Sometimes, the simplest things are the ones we forget. There are plenty of eco-friendly ideas out there, but the key to staying on the green side is making little changes to sprinkle into our everyday lives. We’ve rounded up 30 of our favorite tips and tricks to help busy parents live a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle—you may even save some time, energy and “green” along the way!


  1. Ride a bike to run errandsBut of course! Burn cals, not fuel as you enjoy a fun ride around town, making everyday errands anything but boring—WHEE! 
  2. Refill hand soap containers instead of buying new ones. Hand soap is one of those things that you seem to go through endlessly. Not only is a reusable pump enviro-friendly, but for this reason, it’s also cost-effective since many brands offer a discount for a refill sans bottle.
  3. Turn that cardboard box into a craft. A cardboard box has endless play possibilities. Turn it into a car, a playhouse—even a game. And it’s easier than you think to make that box the hot new plaything in your home.
  4. Pack school lunches using reusable containers. Ever make a sandwich for your kid’s lunch only to realize you’ve run out of bags to put it in? Never run out again, by going reusable for lunch!

  5. Reuse containers for new uses. Wait! Don’t throw away that yogurt tub—give it a new life by using it to store some of your kiddo’s art supplies.
  6. Grow a herban garden. Your favorite fresh herbs can sprout up without much space! Save a trip to the store and skip the plastic by growing herbs and veggies at home. Get some inspo here.
  7. Coordinate a clothing swap with friends. A closet full of clothes but nothing to wear? Us too. Put together a clothing swap to trade your family’s threads for some new looks!
  8. Trade in your car seat. A few times a year Target’s car seat trade-in program keeps millions of pounds of plastic from landfills. All you have to do is drop off your old seat at a participating Target location, get a coupon and rest easy that you’re saving the planet, one seat at a time.
  9. Instead of tossing old clothes, donate.So you swapped but still left with some of your primo items? Donate them to your local family shelter, overseas for those in need or to your local do-good repurposing shop.
  10. Do a neighborhood toy swap. Toys: In one day and out the next, but now what do you do with them? Set up a neighborhood toy swap, of course! Get that shopping adrenaline rush without opening your wallet AND declutter your space all in one fell swap.
  11. Open windows and turn off heat/AC on nicer days. Okay, maybe this seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget. So turn off that A/C and let the sunshine in!
  12. Reuse toilet paper rolls for crafts. Toilet paper is always on a roll in our home… but what to do with the actual roll? So. Many. Things! Is it a telescope? A Megaphone? A new nose for Tickles the Bear? The sky’s the limit for kids’ creativity here. (Just don’t forget that you’re out of toilet paper.)
  13. Cut down on craft supplies with a dry erase board/reusable tablet. Tired of watching reams of paper disappear? Get your little Picasso an erasable drawing tablet so they can create a masterpiece without creating waste—now go hug a tree and they just may hug you back for this save!
  14. Melt down broken crayons into new, toddler-friendly ones. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. Broken crayons be darned. Gather up like colors, melt down on the stove, and pour into an ice cube tray, maybe even a fun shaped tray like stars or hearts—now you have the perfect size for those cute little chubby toddler hands.

  15. Make DIY cleaning solutions. Not only is this cost-effective and planet-friendly, but it’s also a great way to make sure whatever you’re spiffing your home up with is non-toxic. Here are some of our favorites.
  16. Keep produce fresher longer by freezing it. At the grocery store, sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. If you have a bunch of greens, herbs or berries that you just know you won’t get to, freeze them! Lock in all that freshness and lockout rot (and regret.) Now you can use em’ when you want em’.
  17. Get books from the library. We bet your local library is a magical place, and there is nothing like that book smell—ahh! So go check it out, literally, and get your next read at your personal house of all things books, for all interests and all ages—the library!
  18. Recycle your old electronics. Check with your town’s garbage pick-up provider to see if they have days or drop-off sites. Most Goodwill stores accept these items for recycling.
  19. Meatless Mondays! Switch up your burgers to veggie for a delicious eco-friendly swap of your family’s favorite comfort food. Heck, go crazy, maybe even swap your regular fries for sweet potato! Need some yummy recipes? Here you go!
  20. Throw a neighborhood plant party. Ain’t no party like a plant party! Why? Not only are you beautifying your neck of the woods, but you’re bonding with your neighbors. Just ask everyone to bring any extra seeds or plant starts to share!

  21. Do a neighborhood trash pick-up. Here’s a family activity that costs zero dollars, will beautify your hometown and will give you that warm fuzzy do-good feeling: Taking part in a local trash pick up! April is Earth Month, so it’s the perfect time to team up and clean up.
  22. Repurpose old shirts for cleaning rags. Have t-shirts that have seen better days? Give them a new life, as your new best cleaning buddy. No need for more paper products, use these well-loved rags to clean your windows, shine up your bike, countertops and more.
  23. Reuse your plastic bags as trash can liners. Plastic grocery bags make the perfect small-sized trash can liners (we’re looking at you, bathroom wastebasket). So put em’ in the can! 
  24. Visit your local farmer’s market. Show local farmers and vendors some love! Spending your hard-earned dollars in your community means it stays in your community. Not only that, you’ll have access to the freshest products money can buy and maybe even get to chat with the person that grew those ingredients you’ll be eating for lunch—that’s pretty cool!
  25. Turn off the faucet when kids brush their teeth. Teaching kids to conserve water is so important, not just for the environment, but for your water bill. Post a note in the bathroom as a reminder and reward kids with an ocean-themed sticker when they help save water for our aquatic friends.
  26. Swap lightbulbs for LED. Not sure what kind of lightbulbs you have? Then it’s the perfect time to swap them for energy-conserving LED bulbs which are widely available—grab some at your local hardware store today!
  27. Join a local beach clean-up. If you are lucky enough to live by a body of water, why not return the favor with a little tidying? Post in a local community group to round up some folks who also want to keep their beach clean so all can enjoy it—including the magnificent creatures it holds.
  28. Bring a reusable water bottle. Going somewhere? Don’t forget your water bottle! Do a little research and get one you love that suits your hydration needs (metal, plastic or glass, for instance). By choosing the water vessel of your dreams, you are sure to reach for it each and every day.
  29. Pack your own utensils. Families are always on the go—and eating on the go! Keep some utensils and reusable straws in your bag for quick meals without the extra waste. Throw a reusable, lightweight bamboo utensil set in your kids’ backpacks, too!
  30. Donate old blankets and towels to an animal shelter. Don’t know what to do with those old blankets and towels that are not quite gently used enough for traditional donation? Bring those much-needed comfort items to your local animal shelter! Our furry friends will thank you.


—Jamie Aderski


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