More Green = More $$ Green

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Still Burning

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Seems like a good day to talk about Green doesn’t it?

Our family isn’t the most eco-family in the city – or even on the block.  We’re just an average family; maybe like you? I want to do my part to care for our environment because it is my responsibility and duty to God, my family, future generations and myself! Last year, as I made this list, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that we do have a substantial list! Most of our earth friendly practices were born out of a need for frugality or for the benefit of our family but they’re green none the less!

Cloth Diapers: We switched to cloth diapers (we use BumGenius 3.0 cloth diapers; a one size, all in one read more here). A bit of an investment but better for baby, more economical and better for the earth! I imagine flat prefolds would be even better since less production to make them however, the BG are a really convenient cloth diaper for me! Swim diapers are also a really cool alternative to disposable swimmers…they’re cute too!

Cloth Training Pants: We also use cloth trainers for my toddler.

Cloth Wipes: Recently I began using cloth wipes too. Since I am already using the diapers, why not use the wipes so then I can just put the wipes inside the soiled diaper and toss the whole think in the diaper pail rather than trying to figure out where to put the disposable wipes while I finish the job. I use Monkey Doodlez Wipes Cubes to keep them fresh longer (from going musty smelling).

Baby Food: While I still buy some baby food, I generally try to make my own. Less packaging! Less Cost! Better for Baby! {this was on my original list though now my little man is past this stage.}

Toys without Batteries: Too many toys these days require batteries and “entertain” the child. While some of these are fine, I believe that children should learn to entertain themselves and use their imaginations. Toys with batteries are also noisy and drive my dh crazy. Battery-eating toys are also not great for the environment either!

HE Washer: We have a high efficiency front loading washer which uses less water and requires less soap.

Cold Water: Unless I am washing some heavily soiled items (diaper etc.), I try to wash on cold. My clothes come out just fine!

Soaps: We use soap nuts which are compostable, and Nature Clean that comes in a box, lined with a bag and it has a little spout on the front. I only need 1 tablespoon of soap for a load (even heavily soiled diapers!). Recycle the box and spout and all you’re left with is the bag as garbage. It says it does 129 loads but I get more out of it that that.

Less Laundry:  Clothes worn once aren’t always dirty (by adults anyway). We also reuse our towels for the week before washing them. If you’ve done a good job in your shower then you should be clean and drying off doesn’t really dirty the towel! Try to wash full loads only and combine loads where possible.

Clothesline: Coming soon. We live in a new subdivision that had a by-law against clotheslines (imagine that!!) Last year they lifted it so this summer I’ll have a clothes line. Hurray!  I have a makeshift one right now and hope to build a proper one this spring. My aunt has a great wheelie one off her deck and I am going to make the same one!

Avoid Chemicals: Not good for you, your family or the earth. Avoid them when you can. We use e-cloths here and have been very happy with the results. Our lawn isn’t perfect and I pull weeds constantly (a lot of work) but I don’t have to worry about my little ones eating dirt & chemicals because our lawn is just dirt! (Fish Mama talked about Chemicals here and when it comes to spiders – I’m all for chemicals!!) We also try to use natural products, especially when it comes to our little ones skin! We like Dimpleskins baby products, as well as Fresh Organics. In the summer we use UV clothing and less sunscreen. Wondering how that is green? Every chemical you put on is either washed off, comes off on your clothing (which is then washed) or is absorbed into your body and comes out in natural ways. Chemicals always end up back in our water system.

Composting: We started last summer. Not hard but we don’t do it in the winter because I don’t want to shovel all the snow to get out to it. It’s an easy way to reduce the amount of garbage you put out and it’s good for your lawn!

Recycle: Recycle what you can but keep in mind that recycling still uses energy etc. to do so it isn’t totally earth friendly. It’s best to try use products with as little packaging as possible, regardless of if it can be recycled.

Packaging: Avoid individually packed items or convenience foods when you are able. We all take advantage of this convenience from time to time but try to avoid it on a regular basis. Thermos and Innate make some great stainless steel cups! Take them with you everywhere you go to avoid buying packaged drinks. Try to support companies who go the extra mile to use as little packing as possible or who use recyclable resources.

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs: This is my husband’s domain but I know we have them.  Make the last longer by ensuring that they are always turned off when not needed.

Turn your Heat Down a few degrees and your a/c up a few degrees. Doing it gradually will help you adjust and you’ll save lots too!

Plan Your Outings so that you can get all your errands done in as few trips as possible.

BYOB: Bring your own bags to the store when shopping. Most stores here sell them for $0.95 but dh saw them on for $0.37/each at Fortino’s. Epicure has some really great ones! Interested? Contact me!

Buy Second Hand: When we first had Chloe, I would have balked at this because we had the money, why buy used? Well, it makes better use of your money, there is nothing wrong with most used things (I have huge issues about having to be able to wash/disinfect things) and it is better for the environment. After all, if everyone bought new and discarded it when finished, our landfills would be overflowing with perfectly useable things and we would be creating a lot of pollution with excessive production.

Cloth Napkins: We switched a couple years ago. Ours aren’t actually napkins; they are small cotton dish towels in very cool bright colors. We got them on sale and love them!

No Paper Towel: Because we use the e-cloth for windows and we use cloth napkins, I was thinking we should eliminate paper towel all together. At first my husband balked (after all where would he de-grease his bacon?!) We started using cotton flour sacks and though we still have some paper towel in our stock-pile, we haven’t used it and we don’t miss it!

Unplug when Unused: Did you know that things that are plugged in use energy even when they are off? Eeek. DH takes credit for this one! I’ve been trying to pay more attention to this.

Quality vs. Quantity: Sometimes Most times finances have the bottom line but I am a big fan of quality vs. quantity. Cost alone isn’t necessarily the best way to determine the most economical choice. We live in a “throw-away” society. While I am a big fan of the dollar store, in many cases you get what you pay for. If you have to replace something multiple times because it breaks, it is costing you more and the environment suffers (pollution associated with manufacturing and then the products sitting in the landfill). Built to last, quality items are the way to go when we can!

Renewable Resources: When possible, we try to go with renewable resources or things made out of what would otherwise have been trash. Chloe loved her Christmas gift; a Tea Set made out of recycled milk jugs!

Buy Local: While I can’t guarantee that you will necessarily save money, if it doesn’t need to be transported, it is better for the environment. It is also good for your local economy. I like to support local businesses where possible and purchase locally grown/raised food. How about you?

These are a few things that Work for Me. After reading the article by Simple Mom, I could add to the list, but I won’t. You’ll have to go HERE for more ideas! Isn’t it amazing how going green can save you green $$?

   What are your number one Green Tips or favorite Green Products?

 

6 Comments

  1. I really agree. We have started turning down our heat and it has really helped the bill. I put on the cozy socks at night and that helps.

  2. I posted a list almost exactly like this today! And mind was a reworking of an earlier post too. Great minds. 😉 I forgot about cloth napkins–we do that, too.

  3. great post! You should add it to my 40 Days of 40 Years of Earth Friendly Living MckLinky to win a huge pack of Elmer’s!
    http://3boysandadog.com/2010/05/contest-day-14-elmers-40-days-of-earth-friendly-living/

  4. You won this! I can’t find your contact info, please email me at Kelli @ 3boysandadog (dot) com with your shipping and phone (for FedEx) info so Elmers can get this to you. 🙂

    http://3boysandadog.com/2010/06/winners-elmers-and-uncle-bens/#more-9634

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