Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Green Scene

I've recently been evaluating what "green" practices we have in our household and brainstorming other ways to "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle." See...I was paying attention in elementary school. This is what we currently do:

1. Recycle. We use our city's recycling program by placing glass, paper, aluminum and select plastics in our blue recycling bin for pick-up each week. I have recently made this much easier by purchasing a $5 trash can at Lowes to put in our garage to be a catch-all for recycling items. Then, we just empty that can when it gets full into the large recycling bin. This way we don't have to walk all the way out to the recycling bin each time we have an item to put in there.

2. Use more environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Or make my own. This is going well so far although there are a few products that I still haven't let go of because I haven't found a product that works as well to replace it with.

3. Save extra plasticware and condiment packets from restaurants to use at a later date. As we are eating out so much less, we are not doing this as much. But sometimes restaurants will give you extra plasticware sets and/or condiments in your to go order and what we don't use at the time gets stashed for later instead of throwing it away.

4. I now use re-usable grocery bags at the grocery store and stores like Target. I started out by just buying a few at a time and now I have enough to fit all my groceries. Tom Thumb sells theirs for a dollar and I'm sure other stores have similar options. I just empty my sacks and put them immediately back in my trunk so they are always ready and available when I need to use them.

5. We receive ALL of our bills online and pay them that way too. No paper. No filing. Yesssss! We also reduced our junk mail a couple of years ago by visiting to eliminate some credit card offers. Another benefit is reducing your chances of identity theft.

6. Use rags more and paper towels less. Target (and I'm sure Wal Mart and other stores) always have bundled plain white rags that we've started to use more and more. We keep a set in the kitchen and one set in the garage. This is huge to me since I love paper towels, which I admit I sometimes still use.

7. We use energy-efficient light bulbs whenever possible (not currently in the bathrooms because of the type of light) and open the windows and turn off the lights whenever possible. The benefits to this are that you have to change your light bulbs less and therefore spend less.

8. We invested in an energy-efficient front door. Ok, truthfully, it's because the old one was horrible about letting in the outside air no matter how much weather-proofing we did. But a bonus to this was that we got to take a tax deduction on this expense last year.

9. Reuse gift bags and boxes. The gift bags are a no-brainer but we also save our gift boxes that we recieve at Christmas and other various occasions and use them again...mostly at Christmas the next year. I have a stash in a closet and they really come in handy. Saves money too.

What am I forgetting? What else does your family do?


Kasey Lane McCollum said...

I really like your ideas. I too have adopted many of those practices. I also gave up paper plates. When I need more plates for guests, I either ask others to bring some or buy some at a second hand store. I have also started composting. By composting and recycling, I have reduced our trash to 1/3 of what it was and you don't need a special bin for it. We also only what things that we eat. That means we don't water our yard but we do water our vegetables and herbs.

Anonymous said...

Do you have a car that gets good gas mileage? Changed your thermostat setting by a couple of degrees up or down depending on cool or heat respectively? Wash all your laundry on the cold setting? Have energy efficient appliances?

Mary said...

We also gave up paper napkins. We just use cloth, which is often fun because it adds a little "drama" to on otherwise boring dinner. I have kinda collected some different patterns and enjoy using them as seasons/moods change!

We also try to avoid much of the "disposable" world of baby stuff. Granted, I can't do without the diapers, but when it comes to wiping a mouth or nose, we use a cloth and not a wipe. And we use a washcloth instead of the throw-away kind with soap already added.

Maybe one day I will be brave and try to cloth diapers!