April 22, 2010

Earth Day

Earth Day is definetely one of those holidays that seems to have way more importance when you are in elementary school. My teacher, Ms. Young, always had us doing Earth Day crafts and talking about our planet. One year we even planted a tree outside the school in honor of Earth Day.

As I grew older though Earth Day was rarely mentioned in school. Occasionally in science class the teacher would mention something about it but we never really spent time doing anything to better our environment.

Now that I am married and we have our own home Phil and I are constantly thinking about this wonderful place called Earth that we live. We are concerned about our environment and the state of the Earth today. We are hopeful that we can make simple changes in our lives that will make the Earth a better place and raise our children in an eco-friendly environment.

I don't have a lot of money to buy books so I read ALOT of blogs about eco-friendly and frugal living. One of my current favorite blogs issued a challenge in 2009 that I am participating in for Earth Day 2010. She challenged her readers to "Ditch the Disposables". Amy writes, "We live in a society of convenience, where throw-away products are the norm rather than the exception. But all of the disposable products take resources and energy to produce and then, of course, get thrown away, filling up our landfills. All of this is bad news for the environment. If you’d like to participate in this challenge, please select one or two (or more! - this can be as challenging as you want it to be) of your disposable products to ditch"

Here is the list she gives everyone as a suggestion along with my added information about what we do in our home.

You can make the switch from:

  • Paper napkins to cloth napkins - We use Cloth Napkins except for LIFE group
  • Paper towels to cloth towels - We buy Paper Towels but try to not use them very often. One day I want to make the switch to strictly Cloth.
  • Tissues to handkerchiefs - Not Yet
  • Paper, plastic or Styrofoam plates to your kitchen plates - Almost Always! If we do use paper/plastic we wash them and recycle them thanks to the WONDERFUL city we live in and their WONDERFUL #1-#7 recycle policy!
  • Disposable utensils to regular silverware - ALWAYS
  • If you order food “to go” or have food to take home from a restaurant, bring your own container rather than accepting Styrofoam or plastic - Nope. We do recycle the container it comes in though.
  • Inexpensive plastic “Take & Toss” sippy cups to Thermos or Camelbak bottles - Don't have Kiddos yet but we will buy Kleen Kanteen's for our kids
  • Disposable water bottles to (again) reusable bottles - We use Tervis Tumblers almost exclusively. We NEVER buy plastic water bottles!
  • Plastic sandwich bags or paper lunch bags to reusable containers/bags - Guilty! We need to be better about this for chips and things.
  • Plastic straws to glass or stainless steel straws - I buys straws but wash them in the dishwasher and reuse them
  • Swiffers (or similar products) to a broom and dustpan or mop (or use reusable cloths like cloth diapers/terry inserts in your Swiffer) - We do a combo. I have swiffers for the days I don't have a lot of time but I use Phil's old T-shirts cut up on my swiffer frequently with a little bit of dust spray. Also I wash my floor on my hands and knees with a rag and will NEVER use a mop!
  • Disposable dust rags to cloth rags - Yes. We use T-shirts
  • Disposable diapers to cloth diapers - Once we have kids we will use cloth
  • Disposable wipes to cloth wipes (inexpensive plain washcloths work really well) - Not sure I can do that
  • Disposable feminine products (tampons, pads) to reusables like DivaCup, MoonCup, Glad Rags, Luna Pads, Pretty Pads, or New Moon Pads, among others. You can even make your own pads. - Nope. Can't Do it....
  • Grocery store bags to reusable bags - I need to be BETTER about this. This is going to be my CHALLENGE!
  • Disposable wrapping paper or gift bags to reusable cloth gift bags - Sort of expensive. I hope that people don't throw away the gift bags I give them. I save mine and reuse them!
  • Single-use batteries to rechargeable batteries - We have rechargable Batteries

Or, for the really crazy dedicated:

  • Toilet paper to cloth wipes/washcloths (for #1 or #2 too if you are really, really adventurous) - NOPE

So in conclusion. My CHALLENGE to myself is to not buy Swiffers the entire summer and see how I last. I will need to make more T-Shirt Rags I think. I will try and remember to bring my reusable grocery bags EVERYTIME I shop! I will also try and not use as much Paper Towel.

Leave a comment and let me know what you are going to CHALLENGE yourself to do!

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