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How to be green without really meaning to

I’m not that worried about the environment, or my carbon footprint, or renewable energy.  Despite my apathy, I have noticed that I’m doing a pretty good job of being green.  This greenery mainly developed through frugality, or necessity.  Check it out:

1) Walking practically everywhere.

Why I do it: We only have one car, and it’s a 25-minute commute to my husband’s work, so driving him to and from work is a drag, especially since when he goes in before the sun is up and finishes past the baby’s bedtime.  So, unless I really need it (like when I have to go somewhere beyond walking distance), I don’t bother. Except for the last two months, when the accumulated snow made it impossible to push a stroller, I trek most everywhere: To friends’ houses (between 1.13 and 1.65 miles), to the store (either .74 or .87 miles), to the library (1.13 miles).  Today I walked to play rehearsal (1.6 miles), and it only took me a half hour.  Also, Moshe loves riding in the stroller (check out that smile), and I love him getting all that fresh air.

Pros: saving money on gas, saving money on a gym membership, losing weight (I’ve lost about 15 pounds in a year – don’t hate), getting out of the house.

2)  Reusable bags and reusing bags.

Why I do it: So, this is partially because I think they are cute, and partially because I got tired of having a trillion plastic and paper bags around the house.  I have two big ones and a number of small ones which I’ve accumulated over the years.  Since I don’t always remember to bring them, or always have them with me when I make an impromptu trip to the store, I do end up with some paper bags, which are either good for trash, or plastic bags, also good for trash or packing lunch for my hubby.  Also, they can both be recycled.

Pros: looking stylish toting groceries to the car, less clutter in the home, minimizing trash can grossness, saving money on lunch bags which husbands may or may not leave at work.

3)  Recycling stuff.

Why I do it: So, this one isn’t as relevant to me, though I do think that I save money on trash bags by separating the recyclable stuff from the gross trash stuff.  In addition, I like the organizational aspect of it.  Mainly, though, I’m thinking about a family in St. Louis who generates an incredible amount of trash.  They are into outreach, and throw massive get-togethers on a regular basis.  They also have a large family.  So they generate a lot of waste.  The area of St. Louis in which they live only allows two bins of trash a week.  This family recycles everything they can (they still have to hire someone to remove their excess trash).  I also know a family who uses blue grocery bags as their recycling bags to save on cost.

Pros: saving money on trash bags, feeding any type-A tendencies, beating the system.

4) Diapering with Cloth.

Why I do it: I get asked this a lot.  Why?  Why on earth voluntarily deal with all that poo?  Mainly to save money.  The idea of throwing away about $80-$120 a month (http://www.surebaby.com/costs.php) wasn’t super-appealing.  I guess it was less appealing to me than dealing with poo.  We invested more up front, to buy all the supplies, which cost us about $600 or so.  If we had been using disposables exclusively, it would have cost us between $960-$1560.  I wash them myself, so we don’t have to spend on a cleaning service.  Also, they look yummy, and it was fun picking out colors, styles and patterns.  I shop mainly at http://www.kellyscloset.com/, but I have a friend who enjoys http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/.  I shop online and they are shipped to me.  Score.

Pros: saving a bunch of money,  choosing cute colors/patterns, having a baby with a cushy tushy, not having to run to the store to pick up more diapers/wipes.

5.  Minimizing disposable cookware and dinnerware.

Why I do it: Because it’s expensive using a lot of disposables.  Also, it takes up space in the trash can (see #3).  For a while, I wasn’t using anything disposable.  I didn’t even have paper towels.  I had reusable bamboo ones, which really work pretty well, and last a long time.   However, as I don’t have a dishwasher, and am not the greatest at keeping up with the mounting pile o’ dishes, I did cave in order to maintain my sanity.  I do try to limit how much disposable stuff I use, and I try to reuse cups, and rinse off flatware if I can.  I still don’t buy paper napkins, since I have a ton of cloth ones.  I also like that it allows me to stop and think about if I could be more conservative with what I’m using.

Pros: Saving money, reducing waste, having a nice-looking dinner set-up, encouraging thinking.

So that’s pretty much it.  I’m an inadvertent environmentalist.  Or something.

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2 thoughts on “How to be green without really meaning to

  1. LOVE IT! I am so appreciative that you wrote this down. I just saw this documentary called Food, Inc (have you seen it?) and I am utterly traumatized. It’s making me think a lot more about lifestyle choices, who controls them, and their consequences. So this was right up my alley!

  2. Yay for green activities…I swear…We share the same heart when it comes to the environment!

    I’ve become rather green myself without really realizing it…Walking places, biking to work (when the weather permits), recycling like crazy, passing on a gazillion plastic bags and reusing the ones we have. Don’t have kids yet, but we use biodegradable poo-bags for the doggies. Every little thing helps, huh?

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