Simple ways to lead a cleaner, more earth-friendly lifestyle in the new year
By now, you’ve probably worked out what “clean and sustainable” means for you and your family. Maybe you’re a pro at checking labels for weird ingredients and suspect chemicals; maybe you ditched the plastic baby bottles; maybe you shop organic when you can. But how can you level up your clean game for the new decade? We’re so glad you asked! Here, some of our favorite ideas for being a little bit cleaner, a little bit more eco-friendly, and a little bit safer in your daily life.
Do a home toxins check
You already know why clean matters. But toxins can lurk in unexpected places in your products and your home, too.
- Make the skincare swap. Your skin is your largest organ, and it absorbs a lot of what you put on it, good or bad. That’s why ingredient safety is so crucial, especially for pregnant moms and babies. Swap out potentially harmful conventional baby care and skincare with nontoxic products for baby and mom. Pipette’s formulas are safer because we blacklist over 2000 potentially harmful ingredients from our products, and use only super-clean ingredients that actually nourish and replenish skin. Want to check the toxicity of other skincare products you own? Check the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, which scientifically analyzes over 70,000 personal care products and gives each one a safety grade. (Ours get the highest possible safety ratings!)
- Start a no-shoes policy. It’s not just dirt you’re tracking in: Studies show there can be all manner of herbicides and pesticides stuck to the bottoms of your footwear. It’s that much more important to go shoe-free if you’ve got a curious crawler—or future crawler—in the house.
- Go organic….with your furniture. Did you know that traditional mattresses and upholstery can harbor chemicals that may be harmful to your health? When it’s time to invest in a new mattress or piece of upholstered furniture, look for products that have Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification, and aren’t coated with chemical flame retardants, which have been shown to accumulate more in kids than in adults (probably because those littles are always putting things in their mouths!)
Enough already, plastic
Sometimes it feels like the fight against the ever-present plastic in our lives is like a battle against the White Walkers: the plastic just keeps coming. But small changes can really add up.
- Ditch the plastic wrap. We know this is a hard one—plastic cling film just works so damn well!—but we’ve been loving Bee’s Wrap Made from beeswax and organic cotton, it’s reusable, washable, and compostable, and functions just as well for wrapping up cheese or covering the tops of bowls.
- Phase out plastic sandwich bags in lunchboxes. Take a page out of Rosie Huntington Whiteley’s book and spring for cute, washable silicone pouches or fabric bags for snacks on the run—or use sealable, recyclable paper baggies like these from Lunchskins, which come in cheery prints kids will love.
- Bring your own bags and containers. Not only can you bring cloth market bags to the grocery store or farmers market, you can also bring your own compostable bags for packing up individual fruits and vegetables instead of using single-use plastic produce bags. Ready for some varsity-level plastic bag avoidance? If your grocery store has items in bulk like rice and beans, bring your own glass jars to fill. Most bulk food sections can weigh the glass containers in advance.
It’s easy being green
Studies have shown that plants and green spaces are not just good for the planet, they’re good for us—and help to transform the little ones into budding naturalists, explorers, and farmers.
- Start an herb garden. Herbs like mint, parsley, and basil are incredibly easy to grow, and even if you live in an apartment you can find a spot to grow a few plants on a windowsill or fire escape. Enlisting the kiddos in the process is half the fun: toddlers and older kids love to help dig in the dirt, and enjoy picking leaves when the time comes for harvesting. And for those of you with tiny picky eaters, here’s the greatest secret of all: if they grow it, and cook it, they almost always want to eat it.
- Plant a tree! One of the best possible ways to combat climate change is to plant trees. Fortunately, there are about a billion different ways to do it, even if you don’t have the space yourself for creating a forest. Non-profits like The Nature Conservancy and One Tree Planted help with global reforestation, and will plant a tree for as little as a one dollar donation. If you want to plant a tree in your own neighborhood, check to see if your city has an urban forestry department with guidelines on local trees that work well in your area. If you submit a tree planting application, the city may even plant a tree for free on public property right by your house.
- Join a CSA. Community-supported agriculture—CSA for short—is a great way to connect with your local organic farmers and get incredible produce in the bargain. Here’s how it works: you subscribe in advance for a weekly “mystery box” of fruits and vegetables from a local farm. Every week, you pick up your farm box and receive the absolute freshest produce that’s in season (including exciting ingredients you might not have seen before!), and your farmer gets a steady source of income. Some CSAs even give subscribers the option of a visit to the farm itself, so you and your kids can see your food growing. Who doesn’t love a (literal!) field trip?