1. Bambooee Paper Towels
If your household normally buys paper towels – I have the BEST alternative for you: Bambooee paper towels. I simply cannot recommend them enough. They are washable/reuseable/super absorbent “paper” towels that can be used hundreds of times. We don’t even use paper towels anymore and in a couple of years, it has saved us roll after roll. No more Costco paper towels for us. We have been using just one pack of 30 of these bamboo towels over and over. (It saves on storage space, too.)
A Tip: For immediate accessibility in the kitchen, I keep a large jar on the counter and just stuff it with these towels when they come out of the wash. So, so handy.
Silpats are a DREAM, my friends. They are silicone sheets that you place on your cookie sheets and baking pans. They are non-stick and washable (dishwasher safe, too). They even prevent the food from burning and prevent your pan from getting baked on grease stains. I sometimes get ahead of myself and think that everyone must know about Silpats. But no. They do not! Here in Ecuador all the expats go on and on about how they cannot get Pam Spray here! SAY NO TO PAM, my friends! Get these silpats and you’ll be set for life. Your baking pans will likely be set for life, too. And if you’re like me, you’ll enjoy their typography and “made in France” reminder each time you bake. Macarons anyone? They actually make a sheet for those – with a template for the exact measurements. 🙂 2 mats for $16.24.
3. Join a CSA (Or Buy Directly From Local Farmers)
I cannot recommend a CSA enough! We joined one in Brooklyn (in Greenwood Heights) and it’s INCREDIBLE to join with the community to get GOOD, CLEAN food delivered – package free! I will sign up for a CSA again in a heartbeat when we move back to the states. I know in Brooklyn the CSAs had waiting lists – so it’s probably best to sign up as early as possible before the new harvest season. Another recommendation: Find bakers and local food makers in your area. Here in Ecuador, we can order smoked fish, kombucha, pickled garlic, kefir, organic meat, and gluten free bread directly and they even deliver it door-to-door! In Brooklyn, we purchased eggs, wild salmon, and freshly baked bread from local farmers/bakers.
4. No. More. Processed. Foods!
This is one incredible way to both save the planet AND save your body. We have basically eliminated processed foods 100%. That’s just crazy to me. We had thought for some time that it would be the ideal way to live and I just can’t believe that it’s now a reality. One of the best side effects of making pasta sauce or hummus or almond milk or crackers or tortillas from scratch is: no more packaging. No boxed goods. No plastic containers or bags. Our trash accumulation has gone significantly down. (Disclaimer: It’s much, much easier to live this way here in Ecuador. It helps that the packaged food products and branding and ingredients are just not as appealing to us. I hope that when we return to the states we can resist the organic corn chips and coconut milk icecream and all those snacks from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods! How are all you doing on the processed food front? I know it’s a difficult thing to break away from them – but it is possible to do little by little. 🙂
5. Compost Pile.
We’ve been composting down here and I cannot recommend it enough. We probably do it wrong (we are no experts). And the truth is we haven’t actually even used the compost for a garden yet. BUT…composting cuts back significantly on the amount of trash bags that we need to go through. For the first time in my life I don’t even own larger “kitchen sized” trash bags! Nearly all the trash can go out to the compost. (This is the compost pile at Casa Mojanda, the eco-lodge where we have our retreat. Photo by Amanda Glenn.)
6. Menstrual Cups Instead of Tampons
I’ll admit, my first experience was a bit traumatic. And it’s still not my favorite thing in the world. BUT…I love that it offers a safer, less toxic, green alternative to using tampons and plan to use it as needed, while mainly still using my reusable pads. I highly, highly recommend giving this a try (I use this cup here). You can see 67 comments here on a previous post here where so many women raved about using these cups.
7. Save All Glass Jars
I have finally realized how nice it is to have glass jars around. From time to time we do have glass jars coming into the home for raw honey, kombucha, pickled garlic or olives. I now save every one and use them to:
-Store dry flours, nuts, coconut, oats, grains (I don’t mind the mix matched look in our pantry)
-Package jars of food and beverages for the road or for picnics.
-Store homemade cleaning products.
-Use for water & green juice jars around the house.
-Deliver soup to a neighbor.
For another HUGE list of ideas, see this post by Trash is for Tossers. This trash-free woman is seriously raising the bar!
Other Green Tips I’ve written about in the past:
–Norwex Micro Cloths/ Cleaning with Water Only
–Wool Dryer Balls
–Green Reusable Vegetable Bags
–Reuseable Sandwich Wraps & Planet Lunch Boxes
OK, you dear, wise people – what else can we add to this list? Please share in the comments ANY green home tips you have. I would so love to get some more ideas!