Monday, October 20, 2008

Living Greener

Don't even think for a second that I am a good person to talk about being nicer to the environment. I am a giant waster. Most of my motivation lately to be greener is related to being more frugal. I am always the pessimist and feel like my little family won't have an impact on the environment. I surely won't become a vegan to help the environment as some granolas say. Lately I have been more concerned and want to share what a waster I am and what I am doing to be better.

  • I love paper towels! I love how clean and easy they are. That one will be a hard habit to break and I am not ready for that.
  • I love Arrowhead water bottles! I love having them in my car and I feel like my family drinks more water because they are always available. I don't like water even from our filter after it has been in a water bottle. I love sharing them with friends when they forgot water on a hot day at the park. We often have extra kids in the car and they can have their own bottle with out me worrying about sharing germs. This one will probably be a little easier to break and is on my list to change when I get the nerve.
  • I love driving fast and having the air conditioner on. I only drive the speed limit in residential areas. Will it really save me that much on gas?? I have been tracking my mpg and I have to say it is not good. My minivan is averaging 15mpg. Yuck!
  • I love the ease of diapers/pull ups. I tried cloth once and it was a nightmare. Maybe things have improved in that area in the last 5 years.
  • I am a consumer. Not that we have tons of money to buy much but I definitely still consume.
Somethings I have adopted fairly easily are
  • I use reusable grocery bags as much as I can. Since I do not have to double bag diapers anymore I don't have a need for plastic bags in the house. They drive me crazy!
  • Recycling here is oober easy. I just need to recheck what can be recycled in our cans and be more vigilant about catching things going in the trash and washing things out.
  • I am unplugging things that are not in use. This is new as of last week. I feel good about this choice and it helps me not be obsessive checking my email when my computer is off most of the day.
  • This one is gross but I was using reusable menstrual cups. If you want to know more just ask.
  • I used to love having lights on all over the house at night but I am turning them off. Just enough on to keep the kids from getting scared. I use a few of the eco friendly light bulbs but could use more.
  • During the summer my kids take quick showers at the pool. This puts the bill on someone else ;) and it alleviates the long showers my kids love to take.
  • I am trying to drive less. I stopped going to the library 20 min away and trying to be more conscious.
  • I use freecycle to keep things out of the dumps that someone else will use. I take hand me downs too.
What do you do to be green??


pcerik said...

I try to help my kids remember that they don't need the bathroom faucet on full blast when washing hands and rinsing toothbrushes, and have them turn off the water during the brushing. I also try to only do one shopping day a week, and one errand day, if possible.

The Gale Family said...

Good ideas!

I save money by recycling yard waste. I go around and grab people's bags of leaves and pine needles at their curbs and use it as mulch in my flower beds.

We also save money by making things ourselves. Our most recent project is a huge desk... big enough for both Wayne and I to do homework on at the same time.

Andrew just started riding the bus to save me gas and time.

And of course saves me a ton of money with sales and coupon combos.

We have recycle bin but we don't go nuts over it yet. We just throw stuff in there every once in awhile... mostly the free newspapers that end up all over our drive way... and every once in a while we remember to take it out to the curb on pick up days.

By the way, no one could ever remember whose water bottle was whose and the kids just drank which ever one they could get their hands on. There was a lot of spit/germ sharing going on between our kiddos when you were here!! :)

The Gale Family said...

Oh yeah. We also switched all the bulbs at our house, inside and out.

Jenn said...

I am so proud of you! You may not know this about me but I am a semi-enviromentalist! I say "semi" because there are a couple things that I refuse to give on, like water waste. I often leave the faucet on and I love, love, love long hot showers. Oh and I love, love paper towels too! Some of my enviro-safe behavior is motivated by lack of money, but now that I have started this life style I don't think I would go back even if I did have money. It just feels good to be frugal and efficient. Here are some ways I save.

We don't drive much at all. Only when we have to. And hopefully in the next year we will either convert Jeff's MONSTER truck to CNG or get a small fuel effient Mazda 5 for the family and then a scooter for our work commutes.

I recycle anything and everything. You are lucky to have a curb side program. I used to have to seperate all my recycleables then take them to our recycle center, but know I get to through it all into one bin and we have a bin at the corner supermarket that I can take it too. I am always repurposing things. We have made a craft table/guest bed (I will explain later), two desks, a stereo unit and cd shelves out of scrap from Jeff's shop. And I love to make new clothes out of old clothes!

We have changed out our bulbs in the house and leave lights off when possible, and I unplug the convient things, but all the audio and video way!

As soon as I can save enough money I am going to build up a cloth diaper supply, I work with a girl who is using them and is very happy and I want to try too. If I get it to work I will convert you, I promise! My only frustration with the concept of cloth diapering and with using wrags instead of paper towels is the amount of water I will need to use to wash these things. I feel like I might be taking one step forward but then another step back as I waste more water washing things. Oh, well, who really knows. I guess as long as I am trying to make a difference in some ways it all will all help.

Oh, and if we had all the money we could dream of we would go solar. Not just to save money long term, but then we would have power even when the world economy crashes! Ha Ha!!
P.S. what is freecycle?

The Hoyal Family said...

Good for you! We recently started returning our plastic grocery bags to the plastic bag recycling center at the store. And I have thought about starting to build up a stock of reusable ones.
I also try to limit one day a week to grocery store and errands. If I didn't get it on Monday, I ask myself "Do I really need it right now, or can it wait until next Monday?" Usually it can wait or I realize I didn't need it at all!
If you will recall living with me, you might remember my obsession with paper towels too. But, I do recycle the roll when I am done with the paper towels!

-What in the heck is a menstrual cup?
-I don't know much about the subject, but isn't using cloth diapers using more water?