2.16.2010

Going Going Going Green

Sure it's the new cool thing to do but how? How do you start? How do you go farther? I've had several people ask me in the last few weeks about getting green, going green and not going crazy about it.

I decided to post about it because hopefully it will inspire me to find new ways to get a bit greener and go a bit farther. I started this journey several years ago when I realized we were hooked on the throw away aspect of life. Spill water? Grab a paper towel, wipe it up, throw it out. Dry my hands? Same thing, then I noticed the oldest boy was following along doing the same thing. My husband too. And we had 2 more boys coming up that would repeat our bad habits ad nauseum. It was expensive too, 5 bucks a week x 52 weeks was at at least a 260 dollar a year habit. Ouch. So we switched to new dishrags as 'cloth napkins', we can use them for any mess that's not nasty or gross, but their normal usage is as cloth napkins. Bigger messes get dish towels. It was an easy conversion for us. Now we just buy new ones once a year and recycle any gross ones (usually paint stained from art projects) to house cleaning rags when they need it. I keep a big basket on the counter where everyone can reach them for setting the table or quick clean ups.

Here is a list of other non painful ways to get a bit more eco-friendly, an easy way to get green is to pick one or two and go with then, then build on your base by adding more ideas as needed:
  • repair your clothes, this is easily done while watching movies with minimal work especially if rips or tears are gotten to early on--pre patch kids pants if they are hard on them it will save you in the end--recycle old clothes into a rag rug, cleaning rags, quilts, new clothes or other useful items
  • if we don't give in to the throw away society mentality we can have an effect on the producers who manufcture cheap products under quasi slave labor-if we refuse to accept the tissue paper low quality clothing for sale super cheap, who will buy it? they are trying to sell to us we drive the market
  • eat better food, local, sustainable, organic- you'll eat less of it because it's more satisfying, you'll be supporting a business that deserves it
  • eat real food, the less processing a food gets the less 'energy' is needed to run a a plant, less fossil fuels are used
  • eating seasonally means food travels less, less transportation means less pollution it also means no fresh blueberries in January but I'm here to tell you that summer blueberries never tasted so good!
  • join freecycle a worldwide movement to keep good stuff out of landfills, you join a local group and begin giving away things you no longer need, eventually someone will give away something you need, we received a crib for our last boy through freecyle because boy #2 was still using one
  • don't throw food out, save scraps of veggies to make stock, use leftovers to pack a bento box style lunch for yourself or a spouse, freeze portions for later use, use any bones to make stock too, plan for a leftover buffet once a week reheat serve in a line and everyone helps themselves-if you have time and ability consider a worm composter for produce scraps or chickens to turn waste into eggs AND compost
  • live thriftily, shop second hand, I always keep an eye out for what we will need in 6 months, it may take a bit of storage but I'd rather buy snowpants in spring at the thrift shop for 1.00 and keep them all summer than pay $30-40 brand new in the fall
  • support the economy you live in, two printers both the same, one from BOX*STORE for $87.97 and one from a local owned computer store for $109.00 sure it's 20 dollars more but that money supports a family, who in turn will support the local economy, who in turn will support local artisans who will and it goes on and on--sure this may not be completely about being green but I like it! Plus I think local owned business' are more apt to work at being green or install a wind generator or just create happy families
  • grow a garden, if you have time and reasonable patience and the ability to learn you can grow your own organic vegetables contact your local Co-operative Extension Service for help from local master gardeners in your area
  • turn your used envelopes into scrap paper-thanks Janet! I created notebooks of scraps to have around for my kids-they love them!
  • make a date to recycle, we go once a month I hear in other places they actually pick up recycleables, must be nice, we put our bins right in the kitchen so they are close at hand
  • buy in bulk if you can to cut down on packaging
  • upcycle take something useless and make it new and useable
  • reduce the size of you outdoor trashcan, you'll be forced to create less waste
  • use a laundry line all summer I live in Alaska and I can get away with it from May to September if it's illegal in your area work to change that
  • dress for the weather, if it's cold out wear a sweater inside and keep your heat low
  • turn off your furnace in May and leave it off until September
  • reusable bags are a must
  • consider non-disposable pads, buy once and have them for years! I love this one, I'll be incorporating it soon
  • invest in a baking stone or silpat, sure they might cost 20-30 bucks but you don't need foil or parchment paper for any baking! 
  • unplug appliances when not in use, our coffee maker may not display the right time but it's also not a constant draw
I know I am missing some. Help me out, tell me your best simple tricks for being more eco friendly, I'll post an update with a link to your blog along with your tip!

Also hop on over to Dinner at Christina's and enter her Red Gold Tomato giveaway, it ends in 2 days!

Peace and Love,


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7 comments:

  1. We are one of the lucky ones where they pick up our recycling every Wednesday, and let me tell you by Wednesday our bin is overflowing! I know it's dorky, but I get such a JOY out of putting items in recycling compared to the trash can.

    I am also starting to save all veggies scraps so I can make stock later....thanks for all the good tips!

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  2. I am a big believer in supporting our local stores too. We gotta help eachother out! Walmart Shmalmart!

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  3. What great tips.. I loved seeing that Texas treat.. Yummy..

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  4. Phew boy, you sure covered a lot. Thankfully I do a lot b/c I'm CHEAP and that's how I was raised, so I don't have to feel guilty! :P My newest one on your list is the stock and I'm so proud of myself. I'm proud to say I've changed a lot of J's habits too, like the paper towel addiction. Also - I have no idea why, but it seems "his generation" or maybe this area? was never fully taught about recycling. When I moved in all him and his friends EVER recycled were a) soda cans or b) beer bottles. He had no clue about the little triangle or plastic #s, which seemed so odd to me! We now recycle any little thing that is able to be recycled and we fill our recycle bin 3 times before we fill the trash once. Even last weekend I took any paper-related items from his friends ordering pizza (paper bag, receipts, and extra menu) and put in the recycle bin. His friend went to put his beer bottle in there and said "why's all this trash in the recycle?" I said - uhh it's paper? Clueless. Thankfully here they pick up our recycle! Back in NC we had to drop off, too! And sort - here we can just throw all in one bin! Makes it easy!

    Oh and PS thanks so much for the link-back! Make sure you go leave another comment for your extra entry if you haven't already!! :)

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  5. This is a fantastic list! I'm always looking for ways to go a bit greener. Right now, I'm working on completely giving up plastic zip lock types of bags (a hard thing for our house) and plastic reusable containers (in an effort to move over to safer glass storage). One of my new favorite things is to look for items you already normally purchase in jars that can be reused. So, if an item I buy (let's say honey) comes in a larger jar with a metal lid or a smaller jar with a plastic lid... I'll go for the larger jar with the metal lid, use the honey up and then wash out the jar, save it and use it in place of a zip lock. I'm loving my little collection of wacky glass jars.

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  6. GREAT list! There are SO many things we can do if we'll just take a little time, and just a little more money.

    PS: My scratch paper collection is getting out of control. Hehe! Shows how much wasteful paper is out there! I've got a nice box under my bed anytime I need a list! Love the notebook idea.

    I try to keep 2 reusable mini bags (like Envirosax) in my purse, so if I use one and forget to put it back in I've still got another in there!

    Buy local - if it's new, from a local store, or Craigslist or eBay for used!

    Totally agree with everything!

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  7. congratulations on your new green goals, and this is really comprehensive! I have a blog called Tiny Choices that publishes an Easy Peasy Tip every sat. with more simple ideas on how to get green... please take a look! we ALSO do a friday survey where we ask readers to answer a set of questions so we can share their own green lifestyles (and struggles) with everyone, and it would be GREAT if you could do one of those!

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