Establish Sustainable Routines With Your Family

Building consistent habits is the key to success. As the last days of the year are counted down, you can use these holiday times together to challenge your family by practicing a new habit every day for the first 12 days of the month (or take one-a-month of the next year), with the goal being to adopt 12 new eco-friendly habits that everyone can get comfortable with over time. 

The environmental issues might seem completely overwhelming but it truly does all start by each one of us committing to be more eco-friendly. Every single citizen has a responsibility to make changes in the way they live. Change won’t come abruptly, but step by step, day after day and the once convenient (wasteful) lifestyle choices now become new eco-friendly habits. 

What does eco-friendly mean? Eco-friendly literally means friendly to the earth or simply not harmful to the environment. The term is most commonly used to refer to products and practices that help in conserving resources like water and energy as well as preventing air, water, and land pollution. To engage in eco-friendly practices start by being more conscious of how you use resources. Every effort taken towards an eco-friendly life will definitely help the environment, help you save money, and help save the world.

Zero Plastic Habits

Plastic is literally everywhere. Scientists have seen microplastics everywhere they have looked: in deep oceans; in Arctic snow; in shellfish, table salt, drinking water and beer; and drifting in the air or falling with rain over mountains and cities. Plastic can only ever be recycled two times, then it’s garbage for the rest of eternity. Getting into the habit of using less plastic is an EXCELLENT eco-friendly project for your family to commit to during the 12 days of sustainable awareness. 

  1. Cling wrap– replace plastic cling wrap with eco-friendly beeswax wrap alternative. Beeswax wrap is more breathable than plastic and is biodegradable.
  2. Plastic cutlery– replace with other options. Americans use over 100 million pieces of disposable cutlery every day! Make it a habit to carry your own silverware from home. Wooden cutlery is especially easy to carry around. Don’t be shy; you’re taking a stand!

BONUS: The same thing goes for your take-out containers. When you buy takeout, request to use your reusable containers instead of disposable ones. And always bring your own tupperware when dining out to take home leftovers.

  1. Plastic shampoo- over 80 BILLION plastic bottles are disposed of around the world every year just from shampoo and conditioner! Consider using reusable bottles to refill your shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. Or even better yet, move to the products that are made in ‘cake’ form and come packaged in recycled cardboard.
  2. Ethical fashion– The impact of ‘fast fashion’ i.e. cheap clothes, is catastrophic. From water wastes, to mico-plastics, forest destruction, increased green-hosue gasses, etc. as the study from Prineston explains. Ethically made clothes use have sustainable materials instead of polyester which takes more than 200 years to decompose. Ethical fashion brands are strict followers of fair trade and promote labor ethics on top of being environmentally conscious.
  3. Food awareness– eco-conscious food choices are one of the most important habits you can begin for a healthier family, not only increasing your personal benefits but also those of the environment all around you. Food accounts for slightly under half of an average household’s eco-footprint. Choosing ethically produced food will reduce your eco-footprint. What does that look like: locally grown, or grown in state and not traveled from across the country or from poor labor farms.

Eco-Friendly Shopping Habits

  1. Loose produce– buy your fruits and veggies in loose form (versus packaged in styrofoam or plastic) to further reduce your waste.
  2. Buy in bulk– this is another great habit to establish to reduce waste, save you money, and take an environmentally friendly action step.
Bulk Foods - Whole Foods Market | Whole Foods Market
  1. Buy second hand– as noted above, fast fashion is incredibly harmful to the environment. Beyond clothes, choosing to purchase pre-loved items means saving resources that would have been used to make a new item. This goes to everything from furniture, to electronics, to sports equipment, to musical instruments and anything else you can dream of. Buying gently used items also promotes the reduction of waste, saves money, and keeps the principles of a circular economy going.

Reduce Pollution Habits

  1. Biking or walking– another two-fold great eco-conscious habit to begin practicing with your family to reduce carbon emission is to start biking or walking more. Begin with a small few errands on the weekends then keep adding to your car-free time.
The Most Amazing Family Bike Ride: How to make it happen
  1.  Car washing on grass– washing your car on the front lawn soaks up any pollutants and detergents as well as limiting the amount that enters into the street drains which ends up in streams and lakes. Also good for drought areas where water is limited.

Eco-Friendly Food Habits

  1. Eat less meat– meat production is the greatest carbon emitter among all proteins. There is no need to become a vegan and give it all up, but you can start with at least one meal a week for a new family habit and tradition. There is a nationwide movement called “Meatless Monday” that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet. Join in and follow a social media page to get updates, action steps, and recipes on a weekly basis. Get the kids involved; let them pick the menu, shop, and cook their favorite meatless meals.
  2. Grow your food– growing your own food is actually easy and extremely satisfying, not to mention a great habit to begin in any family. No need for a large garden, lawn or backyard; you can start with a few pots on your front porch or balcony. Cherry tomatoes, salad greens, and green beans are some of the easier veggies to begin with. 

There you have 12 days of eco-friendly and eco-conscious habits to get your family started on a great green lifestyle. Going green certainly doesn’t happen overnight, but your small steps will add up. It’s all about making better choices and in no time your whole family will become the resident sustainability experts on the block. Give back to the planet this holiday season with the implementation of your 12 days of eco-friendly habit implementation. Use our guide or create your own. Have fun with it and make it stick for the new year!

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