These days it’s hard to ignore the growing need for all of us to pitch in and make a difference where our environment is concerned. With the chaotic nature of motherhood, it can be hard to prioritize things like this. Still, there are ways to quickly and smoothly transition to making a serious impact and help build a brighter future for our children. So, let’s take a look at how even the busiest of single moms can make small changes that make a big difference.
Start in Your Kitchen
When you want to make an environmental impact, an easy place to start is your kitchen. What do you store your food in? If it’s single-use plastics, commit to purchasing glass storage ware and no longer using anything that is single use. Do you enjoy a smoothie in the mornings? Ditch the plastic straws and invest in some silicone of stainless steel smoothie straws. When it comes to the way you and your children are hydrated, opt for bamboo or stainless steel reusable water bottles that will last for years instead of disposable/recyclable plastic water bottles.
Speaking of recycling, make an effort to recycle any and all food packaging as you use the items in your refrigerator and pantry. And, commit as a household to eating all the things in your refrigerator or pantry before they go bad. Food waste is an absolute travesty considering 1 in 5 American children go to bed hungry every night. And on a much smaller scale, a bummer when it comes to your wallet as you spent hard-earned money on food just being tossed in the trash bin.
Check Your Needs
Did you know the average American household contains over 300,000 items? How many of those items do you use regularly, and did you actually need them? The unfortunate thing about the overconsumption of unnecessary items is that purchasing them continues the need to manufacture them. Most items that aren’t used often are not being used because of their low quality or because they serve no actual purpose. By committing to not buying things you don’t “need,” you reduce the demand for these products to be manufactured in factories that emit harmful emissions and have employees in some countries working in inhumane conditions.
When you do need to purchase something, weigh the pros and cons, decide if it’s a want or a need, and move from there. It’s perfectly fine to buy “wants” as long as you know they are of good enough quality they will last you for years to come and that you will use them, or they spark profound joy in you when you look at them (think decor items). That way, you know that your conscious spending has a positive environmental impact and is a sustainable purchase.
Evaluate Your Cleaning Products and Toiletries
Aside from the possible health implications of cleaning with harsh chemicals and using cosmetic products laden with chemicals on ourselves and our families, they also have a negative impact on the environment. No one is saying you have to toss out what you already own; that wouldn’t be sustainable – but it’s worth making more mindful purchases moving forward.
Swap your cleaning products out for their greener counterparts and evaluate your makeup and toiletry needs. Look for products like clean face moisturizers, cruelty-free cosmetics, and plant-based lotions and shampoos. You may not think these small decisions make an impact, but they compound on each other and do make a global impact. And, possibly, more importantly, they have an immediate effect on the wellbeing of your household.
Build Up to Bigger Impacts
Whether you’re restricted by budgets or other commitments, outfitting your home with solar panels or purchasing an electric car may not be in your immediate future. Still, you can build up to those dreams, which ultimately have a more significant impact. So, as you save for these types of investments, continue making sustainable, more conscious choices every day that you and your children can feel good about.
Passing the love for the planet, nature, and fellow man is an essential part of being a strong and guiding parent, so as your children see you making these changes, they too will naturally want to get involved. It can give everyone in the family a sense of social responsibility and self-confidence as they know they’re doing the right thing, consciously. You got this, mama!