Setting Green Goals – My “Changes to Make” List

garden and compost

Photo by net_efekt

Hopefully you’ve set some green goals or made a green resolution for this year.  There are always changes we can make and steps we can take to move ourselves and our families toward a healthier, simpler and more natural lifestyle.

For myself, I made a list of green changes that I want to make this year. It’s kind of an ongoing list, some of these things I rolled over from my list last year, because I didn’t get to them for one reason or another, and I know that I will add more things to the list as the year goes on and I learn and grow more and more on my journey toward living green and living frugally.

I already shared last week on Green…Your Way about setting green goals, so if you need a place to start, I’d encourage you to head over there to read my post.

Today, though, I wanted to share my “Changes I Want to Make” list with you.  Because who doesn’t love a good list!

My 2011 “Green Changes to Make” List

  • Composting – this one is a leftover from last year.  I tried to get started with composting last summer, but it flopped because I was waiting on my hubs to make me a compost bin.  I still have faith that he’s going to make me one this year, but even if he doesn’t, I want to make sure that I start composting.
  • Low Flow Shower Head – another one left over from last year.  We kept saying we were going to go buy one and install it, but for some reason it just didn’t happen.  I’d like to complete this one by the end of this month.
  • Decrease Disposables even more – we’ve signigicantly decreased the amount of paper products that we use and throw away, but we still create a lot of garbage.  I want to figure out ways to decrease our disposables, reuse and repurpose items, and use even more reusable items.
  • Research plastics and move away from plastics in kitchen – this one has been in the back of my mind for a while, but I just haven’t taken the time to dive in and research it better.  I’m also a little overwhelmed about moving away from plastics in my kitchen because I just wonder what else I can use, but I know there are better alternatives and I just need to put the time and energy into making this change.
  • Make sourdough starter - I tried this one last year, and failed miserably.  I don’t know what happened, but it was gross!  I would love to learn to bake with sourdough and love even more to make a starter from scratch in my own kitchen!
  • Use the Oil Cleansing Method for washing my face - I tried this once last year with terrible results, but recently started doing it again back in December with a much better reaction this time.  I want to keep it going for another month or two to make sure that it will really work well for my skin in the long run.  I’ll be sharing more about this in a  few weeks.

Photo by PUREnaturalMinerals

  • Find more natural and safe makeup – I’ve made a lot of changes to my personal care products, but one change I haven’t made yet is my makeup.  Granted, I don’t wear makeup as often as I used to, and when I do wear it, I use less than I used to, so that is a small start.  But, I still use the same brands of drugstore make up I always have.

One reason I haven’t made this change yet is because I don’t wear makeup as often, I still have makeup left that I feel like I need to use up before searching for a new kind.  And also the few times that I have looked, I get sticker shock because natural brands of makeup are definitely pricier than drug store brands.  But, I know it’s important to make sure that what I’m putting on my face is safe, and since I use less makeup now, it will last me for a long time, which helps me justify the cost.  I’m hoping to make this change in the next month or two.

  • Switch to reusable menstrual products - (If you are male, please stop reading now!)  I didn’t have to worry about this one too much last year because my cycle didn’t return until my son was 14 months old.  But now that it’s back, I know that it’s time to try out cloth mama pads and probably the diva cup too.  To help get me started my sister bought be a gift certificate for Go With The Flow pads for Christmas.  I won’t say too much more about it, but it’s definitely a change that we as women need to think about and look into.
  • Expand my garden - I’m so excited about my garden this year.  My hubs was hard at work this fall landscaping our front yard with beautiful rock walls an planting beds, as well as setting aside a large area in the front yard for me to use as my garden!  I’ve already started planning where my beds will go, and what plants I want to grow, including planting some fruits like strawberries and raspberries, as well as an herb garden.  I learned a lot from my garden last year, mostly that I didn’t have near enough space, so I’m excited this year to have a lot more space to work with, even though I know that I still have a lot to learn!
  • Eat more local food - Besides my garden, I also want to do a better job of eating more local food.  I was a regular at our farmer’s market every week this summer, but I didn’t do a great job of putting up food to eat throughout the year.  I want to try my hand at canning, and do more freezing and possibly other types of preserving this year by buying more foods in bulk when they are local and in season and putting them up to eat later on in the year.

I’m excited about the changes that I plan to make this year, and hope to look back at the end of the year and be able to say that I accomplished all of my goals.  It helps to write them out and share them publicly with all of you! :)

I’m sure I will be sharing more about these goals as I tackle them throughout the year, so I’d encourage you to subscribe to e-mail updates, or in a reader, to be sure you don’t miss a single post.  You can also connect with me on Twitter and Facebook!

Now, I want to hear from you! What are your Green Goals for 2011?


  1. Nicola says

    Making a sourdough starter is one of mine too. I’ve put it off because I’m sure it’s going to go horribly wrong.
    I switched to CSP last year and it’s great. It’s so easy, especially when you have cloth diapers already.

  2. says

    My Green Goals:
    1) Fill our *NEW* spare freezer with home made ingredients (stock, macaroni sauce, breads, “convenience foods” from scratch, etc)
    2) Start our first ever garden! YAY for home ownership! We already planted garlic to winter over, and some blackberries last summer, but nothing else.
    3) Remember to actually USE the bags in my car, and pack reusable containers for restaurant leftovers
    4) Make some more cleaners at home (and find more uses for my current baking soda and white vinegar)

    Great Food for Thought!

  3. Tonya says

    I have been using small sea sponges for my feminine health needs for the last 10 years. These sponges are usually available in the hermit crab section of pet stores, or are online (silk sponges are the right size). They can also be purchased online from sites that refer to them as “sea pearls” for “natural reusable tampons”. Just be sure to purchase real sea sponges, and do not use synthetic ones (not kitchen/bath cleaning sponges).

  4. Kristy says

    I never gave a thought to re-usable feminine products… didn’t even know such things existed. Curious now, I guess I have some things to look into. I’d be interested to see what people think who have tried this route… Cloth makes me nervous when out and about – what do you do with it? Hmmm… food for thought and investigation, anyway.

    • June says

      I have been using the same “The Keeper” ( for almost 10 years now for menstrual cycles. They claim that each lasts 10 years, and I believe them as mine is still working perfectly. I hated tampons because they were uncomfortable, and I didn’t enjoy the feeling (or to be blunt, the smell) of pads either. Seriously, I would recommend it to everyone. I don’t know much about the Diva Cup, but I assume it’s about the same. I can go swimming, exercising, sleeping and never notice that it’s even there. It usually only needs to be emptied once or twice a day and it has no risk of TSS because bacteria cannot grow on it. When I bought it, they even had a 30 day guarantee if you didn’t like it. You can’t lose trying it out!

  5. says

    Could always just start with a compost pile, then your hubby has incentive to build around it! :) For me, I plan to cut down (further) on eating out and external entertainment, as well as continuing to cut down disposables and water use. For the kitchen, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Pyrex containers. They are glass, so they freeze, microwave, bake, etc. They are also easy to clean. Hands down, my favourite ever.

  6. Brooke says

    I plan to reduce the plastic in our kitchen, and compost. I have a bin for composting already, but didn’t get it started before it became cold, so I have big plans in the spring. I am already planning a bigger garden, and I have looked into reusable feminine products, but for now I am using Natra-care brand, made with organic cotton, plastic free, chemical free, fragrance, free, and biodegradable. (amazon has them as does our local health/natural stores) I have the diva cup, but every time I use it I have horrible cramping immediately. My sil has one and loves it though. I may try it again in the near future. Kind of bummed that was $20 not being used well.

    you have great goals for 2011. I need to actually sit down and write some goals out. I know I would be better at follow through if I had a written reminder.

    Good luck on all your goals

  7. says

    Those are great goals! I have a couple of tips:

    For compost, you can start by just dumping your scraps into a large plastic flowerpot. Just set it on the ground somewhere with the drainage holes touching the dirt. You can start immediately (or as soon as the snow melts, if you have snow right now) and the warmth of the decay will attract worms to come up from the ground and start eating your compost! You can always switch to a more perfect compost bin when your husband makes one, but meanwhile, get started!

    To decrease plastic in the kitchen, I use a lot of glass jars saved from foods like nut butter and salsa. Wash and save jars that have wide mouths, especially the ones that are a size you buy frequently (because it’s convenient to have interchangeable lids instead of having to hunt down the one lid for each jar every time you wash them!), and use them to store leftovers or bulk ingredients. They keep food fresh better than plastic.

    • Emily says

      What a great idea for compost. We definitely have snow on the ground here – about 3 ft after a record snowfall this past weekend! But I’ll have to remember that when the weather gets warmer! Thanks!

      We reuse glass jars all the time too, but they take up a little more space to store than plastic that nest together and plastic baggies. I love using glass jars, but wonder if I can really switch away from all my plastic and use only glass?? We’ll see – it’s a challenge I’m ready to take on!

  8. says

    I am glad you chose Composting. I have been using Red Worms to turn all my food waste into compost. 20 pounds of worms (that’s how much worms I think are needed for a family of four)will eat 20 pounds of food waste every week! I then use that compost to make compost tea and spray it on my indoor plants, on the lawn and around the yard. By the way, I decreased all my garbage by almost 75%, since most of what we used to trow was food waste.

    • Emily says

      Hi Jamie,

      I will! I’m starting to realize that maybe I need to think about wrinkle cream too, I did just turn 30 after all. :) I don’t know though – I’m not sure about finding wrinkle creams that are safe and also effective, seems like the fact that it’s anti-wrinkle cream might automatically mean it has yucky ingredients, but we’ll see. I’ll definitely have to do some research and see what’s out there!

  9. says

    Emily, great post and timeless advice. The composting, gardening and local grown food are all things many homeowners (and even renters) can do to be green, save money and live healthier. Landscapers know how great composting is for gardens.


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