Bringing babies into the world can really highlight the need to preserve our planet for future generations. But while composting toilets and generating your own electricity are probably beyond the capacity of most Kiwi families, here are 5 small changes you can make today, to make a big difference tomorrow.
1. Make Your Own Wipes
Wipes don't have to be disposable. You can easily make your own re-usable wipes, which will have less impact on the environment, avoid the chemicals commonly found in disposable wipes, and save you money!
Several companies sell washable wipe cloths but you can also use Chux cleaning cloths (sold in a pack or roll) or anything similar from your supermarket, and cut them to your preferred size.
Try: Soak cloths in 1 cup of water with a drop or two of lavender essential oil (a natural antiseptic and antifungal). You could also use a tablespoon of witch hazel (available at pharmacies) which is a great for itchy or inflamed skin. Squeeze out excess water and keep dampened cloths in an airtight container, or pack a few in a zip-lock bag for wipes on the go.
2. Wash In Cold Water
Your clothes, that is. Although the benefits of a cold shower are also numerous. Washing clothes with warm water uses ten times as much energy as running a cold wash. Which adds up to and extra 20 - 40 cents worth of electricity every load. So cold washes save on energy and cash. Simple as that.
3. BYO Bag
Every year New Zealanders use 1 billion plastic bags. Put a re-usable bag in your handbag or nappy bag, and stash some in the car boot too. Next time you are offered a bag at the shops you can politely refuse, 'I have my own, thanks'.
There are some gorgeous re-usable bags available, most squash down to smaller than a fistful and are strong but light. Check out the vast range at www.envirosax.co.nz
4. Snack Smart
New Zealanders use approximately 31 kilos of plastic packaging per year, each! Reducing this statistic is as simple as shopping a bit smarter. Avoid individually packaged snacks and buy chips, dried fruit, cookies, crackers, nuts etc in bulk. With many schools and kindergartens adopting "litter-free" policies, finding alternatives for pre-packaged snacks is often a requirement.
Use lunch boxes with individual compartments to keep snacks separate (no one likes a soggy cookie), without the use of plastic wrap. There are also reusable snack wraps on the market.
Buying in bulk will save you money, too. And for even more environmental kudos, bake your own lunch box treats and avoid packaging altogether. Whip up a big batch of muffins, cookies, cupcakes or mini quiches and freeze them. They can go straight into a lunch box each morning and will defrost in time for lunch.
5. DIY Cleaning Products
There isn't much that good old-fashioned baking soda and elbow grease can't clean up, so refrain from buying bottles and cans of chemical cleaning products and mix up your own cleaning power with panty staples.
Did you know:
✨Baking soda can clean, deodorize, soften water and scour off grime.
✨White vinegar cuts through grease, removes mildew, odours, some stains and wax build-up.
✨Lemon is one of the strongest food acids and can fight household bacteria.
Try: 1/2 a bucket of hot water with one tablespoon of baking soda and 1/2 a cup of white vinegar to clean floors, windows and other hard surfaces.
Click here to see what else baking soda can do around your home.
Published 16 September, 2012