Happy Earth Day!

In light of Earth Day, I'd like to share some tips on how to live a greener life!

Reduce your carbon footprint by buying local, or at least Canadian! Support your local farmer's market, and local artists at trade and craft shows.

Think before you buy. What is that toy made of, and where will it end up? It takes hundreds of years for plastic to break down in a landfill. If you do buy plastic items, make sure they are recyclable (look for the symbols) and well-made so they will last so you can donate them or give to another for reuse! Never burn plastic. I also just found out that styrofoam never breaks down, so look out for it!

Speaking of recycling, almost everything that comes out of your house can be composted or recycled! Yogurt containers, toilet rolls, milk bags (cut them open, rinse them out, turn upside down to dry) food boxes, your phone bill, etc... I keep a bag in my kitchen where all my bags go for recycling, including frozen veggie bags and produce bags. When it's full I tie it up and put it in my containers recycling bin. I actually wash and reuse those ultra-handy ziplock bags over and over!

And speaking of bags, I'm still surprised at how many people leave the grocery store with their cart stuffed full of plasic bags! Save the environment by purchasing reusable grocery bags. The cheapest ones I've seen are the PC shopping bags at $1.99 each. Bonus: they're made of recycled bottles!

And speaking of bottles (I guess I'm on a roll ;) ) we really need to stop using these! There are affordable stainless steel, BPA-free plastic, and aluninum water bottles you can buy anywhere! They actually pay for themselves after a few cases of water (what clever bottles!). If you don't like the taste of your tap water there are a number of affordable filtration systems you can use like Brita, and President's Choice just came out with one as well.

Buy in bulk. This saves you money and less waste is great for the environment! It drives me nuts seeing those individal-size packs of food with a huge box wrapped around it. What waste!

Got extra paint you don't need? Donate it or bring it back to the manufacturer for recycling. Manage paint wisely, and always use low to zero-VOC paint.

Clean chemical-free with Norwex, or use eco-friendly cleaners. I love Seventh Generation dish soap (you only need a little, too!) and Nature Clean toilet cleaner, as well as Biolife (by Shoppers Drug Mart) hand soap.

Switch to earth-friendly lightbulbs. Start with EWG's Green Lighting Guide to identify which energy-efficient bulbs have the least mercury, where in your home they should go and how to use them safely.

Eat organic when you can. Check out the Shopper's Guide to Pesticides so you can eat organic without breaking the bank. Glow published an neat article on five organic foods to try.

Reusable batteries. Use 'em.

Do that dusting. Pets and young children are the most vulnerable to dust-bound pollutants, but cleaning your home is free, easy, and everyone benefits from cleaner indoor air. If your house is more than 30 years old, it's also important to keep the dusting and vacuuming up since your walls are probably decorated with lead paint.

Teach your children to be kind to the earth, too!

Handy Websites:
Green Living Examiner
Cool Mom Picks
Low Impact Living
Eco Child's Play
Eco Salon

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