WITH NEW UP-DATES FOR 2012
Even though it is a part of our mission to offer eco-friendly products, I was somehow just not in the mood to jump on the ever-expanding bandwagon for Earth Day. Although I don't pretend to do it perfectly; everyday is Earth Day for me, for our business and for our family. Just a few of the things I do to be Earth Friendly and why:
1. I have been using chemical-free cleaning supplies for more years than I can count. I have sensitive skin and was making many products long before they became widely available commercially. After I met my husband, I encouraged him to look into natural products and it has now become a part of our business plan to specialize in these products.
2. I shop at thrift stores. Originally I started looking for "treasures" to sell on eBay. I then became amazed at how many things I could pick up in my hunts. I think it is a great way to "re-use" other people's trash. I have picked up dishes I use for pet food and water, pots for my plants, furniture and accessories, many I have re-purposed, tablecloths, picture frames, the list goes on. I have several "trash to treasure" books and it is a running joke in my family to see what "project" I have done for Christmas, many years giving craft project made out of somebody else's trash.
3. I go to auctions. Again, this is a great way to purchase interesting objects, saving money and preventing items from ending up in landfills. We have bought furnishings to use in our retail store, as well as furniture for our home. Many items require some refurbishing, but that's part of the fun!
4. I donate unused items to charity.
5. I use cloth napkins and microfibers, thereby eliminating paper towels and napkins in my home. There is almost nothing in my house I can't clean with the right microfiber cloth and just water.
6. I have a compost pile. A great way to decrease what we put in the garbage trucks and helps eliminate the need to purchase soil (that often comes in plastic bags) and put additives in our garden and lawn.
7. We re-use packing materials when we can in shipping products out of our business.
8. We keep eco-pads (an adult form of etch-a-sketch that comes with a stylus) at desks to write notes, greatly reducing paper usage.
9. I try really hard not to buy wrapping paper. I try to get creative with wrapping presents: using decorated paper sacks, wrapping in leftover fabric, using items I have on hand to decorate the packages.
10. We now use glass straws (available in our store) instead of plastic straws.
11. I use reusable shopping bags.
12. We have reusable produce bags, sandwich bags and snack bags in our store.
13. I use washable hankies instead of tissues. We sell "Hanky Books" in our store.
14. I no longer buy soda in plastic, throwaway bottles. I have a SodaStream machine in my house, at our store; (also available for purchase) thereby eliminating throwaway bottles and reducing my calories and soda consumption.
15. I have switched from our "pod" coffee machine, thereby eliminating trash and allowing me to put the used coffee ground on my compost pile.
16. We use non-chemical pest control (except for wasps; I am allergic so chemical warfare is necessary) using herbal and natural solutions.
WOW! I am proud of the six new Eco-friendly practices I can add to my list. I will continue to search for other ways/practices and share them with you. What are your practices?
None of my ideas are new, many of them are not giant leaps. But, if everyone will take just one baby step, we can change the world.