“Going green” — making decisions and lifestyle changes that are environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible — is incredibly important and can make a big difference in how you and your little ones perceive the world. However, cutting down on things like carbon footprint and water usage is a lot easier said than done, especially when you’re a parent. It’s a tough dilemma, so in honor of Earth Day — April 22 — Kristen Bell has shared some green parenting tips that are super simple to follow.
The 36-year-old actress and mom of two recently teamed up with Tide on behalf of its #CleanPledge challenge and has been making her rounds at various press events, encouraging fellow moms and consumers to join her in pursuing small ways to make life just a little more eco-friendly.
“I’m a mom, I obviously have to care about clean clothes because I’m not raising dumpster babies. I mean, I am, but I’m trying not to,” Bell told People when asked why she joined the initiative. “I also genuinely care about the world that I’m leaving them, the environment, and I’m always impressed when big companies take a beautiful step forward with either givebacks or conservation… I think everyone’s realizing that we only have one earth and collectively there are tips everywhere.”
So, what are some of her tips? Here's a sampling of what Bell recommends doing if you want to be a bit more green.
Start With Baby Steps
"If you just look at your household and look at the amount of waste or usage in general, you don’t have to make big changes. It’s all about tiny little steps," Bell told People. "Reuse that Ziploc bag. Shave two minutes off your shower. Save your toilet paper roll and use it for an art craft with your kids. It’s just really all about the small decisions that add up to a big change."
Don't Stress About Being Perfectly Green
"I don't think the stress of living green or being the perfect parent looking like you have it all together should kill anybody. Forgive yourself," Bell told recently said in an interview with Parents. "Know that if you're washing your counter tops and try the vinegar solution, like I did, and then realize it makes your kitchen smell like vinegar, it's OK to then try and find a more organic actual cleaning product. I think everybody has to land somewhere on the spectrum, but as long as you're trying you're doing great."
Level Out Your Non-Green Choices With A Green One
It's really hard to be green all the time, but Bell recommends a balancing act.
"I mean, listen, I'm far from perfect," Bell said in the same interview with Parents. "There are a lot of non-green things I use. My husband owns a couple cars — that's very non-green. But I drive an electric vehicle to neutralize his carbon footprint."
Use The "Cold" Setting When You Do Laundry
Considering that 90 percent of the energy associated with doing laundry is from just heating up the water, this tip is an easy adjustment. And as Bell told Scary Mommy: "Washing in cold water is actually better for your clothing. The dyes don't come out I turn my jeans inside out so that the dark stays and the colors don't bleed as much."
As an extension of this tip, Bell recommends using a high efficiency washer if you have one and taking care of your clothes so they last longer.
"Going green" doesn't have to turn your life upside down. All the little changes can add up to a big win for the world and everyone who lives on it.