On being green

23 March 2011

One of my 101 in 1001 goals is to “cultivate five habits to make my life more green.” I’m happy to say I cultivated my first new habit this month! Instead of Clorox wipes (which are wasteful, because each cloth goes in the trash post-use, and possibly harmful to my environment or the environment in general), I now use J.R. Watkins All Purpose spray in lemon, paired with old rags, to clean all surfaces. The rags go right in the wash when they’re dirty.

Besides smelling delightful and being ammonia, animal-testing, dye, phosphate, and bleach free, this spray cleans like a champ! It’s safe for tile, counters, wood, appliances, sinks, and walls, so it’s pretty much one-stop cleaning in this house now. Plus, the label is pretty pretty pretty.

Anyone have a suggestion for what my next new green habit could be? Here are a few things we already do:

— Turn off as many lights as possible, as often as possible
— Turn the heat down in the winter (approximately 61) and the AC down in the summer (approximately 72)
— Recycle plastic, glass, metals, and paper
— Try to ride our bikes on short errands (admittedly, we could be better at this)
— Use cloth instead of paper napkins at meals (my favorites, usually)
— Bring leftovers to work in reusable containers
— Print on the reverse of a used sheet when possible
— Use CFL bulbs instead of normal incandescents
— Wash all clothes in cold water
— Grow some of our own vegetables and herbs
— Drink water purified with a Brita filter and carried in an aluminum bottle
— Borrow books from the library or read them on John’s Kindle
— Recycle all old electronics, including cell phones and computers (Best Buy takes them for free!)
— Carry home groceries in reusable bags
— Donate or sell old clothes and items instead of throwing them away. We also try to buy used when possible!
— Pay bills and receive bank statements online

A few ideas I’m interested in trying:

— Switching from paper towels to unpaper towels (I KNOW J is going to resist this one)
— Switching from plastic storage containers to glass (coveting these ones)
— Switching from plastic produce bags to muslin ones (like these, these, these, or this one)

What do you think? Any suggestions? I’m all ears!

Bonus for making it this far: a pretty camellia photo from our trip to the Duke Gardens this weekend (with Meredith!).

P.S. If you’re interested in this sort of stuff, I would recommend checking out this post, this post, or this NY Times article.

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March 23, 2011 3:37 pm

I noticed that you eat a lot of organic food already, but what about trying to buy most fruits and veggies from farmer's markets?

March 23, 2011 4:55 pm

I made the switch away from paper towels… I just stopped buying them. It actually worked out OK! We just wash our rags more, and ended up buying rags. Some people say that you end up doing more wash, but I don't think so. I just toss them in with the whites which I would be washing anyway.

March 23, 2011 9:48 pm

Natalie — I don't see how I would do any more laundry, either! I don't use THAT many paper towels, and it's not like I'm going to do just a load for the towels. Thanks for the vote of support!

April 5, 2011 12:58 am

I finally got around to reading that 3rd article you link to at the end of this post. What a year that must be! I am inspired by your efforts, too and I think I need to consider what else I can do to reduce waste in my life style. I do try to be pretty green, though!