23 April 2009

Going green

I found a couple of lists of ways to go green, consolidated them and made bold the things that we are doing, just to see our progress. I plan to keep checking back on the list and adding more green ways into our lives.

1. Plant an herb garden. It’s good to have a reminder around of where our food originates.
2. Switch all your light bulbs to CFLs (or at least switch a few).
3. Create a homemade compost bin. [I've bolded this one because our council collects our compost materials - we don't have the space for our own compost bin. But we are composting so I think it counts]
4. Switch one appliance to an energy efficient model (look for the "energy start" label).
5. Stop using disposable bags - order some reusable bags, or make your own.
6. Buy a reusable water bottle, and stop buying plastic disposable bottles.
7. Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot.
8. Turn off lights when you leave the room.
9. Don’t turn on lights at all for as long as you can - open your curtains and enjoy natural light.
10. Drive the speed limit, and combine all your errands for the week in one trip.
11. Better yet, walk or ride a bike to your errands that are two miles or closer.
12. Support your local economy and shop at your farmer's market.
13. Turn off your computer completely at night.
14. Research whether you can sign up for green power from your utility company.
15. Pay as many bills as possible online.
16. Put a stop to unsolicited mail - sign up to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers.
17. Reuse scrap paper. Print on two sides, or let your kids color on the back side of used paper.
18. Conduct a quick energy audit of your home.
19. Subscribe to good eco blogs.
20. Before buying anything new, first check your local Craigslist or Freecycle. [we also check eBay and our local car boot sales]
21. Support local restaurants that use food derived less than 100 miles away, and learn more about the benefits of eating locally. [we don't really eat out often]
22. Fix leaky faucets.
23. Make your own household cleaners.
24. Line dry your laundry.
25. Watch The Story of Stuff with your kids, and talk about the impact your household trash has on our landfills.
26. Learn with your kids about another country or culture, expanding your knowledge to other sides of the world.
28. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater.
29. Unplug unused chargers and appliances.
30. Repurpose something.
31. Collect rainwater, and use it to water your houseplants and garden.
32. Switch to cloth diapers - or at least do a combination with disposables. [we are done with diapers, woohoo! Although, Noah is still in Pull-Ups at night and I plan to get him out of them soon]
33. Switch to shade-grown coffee with the “Fair Trade" label. [we don't drink coffee]
34. Use a Diva Cup your monthly cycles.
35. Make rags out of old towels and t-shirts, and forego buying paper towels.
36. Use cloth napkins daily instead of paper.
37. Read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and open your eyes to the way conventional food is processed.
38. Repurpose glass jars as leftover containers and bulk storage.
39. Five-minute showers - make it a goal for yourself.
40. Donate to - and shop at - thrift stores such as Goodwill. You’ll be recycling perfectly usable items, and you’ll be supporting your local economy.
41. Bring your own reusable coffee travel cups to the coffee shop. [we don't drink coffee]
42. Reuse paper products (like toilet paper rolls) for arts and crafts.
43. Use Bio Bags for your pet’s you know what. [don't have a pet]
44. Use covers or upside down plates when storing food in the fridge instead of plastic wrap.
45. Reuse the plastic containers food comes in (like yogurt) to store your own leftovers.
46. Keep your heat as low as possible (you own blankets, right?)
47. Open a window before turning on the AC. [don't even have AC]
48. Don’t throw away anything before offering on FreeCycle.
49. Use half a dryer sheet. [I've bolded this because we don't even use a drier and we use soap nuts instead of fabric conditioner in the washing machine]
50. Use reusable containers instead of baggies in lunch boxes.
51. Buy bulk.
52. Garden!
53. See trash? Pick it up!
54. Volunteer!
55. Make cloth sandwich bags.
56. Eat more vegetarian meals. [I plan to]
57. Can your own fruits and veggies. [I plan to]
58. Carpool. [Grant walks to work, I don't work outside of the home. We give a local friend a lift to church]
59. Bring your own silverware to work.
60. Use a reusable lunch box.
61. Ditch plastic freezer bags and go with reusable containers. [I do still use plastic Ziploc bags sometimes though]
62. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth.
63. Buy concentrated laundry detergent. [even better, we use soap nuts]
64. Go with a tankless hot water heater.
65. Eat out less.
66. Use used coffee grounds as fertilizer [we don't drink coffee]
67. Place a brick in your toilet take to use less water [Grant installed flushing systems that use less water]
68. Never run your dishwasher if it’s not full.
69. Have cats? Try green kitty litter. [no pets]
70. Bring your own tupperware for leftovers at a restaurant.
71. Freeze leftovers. [or we eat them the next day]
72. Use yogurt and pudding cups for crafts or seedlings.
73. Air dry your dishes [if we catch it in time we switch the dishwasher off and leave the door open so the dishes can dry naturally]
74. Recharge your batteries
75. Dispose of unrechargeable batteries with other hazardous waste
76. Cover your pots when cooking [I've started doing this more, but can do better]
77. Use pressure cookers and steamers
78. Take a shower instead of a bath
79. Use a low flow showerhead
80. Buy smart - a 1.5 liter bottle requires less energy to produce than three 0.5 liter bottles
81. Buy recycled paper products
82. Plant a tree
83. Plant scrubs around your home to help keep your house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter
84. Buy a programmable thermostat
85. Recycle
86. Stop food waste
87. Ditch the carpet for natural hardwood (sustainably harvested of course) or a natural carpet, like wool [I think our carpet is wool]
88. When painting choose low or no VOC paints and make sure the dyes used in the paint are VOC free
89. Unplug your appliances when not in use
90. Buy recyclable plastic only
91. Fill up your fridge and freezer - use bottles of water to fill up space if needed
92. Instead of drive through, park and go inside to save running the car while ordering
93. Insulate water pipes
94. Insulate your water heater
95. Insulate your roof space
96. Use cold water instead of hot to wash hands etc
97. Buy recycled glass

WOW, we are doing really well!! It's amazing to see how many green habits we have incorporated into our daily lives. I feel so proud of us! We only missed 24 of the 97 items above, and some of those were simply because they weren't applicable (e.g. we don't have pets and don't drink coffee). And we're adding new green habits all the time. I feel all virtuous now. I might throw my shoulder out patting myself on the back.

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