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Mother’s Day: Keep the Traditions, Better the Impact

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However you celebrate Mother's Day, chances are you can do it in an eco-friendlier way. Check out how to green up some favorite Mother's Day traditions.

Mother's Day is the perfect chance to show the women in your life how much they mean to you — by spoiling them rotten! Luckily, you can spoil them without spoiling the earth, if you are thoughtful about the gifts and pampering you bestow upon them. Take a look at some of our favorite Mother's Day traditions, and how you can make these traditions a little bit greener. By doing so you'll be paying tribute to the second most important Mom of all: Mother Earth!

The Tradition: Breakfast in Bed

Try a relaxing start to Mom’s day by making a delicious breakfast that's good for her and good for the earth.

Green It: Seek out some locally raised, free-range produce, like eggs, which are usually pretty easy to identify as local, organic, or free-range. You can also look for products that use minimal packaging, either by buying in bulk (if you eat something frequently enough!) or by purchasing products from companies that have made an effort to reduce their footprint. Yoplait recently introduced 6 oz. 4-packs of yogurt that use 45% less plastic than a comparable individual cup of yogurt; if you want to seek out other footprint-reducing products, you can start by scoping out the sustainability or environment pages on some of your favorite brands’ websites.

The Tradition: Give Her Some Jewelry

What woman wouldn't enjoy a tiny jewelry box waiting on her pillow? If you plan to treat her to a new bauble, consider some environmentally- and socially-responsible alternatives to your usual go-to spot.

Green It: Seek out jewelers with ethical business practices, such as Brilliant Earth, which crafts its jewelry from recycled precious metals and conflict-free diamonds from Canada, and even packages jewelry in sustainably harvested wooden boxes and recycled-paper cardboard boxes and paper. In lieu of a store’s gift-wrapping, you might want to box or package your gift in a container you already have laying around the house — now’s a great time to grab a pretty glass jar or other food container (ie: yogurt or bouillon cube containers, mini cereal or tea bag boxes), decorate it with paints, decoupage, or fabric, and use it to package a gift.

A more original and even greener jewelry option: Find a fantastic and unique piece at your local antique or vintage store. Recycling has never been more stylish!

The Tradition: Send a Card

Whether Mom's far away or right nearby, a thoughtful card will let her know she's on your mind.

Green It: A handmade card (especially from a kid) is a particularly meaningful keepsake, and it's a great way to repurpose miscellaneous scraps like fabric, extra buttons, gift-wrap, beads, and other small items. Get creative by making a collage or mosaic on the card using found objects, or, if you're not the creative type, seek out environmentally-responsible cards that are made with recycled materials or by energy-efficient means. Of course, you could skip a tactile card altogether, and reduce paper use by sending an e-card.

The Tradition: Send Her to the Spa

Mother's Day is a popular time to take Mom to a spa for some R&R.

Green It: Take advantage of the newest trend in spas and salons – conveniently, eco-friendly features and services. Some spas have incorporated elements like water conservation, low-VOC paints, clean-burning candles, sustainable building materials like bamboo, and organic cotton towels and bathrobes into their space — and many have even achieved, or are working towards, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. El Monte Sagrado Resort and Spa in Taos, NM, has a Living Machine, a natural wastewater filtration system that incorporates plants and fish, and the LEED Platinum certified Bardessono Hotel and Spa in Napa, CA, is heated and cooled by a geothermal system, while spa products are sourced from local or sustainable purveyors.

As for actual treatments, many spas now use cleansers, masks, and scrubs that consist of all-natural and organic ingredients that are better for the environment, and gentler on the skin.

If you don’t know where to start, you can check sites like, Spa Index, or Green Spa Network to find the right eco-friendly spa.

The Tradition: Take Her Out to Dinner

Even with an act as simple as going out to dinner, you can positively impact the environment.

Green It: Choose a restaurant that you can walk to, or which is accessible via public transportation, and consider supporting restaurants that are making responsible choices in their operations and on their menu (online directories like The Great Green List or the Green Restaurant Association should help you find good options when you’re home or when you're traveling).

Signs of a green restaurant include offering locally raised, organic, or small-producer ingredients on their menus, sticking to serving sustainable seafood, and using recycled and sustainable materials like cloth napkins and paper to-go containers.

How are you going to green your Mother's Day this year? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Yoplait is a proud partner of Recyclebank. At Yoplait, they are working hard to reduce the amount of plastics used in packaging. In fact, new Yoplait Original 4-packs use 45% less plastic than a comparable single-serve cup.

Visit to learn more about their efforts to reduce their impact on the environment.

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About the Author
Jessica Harlan
Jessica Harlan

I love finding new ways to green my family's life as painlessly as possible, and sharing those ideas with folks who want to do the same.