Saturday, July 17, 2010

little things

I'm not nearly as "green" as some people, but I am quite a bit greener than most people I know. Here are a few little things that I do to make a positive difference on the state of our earth . . . or, more accurately, less of a negative difference, I guess::
  • We have a dehumidifier running in our basement in the summer {it's MUCH needed!}. Instead of just dumping it down the drain when it's full, I use that water to wash our clothes . . . I do laundry most days anyway, so it's no big deal to empty it into the washing machine instead of down a drain, and that way I save {or actually, recycle, I guess} a bunch of water. Similarly, if someone doesn't finish their water at a meal, we dump in it a house plant, rather than down the sink.
  • I don't use my dryer for about 6 months of the year {I think I've used it once since April}. We love our little clothesline and hanging our stuff outside. We even have a clothesline in the basement to use in the winter {a great way to humidify the house during a dry winter}, but mostly in the winter I use the dryer. Don't have a clothesline? Don't worry. Inexpensive drying racks are great . . . dry your clothes inside or move them around in your yard to "chase the sun" and get that stuff dry in no time!
  • We recently got a backyard composter. We haven't reaped any benefits yet, {the stuff takes time to "cook"} but have sure dumped a lot of stuff in there. It's nice to know our organic waste has somewhere else to to.
  • I bring bags with me to the store. I have some pretty nice re-usable bags, but you don't even have to spend the 99 cents they charge for re-usable bags to make a difference . . . just bring the ones they gave you last time back. I'm not sure about the stores where you live, but around here, almost every store will give you 5 cents off your bill for each bag you bring in to re-use. I'll take that!
  • Say you finish a box of cereal . . . we can go through a box a morning around here easily if everyone is in the same cereal mood . . . the box part you can put in your recycling, but what do you do with the inner bag? Probably you toss it in the trash, right? Not me! This idea all started because of my general laziness, I'll have you know: our trash is under the sink. Under the sink has a child lock on it. So, to get to the trash you have to not only bend down, but also undo a ridiculously difficult child lock thing. So I take that inner cereal bag {or an empty chip bag, or whatever} and stick it on my counter -- or usually in one half of my sink -- and load it up with the day's trash. It's usually full by the end of the day and someone runs it out to the garbage. It's not pretty, I'll admit that, but if someone you want to impress stops by you can either just stick that bag into your under-the-sink garbage or just run it outside quick-like. Maybe, maybe I empty the trash that is actually under the sink once a week, but more likely it's once a month. My kids actually get confused about where to put trash if there's not some kind of bag in the sink . . . which leads me to a funny story.Wanna hear? It's related on more than one level.

Here goes: when I was little, our neighbor was a garbage man {I'm sure that's not the politically correct term, but I'm not sure what is, so we'll go with it . . . he was a man and he did drive a garbage truck}, rather than put our garbage in a can and stick it at the end of our driveway once a week {our garbage day is Thursday, how about you?} like most people we walked our bags of garbage through the back yard and just tossed them in the back of his truck. I'm guessing he didn't charge us for this service, but at 6-years-old, or whatever I was, that wasn't my main concern. Mom, you can correct me if I'm wrong! So, anyway, well after I should have been old enough to know better I just assumed that EVERYONE carried their garbage to the neighbors house and tossed it in the back of a garbage truck. Now, however, the truck comes to me . . . although I have to pay him for it. But, thankfully, I don't have to live next door to a parked garbage truck . . . I do, however, have to live next door to a really big RV that blocks my view of our neighborhood and makes it hard to back out of our driveway because you can't see around it . . . but, I digress. Plus, the RV doesn't smell nasty, so I guess that's a perk! I did happen to find out {thank you Facebook} that the son of our neighbor from when I was growing up {who was -- and still is -- my age} has taken over the family garbage business. I don't know where he lives, but I'm guessing he might not park his truck in his yard. But, I could be wrong! {It's happened before}.

Ok, that's more than enough for today. I'm impressed you've read on this far! Hopefully something in there sparked even a tiny little idea for how you can lessen your impact on the world. What "green" things do you do?


  1. Love all of your ideas Shana! We do some of the same things: compost, bring our bags to the store, we have a clothes line in the basement, we do the same with leftover drinking water plants or garden. The one thing I am proud of is the fact that we have the smallest size garbage can that you can get. We compost and recycle so much that we hardly fill our can every week. Both Katie and Ian are big into drawing. I save all of the notes, flyers that come home from school and have the kids use the back sides to create whatever. Happy Weekend!

  2. I've been wanting a composter for YEARS--one of those tumbling ones would be nice. Anyways, good for you guys! I also like your idea for using empty cereal or chip bags for your daily garbage. :D

  3. We have a dehumitifier and the thought had never occured to me to use the water in the washing machine. Silly because I have to walk past the washer to dump the water out. Since reading your post we are NOW reusing that water for doing our laundry. Thank you for pointing out something that should have been quite obvious!


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