We all want to be greener more earth-friendly, we really do. But, in the day to day grind of being a parent, working and just getting to tomorrow, it’s easy to put off our eco-friendly decisions. Here at Dandelion, we are committed to what we call Seeds of Change, little tiny baby steps we can all do to start change. Building on these seeds is important, but it’s most important to plant a few seeds first. Here are our top 10 ideas for seeds of change this year, we welcome your ideas in the comments!
1. Turn off your computer at night. The Daily Green estimates that this will save you $90 a year in electricity, and it’s better for your computer too.
2. Turn off the water. It’s easy to leave the water running when you brush your teeth, or delay fixing a leaky toilet. Make a conscious effort to use the leftover water in your reusable water bottle to water a plant, or set up a rainwater collection system for your garden. Kids will enjoy seeing how much water they saved each day and deciding what plant to grace with the extra love.
3. Buy locally. Get to know one new local business each month. You can get carried away and take the kids to visit the farm or start a challenge to buy a certain percentage of your food locally, but in 10 minutes it’s easy to add one new business to your local favorites.
4. Reduce plastic. All those plastic bags add up. One less baggie in your child’s lunch every day makes a huge difference. One reusable water bottle makes for how many plastic ones saved? A lot. My Plastic Free Life has hundreds of tips and plenty of motivation if you need help. The story of how Beth started her plastic-free journey is inspiring — read it.
5. Send e-cards. you want to say thank you, happy birthday or just wish someone hello, but paper cards are not very good for Mother Earth. Decide if the greeting would be just as impactful with an e-card. If you want to send paper, check out some earth-friendly recommendations from Celebrate Green.
6. Plant something. Anything. Sure, we all probably need an organic garden, but baby steps are fine too. Grow an herb on the window sill or let the kids each pick a packet at the garden store and grow whatever they want. It’s important for our children to know what growing food looks like, to play in the dirt, and to learn how to garden. Even if it’s just a window box.
7. Buy used. Get to know Craigslist and Freecycle. It only takes 10 minutes (or less) to see if someone is selling what you’re looking for. You’ll save money, meet cool people, and feel better about your purchase. While you’re at it, list something you need to get rid of.
8. Take off your shoes. Leaving your shoes at the door is one of the most important steps in keeping toxins out of your home. It saves on cleaning too. Making your own cleaning products is easy and inexpensive. The kids will love pouring the ingredients together and many homemade cleaning products actually work better than store-bought.
9. Say no to receipts. How many times can you say no to a receipt in a month? Gas pumps, ATMs and other transactions don’t require printing a receipt. Keep track on the calendar and reward yourself when you reach a milestone.
10. Bring your own mug. A world without coffee would be pretty harsh for many of us, so the next time you hit your favorite coffee shop, take your own travel mug, and keep a couple spare mugs in the car. Your coffee will stay hotter longer and you’ll feel better when you don’t have to toss the cup, lid and heat shield.
Here at Dandelion, we already have taken a lot of steps to go green. We scan all documents and save digitally and use halogen lights in our warehouse. We centralized all garbage – eliminating all the small bags everywhere and set up a recycling station in office center. All desks also have recycle bins for all paper and we have skylights in the warehouse to eliminate indoor lighting as much as possible – our electric bill has reduced over 53%! We are changing over our phone systems to VOIP to eliminate our PBX, all our calls are tracked digitally now and we replaced all bathroom hand soaps to refill units. We only order paper supplies – like laser paper, paper towels, toilet paper have high recycled content and we have centralized our necessary printing to eliminate all desk printers except essential ones – reducing toners – plus all toner cartridges are sent to be recycled. We also offset our carbon footprint for all shipping in and out through carbonfund.org.