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