Monday, April 23, 2007

It's So Easy Being Green

I've always been a pretty good recycle-er. But the more I read and the more I find good ways to take much better care of our planet, the more I want to take much better care of our planet. Not too profound, I know.

There are all kinds of great sites out there that have good information on ways we can help.

Recycling info.

A couple environmental organizations.

Get a free home energy audit!

Utilizing the Farmer's Market.

Getting rid of Yucky Junk Mail that no one wants anyway not to mention the waste of paper.

Recycle your old cell phone, PDA or pager.

Ways to use less electricity thus saving on your bill and the environment.

With all of that, here are a couple that I read recently in Relevant Magazine that I hadn't thought of before but can make such a big difference!!
  • Bring your own coffee mug when you buy from Starbucks, Beaners or wherever. Don't waste that paper cup!
  • Buy a reusable coffee filter. Unfortunately for me, this may mean buying a new coffee maker. But apparently the regular white ones "can contain chlorine and other chemicals that add to landfills." Plus, you can save your coffee grounds--they are a great compost for your plants and give them tons of nutrients!
  • Quit using paper towels! I find myself reverting often and have initiated a rule that they are only to be used when whatever I am wiping up must be thrown away. Like raw chicken juice or something.
  • Use cloth napkins whenever possible. Fortunately, I already have a good amount of these, and since I have plenty, they are so easy to just throw in the wash. For many meals, they can be reused as there is no mess! To think of all the paper napkins I have thrown away because I dabbed my mouth that one time.
  • Turn the water off when you brush your teeth. Seems pretty basic, but it's so easy to just leave it on.
  • Take a canvas bag or reuse grocery bags when shopping. I don't know how many of those plastic bags I have thrown away, but it's truly horrifying when it can be avoided!

There are so many other things that can be done, but any start is a good start.

What are your ideas? Something you have come across lately (or have done for years!) that is a good healthy habit to get into?


Carbon said...

We Grasscycle. We leave the bag off the mower when we mow the lawn and it's supposed to be good for the grass. I think it's cuz we're lazy but whatever, it's a win-win situation :)

Also, I think there are organizations that will take your old eyeglasses and change out the lens and give them to people who can't afford them or people in poor countries. I dropped of some pairs last year.

sarah cool said...

Hiiii! What a good post! I've been mulling over this stuff for a couple of months, and have already been horrified at my thoughtless actions the first 25 years of my life.

some things I try to do:
1. CFL lights (compact flor. lights)... not everywhere (the light is very, very different), but mostly everwhere.

2. use brown paper bags at the grocery store. And then I use them to line my cat litter box.

3. bring my own cup to coffee shops (starbucks takes like 10 or 15 cents off your price, but you usually have to remind them).

4. shop at our local farmer's market for produce and dairy and meat and flowers! It's called Findlay Market and it's 10 blocks from where I work, so easy to get to.

Something I'm contemplating...
- hanging clothes to dry instead of using the dryer

Your ideas are awesome, Anne!!!!! Thanks for sharing this!!!

Cheeky said...

Have you been reading "An Inconvenient Truth?". We've been getting out the broom and dustpan rather than vacuuming the hardwood floors--uses less energy and does a way better job. We turned the heat down 2 degrees this winter and will turn the AC up 2 degrees this summer. CF lightbulbs as well. Brown bags at the grocery only--you get 5 cents back for each brown bag you reuse too! Selling our SUV. Walking instead of driving as much as possible--or Dan biking to work. Buying local and no beef--except on very rare occasions and then only local and grain-fed. Not treating clothing as "disposables".

My aunt and uncle used to do a "no electricity" every Friday. They used candles if they needed lighting, ate meals that didn't require electricity to prep, no TV, computers, etc and didn't do anything that required electricity (no vacuuming!). Copper spigot on the end of the hose so as not to waste water.

Our next step--hang the clothesline, earth-friendly cleaners for dishwasher, laundry house, and personal hygiene. We've talked about a push mower, but we have some mega hillage to mow...

Jean said...

Great post Anne!

I know for our household, we keep the heat down to 66, the air is hardly turned on and use paper grocery bags so we can recycle our paper products.

I can't wait for the farmers market to have summer produce, and I saw a sign in Rockford for one and I know Lowell has one too. Going to pick strawberries/blueberries/raspberries/apples to freeze instead of buying at the store.

Shovel the driveway instead of snowblow. :) Great exercise too!

Turn the lights off after leaving a room.

We bring the kids' cups home from restaurants to reuse over and over again.

I know there's a lot more I can be doing thank you for posting this as a reminder to keep trying. :)

scottfamily said...

I thought of some more things we do/you can do while I was in the shower--shorter showers and light off while showering. Open the window instead of using the fan.

Buy "green" towels--spend a few extra bucks to get high quality 100% natural towels--we bought some that are a cotton + bamboo blend--they wick away water, dry great, don't hold bacteria/smell b/c of the bamboo so you only have to wash 1-2 times/month rather than every few uses.

Buy juice concentrates in recyclable containers rather than the clear plastic jugs that are horrendous on the environment.

Old t-shirts turn into new tank tops, headbands, and pockets in skirts for the kids, or dusting rags.

Junk mail, paper, bags, mailing supplies etc become craft supplies for the kids.

Use the library like crazy--internet, books, videos, music, learning resources, etc.

Sharing/swapping with friends and neighbors.

Non-poison bee/wasp sprays and weed killers.

Not turning lights on--it's amazing how much turning lights on is just a habit!

Re-using tin foil, baggies, plastic containers etc.

Evaluating everything you put in the trash can--there's so much that we throw out that should really be recycled if we aren't so lazy!

Having your renter pay 1/3 of the sewage bill (promotes water awareness) 1/3 of the electric bill (promotes electricity use awareness), gas bill, garbage, etc...

Anne said...

Man, you guys!! These are all fabulous additions!

This week I have my laundry line to hang that we just bought plus there are lots of veggies that I'm planting myself.

So many good things to do...that actually seem to make your life simpler too.

girlieH said...

Hi Anne!!

I know it's been a while. I am a horrible blogger. Anyways, great post! I thought I would add a site for you that I appreciate. They sell reusable grocery bags and they are inexpensive compared to canvas.

The company points out that the petroleum in 14 plastic bags could drive a car 1 mile. Anyways, here is the site to purchase one, but for us in Grand Rapids you can buy them at Rylee's Ace hardware. I by the way love them and have a few in my car for when I do shopping, but since I live a block from the farmers market I have a couple at home to tote everthing back in.

Frannie Farmer said...

Good stuff here Anne.
I do a lot of this already but wow, I got some great ideas!!
Thanks for sharing!

Dawn said...

Like the many others, we too have made a point of being greener:
-we ride bikes to school every morning.
-re-wear clothes that aren't too sweaty or soiled and dry them on the line after washing
-switch to a 6litre toilet, in stead of a 15litre.
-save the water you scrub + wash your produce in; use it in your compost, ya gotta soak it anyway to "cook" all that good stuff.
-switch to essential oils for household cleaning (they're antibacterial and antimicrobial!)
Just a few, there are many more to be named and we feel like we're just scratching the surface!
ps..great blog!