We don't mean to suck at loving our planet.

Friday, August 29, 2008

So when it comes to being green, we've really slacked off. At one point, we went an entire year without using paper towels. Instead, we used and then washed hand towels. As a result, we don't have a single decent hand towel in the house (in fact, I think we lost most of them along the way), but at least we know we helped the environment for a little bit. I'm not going to lie, I wish I had some of my hand towels back, haha. We used to buy recycled toilet paper, and special cleaning products. We only used recycled printer paper for our computer (which we still do). Little things like that, ya know? But the older Eleanore got, the more we slipped back into old habits. There are some thing that just aren't realistic for a family with small children. In our case at least. We need paper towels. And we can't always afford to buy the recycled ones. Why are they so much more expensive anyways? I need the stronger, grease-cutting dish soaps that are chalked full of god knows what. I don't have a lot of time to spend on dishes, nor will my pregnant stomach allow it. Our dishwasher is currently broken. It bit the dust in the middle of the rinse cycle, so now when we open it up to use it as a drying rack, the dirty water that pooled at the bottom of the machine, grabs me by the gag reflex and won't let go. Dishwasher man get here already!

So anyways. What are some of the little things that you and your family do at your house to be greener? We'd love to hear about realistic ways of helping the environment that maybe we can try and adapt into our lifestyle, rather than suggestions made by a website that doesn't have any children to take into consideration while its trying to haul buckets of bathwater one by one from upstairs, all the way out to the front lawn to water the grass...

-"Pro earth- handmade recycled notecard", by HeyLady, $3.50.


saffron August 29, 2008 at 10:27 AM  

Hmm, I do buy recycled computer paper, and organic whenever possible. I think organic is a great way to go, especially with all the bees dying, etc. I guess since I never buy new furniture that can help, I prefer vintage stuff anyway. I use a water filter, not plastic bottles (that's a biggie) I had to stop buying the recycled toilet paper though...It's just too uncomfortable for me!

Brandon August 29, 2008 at 10:39 AM  

I think your doing pretty good. We buy recycled when ever possible. Organic vegies and Fruit (which is pentiful around here)

Shop at thrift stores. I use cloth napkins and take some where ever we go. I take my dishsoap and laundry bottles and fill up at the store.

Defently recycle what you can were your at. In Eugene its pretty much everything. Our Recycle can in bigger than our trash can.

Also when kiddo were in Diapers, I used cloth and I did wash them. I have now heard of Cloth Diaper service, just my luck!

Christopher And Tia August 29, 2008 at 11:09 AM  

saffron, we do buy organic most of the time. Not by choice really though, haha, mostly because of my food allergies and sensitivities. The biggest downside to buying organic is the cost. Otherwise, I think it tastes much better, and I feel better about having it around. We also use a water filter pitcher, which I never considered as a green thing, but, I guess it is huh? You just reminded me that we really should hit up the thrift stores and try to get some used furniture to revamp.

brandon, I don't know how in the heck you could stand using cloth diapers. I'd like to say that I've tried it, but I sure haven't. I do use washable panty liners though. Which I guess is another small way of being green.

Thanks guys. We really appreciate the helpful tips.

Hybrid Hopes August 29, 2008 at 12:36 PM  

Growing our own vegetables when possible. Yeah, I like gardening, but it's also a way to cut back on buying food that was shipped across the country.

Also, we reuse our bathwater (i think the cool folks call it "gray water usage) to flush the toliet, and to water the lawn (depending on what chemicals are in the water after the bath). Sometimes when we have overnight visitors we stop doing that because I'm afraid they'll think we're weird. I really need to stop stopping. Our friends already know that we're a bit odd, and maybe if they know friends of theirs do crazy hippy eco stuff, they will too.
yeah, paper products. that seems to be our biggest battle. we have paper towels that are supposed to be semi-emergency usage only, but when we have them, josh and bear use them for more mundane tasks, like hand drying.
I also reuse plastic containers for garden stuff (slug traps, mini-cloches) and small glass containers (like salsa or pesto thingies) for craft supply holders.

there's some stuff that's cost prohibitive with the fiance in school, the roommate/brother pretty broke, and the mortgage looming. But there's still more stuff we could be doing. Better purchasing choices, turning off lights consistently.

Hybrid Hopes August 29, 2008 at 12:38 PM  

by the by, local produce often leaves less of a foul mark on the environment than organic even, especially if it's organic but shipped 2000+ miles. A lot of small, local farms don't get the certification (don't bother, or the certification is cost prohibitive or whatever the reason), even if they do use organic practices.

HotHeaded August 29, 2008 at 12:39 PM  

I am currenly using cloth diapers, which are so easy I kick myself for using disposale with the first two.

We use cheap-o washclothes for napkins. We only use rewashable plates, cups, silverware, ect.

We recycle everything that they let us. We have 2 huge boxes for cans, glass, and plastic. Then we also do paper and cardboard.

We compost all our scraps. Have a garden that we eat out of in the summer and either freeze or can the extras.

I haven't bought *new* clothes in over a year. Everything we get is from a thrift store.

I have never bought new furniture.

We live in a pretty small "city" so I can walk pretty much where ever I need to go.

I use cloth bags.

I don't usually buy organic just because its soo expensive at our local stores. If it happens to go on sale or is in season and cheaper I will buy it.

I am really cheap so thats where alot of this comes from :)

Johanna August 29, 2008 at 1:13 PM  

We haven't used paper towels in YEARS! I find that dish towels, or better yet, knit wash clothes are so much better. You can really scrub with them, they are meant for cleaning, and then I wash them with the bib laundry.

I also use those knit wash cloths to wash our dishes. Speaking of dishes, we use "Sal's Suds" to wash our dishes, and everything else in our house. It's made by Dr.Brommer's and it's fabulous. It's super concentrated, so it lasts forever. We bought a gallon container and dilute it to wash the dishes and the tub and the rugs and anything else. It's so safe our daughter could drink it, but it really works well.

We also use cloth napkins all of the time. Again, I'm doing bib laundry, so why not throw some cloth napkins in there.

One extreme that we do, that most families probably won't, is we use "family cloth". Basically it's a fancy way of saying we use cloth wipes rather than toilet paper. We cloth diaper our daughter, so again, we are already doing that type of laundry, so we just toss it in with that. I'm not sure what we'll do once she is out of diapers.

All of that together results in NO paper products being bought at our house.

One last thing, we haven't received a disposable bag from a store in years. I always bring my own to the grocery store (some stores give a discount/refund when you do this) and I have a little fold up bag that I always keep in the diaper bag.

Oh, we have a great laundry detergent we use too. Allen's Naturally, same idea as Sal's Suds... and now I've written enough!

Christopher And Tia August 29, 2008 at 1:34 PM  

Wow. Some of the things you folks are doing, is just insane. I applaud you. Really. I hope that reading all of these things will help motivate Christopher and I to put in a little extra effort.

fluffnflowers August 29, 2008 at 1:59 PM  

We've given up plastic bags. We throw all of our wet garbage that's compostable into the composting bucket, and all of the dry, noncompostable stuff into the trash. The bag is heavy-duty, recycled paper. Reusable bags at the supermarket and other stores.

We grow our own veggies. If we can't grow it, we buy it from local growers, if it's available. We also save veggies and fruits for the winter. Yum!

Paper towels are still around, but they're used mainly by my guy who likes to carry them in his lunch sack. Cleaning gets done with a rag.

Recycled toilet paper is more than I can stand, so hats off to those of you that can do that! :)

Hyla Waldron August 29, 2008 at 5:44 PM  

Ummmm WOW ! Well to start I have a blog I try to get to everyday
We have an almost 7 yr old, an almost 3 yr old and a just turned 1 year old. Instead of paper towels we use Parents Choice Organic baby wipes! We LOVE them and use them for everything! We have a large plastic bin that we throw the recycling in so we can take it down when it gets full. This is cut our daily two bags of garbage down to a bag every two days. I couldnt believe that most of the stuff we are throwing away is actually recyclable! I am reading a book now, that I just blogged about reading and you would be amazed and revolted about the chemicals in your dish soap and cleaners. I use a dish soap called Ultra Dishmate by Earth Friendly Products and it cuts crap on dishes better than anything Ive ever used before! We use soapnuts for our laundry instead of laundry soap.........hmmm there are a lot of things we have changed. We usually all take our showers in the morning, so an hour before showers we flip on the breaker for the water heater and it heats the water. We all take our showers and then we turn it off for the rest of the day and night. It still leaves enough hot water for cleaning later. And it cut our electric bill in HALF, I could go on and on! Anyways, maybe I will copy this comment to my blog! If you need any help stop by my blog or send me a message!

Giftbearer August 30, 2008 at 12:20 AM  

The main thing I do is don't turn on lights unless I absolutely need to.

I also have two Granny Smith Apple trees that use no pesticides.

ThisOldHenHouse August 30, 2008 at 8:47 AM  

I'm kinda in the same boat as you Tia! I'm no Green angel by any means, but I try. The way I figure, even a little bit helps :-)

I have a few grocery totes that I use for small trips to the store - when we go major grogery shopping though I still do have to get a few plastic bags, but rather than throw them in the trash to end up in a landfill somewhere when I sew I acctually stuff pillows with them - you wouldn't beleive it, but they are comfy!

We buy alot of locally grown organic produce - its cheaper, healthier, and I'm supporting local farmers which is always a plus! The rest I grow myself in my own garden.

But I have to agree with you - why are recycled products so much more expensive than regular ones ... seems to me that they should be cheaper??? But then again, I'm no corportate marketing genius

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