Five 2011 Eco-Challenges for More Experienced Green Families

In the last post I listed 5 insanely easy New Year’s goals for families who are newer to green living. However, I know plenty of you are not new to green living. If you’ve got some eco-experience, as a family, then you’re ready for some harder challenges during the upcoming year.

Now to make these challenges harder, but still fair, I’ve only listed goals that my family has actually accomplished. This way, I can offer tips, time-lines and so on to help you meet these goals. If you’re curious, I’ll be posting my own NOT yet accomplished green goals later on, but these below, my family has gotten pretty good at. Also, I only picked goals that I think will make the most positive impact on the planet, but that are still doable.

Following are five green challenges you can take on as a family in the new year. Oh, and because I don’t want this post to get exorbitantly long, later I’ll link some tips to each, but for now I’m just going to post the goals and some basics about them.

GOAL 1 – Don’t bring home one plastic or paper bag all year.

If you’ve completed this goal already, consider trying to convert another family member or friend to reusables. The average person uses about 500 plastic bags per year, which uses lots of oil and creates tons of pollution. Plus almost none of these bags get recycled and many end up as garbage in the oceans or other public spaces. As for paper, in 1999, 14 million trees were cut to produce the 10 billion paper grocery bags used by Americans that year alone according to Reuseit. Also, it takes more than four times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag as it does to manufacture a plastic bag. If you can convince just one person to make the switch to reusable bags, you’ve helped save a ton of resources.

GOAL 2 – Quit using paper towels & paper napkins.

If this is a goal you’ve already completed, consider attempting to switch to 100% recycled toilet paper or try to drop another disposable product you use, such as plastic baggies or foil.

GOAL 3 -Skip the bottled water all year long.

If you’ve completed this goal already, consider trying to cut out other plastic bottles in your life. For example juice bottles or soda. Buy in glass, make homemade juice or look for companies using recycled containers AND other ethical green practices to bottle their beverages.

GOAL 4 -Quit eating meat OR only buy sustainable meat.

If you’ve completed this goal work on other areas of your meals. For example, make all your bread this year from scratch, thus cutting out preservatives and packaging. Quit buying canned soup and jarred sauces and make your own. Or grow a garden and eat at least some of your own fresh organic produce vs. always having to buy it.

GOAL 5 – Go at least 50% organic with your groceries.

If you’ve completed this goal up the stakes and go 80% or even 100% organic. Many families do this, and while it’s hard it’s not impossible.

Coming up, tips that can help you complete each and every one of the goals above.

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  1. Anna says

    I love this list :). I’m proud to say that we’ve already done most of them too!!

    I do have a question–I’m not sure if you make your own bread, but do you have any suggestions for something to store homemade bread in? I bought a bread bag a while back through a co-op, but it still needed a plastic bag in it (that would only last a few uses, not to mention it was shaped for a conventional store-bought loaf). My breadmaker makes a horizontal loaf but we are ALWAYS storing it in a ziplock bag… not very green! Any suggestions?


  1. […] Stop using paper towels and napkins: Make use of reusable materials instead of paper. […]

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