Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm a little bit green...

I know this is supposed to be a paper crafting blog and I haven’t really posted any cards or scrap pages in the past week…sorry. We’ve been busy recovering from vacation; it seems to have taken extra long this last trip. But I do plan to get working again this week, so stay tuned…

As I’ve been getting laundry done and the house back in order from being gone for 10 days I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the things we do as a house to help our environment. And how much more we could do. ( I’m also going through my usual household organization and clean out as I anticipate a move in the near future…not sure yet if we’re moving, but I try to be ready. )

Recycling - I’ve made it a personal goal to put out more curb-side recycling than trash and each week it usually happens. I’m guessing that Christmas time was about the only time we had more trash than recycle due to all the crazy packaging that’s used to tie down a simple fire truck to a piece of cardboard…don’t quite understand why it’s necessary to wire tie it down along w/securing it with a screw? Anyway, this weeks recycle is probably going to be the biggest outgo yet. I’ve cleaning out the filing cabinet and giving our shredder a real workout. I have three paper grocery bags full of shredded papers! That along with the usual glass jars, soda cans, newspapers and junk mail…I have two bins completely full!

Gone Paperless - in our kitchen, not our bathrooms ;) We’ve eliminated paper towels, napkins, plates and disposable utensils in our kitchen. It was a little frustrating in the beginning…it’s so easy to reach for a paper towel to clean up a mess or wipe down the stove but now it’s all rags. And we use cloth napkins at every meal…even when we head down the neighborhood pool or eating on the back patio. I’ve enjoyed slowly adding to my cloth napkin stash, I’ve found some really pretty patterns at Crate & Barrel and found a great deal on some last night at Stein Mart, $1.99 each! We also switched about a year and half ago to reusable shopping bags, that we remember to use 99% of the time. I even have a Chico bag in my purse for mall shopping (that I try to remember to use.) If we do get a plastic bag here and there I store it and use as packing materials for moving.

Trying to use fewer chemicals - baking soda and vinegar have become our go to cleaning products. Sort of crazy that something you use to bake and cook with can also be a star in the bathroom shower! And the husband hates the smell of vinegar but he’ll take that any day over all the chemical smells you get from commercial products.

We’ve made the switch to organic or environmentally friendly personal products in some areas. It’s trial and error with those things. But I think we’ve finally found some great soap from Dr. Bronner's that we love for body wash and facial wash. You can also use it for toothpaste, according to the website, but I’m not going to go that far. And I’ve found some great moisturizer from The Body Shop. They’re in the process of making all their products environmentally friendly, so it makes me feel OK using it.

Re-purposing - I’ve tried to find new ways to use things in the house after I’ve decided I’m done with it’s original purpose. It’s mostly old t-shirts that aren’t donation worthy becoming rags. But I try to see a new purpose for things that don’t go in the To Donate or To Sell piles.

Food - This is the part where we’re probably the least green, but we certainly try. We buy organic where we can and cage-free or free-range eggs. All our chicken is all antibiotic free chicken. Shopping at Trader Joe's makes buying healthier and greener a little easier, but I’m sure I could do better in this area.

I hope you’re not bored…I’ll stop now. But I’d love to hear some more ideas of ways I can change our family’s ways to become greener. So if you have some, please share. And here is a question for you crafters…do you carry your green ways into your craft room? I recycle as much as I can with paper and try to repurpose glass jars from the kitchen to storage for my craft room, but I’m sure there are other great ideas out there. Let’s hear them!

Have a good one!


mjenningsdesigns said...

This is a great post! I loved talking about it when we met for lunch! As we discussed I am also trying to recycle more than I throw away each week. I have given up plastic wear, paper plates and plastic cups but still using napkins and paper towels. What do you use for paper towels? I am addicted to them it seems.

I am using "canvas" bags at the grocery.

We replaced all of our light bulbs to the efficient type.

We are using organic and hormone free/cage free on everything that we can...

I really love recycling beads and creating "new" designs from old pieces that need a new facelift :-)

Jenny O. said...

Funny, we're on the same train of thought these days. We also stopped using paper in the kitchen and it has been a pretty easy transition. Although instead of pretty dish towels we have a lot of mismatched ones, including many Christmas ones.

And I just ran by the Body Shop this weekend and bought some yummy smelling soaps- Moringa, I believe. I've never really shopped there and I just loved it!

paula :: plays with mud said...

I'm so proud ... and inspired! We're going green at the "day job" by printing on both sides of paper and encouraging people not to print emails, etc.

At home, we've been reusing paper for Owen to draw on, and I've been using the water from the humidifier for my pottery. It sounds gross but it's clean water.

I'm having difficulty going green on the food because we're cheap ... I mean frugal. And we replaced all our bulbs in the new house with energy efficient ones, and are looking into synthetic grass for our yard to conserve water.

I've been using my canvas bags at the grocery store for about 11 years ... cashiers and baggers would always look at me funny, and now they're such a staple. It's nice to see so many of them in use!