Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth day

Does anyone want to discuss earth related matters for a moment?

When I was a teenager I was very passionate about all things "green". At the time, I took a lot of heat for being "mother earth" or a "hippie". It wasn't "cool" then. As I aged, it somehow lost importance to me until Jack was born. With a new baby to care for, the world seemed like a much scarier place, and I started to rediscover the urge to be a little more earth friendly.

However, what I discovered is that it wasn't easy. I wanted things like organic food, which were nowhere to be found around here just 3 years ago. But times are changing, and suddenly I am able to find a lot of good options for us, and they are everywhere, even at the local grocery across the street from the house.
A few of the green things we are working on, or have done in the past three years:

*Shortly after Jack was born, I made my own baby wipes . That one pile of wipes has lasted 3+ years.
*We gave up all plastic food storage containers for longer lasting, no chemical leaching glass ones
*We used glass baby bottles the minute I got wind of the bisphenol-A controversy, which is really gaining speed right now, with Toys R Us saying this week they will no longer sell those baby bottles that contain bp-A
*We stopped microwaving in plastic
*We have always bought our milk from Oberweis , which is not certified organic, but they have hormone free milk
*When there is an organic food choice, I choose it
*We compost our yard waste
*If I had to guess, I would say 70-80% of the things we own are bought secondhand. We buy everything from toys to furniture to clothing on the secondhand market. When we are done with things, I freecycle everything possible
*I love recycling fabric/curtains/garments into other useful things for us. Old t-shirts into pants for Jack, curtains into tote bags, etc. And 90% of my craft and sewing supplies are purchased secondhand. Plus, I am generally very good about using what I have when I want to craft.
*I have long been searching for a Teflon alternative. Finally! A good solution - Green Pans . We have nothing but good things to say about them. (Ours came from HSN.)
*I have been trying for years to get our trash company to offer us a recycling option. Last month a flyer came in the mail for a trash company that will do recycling. Our new bins arrive this week. We can recycle everything from tin foil to paperback books now.
*I recently made the switch to non-toxic household cleaners. I like the Mrs Meyers geranium scented line. Mmmmm, roses. I tried the Clorox Green Works stuff first, because it was easier to find. But the smell really puts me off. And I don't think it was working very well, my toilets were mildewy within a few days.
So, up until now, my choices have mostly been related to two things: thrift (the cheaper way to live) or Jack (a desire to have him be a healthy kid).

This year I am going to try and kick it up a notch and move forward in things that are truly better for the environment. On my list to work towards this year:

*Use the clothesline more often, and run the dryer less. And not just for tablecloths.
*Start walking or riding our bikes more for short errands. (This is also thrift driven though, with the price of gas at $3.50 a gallon.)
*Be consistent about using reusable tote bags! I sew, I should be all over this. Why am I not?
*Use green bags to cut down on food waste
*Make a reusable pad for the swiffer
*Be better about keeping a list of things we need around the house so they can be bought secondhand.
*Start paying attention to packaging. Less is more.
*Try and cut down our dangerous paper towel addiction.
*Find a good green blog that has easy to live with green ideas. I loved when Jen at the The Felt Mouse did her environmental posts because they were ideas I could easily implement*.

Now it's your turn!

Have any green goals this year?
Any easy to implement green ideas?
Know of a good green blog?
Want to make a green post of your own?


*I do not want to take care of chickens, and I don't think the neighbors would appreciate them!
*I tried cloth diapers, Jack's skin was too sensitive.
*I wish we had easy access to a CSA, but we don't.
*Essentially, we live in a very middle America type place, I see plenty of cool things, but not everything is really do-able for this lifestyle. Does that make sense?

15 comments:

  1. Being aware of how we consume (quantity, packaging, waste)is a huge step. Every little bit helps. Sounds like you're doing great (said the bad, bad eco-mom!!).

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  2. Sounds like you are doing a lot of good things. The only thing I can offer up that is simple and easy is using cloth napkins at meal time and dish cloths to wipe up spills. I buy pretty cloth napkins at the thrift store whenever I find them, or I make my own out of left over fabric scraps or tea towels or whatever, and that cuts way down on paper product use at my house. Plus, it makes my family feel kind of special to use cloth napkins everyday! (I know, we're so easily amused!)

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  3. Heck yes! I love Earth Day. To answer your questions:
    Have any green goals this year?
    Yep. I am going to buy a small house closer to work. I want to walk or ride my bike in, vs the 50 miles a day I am currently driving. I'll also plant a big garden and get some chickens.
    Any easy to implement green ideas?
    Just say no to bottled water, double cupped coffee, taking anything to-go in styrofoam, carrying your cloth bags to the market, etc. Walk more, use less.
    Know of a good green blog?
    Hmmm... no single one jumps to mind.
    Want to make a green post of your own?
    Yep. I do all the time.

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  4. great post - I'm keeping it in bloglines to reference. I know what you mean about your location. We were way more green in our last town - a hippie, crunchy granola town where there were bike paths everywhere and the social pressure was towards being green. It's a lot harder to do where we are now where there aren't even sidewalkls in half of the places, let alone bike paths, recycling isn't readily available, etc. etc. But there are definitely some things I can do. I think I will start keeping cloth bags in the car - that way I cannot forget them. I started making my own laundry detergent and I'm actually pretty happy with it. And I think I'm going to look into metal water bottles - anyone know a good source?

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  5. Great ideas!
    I can't belive how green I'm getting, never having been raised a tree-hugger. But some ways I'm staying green with my own family are:
    cloth diapers, planning on doing cloth pads for myself (still in research phase about what type I'd need), buy local and fresh (thank God for living in a small farming community), buying secondhand whenever possible, upcycling things we already own, donating those things we can't, walking to the post office, hanging laundry on the clothes line, handmaking all gifts this year, gardening, use a microfiber cloth on my swiffer, landscaping the 108yr old home we just bought by transplanting shrubs we already have rather than scrapping them and buying new ones, recycle where and when we can (don't have a p/u service out here, but can take some things to Walmart where they have bins).

    I am amazed the older I get that these green habits aren't just good for the environment; they are budget friendly, healthier and just a better way of living :)

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  6. Let's see... I have the totes but forget to bring them down to the car or in to the store about 50% of the time. I go in spurts. I'd like to be more consistent. Our footprint is pretty small. We live in a building with 80 units and rarely use AC, and never heat, I dry most of my laundry on a rack and I may do only 2 loads a month, maybe dh does 2 loads a month. Right now, our most powerful green thing has been switching light bulbs and being more mindful about unplugging appliances. And, of course voting for a greener president!!

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  7. Happy Earth Day. I have bought reuseable bags, now I need to remember to always have them handy. Target has cool reuseable bags that fold up and zip into a flat square so you can always have one in your purse. And, they are only 89¢.

    I also need to remember to take my own bag to yard sales and thrift stores. I know they give you a bag that is technically being recycled, but then I am stuck with it.

    The Bean and I each have six reusable water bottles full of water in the fridge at all times that we use during the day and take with us whenever we leave the house.

    Of course I buy second hand and I save things from the landfill by curb shopping stuff.

    We send magazines to the library for the magazine swap shelf, books to the library for their book sale shelf and clothes to the thrift store.

    We enlarged our garden by three times this year. We tilled it with the gas hog tiller the first time, but will hand till it the rest of the time. We bought seeds and a greenhouse rather than plastic pots of plants. I only wish I could have found a way to capture some of the 14" of rain we had last month to help water it this hot summer. We will not use pesticides.

    I try to buy the largest container possible, but sometimes I cannot afford the $20.00 jug of laundry detergent. But, I do recycle the container. I recycle newspapers, foil, aluminum cans (we rarely have those though), aluminum foil, plastic bottles and junk mail.

    We only use one roll of paper towels a month, so that's not too bad in my opinion. I usually use cloths for spills and messes.

    I guess I am doing better than I thought.

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  8. Great suggestions, Sarah. If you haven't made the switch to CFL bulbs, I encourage you to do it. There's even a greener option than that out now, but we'll be waiting on that till our current CFLs burn out. This time of year, our lights are only on for an hour or two anyway, so the slight color difference doesn't begin to bother me. I'm bookmarking your babywipes post for the "someday" files. ;)

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  9. Nice post. I always use my own bags, carry my water bottle everyplace with me. I'm now making reusable produce bags. I make my market bags as gifts for friends with a recipe and ingredients for the recipe. My last two vehicles have been hybrids. My husband and I commute together now. All the lightbulbs have been changed to the CFLs and have been using cloth napkins for a few years now. I know there is a lot more that I can do, but I think that I'm making a dent in living a greener life.

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  10. What a great post! I know I would like to be more consistent with bringing my own totes to the store this year. Maybe I need to hang them next to the front door? :)

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  11. I'm so glad you did this post! I feel like I do so little in this department. Although, I have to remember that repurposing and salvaging junk counts...

    In addition to the few things I already do, you've given me more things to think about, along with those who've commented. So, thank you!

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  12. Nice post! We're trying too to get greener. We've started using cloth napkins. I stopped paper plates, and I'm trying to be more conscientious about paper towel use--they were disappearing too quickly. I'm going to try more line-drying this summer since the sun beats down on our back yard all day, might as well put it to work. Also put in veggies in our small garden.

    I keep asking my husband to get a rain barrel and a compost tumbler. He's balking...

    A good blog that I found last week is crunchychicken.blogspot.com I think you'll like her ideas!

    Happy Earth Day!

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  13. Just wanted to say I really appreciated your Earth Day post! ...so many great ideas, thoughts and intentions.
    BTW today, somewhere, I read about using microfibre cloths attached to a Swiffer w/rubber bands to mop and then washing the cloth instead of throwing out the one-use pad.
    Happy Wednesday!

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  14. We recycle a lot more than we used to. We have 4 recycle bins and some weeks they are all full. I clip tons (like 10 inserts a week) of coupons, and now, instead of trashing the whole sheet after I clip it, I recycle them. And I've been using reusable bags at the grocery store. I would like to start a compost pile, we'll see.

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  15. I just thought of some more things we do. We have a garden, we have chickens, we switched to the new bulbs. I do keep my bags in my car so they are there when I need them. And we just got 2 barrels to use as rain barrels.

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Hi there. What say you?