cupboards.
  • Use washcloths instead of paper towels, cloths instead of baby wipes.

I love the concept of “going green”. It’s important to be aware of our resources and be mindful how we use them. I’m convinced we’re all capable in our daily lives to make a difference, educate our little people and help preserve nature.

Love to hear your thoughts about the green movement. What tips can you share to help others go green without breaking the bank?

Thanks for popping in.

Sam

Photo by Magnolia coasts photographyLittle Green Lives - No need to go broke going green

 

A beginner's guide to zero waste living for busy mums

LIVING SIMPLYsam JenningsComment
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A beginners guide to zero waste living for busy mums 

When you take the garbage and recycling out each week do you ever get a nagging feeling about the quantity of garbage your family produces in just one week?

Does the idea of your family producing less waste sound interesting? Inspiring even? Maybe you've heard of the Zero Waste movement which is getting big attention in the media and are feeling a little intrigued?

You want your kiddies to appreciate nature and you want to be a positive role model for them, teaching them how they can evoke change and help protect the environment? 

If you answered yes, yes and yes, but aren't sure how and where to start this post is for you.

You're busy. You're not sure you have the time, energy or finances to make less waste happen. I get it.

But we can all start somewhere, take baby steps. Introducing even small lifestyle changes in the daily whirlwind can feel so good. Not to mention, reducing waste saves you money and contributes to a healthier planet for your little people to enjoy as they grow.

Even baby steps make a difference to your family and to the planet.

Reducing waste and living an environmentally friendly lifestyle isn’t just for those who can afford it. And you don't need to live in a hipster neighbourhood, need to expend extra energy or spend hours getting creative.

Is totally achievable and accessible for busy mums.

Here's how you can get started.

Taking baby steps to zero waste: our journey

I admit, when I get an idea in my head I become more than a little fixated. And my mum and husband will tell you: I do not always choose the easy path.

I’m sure others would agree that with a brand new baby (our 3rd ) — which now equals three kiddos under 4.5 years— this may not have been the best time to start a journey to reduce our family’s garbage.

But actually there is something about a new life, a new presence in the world, that makes life seem so beautiful yet so fragile. You start to think about your children’s future: what shape will the planet be in in 20 years? How can their childhood influence their relationship to nature and the environment?

Reading posts about the zero-waste movement inspired me, but I had to be realistic about my capabilities. In order for things to be sustainable, they needed to be easy and cheap to implement and maintain.

That was over a year ago. I started by taking baby steps. I’m now completely hooked and it’s happening!

Here are my top 5 super easy first steps to help you reduce your family’s waste:

If you can do some of these 5 things most of the time, then you truly are making a difference. Remember, it’s all about baby steps.

Let’s do this!

  1. Swap plastic bags for cloth tote bags

A beginners guide to zero waste living for busy mums

When I’m trying to hustle out the door, ensuring I have 3 kids, 6 shoes and my purse is challenge enough, never mind trying to remember to bring along my grocery bags. To make it easier, I recommending keeping a stash in your diaper sack.

Take it one step further by using cloth mini bags: small cloth or mesh bags you can use instead of the plastic ones provided when buying your fruits and vegetables. When needed you can just put them in the washing machine. Ikea has even started selling them.

By using your own bags you can save 5 to 10 plastic bags per shop, and get to leave the store with a very satisfying feeling. It doesn’t take any longer and kids love being given a bag and a job (“Theo we need six lemons. Isla four avocados”). I feel really proud loading my cloth bags full of veggies on the conveyor belt or using my own bags at farmers markets. Who knows, you may even inspire the guys next to you!

  1. Use re-usable water bottles and bring a thermos for tea and coffee

Ah water and coffee: the lifeblood and survival essentials of a busy, exhausted mum.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on these; l do love my stainless steel bottle from Klean Kanteen. It's super safe and durable. No BPA’s and if loved they can last for years. But if you don’t fancy a splurge there are so many others on the market, or even better: use what you already have.

Not only will you reduce the waste caused by plastic water bottles and paper/foam coffee cups, many coffee shops offer a discount if you bring your own container and you’ll save money by using the tap/fountain instead of buying bottled water every time one of your crew needs a drink.

     3. Use Litter-less snack/lunch boxes

 

A beginners guide to zero waste living for busy mums- litterless lunches 

Not just for the kiddies lunches - also a great idea to pack yourself a mummy snack for the day. It saves you money buying food in bulk to put into the lunch box. You create a lot less trash and eat healthier by avoiding the impulse to buy something pre-packaged when peckish.

  1. Ditch paper towels and napkins for cloth

By using cloth napkins and wash cloths to wipe your little people’s sticky fingers and clean counter tops, you save money and produce less for the landfill.

Not to mention, cloth napkins are so posh!

  1. Choose products with less packaging

Easy-peasy: choose products with less/no packaging. Try visiting farmers markets/bulk stores if you have them available. But if you don’t, choose to buy the apples loose rather than prepackaged in a bag of six.

A beginners guide to zero waste living for busy mums using Cloth Bags for food

Ok mama you got this, we all have to start somewhere!

Check in next week for more easy tips and ideas on how your family can waste less.

This blog is brand new why not head over to our About me page to learn a little more about our family. Or love a good short story with a cup of tea check out Our little love story, A post about how J and I met.

Inspired? I would love to hear about your journey to reduce your families waste.

Thanks for popping in

Sam