I know, it's all you hear about these days..."going green." It's annoying. But I can't help but be swept up in it.
I watch Planet Green voraciously. I can't get enough. My only complaint about it is that it basically preaches getting rid of your old stuff and getting new, sustainable "stuff." What are you supposed to do with the old stuff?? Isn't the whole point to use what you have until you can't anymore and then do something responsible with it, like recycle it? Then, once you NEED to replace something, do it the "right" way (sustainable and ecologically-friendly).
In our home, we've made a few small changes that make me feel good about doing my part.
- I do cloth diapers. Not as much as I'd like to though. But, each cloth one I use is one less going into a landfill. Right?
- I've Freecycled all of our nasty cleaning stuff and replaced it with vinegar, water, baking soda and lemon juice.
- I try to limit my driving, even if it means staying home all day and just vegging. And if I do have errands to run, I try to do them all at once so it limits how much driving around I'm doing. Except for the great Peanut Butter Fudge Cake incident of 2008. But that's another story for another time.
- I wash most of our clothes in cold water.
- We turn the air conditioner up to 80 when we're not at home.
- Carter eats mostly organic jarred baby food or locally-grown food from the farmers' market. I'm not really stringent on that, but I like to try to adhere to a more natural diet for him than what we eat (Oreo ice cream in the freezer, I'm talking to you). I also make a lot of his food from frozen veggies and fruit. Less packaging waste and WAY cheaper than the jarred stuff. Plus, it's fun to mix and match the pretty-colored frozen cubes.
I've also been making some changes at work. I work for a title company. We shuffle a LOT of paper. When a loan closes, I used to make a copy for the borrower, a copy for our files, and then send the originals to the lender. Now?
- I scan the lender docs and save them on the computer, rather than copying 100 pages. Five files, and I've saved a ream of paper!
- I've also started collecting the stubs I rip off the checks I cut, turning them over to the blank side, and putting them together into notepads. Every time I answer the phone I write down the person's name so that when I say goodbye I can use their name. I used to use Post-its for that. What a waste.
- Instead of overnighting payoff checks to the lenders, we've started wiring them. That saves on the paper copies that we'd make of all the supporting documentation, plus the Fed Ex fees are no more. And it doesn't cost us anything extra to send the wire, so why not??
- I troll the internet looking for coupons to use on the office supplies I need to buy so that the savings can go toward recycled paper. Yesterday, I ordered two boxes of recycled paper and only spent $25! That's about a 50% savings. Sweet.
- I email as much as I can instead of faxing. Again, saves paper.
I feel good about what I've been doing and I'm hoping to find more ways to get more "green" without compromising our lifestyle or budget.
I know my brother Rick is rolling his eyes and sighing loudly (if he's even gotten this far into the post) because he's convinced there is no environmental issue. Let's all just let him live in his fantasy world, shall we?