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Let's Talk About New Habits and Backsliding

Getting the family used to greener ways.

For those who have made the switch to more earth-friendly products or habits, it can be challenging at times not to backslide into once-familiar ways. 

While recently away from home for the weekend, my kids ate familiar boxed cereal brands for breakfast that they hadn't had in a long while.  My youngest was especially excited to have Cheerios.  As she is usually not much of a breakfast eater, it was great to see her eating a full bowl with genuine gusto.  It made me question if I should buy her a box of her favorite cereal now and then, even though it's not available in bulk.   

While at one of our favorite grocery stores that we don't frequent very much anymore because most items are packaged, I was quite tempted to buy many of the "family favorites."  But I managed to remind myself that as a consumer I'm sending a message each time I abstain from buying a packaged item. 

The other day at my regular grocery store, they were out of a particular type of rice in the bulk area.  They did, however, have it readily available in a prepackaged plastic bag. Again I thought about the message I would be sending if I bought it pre-packaged. I decided to wait until next time. It was a bit frustrating to see all the rice-filled bags piled high, side by side, that could have been available for sale in bulk form. Convenience definitely rivals waste reduction practices.

Rethinking our associations with pre-conceived notions of the potency of cleaning products and soaps can be challenging at times, as well. Having switched to earth-friendly products at home and at work, I've noticed that we have ingrained ideas of what is truly necessary to be "clean." If a shirt gets soiled, our natural tendency is to use what is most "potent" to vanquish the stain. Can a greener product be just as effective? 

The same assumption may be thought to apply to preventing the spread of germs. Can a greener hand soap truly protect us from infecting one another with a cold?  Old-fashioned soap and warm water does the trick just fine for my family.  What's your experience?

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