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Being Green in a Tight Economy: Part III

Often times the easiest way to lessen the impact on our Earth and our wallets is simply to use LESS. The third part to our series on being green when budgets are tight.

Use the correct amount of product. For laundry soap, this is usually 2 ounces or about HALF the cap. Many of us naturally fill the cap, isn’t that what it’s for? Shampoo and conditioner usually require only a teaspoon or two. Better yet, if you can, switch to a shampoo bar. Store your soap out of the water spray, otherwise it will be shrinking while not in use. Ration your children’s shampoo and body wash supply by giving them small portions (use a shot glass size container) of products at bath time.

Store shampoos, conditioners, lotions, cleaners, etc… out of the reach of the kids. Even when the products are natural and safe as ours are. My three year old LOVES to rub shampoo (or whatever she can get her hands on) all over herself. I HATE walking in to find containers empty. The solution is simple. When its not in use, it gets put away. If things are sitting on the tub or counter, it is an invitation to be played with, accidentally spilled or over used. This means it has to be replaced sooner which costs more money.

Replace cleaning products with vinegar, water and baking soda. Just about everything can be cleaned with these three simple ingredients. They are also very inexpensive. No more $3.00 bottles of window cleaner.

Save your large yogurt tubs (because why would you buy small ones anyway?) and other containers to replace plastic bags. Instead of reaching into the drawer for a zippie bag, grab an appropriate sized tub to stash your leftovers. Mason jars also work great (especially in the freezer). I always have a stash waiting in my cupboard in between jamming season.

Combine trips. Library books aren’t due until tomorrow but you are going to be in town for an appointment today? Take them back a day early, stop at the market, fill the gas tank and handle any other errands in as few trips as possible. We live a bit out of town so this is a vital aspect to our life, especially now.

It’s been said a million times, but I’m going to say it again. Go cloth. (In deference to recent reports that cloth may not be so good for the environment, I would like to remind you to dry store, wash only full loads, use warm not HOT water, use only all natural detergent, hydrogen peroxide to replace bleach and vinegar to soften, tumble dry until damp then hang if possible, and ALWAYS BUY ORGANIC COTTON.) Not just for nappies but for wipes as well. You will add one load a week to your wash while saving a ton of filth from the landfill (not to mention protecting your little ones bum from all the nasties in disposable nappies). Disposable wipes are usually plastic based (as are those convenient household wipes) so they are going to hang out in the landfill for a long time. It’s just as easy to grab some super soft cloth at the fabric store (organic cotton), cut into the size of squares you like and store in a lidded container with a bit of water, aloe and maybe a smidge of lavender or tea tree oil if you like the essence.

Photo from Dreamstime.

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  1. Awesome post, again! I love the tip about keeping soaps out of reach. My son was playing with Daddy’s soap bar this morning in the bath which was not only a waste but also caused some major tears when he got some soap in his eye.

  2. Great information Jamie…we have a drawer full of tubs and I use them for everything. I also combine trips- I like to get all my stuff done at the same time- running errands in not one of my favorite things to do!

  3. We use leftover liquid children’s medicine measuring cups to make sure we never use more than 2T of eco-friendly detergent per (full) load of laundry.

    Also, I find that pump dispensers help you use less soap/shampoo/etc. We pour our dish soap and hand soap into pump dispensers for the kitchen (and hand soap for the bathrooms). Sometimes I even water down the dish soap :) In the bathroom we use an Aviva Dispenser for shampoo, liquid body soap, and face wash. I know exactly how many pumps of each I need. I don’t use it for conditioner though; it clogs.

    I also try to use cloth dishcloths or sponges (which I clean in the dishwasher) as much as possible instead of paper towels.

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