Going (Light) Green

Photo by Chang Qing on Unsplash
 
Over the past few years I have been trying to be a little more eco-friendly. And I do mean little. I still eat meat, I still use plastic, but I'm working on it.

Stephanie at Life According to Stephanie is concious of this and TBH does a much better job than I do overall! She wrote this great post the other day about the sustainable switches she has made and it inspired me to share the little things I have done also. I still have a long ways to go, but wanted to share that everyone can do something.

Before we get started, I want to say something super important.

I recently heard something about energy. People don't want to change because we often can't imagine spending any more energy on a something than we already are.

That's not the way change actually works, though.

We aren't spending more energy, we are simply redirecting it to a different tasks. It's no more of a hassle to put reusable silverware in my bag than it was to put plastic silverware- in fact, it's easier. When I had plastic silverware, I would inevitably reach to grab some and find an empty box, then I'd have to write it down on the shopping list and then go buy it. Now, I always have silverware because it's already in the dishwasher with the rest of the dishes that I was already washing. The task of buying silverware has been completely removed from my life and I'm wasting less. It's not harder, it's easier.


Probably the biggest thing I've done to cut down on my general footprint to use cloth diapering for Babycakes. 

I tried not to talk about it too much on here, and I did try to go back and look around but couldn't find a really detailed post about it. If anyone is interested, feel free to ask or let me know...I can post a detailed explanation of our CD journey or just answer any questions privately.

 Anyway, it's a decision that was great for our family. I wanted it for the waste savings, hubby wanted it for the financial savings. On average, families spend between $1000-3000 per year on disposable diapers. We did it for less than $675 for two years. Hubby really liked that. And to be honest, we could have done it cheaper but I was also trying to do it conveniently. We did use some disposable diapers, mainly when she was at the church nursery and visiting family. People are super freaked out by cloth diapers and act like you are asking them to defuse a bomb- it's extremely annoying. But still way less than everyone else I know. Some people claim that the extra washing required cancels out the eco-friendliness of CD...I disagree. I just don't think it's that much and there are some statistics to back me up (source, source, source). TLDR version: CDing isn't a zero sum game regarding environmentally friendliness- but it is less harmful than disposables.

And honestly, getting into CD, which is seen as such a momentous commitment, made me realize how many little changes I could make.

The CD community in general is typically more thoughtful about purchases and many of my sustainable switches (thanks Steph, for that lingo) have been inspired by this community- but let's be clear, you can obviously make changes without CDing! The links I will be posting are not affiliate links, but they are to the site that I purchased most of my CD items from. If you do decide to order anything, please let me know- I can give you my email and get some bonus points!


Case in point, I originally bought one of these Planet Wise reusable trash bags to store cloth diapers between uses & washing. But now I have them in all of the bathroom trash cans. They are washable, water-resistant, etc. And they actually FIT all of my trashcans, which the plastic grocery store bags do not. Love it, and removes an excuse for "needing" plastic bags. I do appreciate that while there are more kid-centric patterns and colors, you can also just get plain colors if you want something neutral.

I also bought some of these Planet Wise wet bags (I have both large and medium sizes), which I still use. They were to hold diapers at daycare/if we had to change a diaper while we were out of the house. But now they are great for trips to the beach/pool/etc. since they are water-resistant lining and  anti-microbial.



I purchased a pack of BumGenius reusable wipes also, although we ended up not really using those and sticking with disposable wipes (see, definitely not perfect). But now I use them to clean my makeup brushes and wash my face at night.

Some people used flour sack towels to stuff their diapers- I ended up using them to tie around Babycakes as a super large bib instead once she started eating solid foods, haha! I am trying to decide if I want more of these or look for official "cloth napkins" but either way, my goal is to slow down on the paper towels. I like these, they are just SO BIG that it's a little unrealistic for every day dinner use.

Oh, speaking of washing my face- I am returning back to my apple cider vinegar+coconut oil skin regime. I saved some glass jars of pesto which I put the ACV+H20 mixture and coconut oil in.



Just before I got pregnant, I bought a Lunette menstrual cup. I know people get super freaked out by this- let me tell you, IT'S THE BEST INVENTION ON THE PLANET. Seriously. I don't need it anymore because I got an IUD the minute the 2016 election result was announced, and therefore rarely have a period. But I used this for several month and it's the BEST. So comfy (if you can feel it, it's not positioned correctly- it's literally like it's not there). Also people worry about it being messy...it's not as messy as a pad that's shifted or a gross blood-soaked piece of cotton. Just being real. I did a review on it a while back, but it must have been when I was on Wordpress because I can't find it to link. If there is enough interest, I can repost/rewrite it.

Probably the simplest and cheapest thing I've done is buy 2$ worth of reusable silverware from a dollar store to use at work rather than use plastic. They're easily distinguishable from our everyday household silverware, so when I do dishes I just automatically put them in my lunchbox when unloading from the dishwasher.
 
I've also purchased these reusable "ziplock" bags, and these reusable straws (which fit both my 32 oz Rtic and my 16 oz Tervis). Both great quality and have been used a TON.

Fun side story: a restaurant that my ILs and their friends like to go to recently switched to paper straws. They are so "weird" that one of the ladies bought and now carries around silicone straws so she doesn't have to use them. If only more people would do that instead of using "disposable" plastic straws!

Also, I have convinced Hubby to start recycling our cardboard waste. We do not have trash collectors, he just carries it to the dump. Supposedly each dump is supposed to have a center for plastic waste also, but we can't find that *insert sad face* But, my Hubby is not quite as concerned about going green as I am, so this is a victory. It took some arguing on my point but it helped once he realized that breaking down these boxes and storing them in the garage separately meant he has to make less trips to the dump.

Sometimes, you can fight with logic and fairness and conviction...and that won't work. But if you can convince someone of convenience, you will win much easier. I don't like that fact, but it's proven true in my marriage.

We haven't given up using plastic grocery bags altogether-  mainly because Hubs hates having to carry bags or buy new ones (although sometimes we will buy paper bags if at a store that offers them). I do try to reuse them for other purposes, but my main goal now is to at least take the plastic bags back to stores for recycling (I thought Lidl did this, but can't find it anymore- our Walmart still has a recycle station though). I've gotten much better about just saying "Oh no, I don't need a bag" also- which is really easy once you get in the habit. You don't HAVE to take a bag.

I do have trouble remembering to use the many reusable bags I have- so I devised a plan. 

1) I carry one in my purse now for small trips, so I can just take it in and out as needed. 2) I always write my grocery list in the same notebook. I've now inserted a sticky note in that notebook that reminds me to get my bags. It's much easier to take them in than to run out while someone is checking me out- I feel pressured and rushed. Illogical- I'm working on it, but current facts. So this helps me remember without feeling as stressed.



There are some things that we've done that I forget are even issues for some people- for instance I use a resusable-K Cup every day, unless I am making cold coffee (which is also thanks to Steph- starting to feel like I'm hitting creeper status...hmmm). Mine is purple, so maybe it's this one? It was a gift so not sure. After a while the lid did separate from the bottom- but it still works perfectly, it's just now two pieces instead of one. Zero issues with performance though, so there is no need to get rid of it.


We have water bottles, more than we need truthfully but we've basically moved into the stainless steel situation. Even Babycakes has her Thermos bottles. We all carry them, pretty much all the time. This Rtic tumbler is great for work, because I like using a straw while sitting at my desk. This Contingo Auto-Seal bottle is perfect for workouts, trips to the park, etc. because it doesn't leak.


These have all been relatively easy changes, but there is more I could do. Future goals include:


-Cloth Napkins

-Throwing out my loofah (already have washcloths)

-Gallon size reusable bags that are freezer-proof
-Get more durable shoes (I wear through shoes so fast because I have to walk more than normal for an office setting...working on finding better quality products so I'm not constantly throwing stuff away)
-Continue to support brands I like that last a long time and recyclable (ie Rainbow sandals, which not only lasted for over a decade but also were able to be recycled/reused)

2 comments

  1. If you need help getting rid of your loofah, let me help.. Just think of all the bacteria growing on that sucker. All those sloughed off skin cells that don't get rinsed out, plus soap that never gets all the way rinsed out.. + a wet environment.. YUMM.. Truthfully, that's what finally made me get rid of mine. I couldn't think of it as anything but a germ factory. Now, I prefer the washcloth to a loofah because I will scrub my face with a washcloth, which is a bit more difficult with a loofah, THEN I will wash my body.

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  2. Love love love this post!

    I have been looking for trash can liners. Thank you for a link to what you use!

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