Friday, March 13, 2009

Earth Day is approaching.

A friends post last week got me thinking about Earth Day. I don't do lent, but I do find that I am willing to give up something that helps the environment and make a lifelong commitment. But I don't know what to give up. Any ideas?

Here are somethings that I have changed already to be more green:

1. No paper products for eating. We use cloth napkins. I just throw them in the wash with what ever I am washing and Finn's chore is to fold them. I use Alvin's old shirts made into rags instead of paper towels (except for blotting bacon grease...and I keep paper towels around, but it takes well over a month to use a roll). No disposable utensils either.

2. We all have water bottles that get used and reused. Several years ago, we purchased a reverse osmosis water filter and it produces water equavalent to Aquafina. I find that I don't even like to take a bottle of water when I am out anymore.

3. We have a HE washing machine...I do a ton of wash and it uses only 13 gallons of wash per load (okay, really, we are on a well and run out of water in the summer, so it's really for that). I'd like a dryer too, but can't afford it now.

4. I clean primarily with baking soda, vinegar and home made cleaners that are green...and I love them. I've even converted friends. I make my own laundry detergent, and it's cheap and green.

5. We grow a garden...last year it fed the deer more than us, but we are going to try again. Hopefully, we will get it ready to plant this weekend (time to plant peas, beets and radishes next week).

6. We drink cold brewed coffee...not because it's green, but because it's delicious, but it doesn't use energy to brew.

I've switched the boys bedroom lights to CFL's but the light bothers me, so I won't put them through out the house. I figured putting them in the boys rooms would cut down on a lot of energy use since they sometimes turn them on in the middle of the night, and they are the lights that get left on when I leave the house (sometimes).

Of course we recycle as much as we can, we feeed our lawn clippings and bread scraps to the cows that live "next door."

So, I am thinking of leaning towards composting (we could feed our scraps to my mom's chicken and "compost" things much faster, but I can't stand going to the chicken coop. I already put coffee grounds into the garden, because I read somewhere that it keeps ants away.

What are you going to do?


  1. I have converted to CFL or other energy efficient lights in almost all of my fixtures. I have a water bottle that goes almost everywhere I go. I use biodegradable waste bags for "collecting' after my dog does her business. So I am not doing as much as others, but it is something I try to be conscious about. :-)

  2. Sounds like you're doing a wonderful job already! I'd like to hear more about your homemade laundry detergent. I have an HE washer also. Composting is definitely worth doing. With composting and our trash compactor, plus recycling, we only have 1/2 a can of garbage a week, for six people. I agree about the CFLs. I tried them and I just couldn't handle the difference.

  3. Hey not that this is me doing anything but my mom mentioned that she had a problem with deer and found a great solution that works. Kyle cuts his own hair and my mom has him save the clippings. Then she puts them around the perimeter of her garden and she said since she's been doing that she's had no issue...worth a try if you cut your boys hair ;)

  4. Still hate the chicken coop? That made me laugh. Um, Oh, lest I forget this: Happy St. Pat's to you!

    I have the HE washer and dryer by Whirlpool at the moment (past 2.5 years), but have to part w/ them before our move to HI 'cos the housing there already have machines (bet they aren't HE's!!) - if we lived near you, I'd donate them to you, for certain.
    I recently switched to coton napkins. WE only use paper towels when there is an animal problem or for the mirrors. I will switch to Dan's old tees when we get to HI (great idea). Um, you can use your home detergent in the HE? No problems? What was the recipe? I'll start using it in HI, probably. Same problem with the light as you. Hopefully in HI, the base will have some sort of recycling system in place, unlike here. I mean, I put cardboard and stuff in what is labeled the recycling bin down by the dumpster, but there are a lot of dumdums putting their regular trash in there - the dumdums. Anyway, I know about the cold brew coffee - is it the kind you keep in a glass jar in the fridge and use 1/4 cup and add hot water to it? If so, it is also much less acidic - tastes fantastic. I have this thing and haven't used it yet.

    Obviously, I need to do more, but I do think about it often. Must be the native Washington in me. :)

  5. I can start making and using my own stuff once I move, 'cos I'm trying not to buy or make any liquids that will outlast our last three months here . . . I can't move anything liquid or candle. Or meds. It's really tricky. Ugh!

  6. Chris...where do you find the biodegradable bags?

    Jenny...We'd be down to half a trash can if it weren't for the diapers, but I think I am going to convince alvin to build me a compost bin outside, and make it Finn's job to put things in there. I'll post a link to home made detergent.

    Katie...I do cut the boys hair and I am going to try putting trimmings out there. My mom heard that you can put twinkle lights around the garden and it messes with the deers septh perception.

    Sarah...Yep home made detergent can be used in HE washers, or regular. Cold brewed coffee is not acidic and you store it in the fridge. Alvin drinks 5 times more coffee now, because it's more convenient. easy to make if you have the container. And I have even started to make syrups to go in it and make my own lattes, for a few cents each.

  7. I get the biodegradable bag at petsmart. They are in the same area as all the other Pooper Scooper supplies, one day while buying the old brand of bags I saw that this brand was promoting their bio degradability and so I switched, they are called Bags-on-board.