Sustainable Living- 7 small ways to reduce your impact

Kelly Hehn


It’s a new year and that means new resolutions. Even if you’re not a resolutions type, it’s a good time to pause for reflection over the past year and think of changes we can make for the better in the new, optimistic year. Something we have been focused on at Growing Up is sustainable living, ways that we can lower our environmental impact and be more “green”.

Here are a few small ways that we have come up with that might help you as well.

  1. Quit buying those plastic water bottles. Instead, invest in a glass or stainless steel water bottle that is refillable.
    U.S. landfills are overflowing with 2 million tons of discarded water bottles alone. Bring your reusable cup to the coffee shop, smoothie shop, or even restaurants. No need to waste more plastic or paper cups!
  2. Reduce everyday plastics such as sandwich bags by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/box.
    Send them in your kid’s lunchbox or to wrap up leftovers in the fridge.
  3. Recycle!
    Something we probably already do a lot of, right? But are you recycling the right things and everything that you can?
    Most places accept things like tires, paper, glass, #1&#2 plastics, and yard waste at the curb but some will take all plastics or properly dispose of and/or recycle other goods like plastic grocery bags, batteries, electronics, paint, etc. Here is what our local residential recycling programs say:
  4. Compost!
    Composting is a simple, easy way to reduce the amount of food and yard waste you throw away. In general, you can compost anything that isn’t meat. You can even compost coffee grinds! It is cost effective and can be used later in your yard for plants or gardens. You can build your own compost bin with a quick google search or purchase ready made ones from your local hardware store. Hillsborough County also gives a free Compost Happens Workshop, that is open to residents of other counties for only $26. You receive a compost bin and thermometer plus all the info you need to get started.
  5. Switch to cloth napkins and paper towels.
    Cloth napkins are easy to find in your mainstream stores like Target now. Cloth paper towels have not really hit mainstream yet but I have seen many local seamstress options and on etsy!
  6. Use reusable bags for grocery shopping.
    They’re easy to forget in the trunk but try to bring them in when you shop or ask for paper bags that can easily be recycled.
  7. Taking the dog for a walk? Bring an extra bag and pick up any litter you might see along your way.
    This may seem like a relatively minor way to help, but keeping our streets and neighborhoods clean is important to keep our water sources and environment clean.

Looking for bigger changes?

  1. Try mama cloth or a menstrual cup!
    Here at Growing Up, we love the Lunette cup! Also, there are lots of choices for mama cloth. Go see our friends at Barefoot Herbals or search Etsy.
  2. Cloth diaper!
    It sounds like a big step but even investing in cloth diapering part time will save you money and save the environment. Ask us for more info on starting out or attend one of our Cloth 101 Workshops!


What about you? Do you have any other ways you have reduced your environmental impact? Share with us!

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