Sustainability Tip brought to you by Meridith Myers, wife of Executive Director John Myers
I wish I could say that my journey to sustainable practices started with a deep seeded love of the outdoors and a desire to be a #championofnature, but my journey came from the desire to be frugal.
It started with switching from paper to cloth napkins 11 years ago! Slowly, over the years, I have found new ways to incorporate my frugal tendencies to create more sustainable practices.
This past summer, I made a commitment to work towards a film free kitchen. With our middle child starting kindergarten in the fall, I knew that I needed a better way to manage lunches for the kids, my husband and myself. After a significant amount of research, I purchased Planet Wise reusable sandwich bags. I was able to purchase these locally at BabyTime Family Boutique in NewBo, but you can also find similar items inside Indian Creek Nature Center’s Creekside Shop (where members receive a 10% discount!).
The kids love their colorful, fun patterns and I enjoy that they’re easy to rinse and drip dry on the counter or toss in the next load of laundry. The zipper closure is an added bonus when you’re trying to quickly and quietly provide a snack to the ravenous toddler in church! Sandwiches, pretzels, grapes, veggies…anything goes. Packing three to four lunches a day, these reusable sandwich bags have already paid for themselves, which makes this frugal momma happy!
Another focus this summer was finding a way to replace our current kitchen cleaners. They are so costly and, if I’m being honest with myself, they probably are not very safe for the family or the environment. Although cost and safety have always been a concern, so has efficiency and ease of use which is why I have stayed with traditional cleaners until recently. I needed something that could easily replace the counter wipes that I’ve always used. What I found was an amazing cleaning recipe that I’m able to use on my counters and floors!
- 1 cup of distilled water (tap water is fine for short term storage, but if you’re looking to keep a supply on hand, distilled water is best)
- ½ cup of white distilled vinegar*
- ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol
- 8 drops of tea tree oil
- 12 drops of lavender essential oil
- 5 drops of peppermint essential oil
Mix ingredients and store in large container with tight fitting lid. Add rags or cut up old towels to the mixture and you’ve got a handy supply of cleaning wipes at your fingertips. After you’ve used the wipe, toss it in a bucket under the sink or in the laundry room and wash on laundry day (ok, who am I kidding, everyday is laundry day at my house)! Need to mop? Skip the first ingredient and add the remaining ingredients to your hot mop water.
*If you have granite countertops, skip the vinegar and use 3 – 5 drops of Dawn dish soap or liquid castile soap instead.
Whether you were born a #championofnature or just starting out on this journey to sustainability, I encourage you to look around and find one small thing that you can do today. Trust me, if I can do this, so can you!