Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My First Steps Towards Being Green

Day 9 of the April Blog Challenge from Green Moms Network:

In reflecting upon today's blog post topic, I realized that I have taken quite a few steps towards a more environmentally friendly existence in the past year, although those steps have usually been motivated by a desire to save money, rather than a desire to save the planet.

In September, we moved out of our apartment and began renting a small house.  We are delighted to be on a system where we only pay the water bill for our actual use instead of paying a poorly calculated average in a neighborhood where many people have 4 or 5 people living in a one-bedroom apartment.  We were always careful with consumption, but now I have become even more aware of how much water we use.  I remember to turn the shower off while I am putting conditioner on my hair and washing my face, and I make sure the dishwasher is always filled to absolute capacity before running it.

Our move to the house also meant an increase in electricity use because of the larger space.  I have become even more diligent in being sure to turn off every light, unplug things that are not in use, and close off rooms that don't need to be heated or cooled.  We also have a wood fireplace in addition to our gel fireplace now, and between the two of them, we can generate a lot of heat at a much cheaper price than it would otherwise cost to heat the house.  We saved a lot of money on heating costs this winter by finding ways to get free firewood.

I also made the decision to use cloth diapers for our little ones, starting with our son who is due in July.  Again, this was a decision motivated more by money, at least initially, but I am also glad to know that all that poo and plastic will not be sitting in a landfill for the next 500 years.  I have even started trying to convince others to give cloth diapers a try since there are still some people out there who, inexplicably, are not head over heels in love with fluff.

Since moving to the new house, I also have the exciting new prospect of finally having a real garden.  Within the first week of living here, I had already started a compost pile in one corner of the garden.  I love being able to put all those nutrients back into the soil instead of just throwing things away.  I hate to be always changing the trash bag, so the more stuff that goes to the compost instead of into the trash can, the better.  We also have recycling pickup here, which we did not have at our old apartment.  Instead of throwing away all of our cans and bottles, we now recycle them.

Finally, I have started to really look at how I can reuse certain household items that I would otherwise throw away.  A perfect example of a really cheap, really easy way to upcycle is to revamp and reuse empty canisters, such as bread crumb canisters, and other household items.

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