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Living the Green Life

As long as I can remember, I've been living green in some sense of the term. It started as a teen in Minnesota when our neighborhood implemented a recycling program for newspaper and paper. Later we started recycling cans and bottles. We had separate cans in the kitchen for each of these, and were diligent in filling the recycling cans up.

When I left home after college, there was no recycling program in the community in Ohio where I lived. So, I saved up all my papers, cans, and bottles, and took them to the local recycling plant. It just didn't make sense to me to let these things sit in a landfill for years when I could drive 30 minutes once a month to drop them off.

When I moved to California in 2001, we were rewarded for recyling by receiving our deposits back on cans and bottles. I lived two blocks from the nearest self-serve can, bottle, and plastic recycling station. After baseball tailgates, I'd collect bottles and cans and throw them in a garbage bag I kept in the trunk of my car, and every few weeks I'd head on over and make my $8 or so.

Then I moved to Denver in 2005. We had no curbside recycling program available. In fact, we didn't have one until the Summer of 2009. So, like I did in Ohio we'd save up our recycling and bring it to a bin in a school parking lot once a month or so. Fortunately we now have curbside recycling which picks up every other week. I'm happy to say that our recycling bins are always overflowing, and I often have to use a third bin of my own. Our garbage can has never come near to full.

But recycling is only a small way that we try to live green.

Violet in a cloth diaperViolet in a cloth diaper

When I was pregnant with my daughter, Violet, who turns two in September, I learned about cloth diapers. It was appalling to me that a disposable diaper could sit in a landfill for 500 years. Then multiply it by 3,500 to 4,000 disposable diapers used per child (average for a child who will wear them for 2.5 years) and my conscience couldn't handle contributing that much waste to our planet. There's also the cost factor, which isn't really a "green" reason for cloth-diapering, but even with my compulsive diaper buying, we still will save about $800-$1000 by using cloth diapers. And, if we are blessed enough to have a second child, we'll save even more - more space in landfills, andmore money. Another perk about cloth diapers? When your child is out of diapers, you can sell them on places like Diaper Swappers and get back about half of what you paid for the diaper.

 

 

 

I carry my lunch to work with me every day. Long gone are the days of ziploc baggies and paper sacks. I use a reusable lunch cooler, and reusable sandwich and snack bags from mamamade on Etsy. I send snacks with Violet in these bags every day, and also use them to carry wipes when we're out as a family (moreso to save space and weight in my diaper bag).

Instead of using paper towels, I bought a dozen washclothes at Target for $2.99. We use those for any needs that a paper towel would be used in. I've had them over a year now and they're all still hanging in there pretty well (considering they were cheap washcloths). I won't feel bad about having to buy another dozen at $2.99 if I have to.  We use them for everything from wiping up spills, to cat puke, to cleaning Violet's high chair. I just toss them in the washing machine when I'm done (our laundry is right off our kitchen so instead of having a wet bag for the rags, I just throw them right in the machine until I do my next load).

We use reusable shopping bags and reuseable produce bags when we go shopping. I know that many stores are now offering customers small incentives to use their own bags, but for me it's enough to know that I'm keeping more garbage out of landfills. I have a good two dozen or so bags - I don't think I've ever used them all at once, but it's nice to have some in each car. Most of my bags are from places like Target, Sunflower Market and Trader Joe's, but I also love my Envirosax bag.

There are a lot of other little ways we try to live green. I use shampoo and conditioner bars and bar soap to eliminate packaging. We drive (relatively) fuel efficient cars. We try to buy locally grown produce. We use reusable water bottles (my favorite is my bottle from Reduce).

We've only lived in our home for four months, and we're currently trying to get our back yard looking decent, but next summer I hope to start to compost. I also hope to start growing some of our own vegetables.

Living green is far from difficult. It's easy to take little steps every day to make changes to your lifestyle. We're far from perfect in our attempts to live green, but I feel that even the smallest choices we make will a difference in our World. I'm looking forward to raising my daughter to respect our Earth and help preserve it the best that we can for future generations!

You can read more about me and our efforts to live green on my blog at Katie Talks About...

Comments

great article!

thanks Katie! These are simple steps everyone can take! You are right - even the smallest choices WILL make a difference!

veronica

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