Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day!

I like to think that there is an earth mama in me wanting to surface, especially now that Turtle is here. And, today, being Earth Day, got me thinking about my lifestyle and habits in terms of waste and eco-friendly practices. Honestly, there is a lot to improve upon. And, I would like to do just that this year. Sort of like Earth Day Resolutions - which are even better than New Year's Resolutions that tend to be more self-oriented and forgotten in four days.

I started by taking stock of the good practices we already do. For one thing, we do not use plastic water bottles. Growing up I did. It created a huge waste. I am a water drinker, and I'm always sipping on a glass of water. It use to be a plastic bottle. But, then my gran bought a Brita water filter. A fancy schmancy spigot-ed (is that a word...?) one. An older model of the one in the link, ours didn't have that rad electronic filter indicator on top. But, basically the same contraption. I've never looked back, and I'm always telling people to invest in one. Water bottles might be 2% easier upfront, but then you have all those bottles to take to the trash...ugh. Plus the price really adds up - you are just throwing away money! Well, that ended up being decently long-winded. I really love my Brita okay!

We also recycle. We recycle the trillions of plastic shopping baggies we end up with in no time flat. So, a little good and a little bad. All of our cans and glasses and what not gets recycled too. Our system is a dirty, messy, pain in the ass though. Maybe it can be tweaked. Annnnd, that is about it. Everything I can think of anyway.

Not terrible. Not terribly good.

I thought about where I would like to make changes. Two areas came to mind: plastic baggies, and paper towels. Then I did my favourite thing, went to blogs for advice and tips.

We get the majority of our plastic baggies from the grocery store. So, instead of getting more plastic bags every time we go to the store, we can bring reusable bags. I read good things about RuMe bags. They hold up to 50lbs, come in super cute colours and patterns, and are nice and durable. Get three or four (and actually remember to bring them with you) to fill up with your groceries. Along with reusable grocery bags, you can replace produce baggies with reusable ones. Since you'd be half defeating its purpose by filling a reusable grocery bag with plastic produce bags. I also read good things about Flip & Tumble produce bags. They come in a set of 5, are plenty big enough, and have colour coded tabs (I love all things colour coded). I've never used either of these products, but I plan on purchasing both of them to reduce the plastic baggie consumption of the house - and I'll definitely let you know how I like them.

As for the ton of paper towels we go through each day/week/year, we already have part of the solution. Instead of drying our hands on a paper towel use the hand towels, that's what they're there for. Instead of wiping up a spill or mess with a paper towel use the wash cloth. If you want to replace your wash cloths you could try Skoy Eco-friendly Cleaning Cloths - biodegradable and reusable for months, or so they say. We use our paper towels as napkins, so something I would like to do is get cloth napkins...maybe even make some (it seems like you could DIY some easily, but I'm not overly crafty). Plus cloth napkins are prettier than paper.
 So, those are my two Earth Day Resolutions for the year. Start using reusable grocery bags and produce bags. And, reduce how many paper towels we go through.

What will you reduce, reuse, and recycle for your Earth Day Resolutions? Even little changes make a difference. It's never too late to start. And, Captain Planet...he's our hero...gonna take pollution down to zero!

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