The everyday life of an imperfect woman trying to live life to its fullest.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
I'm Gonna Make a Change... It's Gonna Feel Real Good! (Jam On...)
My photo above is a beautiful day in Harpers Ferry, WV last year. We picnicked beside the river under the shade of the trees. Matt and the girls waded their feet in the cool water. The girls thought it was the best thing ever! Oh, and the geese wanted a part of the action...
With Earth Day this week, I was thinking about "eco-friendly" changes our family has made over the past 1-3 years. One of my biggest concerns is how much nasty toxic waste is sitting in our landfills and will continue to do so through my children's lives. I don't care if you believe in "global warming" or not, there are certainly things that we can do INDIVIDUALLY to help the health of our environment NOW. Especially as Americans.
This post is NOT to pat me on the back. The changes I've made are not huge, revolutionary things. You will most likely being saying "duh" through this whole blog. But I write this because little changes add up! I know many of you have also made efforts to be more "green" and most likely, you do a better job than I do. The Catons have further to go. But I am reflecting today on what we have changed so far:
1. Reduce our waste. I've noticed how much garbage we take to the curb each week. We used to fill at least two garbage cans plus some. Now we're usually down to one. (probably due to items 2 through 7!)
2. Recycle more. Our city recycles aluminum, plastic, glass and cardboard. I've always recycled cans and plastic/glass containers, but I never really paid attention to cardboard. Over the past year, I am AMAZED at how much of my garbage is cardboard boxes/containers that can be recycled. (cereal boxes, snack/candy/cracker boxes, pizza boxes, etc) Now that we recycle cardboard, I estimate that I am recycling about 50% of our garbage. (they say you should be able to do 75% recycled... still working on that!)
3. Trying not to buy non-recyclable items. I have a lot of work to do in this area. I'm not even close yet. However, I do know a way I can make a fairly easy change. Parents, I know you can relate when I say there are so many cheap, plastic toys that somehow accumulate in our house. And of course, they usually break the first day we get them. I am now intentionally NOT purchasing those items.
Cool note: I just found out about an organization in Cincinnati that collects broken dolls, action figures and other plastic toys. Kids invent new toys from the broken ones. You have to pay to ship it there but I love the idea (for more info, see - http://www.happeninc.com/recycle). **If you know of other ways to recycle broken toys, please comment!**
And we can't forget Craigslist, garage sales or simply donating unused items that would otherwise just sit in a landfill. I have been a grateful recipient of unwanted items many times. Your junk is someone else's treasure!
4. Deal with my plastic bags! I figure this topic deserves it's own point. Yes, I have some reusable bags, and if I remember, I bring them to the grocery store. (I'm keeping them in the car now so I am more likely to remember.) I have also started recycling or reusing ALL my plastic bags from stores. I also noticed that some food items have recyclable bags (duh, you probably know all this, but it took me awhile to figure it out! ha). My bread bags, bags for produce and some packaged goods can be recycled. My local grocery stores and Wal-Mart have a bin where I can recycle them. It is RIDICULOUS how many plastic bags come through my home within a month's time. I am SO glad to recycle them or reuse them!!
5. Eliminate waste at our "Mo group." I have a small community group that meets at my house each week. Including children, we have about 15-20 people eating dinner. We have chosen to eliminate disposable eating utensils. We use "real" mugs for coffee. We don't use water bottles. Sometimes we use real plates or glasses, but I'm working toward making it a regular occurrence.
6. Using natural cleaners. Vinegar is my new best friend!! See www.vinegartips.com for some great ideas. I don't choke and wheeze compared to using my other cleaners. It's awesome! I've also been using different dish detergent and laundry detergents -- ones that are fragrance-free, free of phosphates and non-toxic. So far, I've had great experiences with Seventh Generation dish and laundry soap as well as Martha Stewart laundry detergent. I'm sure there are other great products out there.
7. Packing lunches/snacks in reusable containers. Less plastic sandwich bags and waste.
So these are just some ideas -- I'd love to hear what you are doing or changes you have made. I've definitely got more goals in mind and maybe you can help me with that. Enjoy your weekend, friends!
I am a follower of Jesus, wife since the year 2000, mother to two Caton cutie daughters. "Aha" moments, every day life, challenges I face, victories & cool freeze dance moves may or may not be included in this blog. Enjoy!