Green in 2016: Grand Finale Recap

This year we started our amazing Green in 2016 campaign. Each month in 2016 we brought new challenges to you, ourselves, and everyone who wanted to participate. And wow, did we have great results!

Did you join any of our challenges? If so, we want to hear from you! If you wanted to try a new green challenge but couldn’t for one reason or another, now’s your chance. Our December Challenge is to try one of our Green in 2016 tasks that you weren’t able to try before. Here are our challenges from the year:

January – Go paperless in the kitchen. For me, I started by getting rid of paper towels. I know, it sounds scary at first. However, once you stop using paper towels you realize that regular cloth towels do the trick just fine. This also eliminates trash build up. While you’re at it, you can also try reusable dishes and silverware.

February – Save a cup. Do you have reusable cups? How often do you use them? Do you frequent a coffee shop before work or to meet with friends? You can bring a reusable cup and save on waste!

March – Only use reusable bags. Reusable bags are great for everything! I use them when bringing food, drinks, gifts, etc. wherever I’m going. Whether it’s for a holiday, birthday party, or just a get-together with friends, reusable bags come in handy. I also use them to carry resuable containers to holiday gatherings for leftovers. It saves on waste from paper dishes and plastic bags. This year I also started using reusable bags instead of gift bags. I just shop for reusable bags for whatever the occasion may be and use that.

April – All about pollinators. Our April challenge was very important for our environment and the creatures in it. Helping our pollinators can be done by something as simple as setting up a bird feeder in your back yard. Also, avoid killing bees. If there is one in the house or the car, try to let it outside and not just kill it. Pollinators are so important to our environment. Did you do something this year to help our pollinators?

May – Green your home. This one is a pretty easy challenge. One thing that I changed this year to make my home a little more green was buying tubeless toilet paper. It costs the same price as the store brand toilet paper, and it lasts longer! The best part is not only are you helping cut back on waste, but you never have to worry about recycling the little tube! Other ways to green your home are to go paperless with napkins, paper towels, dishes, silverware, and more. You can also start going meatless one day a week to green your home, as well as switching to more efficient lights.

June – Reduce your waste. This is another challenge that once you start, it gets easier to continue. One thing you can try is bringing reusable bags to the grocery store. This will cut back on the bags that you bring back and then toss after food shopping. You can also bring food in resuable containers to events so that you are not building more waste with trash bags. Did you reduce waste this year?

July – Green your vacation. This task is quite simple once you get in a routine. When traveling, try using reusable containers for shampoo, conditioner and other beauty or daily products. With these reusable containers you will save on waste. Bringing your own food and snacks from home also cuts back on additional trash that may build up in your bags or car. Another tip to greening your vacation is to keep the place you are visiting clean. Don’t trash the beaches, and recycle and throw away your trash. Keep places cleaner than you find them!

August – Green your back to school. This challenge was a fun one! Each year the school gives us a list of what we need to purchase for the classroom. I however always enjoyed reusing items. This includes leftover notebooks that still have paper, backpacks that are still in decent shape, binders, pens, pencils, or other supplies. The best part is there are also recycled school supplies that you can purchase!

September – Green your beauty routine. I made an easy change to greening my beauty routine this year. As I went to purchase new makeup brushes, I found eco-friendly ones that are made out of bamboo. They are the softest brushes I’ve ever used! There are also cruelty-free makeup brands, lotions, skin products and more. Another way to make a change is to try going natural when it comes to makeup.

October – Keep cats indoors. This challenge is important because we want to keep cats and all animals safe. Cats can be in danger from larger animals that roam around. However, they also can harm birds and other creatures. This is why it’s important to keep them indoors.

November – Green your holidays. This challenge is another easy one, and what a great time to try it! Do you plan on going green this holiday season? If so, here are some simple tips. Try reusable gift bags, more energy efficient lights, homemade gifts, Tupperware instead of plastic bags, buy organic food, and maybe donate to an organization instead of buying gifts.

This year has been a great challenge for all of us. I know for me, it was a true test to how much I can change. You know what, it was a great feeling! Once I started with a few simple changes, the bigger ones became easier. So, join us for our grand finale December challenge. Which campaign will you try? We would love to hear your stories if you’ve tried one of our Green in 2016 Challenges!

Photo Credit: Thiffany Belda

Written by: Melissa C.

ISF depends on your support to continue to provide education and programs in support of Creatures, the Environment and Youth. Please consider donating today.