Monday, April 21, 2008

MomCat Goes Green - The First Steps

Several weeks back, I reviewed the book Healthy Child, Healthy World and vowed to learn from it and change my ways somehow. I thought I'd check in and report what I'm trying to alter to live more eco-friendly. So far, here's the most immediate changes I'm trying to make:

Use less paper plates, napkins, and paper towels.
We typically buy the huge Chinet bag-o-plates at our warehouse store. Now, I'm trying to reduce what we use. The kids may still use their Zoo Pals some, because they have those handy ear sections that are perfect for ketchup or dip, but I can wash a plate instead.

Turn off lights when you leave a room.
My grandfather used to charge me a nickel every time I left a light on in a room and walked out. I feel like I'm channelling him right now and trying to get back in that good habit and use less energy around here. Our summer electric bills will thank me, hopefully!

Recycling plastics and glass
I found a place that is a bit closer to my house than the 30-miles away one I knew about. This is about 20 miles, but that's better. I need to buy some closed bins so we don't get bugs or the dog doesn't get into things. Right now I recycle newspapers and magazines very consistently, so this takes it to the next step. My son is excited to help with this as they're learning about it in scouts.

Wisen up on grocery shopping
Got this tip from the recent Oprah on reducing waste. One lady made a log of what she has and shopped for meals accordingly. Hubs said he'd be happy to mark off as he uses something up so I know when to get it instead of buying extras or guessing at the store. I check a little on this, but with freezer items I usually stock up unnecessarily. Now, I'll look and if I have extra pork chops, that will determine what we eat for dinner that week. Sounds so easy I'm almost embarrassed I wasn't doing this more before.

Use Eco-friendly cleaners, soaps, etc
My plan is that as I run out of things, I will buy a new green cleaner to replace it or find a better solution. I have been using vinegar some and found it got the hard water stains on my refrigerator water dispenser off so quickly! Eventually, I'll probably move to using that and baking soda for everything, but for now Green Works bathroom cleaner seems to be nice. I'll review some green products as I compare them later on sometime on here. Next I'll search for green dishwasher options. I'm spoiled by those cascade gel squares, so I hope I can find something good.

Switch all light bulbs out
They now make the larger recessed light bulbs in the greener design, so I will be switching all to that. I already use them in our overhead fan lights and lamps. They're not quite as bright, but they last longer so this is a no-brainer.

Buy reusable bags for the grocery store
I haven't done this. I need to. We throw out so many plastic bags because we have too many. I stock up and try to reuse them when I can, but sometimes we have too many to even reuse. This is a big one for me to change and change NOW.

So, that's where I am on this thing. I hope in one month I can make a difference and start wasting less. Let me know if you have any easy switches that you've found around your house that made a quick difference! I'll try to update in a month or so with any progress and a new list of things I'm changing.



Blogger LadyBugCrossing said...

We have been using those curly fluorescent bulbs for years. They make a huge difference.

I have a neat thing you can do with all those plastic grocery bags - you can crochet yourself a tote. I have one about 1/4 done and it's cool.

I stopped going out if I didn't have to. I saved a bundle on my credit card and gasoline.

Let me know if you get some other nifty ideas.

8:22 PM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Andrew said...

Excellent suggestions. I'm using the canvas bags, but I've been slow to give up the toxic cleaners. You inspired me, though. Plus, we have the baby to think about now. Not good for him to huff those fumes. One more tip: You know the chargers for your cell phone and iPod that you plug into the wall? They use power whenever they're plugged in--even if you don't have your cell phone or iPod hooked up to them. So, unplug them when you're not charging something. Or, plug them all into a power strip and turn the strip off when you're not charging anything.

1:13 AM, April 22, 2008  

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