It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green

Like a lot of folks, I’ve been trying my best to “go green”. I have been a long supporter of reuse and recycle before it became a popular phrase. Lately there are more and more ways to “go green” and be environmentally-friendly/conscious. Though some have been fairly cost-prohibitive for those on strict budgets, or who are just plain cheap (I tend to fall into both categories), they have been slowly coming down in price and I have been trying to take advantage of them as I can. So…here’s my list of how I’m trying to save the planet:

  • I drive a small car that gets pretty decent mileage considering it’s poor state of repair and my dismal 90-minute commute each way: I average just over 27 miles per gallon. Yes, this was more of a forced decision (couldn’t afford anything larger at the time), but it’s one I’ve stuck with. When we have the funds to finally replace my little lemon on wheels, I will still be looking for a smaller vehicle with high mileage.
  • The jury is still out on driving a hybrid vehicle. And not because they’re pricier than their standard models, but because should you get into an accident which damages the battery, etc., the guys have to pull out the HazMat suits to clean it up; as someone once said, “when a Prius crashes, it’s like a dirty bomb went off on the highway”. So while I don’t plan on getting into an accident that could potentially get ugly like this, I am a realist and realize that with being on the road a minimum of 3 hours a day, covering 60 miles on three of the DC area’s major highways during that timeframe, I am statistically more likely to be in a serious accident than someone who drives 10 miles per day through the suburbs.
  • I try to recycle everything I possibly can. Not just cans and bottles and some plastic, but aluminum foil, some plastic bags have a recycle number on them (like my cat litter has a recyclable plastic bag…number 7), and anything else that has a recycle number on it. I also try to remember to do the pizza and cereal boxes (first putting the plastic innards in the trash), magazines, newspapers, and any junk mail that doesn’t have anything critical on it (i.e. all those darn credit card offers).
  • Speaking of cat litter, I have slowly and successfully converted my three picky cats to renewable clumping corn and/or clumping pine litter (which ever is on sale…they’ll use either, thank goodness). I tried scoopable paper, but that stuff didn’t pass the stink test, even when the boxes had just been cleaned; nor did it pass the clump test. But both the corn and pine is tolerated by my cats, my clumping needs, and my nose. Each litter type has its own very special green merits, but both are dust-free, naturally control odors (due to the plant protein binding with the amonia in the urine…hey, didn’t know you were here for a science lesson, were you?), can be flushed (if allowed–some states frown on cat waste going in the toilet), won’t harm septic systems, breaks down in landfills, and does not contribute to strip mining…the prime way clay is mined for use in clay-based cat litters.
  • I’ve slowly been starting to use “green” cleaning products…like, if I run out of something and the new green product is within a reasonable price of my current not-as-green product. So you can imagine my elation when I saw that Costco now has a 100% plant-based concentrated clothing detergent that is THE SAME PRICE as their regular detergent. Ask Justin. I actually did a dance in the aisle at the store. I’m still debating how much I like it and how well it cleans. If I like it, I’ll continue using it. If not, I’ll be back to my Purex Natural Elements Ultra Concentrate which I’ve been very pleased with. I did use the Method Baby Detergent, which I lurve, but it’s still a bit pricey for my cheap-skate ways, so I haven’t fully converted over to a green baby detergent yet.
  • I have, however, began using the Method Daily Shower Spray, which seems to be pretty good at keeping the soap scum to a minimum in-between shower cleanings. I also am using the Method Tub ‘N Tile Spray but am not quite as thrilled with it. It does well with soap scum, but not as effective as I’d like on mildew and other stains. I really have to scrub at those, and frankly, I’m lazy. I might try their Le Scrub Bathroom Cleaner which has abrasives in it that might work a little better. I’ll let y’all know.
  • We have a programmable thermostat that in winter I set to 66 at night and during the week when we’re not home, and at 71 when we are. In the summer it’s set at 80 when we’re not home, 76 when we are, and 74 at bedtime (I figure it doesn’t have to work so hard to keep the house cool at night).
  • We’ve changed over most of our lightbulbs to fluorescent bulbs. Even a good chunk of those with the tiny decorator base (thanks to my parents finding them). The few we haven’t replaced yet are ones we don’t use as often. Oh…nor have we changed the ones in our bathrooms. Mostly because buying twenty-two big ol’ fluorescent globes right now would obliterate our savings account…heh heh.

So what have you done to “go green”…any of it stuff you’ve been doing since you were little? Or newly acquired green habits?

And hey! Don’t forget the Fundraiser to Benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital that is going on through Monday, December 15th. If you’re local, I’ve finally decided on a date for the Open House: Sunday, December 14th at 2pm ET. I will have Cookie Lee Jewelry to purchase and take home, and guests are also able to make Cookie Lee Jewelry and Arbonne Skin Care catalog purchases. And remember 100% of the proceeds goes to St. Jude’s.

About the Author

Colleen

This is a blog where I will share my adventures and mundane tasks as a work-out-of-home-mom. I now have 2 kids and my wonderful husband, so the juggling has gotten a little bit more tricky (man-on-man defense). We also have 2 dogs and 3 cats (we used to have 4) so as you can imagine, our household is pretty busy. Since I never feel like I'm being listened to, I figured I'll just start talking at the general Internet community and see what happens.

5 Comments

Valerie

I am about the same as you with “going green”…we have been trying over the years to become more and more green. I just found that laundry detergent at Costco on Sunday and was thrilled…I haven’t opened it yet, but I plan to soon! I typically make my own cleaning products or I use Shaklee products…I really like them and they are totally green.

I also drive a small crappy car…I shouldn’t complain though, its not that bad. I drive an 8yr old Saturn that has been paid off for years, only has 56K miles on it and is super cheap to fill up…just can’t justify selling it.

calicobebop

I am, like you, very cost conscious. It’s been my major stumbling block in buying green cleaning stuff. However, I am heartened by your discovery at Cosco so I may have to do a little more retail research. 🙂

I do use the “green” grocery bags instead of paper or plastic! I have a nice collection from a variety of stores. Including a green wine bag from Kroger that holds six wine bottles. Ka-ching!

tammy

I use Dr. Bronner’s soap for a lot of housecleaning stuff. Floors, especially. It makes the house smell like peppermint. And I do the dishes with it. And if you mix it with baking soda, it makes an awesome stand-in for Soft Scrub.

Trader Joe’s makes an excellent eco-friendly dishwasher soap that doesn’t cost eleventy million dollars.

But my main thing is that I try to clean as little as possible.

caramama

We’ve moved to green cleaners as well for household cleaning and dishes. I’ll have to look into the laundry detergents, but with a front loader, we are limited.

I do spend the extra money to buy mostly organic. It’s hard to spend the money all the time, but the Giant has a brand that is not as expensive as shopping at Wholefoods, so that helps.

Also, I am really into the reusable shopping bags. I almost always remember them! I’ve also got one in my car for other types of shopping (books and baby stuff, mostly).

caramama

Oh, and I’ll have to look into the kitty litter. I wonder if my cat would be okay with a switch. It’s hard enough to get him to use any of the three f’ing boxes!

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