Earth Day comes once a year, but it is one of those days of celebration that should last all year long. This year, we want to use Earth Day to inspire you to make small changes in your daily routine that will last a life time. Let's kick start some new habits that can benefit you and the one earth we have to live on and leave to our future generations to come.
We decided to keep our challenges simple. We want them to be things that you can do right away because we know even small changes can be challenging to make permanent habits. So although we would all love a huge garden and to start composting, we are going to hold off on that for now.
The great part is that you can start at anytime and if you need more time with each challenge before you move to the next, take it! We are going to start as a group the week of April 17th. Join our Healthy Life Plan Facebook group and follow us on Instagram and Facebook and complete the challenges with us! Not quite ready? Still follow along and hopefully, we can inspire you!
Week 1: Good- Bye Paper Napkins!
And be mindful about using less paper napkins and when you can use recycled paper napkins. Now I know there is a lot more to this so those if you are bringing up cotton, water, energy usage... hang on tight. We will try to address those concerns as best as possible.
- When your present stock runs out, replace it with 1 roll and/or 1 pack of recycled paper napkins to have on hand for emergencies or when you have more company than the cloth napkins you have can handle. Try to make these last as long as possible.
- Purchase a pack of organic cloth napkins. We love Gina's Soft Cloth Shop. The fibers were grown without the use of harmful chemical pesticides or herbicides - natural and unbleached helping the environment.
- When it is just your family, you can use them more than once and throw them in the wash with any load. They are small. Add them to already existing loads. Don't make a new load of wash. I know my germaphobes are cringing. Take a breath. You can do this. Of course, if someone is sick or we had a messy meal, toss it in the washer (which is hopefully energy efficient ;-).
- Concerned about the energy use of the dryer? - we will get to that in an upcoming challenge.
- Take this time to really be mindful about how often you use and toss paper napkins and towels at home and while out and about. And take a look around you and watch what other people are doing and not doing. This may inspire you to make the move.
Week 2: Switch to Super Concentrated Natural Cleaners
As you finish your present cleaning products, start to replace them with non-toxic cleaning products or make your own! If you are ready to really purge and clear out all the old, make sure you check your city's website for "hazardous waste disposal days,” when you can drop off the cleaners and they can dispose of them correctly. That is right, you shouldn't just be tossing those cleaners in the trash or recycling bin.
There are great benefits of using non-toxic cleaners.
- They will keep the air you breathe clean! Did you know, according the the EPA, the air you breathe in your home can be two to five times more polluted then the air you breathe outside!? A lot of the damage to your home air quality is coming from traditional cleaners.
- You don't need so many cleaners. We can save a lot of the energy used and bottles wasted by simply shifting down to a great all-pupose cleaner. Our favorite Basic H has formulas to clean, your windows, floors, countertops, and yes, your stainless steel! Talk about saving time and money (so we can enjoy the beauty and nature our earth provides us!)
- Did you know conventional cleaners seep into our water affecting our wildlife and other natural resources?
Week 3: Use your dryer less!
This is going to be a challenge for us. The dryer uses a lot of energy! The sun will naturally disinfect and brighten, cloths will last longer, and we have read several times that there could be a stress relieving factor to this whole line drying. If this feels like the right thing to you, but at the same time ironically, stresses you out -- the idea of the mess, the how, the where. Start simple with us. We plan on doing it right in our laundry room using the wire shelf that is already hanging along with some cloths pins and hangers. We are going to start with our cloth napkins, towels, and work out gear. Who knows maybe some of you will inspire us to take it a step further, but for now we promise to start! Will you?
Week 4: Stop wasting so much water!
Shorter showers and turning the water off when brushing your teeth are the biggest ones we can focus on, but first read these water facts.
This week and moving forward we will do as many of these a possible:
- Shower no longer than 5 minutes.
- Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.
- Only water your lawn when needed.
- Fill a bucket with water and wash your car and then quickly rinse.
- Store water in the refrigerator in a filtered pitcher (not plastic bottles) rather than letting the faucet run until water gets cold.
- Re-use undrinkable water for things like watering plants.
- Drink more water instead of more milk and soda. (Read those water facts for why!)
Remember, this is one week and one challenge at a time. Join us on social media and let us know how it is going. If you feel like you need more time in a challenge, be patient with yourself and stay there for a bit.
As my friends at Shaklee say, Shouldn't every day be Earth Day?