Friday, July 27, 2007

and the green glass grew all around...

I've been thinking of all of the 'green' things that we do (and were doing before it was the 'in' thing) and since seeing African Kelli's Green Week last week (which I missed, since I just discovered her blog this week) I thought I would try to list a few of them, so perhaps some of you readers out there might be inspired, or be able to suggest other things that we can be doing.

In no particular order, here are 7 small things which popped to mind (I'm a believer that small things do make a difference!)... I'll try to keep it brief.

1. Reducing plastic use: Plastics are pretty nasty for a variety of reasons, and I try to avoid them whenever possible. I store items in the pantry in glass jars, never put plastic in the microwave, and although I still use a Nalgene water bottle, I'm planning on ordering a Sigg one in the near future. Bisphenol A, which is essentially a hormone disruptor, is released from many plastics as they're used (like water bottles and baby bottles) and that just doesn't sound good to me. Things that are made from other materials (glass, wood, etc.) just seem more real to me, and their production is generally better for the environment than the manufacturing of plastics. I had been looking everywhere for glass baby bottles, and now I seem to have an abundance. I ordered some online when I was unable to find them anywhere else, and a wonderful friend of mine just found some at 'Grandma's Collectibles' for me. I try to avoid plastic wrap (especially in the microwave - try wax paper, which can be composted afterward) and take canvas totes to the grocery store. Oooh, that was a rambly one - I'll try to keep the rest shorter and less all-over-the-place.

2. Reduce, reuse, recycle: Reduce is the first one for a reason. If we reduce our consumption of goods, we're 'treading more lightly on the planet' (so many new catch phrases) and it just makes sense. Ask anyone you know, and chances are, they'll say they already have too much stuff. Reuse: I love buying previously owned things, because by doing so, I haven't supported the manufacture of another new thing and the use of new materials. And the stuff usually has more character, too. Cloth diapers are another way that we reuse rather than throw away. One other example is the reusable sandwich wrap I made for Adam so we don't use plastic wrap when he takes sandwiches to work. Recycle: We have an awesome recycling program here in Nova Scotia, so that part's easy - they pick up all of our recycling (glass, plastics, aluminum, paper) as well as compost at the curb.

3. Household cleaning:I now use primarily baking soda and vinegar for cleaning. When I use prepackaged products, I usually buy Nature Clean, which are unscented and are made from pronounceable ingredients. I use peroxide bleach rather than chlorine bleach, and wash laundry with biodegradable, unscented laundry detergent on sunny days when possible so it can be hung on the clothesline to dry. I use rags rather than paper towels and buy unbleached paper products when they're available.

4. Car: Now that I'm on maternity leave, our car sits in the driveway most days, and we walk when possible. Unfortunately, my job entails a lot of driving, so things are a bit different when I'm back at work. We have a compact car which is very fuel efficient, and we keep it well maintained so it stays that way.

7. Tools: We use a reel lawn mower, and none of our yard tools are gas or electric - they're all manual. As well as not polluting, they're generally a lot more safe to use, too!

Comments, anyone? I'm all typed out for now.

Edited to add: Check out this plastics chart to help you choose the best types when you're shopping.

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