Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

I've been called the "Green Police" by one of my friends. I don't know if that's totally accurate, but I care about the environment. I really do. Not because it's "in" or some celebrity tells me to. The destruction of the environment, polluted air and water especially, concerns me. But I'll be the first one to say I'm far from perfect.

Since today is Earth Day, I took some time to reflect on what I'm doing right and what needs work. A few examples...

Yay! :

  • I've stopped buying bottled water. I bought 2 Pur filters (one for the fridge and one on the counter) and a Sigg bottle for on-the-go.

  • We use only CFL bulbs in all light fixtures.
  • I keep my canvas bags in the car and use them every time I shop. I get the double benefit of saving the environment and feeling superior carrying my bags past all those plastic bag carriers (the horror!).
  • With spud! deliveries, I now buy only organic produce. I also buy only organic, cage-free eggs, and we've started a veggie garden (more on that in an upcoming post!).
  • We started composting in January. We fashioned a bin out of wooden pallets we picked up near a dumpster. It ain't pretty, but it gets the job done. I keep a small bin in the kitchen where we throw fruit and veg scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc. to take to the compost pile. In time we will have free soil for our garden and it's really cut down on our garbage.

  • I only run the dish and clothes washers when they're full, and I wash clothes with cold water only.

  • We recycle like mad.

  • We've been filling the house with indoor plants because I've become just as obsessed with indoor air quality as outdoor. I used to kill everything, but I've either been choosing fool-proof plants or I'm developing quite a green thumb, because these babies have been thriving.

  • We love going to and having yard sales. In fact, we're planning one for next month. Buying second-hand is cheaper and infinitely better for the environment.

Boo! :

  • I haven't been able to make the switch to all eco-friendly household cleaners. As we've run out of various cleaners I've replaced most with the eco stuff, like our detergent and a couple all-purpose cleaners. But it's a struggle because I've been trained to think lathering and pretty scents=clean, and most of the eco cleaners are lacking in both of those departments. But I know it's a step I'll have to make in my quest for excellent indoor air quality.
  • We can't do organic milk. I've tried, more than once. But Mark has a nose like a bloodhound and he will inevitably tell me the milk smells funny even if there is more than a week til it expires, which freaks me out and we end up throwing it away. I do only buy hormone-free though.
  • I get WAY too many magazines. But I love them, and reading them online doesn't compare to holding a fresh copy and being able to tear out pages for reference.

  • I waste water while doing dishes. Instead of filling one side of the sink with water for rinsing, I rinse under running water. That's bad and I know it and I feel guilty about it daily. But I'm a freak about clean dishes, and I don't feel like stagnant rinse water does the job.
  • I have yet to make the leap to recycled paper towels and TP (or to do away with paper towels altogether, for that matter). I'm not brand-loyal about many things, but toilet paper is one of those things. Can anyone recommend a recycled one that doesn't feel like you're wiping your ass with sandpaper?

  • We leave the computer on 24/7. We're lazy and that's a terrible excuse, but it's the truth.

Those are just some of the things. There are plenty more for both categories. But I want to know: What do you guys do to be eco-responsible and/or where could you improve?


  1. That is absolutely great! I just held my own class at the school where I'm helping out. For 1.5 hours I got to teach the children about Earth Day, Our environment and how to protect it for future generations. If I could have a job doing that everyday I would say yes instantly. I absolutely love that subject.
    You got me inspired, I'm gonna by a new water filter today!

  2. You rock! This is an area where my hubby and I are falling waaaay short. Eeek! I guess I do a few things, though mostly out of habit, not due to a conscious effort to be more green. You are an excellent role model! Have you tried making your own laundry detergent?? I have read a few recipes online, but haven't actually read a review of how it works.

  3. Yay Isabell! I'm so excited you're getting a water filter! Reducing plastic is probably THE most important thing.

    And thank you, Breanna! I haven't tried making my own detergent yet. I've just been using Seventh Generation. Again, I'm pretty lazy. But I am constantly trying to improve my eco efforts, so I shall Google how to do it. I'll try it and make it a blog post!

  4. Hey Ashley!, All these steps are great I try to do the same with Sam, except for the cool veggie garden, but we still try.
    About the cleaners have you tried 7th generation, or Method which have a nicer scent? Not only are they good on the environment but they are not tested on animals which is already good enough reason to buy them (not supporting EVIL companies that torture animals). I only use this stuff and its great. If you do want something a little stronger than to scrub dirt off, Method sells this cream scrubber it smell great and works well. Hope that helps.
    - karin
    p.s. what is up with Mark and the organic milk? Have you tried organic horizon, heritage farm, or clover brands. They taste great.