Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Turning Green

Tim and I have made a conscious decision in the last 3-4  years to be more green. Some things are easier than others, but we have managed to make several lifelong changes around our house.

Here are some of the ways we are green around here:

Our trash company provided us with a large bin for trash and another one for recycling. They will empty it for us each week, although it usually takes several weeks for us to fill this.
Our trash company will recycle: newspaper, office paper, ad inserts, telephone books, envelopes, junk mail, catalogs  aluminum cans, tin or steel cans, corrugated cardboard, yogurt & margarine tubs, and plastics #1-7.

The black is for trash and the yellow is recycle.

We haven't bought or used paper towels in over two years now. The only tricky part is draining bacon, and now we have to hold the bacon up with a fork for a few extra seconds while the grease drips off each piece. No big deal really.

We don't use paper napkins either, although I have a small package in the cabinet for guests. (Just in case.)
We use cloth napkins but I do need to buy more to have on hand.

We don't buy paper plates, paper cups or plastic silverware.

I don't buy sponges anymore, I use a dishcloth. I realize sponges aren't made of paper. I googled and found out that kitchen sponges are made of cellulose wood fiber, but we don't buy them anymore anyway.

I bought dishrags that match my kitchen

No paper towels for us........we just grab a hand towel. I have 15 (or so) dishtowels. We just throw them in the wash when they get yucky.

All of our dishtowels, dishrags, rags, etc... get washed using the "sanitary" setting, which takes 3 hours and uses HOT water. I usually do a load of rags and towels about twice a week

I don't drink coffee, but Timmy does. He is up every morning at 4:45 and he leaves at 5:15 for his hour long commute to work. He needs his coffee so he can stay awake during his drive.

This re-usable coffee filter came with our coffee pot, but I have noticed you can buy them separately in many sizes to fit your coffeepot.

The re-usable filter is easy to use, we just dump the used coffee grounds in the trash and rinse out the filter. It's quite painless really. I love that we don't have to buy coffee filters ever again.

We have about 10 reusable bags that we use everytime we go to the grocery. Our local grocery store gives us 5 cents off for each bag we use.

I actually like using these bags much better than the plastic ones from the store. These are much easier to handle and I never worry about them breaking.

The grocery stores hand out thousands (millions??) of those plastic bags daily. I wonder how long all of those bags will be in the landfills?


I think just about every family uses these reusable cups.

Tim has these for his coffee:

And I take one of these to work with me everyday filled with ice water. It keeps me away from the soda machine:

We use these funny looking light bulbs instead of the regular ones. We will all eventually be using these since the regular old bulbs aren't being made anymore.

I like the way these last for a very long time, although they are more expensive. Tim and I bought some 3 years ago and they are still working.

A drawback to these new lightbulbs is that they can't be thrown in the trash when they burn out. They contain mercury and we sure don't want that in the landfills.

I'm not exactly sure how we are supposed to dispose of these bulbs, since none of ours have burnt out yet. I'll be sure to update when I figure it out.

When we bought our house, it came with some appliances, including a washing machine and dryer. The old washer never worked right, and Timmy replaced it when we moved in with this awesome side loader washer. It uses way less water than a top loader, and is also more energy efficient.

I am loving the homemade laundry soap. It doesn't have the scent of my beloved TIDE, but it's really just as good, and WAY less expensive. My laundry detergent actually leaves no scent at all on my clean laundry, but the clothes always smell fresh.  If you want the recipe here is my DIY laundry detergent post.

I'm not sure that making my own laundry soap is actually "green", but it sure saves Tim and I a boatload of money every month.

***I tried to make my own dishwasher soap too, but I found my homemade soap was leaving white stuff on the glasses and silverware. (DIY fail!!)  I am looking for a new recipe, and I'll share as soon as I find a dishwasher soap that works.

Tim and I are trying to find more ways to reuse, reduce and recycle..........even though it's sometimes a pain to change the way I have always done things. I am finding that the changes make sense after we try it.

I especially like that we save money by not buying expensive laundry soap, paper towels, paper plates, coffee filters, etc..... Every little bit we save is more money in our pockets at the end of the month!!

What's everyone else doing to go green these days? I'd love to know...............

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