Today marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, founded in 1970 by Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson. Thanks, Gaylord! I felt that a good way to help celebrate today would be to show you how being green effects my everyday life. I am not a green fanatic or environmental martyr, but I try to do the best that I can.
I try to be consistent and vigilant on recycling products in our home. Luckily, our neighborhood has a great recycling program, so I don’t have to worry about sorting, stacking, etc. I am proud to say that we usually have more recycled materials on the curb than bags of trash.
I try to make sure that our energy consumption is not off the charts. We installed high efficiency appliances when we built the house, something that I can see a real difference with compared to our old appliance in CMH. My favorite is my front loading washing machine. It uses the tiniest amount of water, is gentler on our clothes, and gets things super clean. I try to always use cold water with it as well. I use CFLs whenever possible in our light fixtures. I also pay $10 a month to have our electric come from wind and solar resources within our state instead of from a coal-fired power plant.
Another great thing that we put in the house to make it energy efficient was a tri-zone heating and cooling system. Basically, we have a thermostat for each floor of the house. This allows us to not waste energy on heating/cooling the basement or bedrooms if we aren’t in them. I can’t believe how much cheaper our energy bills are!
No, I don’t have a hybrid. I drive a Honda CR-V that gets fairly good gas mileage. Shawn is now driving a Volvo CX-90, which is WAY better than that stupid Range Rover he had. I’d like to get a bike soon, for recreation as well as being able to ride down to the store or the gym. Plus, Madison is tops in biking. They have more bike paths and designated lanes than anywhere I have seen. I’d love to be able to take advantage of this. Not to mention it would be a great form of exercise!
Packaging: this is difficult at times. I wish that packaging wasn’t such a mess. True, most packaging can be recycled or is partially made from recycled products, but I still hate how much waste this produces. I try to cut down by bringing my own reusable bags to the store. I will also get paper bags at the grocery (made with 100% recycled paper) and then bring them back to get ten cents off per bag each week. When the handles fall off or they get a tear in them, I then use them to recycle paper at home or as yard waste bags.
I must admit that even though I use my Sigg, I still buy bottled water. I know this is very “un-green” of me, but our tap water tastes like crap and it is so convenient. The hubby uses a Brita at work, but likes his bottled water at home. Plus when we have guests, it is nice for them to be able to take a bottle out of the fridge, etc. I know that this is something that I should work on, maybe I can slowly phase them out this year.
I only buy environmentally friendly cleaning products. (Except for Tide- Shawn won’t budge on his laundry.) I also try to purchase green personal care items as well. I love Aveda products and have even been able to convert the hubby over to using them.
The kitchen is where I have the most trouble. Yes, I buy Ziploc bags and containers, but I can’t figure a way around them. I pack Shawn’s lunches and he is NOT going to take a cloth sack full of pretzels. I don’t buy disposable dishes, which makes it a little better. I also try to not buy a ton of processed, packaged food. Not only does it have less packaging, I feel like it is healthier to do so.
Food is where it’s at. We are very fortunate to have an AMAZING local food movement here. The Dane Co. Farmer’s Market is beyond description. I try to purchase locally grown, organic produce whenever its in season. We have a local bakery where I get our bread. Brennan’s is a great produce/cheese place that is heaven on earth. They have a butcher in the store that has Amish raised poultry, pork, and beef. I get my free-range eggs from a lady at Shawn’s work that sells them for $1.50 a dozen!! They are the best eggs in the world. I pity anyone that thinks that what you can buy at the supermarket is an egg. I also buy organic dairy products whenever possible. No HGH moo moos for me! I hate the fact that organics cost more and aren’t as readily available to everyone. I feel very fortunate that we can eat this way, but feel that this shouldn’t be elitist food. This should be for everyone! That is why I support REAP Food Group.
I know that there are a million more things I can do to help the Earth. It’s almost overwhelming at times. I guess that the only thing I can do is to be consciously aware and continue to do the best that I can in the future. I just hope that others will do the same.
*Image from here.