Earth Day is around the corner (April 22nd) which always makes me confront my horrible wasteful ways. While many people connect simple living with green living, that hasn’t been my personal experience. I just find being wasteful much easier. Isn’t it easier to just dump those batteries and cans in the trash? It’s definitely easier to use the dryer than hang things on a line.
Every so often though, I try to be more “green”. For me, that isn’t not only about buying organic cotton or recycled goods; it’s about consuming and wasting less.
- Recycling plastic / cans: My husband and I used to recycle regularly. In recent years, we’ve been giving our recyclable cans/bottles to a cleaning person at my work or cleaning person/nanny. We don’t get the money but we don’t have to haul it away either and it’s win-win for all.
- Paper: I am trying to write notes/lists on the back of used office paper.
- Baby Clothes/Stuff: We’re good at donating gently used baby stuff to other parents. We also buy used clothes in general.
- Using What We Have: I’ve had some success with using containers and bags that we already have around the house. Also, reading Your Money or Your Life has encouraged me to think before I buy.
- Recycling home batteries (like Duracell, etc): Most businesses only accept rechargeable batteries for recycling. We were lucky that several Jiffy Lubes in Southern California actually accept and recycle these (AA, AAA, C and D cell). Battery toxins include mercury, nickel and leadI just think it’s important to recycle these; when they’re dumped in the trash, these toxins pollute water systems and increase levels of lead and acid in the environment.
- Buying Organic: We can’t afford to go all-organic but we do try to buy organic meats, eggs, milk and some fruits/vegetables.
- Less meat?: We don’t feel like we have to eat meat at every meal. However, this is not something I’m actively tracking so I’m not quite sure how we do on this.
- Green cleaning: We find that vinegar and baking soda does the job in most cases. We also use greener laundry detergent. We can still improve on this but I’m happy that we are breathing less/no toxic fumes!
- Magazine recycling: I’ve been reading way too many fashion and design magazines. However, I give them away pretty quickly. That way, I am not too tempted. I figure that sharing them among a few co-workers or friends prolongs their shelf life at least.
The Bad & Ugly
- Paper (again): We use paper plates. My love of pretty notebooks is fighting with my desire to not waste paper. I print things out way too much.
- Recycling Medications: Not doing this even though I know that improper disposal of medications are a major environmental problem. I read that CVS pharmacy offers an environmentally sound disposal system but I have never seen any signage when I’m there. Must check this out (and remember to do this…)
- Diapers: No cloth for us!
- Gas: No carpool partner in sight + long commute.
- Dryer: We dry clothes all the time.
- Plastic bags: We used to be better about bringing our own grocery bags to stores.
- More Pre-made foods = more trash? I would assume that when you cook less and use more pre-packaged goods, you end up with more waste.
Are you very environmentally conscious? I’d love to hear your best green living tips.