Sunday, January 27, 2008

It's Getting Easier Being Green

In case I lose you before you read this all -- my latest favorite time/money saver and enviro move (for us! it's all relative, folks) is using Amazon's Subscribe and Save program. I kid you not. We had been shopping at Costco for bulk and savings for things like toilet paper but I have been hankering for the recycled paper products and eco-friendly laundry soap we used to use. Conundrum: I don't go to Trader Joe's all that often, we don't have loads of storage space, and I'm trying to limit my Whole Foods purchases to items that cannot be purchased anywhere else on earth. (I am a sucker for toddler foods like the $8 million/pound Just Organic Strawberries line). Thanks to Green Mom Finds for the tip -- during January, you can get an extra 20% off Seventh Generation products. That's on top of the 15% off you get for signing up to get routine delivery via the Subscribe and Save Amazon program. Sure, I could be more enviro (I figure it's got to get to me somehow, but the shipping/packaging does give me pause) than I am but really, I am going to buy some stuff. I am not, in fact, ready for cloth bathroom wipes or stringing up a clothesline. So this moves us in the right direction.

Ahem. Away from the schill and back to musing...

A few changes we've made in the New Year:

  • using cloth rags instead of paper towels about half the time
  • (back to) using recycled paper products (tp, paper towels)
  • using cloth napkins, ok, rags that are handy
  • (back to) using chlorine-free wipes and diapers
  • walking as much as possible, which involves being more organized and leaving time as well as being less lazy
  • cutting back water consumption (fewer baths for kids, turning off water while soaping up, shorter showers)
  • wearing clothes more before washing them
  • rechargeable batteries (just swapped out my first round to recharge again -- awesome feeling!)
  • bringing our own bags to the grocery store
  • trying not to use plastic bags for produce
  • buying products packaged in as little plastic as possible (ie buying bulk)
  • installing exactly one compact fluorescent bulb
  • switching back to filtered tap water for the adults in the house (go Brita!) now that I am not nursing anymore -- we still get glass-bottled spring water delivery for the kids in absence of any response from any public DC agency re: hormones in our water

The biggest psychological barrier for me was going for the cloth rags. I had a mental block against adding any more laundry to our lives. And storage of both clean and dry rags is still a work in progress. But I had about 75,000 rags already since I am such a huge packrat.

I've also been freecycling, giving away, and selling unused stuff so we can better utilize our space. I totally think that organization is a green move -- if you know where things are, you can use them more efficiently, negating the need to consume more. In the case of our kids' toys, when I rotate them, they seem new again. In the case of art supplies, when I delve into the giant pile of packratted materials in our closet, wala! we have fun new projects. In the case of my clothes, once I gave away all of my pregnancy and nursing clothes, I could actually see through the mess of my closet to my favorite soft t-shirts and hoodie sweatshirts I was going to wear every day anyways....

Things I want to do but haven't acted on for a variety of reasons (help me!):

  • composting our wet scraps/getting our recycling tumbler assembled and working/setting up a system
  • bringing containers to restaurants when we go so we don't get disposable or even (gasp!) styrofoam packaging for our takeout
  • meal planning at least a week out -- reducing food waste, saving $$
  • getting or making cloth bags to avoid using plastic produce bags

I'm sharing all this stuff on the off chance it helps someone else with an easy aha! for how to go a little greener, while saving a little time or money. I've already shared some of these links, but here again are a smattering of blogs I read that give me inspiration when trying to green our lives:

Green as a Thistle, Going Green, Fake Plastic Fish, Crunchy Chicken, Little Blog in the Big Woods, No Impact Man, Living Plastic Free, Organicmania, Save Your Trash, Tiny Choices


Melanie said...

This is an inspiring list. Go, you!

Mel said...

Re bags to replace the plastic produce bags - has some that are made of cotton, though they are expensive. I have a few (they come in small and large, I think), and they're good for non-wet items. For the wet items, I still stick to the plastic. However, I do have to say that half the time I forget the produce bags (why don't I keep them with my regular grocery bags, I don't know) and have just been getting my non-wet produce loose. The cashiers never seem to mind. :)

MamaBird said...

Thanks, Mel. I love and will check their selection out. I also have been juggling sweet potatoes and you're right, the cashiers all seem to get why. I kept forgetting my reusable bags themselves for donkey's years so I bet it will be an uphill curve for me to remember the produce bags, too. Maybe we should do what my ultra-recycling dad has done for at least a decade -- keep a few produce bags in the pocket of his coat at all times so when he's in the store he never has to get new ones.

Oh, and another reader tipped me off to -- if you enter VDay08 at checkout you can get 20% off.

Lynn from said...

Great post with terrific ideas! I was unaware of the Amazon program, so thanks, I will definitely check it out. And thanks for the nice mention of my blog - you made my day! And since it's now 11:01 p.m. that's saying a lot! :)