Thursday, April 22, 2010

happy earth day!

I don't do change well. A age 5 I told my Mom I wanted to go to college at my Elementary School. So three years ago when I decided that I needed and wanted to be more Green, I knew that to be successful at all I needed to do it in teeny weeny tiny wimpy steps.

I would love to tell you that all of these changes were made altruistically for the sake of our planet, but the truth is, while environmentally conscious, I am also very, very cheap. I mean frugal. Ok, cheap. So it's just a bonus that a lot of these steps were budget decisions that just happened to be Earth-friendly, too.

If you'd like to make some changes for a greener home, here are some ideas that weren't too hard for our change-resistant family to implement and while not drastic, help me feel like we're doing our part. Look for the $ signs where greener = cheaper.

what we do

- re-use your bath towel for a week instead of using one per day [$]
[ease:1 Hello! less laundry!]

- wash laundry in high efficiency washer and dryer [$ in the long run]
[ease:5 ok, so I know I promised small, easy steps and this is a major appliance purchase, but we needed them anyway. I promise.]

- use a Brita pitcher and Nalgene bottles instead of water bottles [$]
[ease:1 yes, you have to refill the pitcher and rinse the bottles, but not having to lug the cases of water bottles home. ever. again. makes it all worthwhile]

- use only real plates instead of paper plates and travel mugs instead of paper coffee cups [$]
[ease:3 more dish usage=more dish washage]

- buy larger containers of food instead of single serving packs to reduce waste [$]
[ease:2 it takes longer to fill a travel container for picnics and purse snacks and creates more dirty dishes, but dude. Our garbage was cut by 1/3]

- make pitchers of favorite drinks instead of single serving bottles to reduce waste [$]
[ease:2 you have to wash the pitcher, but you don't have to lug the bottles home]

- bring your own reusable grocery bags to the store
[ease: 2 only because it took me two months to remember to bring them into the store. The hidden bonus here is if your bags have long handles, sturdy bottoms and ample room, you can carry them over your shoulders and make fewer trips in from the car]

- wrap all gifts in simple, reusable paper bags to reduce waste [$]
[ease:1 with a stash of simple paper bags with handles and pretty tissue paper, we can have birthday presents wrapped in 1/6th the time, 1/5th the cost and 1/4th the swearing usually involved when I try to gift wrap. score!]

garden 4.22.2010

- plant a garden to reduce emissions from shipping produce and control the quality of your food [$]
[ease:3 the initial set up takes some time and money, but once your bed is in, especially if it is a raised bed and will never require tilling, then all you have to do is bring home veggie plants from the nursery every Spring and keep them watered. Plus, it's super sneaky way to teach kiddos about where their food comes from and inspire adventurous and healthy eaters, all while the kiddos just think they're playing in the dirt]


- compost your leaves [$]
[ease:2-3 you've got to put your leaves in a bag anyway for pick up, might as well dump them in a compost bin instead. In Spring, mix in your first two mowings-worth of lawn clippings to get that green/brown balance thingy going. Even if you never touch it again, you'll end up with beautiful compost. If you turn or stir it once a while, you'll have beautiful, rich, free compost in time for Spring planting]

- leave your grass clippings on your lawn [$]
[ease:1 they will keep the soil cool and reduce the need for watering, add enough nutrients to your soil that you can skip one season's worth of fertilization ($!), keep all those bags out of the landfill and cut your mowing time in half. This is a no-brainer]


- recycle everything you possibly can, and when possible, buy things in recyclable packaging
[ease:1.5 you've got to throw it in a bin anyway, the extra second to look at the bottom of the mayo jar to see if it can be recycled hardly counts. And ease goes down to 1 if your municipality provides one of these beauties:


Do we do everything we could be doing? Nope. Composting our food scraps and cloth diapering were too icky for our delicate sensibilities. We couldn't work a tankless water heater into our budget even with the tax credit and my desperation for more pantry space in the kitchen. We're not off the grid or living off the land. But we do what we can and as a result, feel like more responsible residents of this beautiful place:


1 comment:

  1. great choices here! we do all of these too - and i say go for it and turn your raised bed into a sandbox - your girly will get tons of great play time out of it - plus you can turn it right back at any time. we even left half the sand in ours for better drainage!


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