Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday Reflections - Earth Day

April 22 - Earth Day. I think every day should be Earth Day. We shouldn't need a date on the calendar to remind us to take care of our planet. The Earth gives us countless blessings year-round. Why shouldn't we show her the same respect? I will admit that I haven't always been as 'green' as I am today. I grew up in a household and a generation where disposable items were everywhere. It was all about convenience...no need to wash your plate, your utensils, your towels, your baby's diapers...save time, use them once and throw them away! Boy was that stupid. And it wasn't until I had children that I realized that. Don't ask me why...I can't explain it. I guess there was just something about having children that made me realize that I needed to protect their future and the future of their planet. That combined with a clearer understanding of how *I* could make a difference brought me to the 'green' place that I am today. People need to understand that saving the planet HAS to be a joint effort. And that effort starts with YOU. If everyone sat around and said 'why should I bother to recycle/use reusable products/consume less energy/etc? One person isn't going to make a difference' then we'd never get anywhere. One person CAN and DOES make a difference. Here's a little example. If I were to use the plastic grocery bags it would take about 8-10 of these bags to transport my weekly groceries from the store to home. By using reusable shopping bags instead, I can prevent 416-520 bags per year from ending up in a landfill. That's 4160-5200 over a 10 year span for just ONE household and ONE shopping trip per week! Just think if everyone did that!!! It isn't hard, it isn't expensive, and its something everyone can do.

In honor of Earth Day, I thought I'd share with you some of my 'green' habits. I could sit here and peruse the web and regurgitate a bunch of facts and suggestions about how to be green. But, what's the point of that? You could do that for yourself. Here is what *I* do or have done in the past with success. These things have fit into my lifestyle so I thought I would share them with you. I would LOVE if someone would actually comment on this post and give me some of their green ideas that aren't already on my list!

1. Recycle - We recycle as much as we possibly can. Cardboard, plastics, glass, paper, plastic bottles, etc. No, my town does not have recycling pick-up. So, I have to drive my recyclables to the recycling center. It really isn't that hard, people.
2. Compost - We now have 2 compost big compost bins going outside. I have a small container with a lid on it in my kitchen where I throw food waste. When its full, it then gets taken outside to the big compost bins. Between recycling and composting we have very little trash to lug to the curb every week.
3. CFL Light Bulbs - enough said
4. REUSABLE PRODUCTS - I use very few disposable products in my house. Reusable is the way to go! All of these things save money, as well! Here are list of disposable products that I have replaced with reusable ones:
-Diapers - I will admit, I'm not using my cloth diapers at the moment. However, I used them for 2 years with Isaac. That's a lot of diapers I saved from the landfill
-Towels - I MIGHT go through 1 roll of paper towels every couple of months. I'd say more than 90% of the time I use cloth towels or 'unpaper towels' as they are commonly referred to among the green folk. I use them to wash windows and mirrors, I use them to clean up spills, etc.
-Baby Wipes - Instead of using disposable baby wipes to clean up my children after meals, or to wipe their snotty noses, or their sticky hands, I have a stack of flannel baby wipes right by my sink. When I need one, I wet it with water and clean up the mess. These are very easy to make!
-Napkins - We use cloth napkins at every meal. I don't even think I have any disposable napkins in my house.
-Feminine Hygiene Products - That's right, ladies...I said it! There are several different options here. I have tried cloth pads, cloth tampons, and The Diva Cup. I use my cloth pads the most.
-Toilet Paper - Those flannel baby wipes I mentioned...they also work great for toilet paper. My daughter is the only one in our house who uses this right now (only for #1) and only in the upstairs bathroom...but, every little bit helps. :)
-Reusable Shopping Bags
-Water Jugs - no need for bottled water.
5. Earth Friendly Cleaning Products - I make my own window cleaner - a simple mixture of vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and water. All other cleaning products I use are earth-friendly.
6. We grow organic vegetables in our garden during the summer.
7. I used to make my own baby food.
8. Josh will be making us a rain water collection system this spring. I can't wait!

I feel like I'm missing something...I'll be sure to post it if I come up with more. :) Anyone got any more ideas for me???

4/14/2010: Edited to Add:
I knew I had forgotten a couple things - more reusable products...
-Swiffer Cloths - I use microfiber cloths on my swiffer instead of the disposable ones. You can get them at The Christmas Tree Shops for like $1. They work just as well - if not better than the actual Swiffer cloths. I haven't tried it yet, but I also am planning to make a crocheted swiffer cloth. Here's a link: http://www.craftstylish.com/item/44816/how-to-make-a-reversible-swiffer-sock
-Reusable Sandwich/Snack Bags - You can buy (or make!) them using a variety of different fabrics. I plan to add a tutorial to my blog on how to make these soon.


  1. I do some of the same things as you Jenn - recycling is a BIG one, us, a family of 4 only have about 1 bag of 'trash' per week to put out for collection! I also try not to use paper towels very often. I'm not savvy enough to make my own flannel wipes, but I do take baby size wash cloths that I no longer use for tubby time and use them to wipe up faces and hands. And I'm a HUGE dork about turning off lights when you aren't using them! CFL's are great - they last MUCH longer!
    Oh, and altho I don't compost, have 3 large in house garbage disposals that are more than willing to eat anything we're done with...LOL...

  2. Yay! A comment! Thanks Shelly. :) I just added a couple more things to the list that I had forgotten. Check them out! :)