Looking Back to See Review We've Accomplished
Yup, like all lazy Americans, I like to take a look back every so often, to see what I've done and give myself a nice pat on the back for making small changes in an attempt to NOT destroy the planet that gives us life.
All sarcasm aside, by making these small, daily changes, I've made a huge dent in my waste and, more imporantly, a huge change in my attitude! This 30-day mark is a great time to take a look back as well as update you on how I'm doing with these changes.
Day One - No more plastic grocery bags
This one is going well, although when I first started, I forgot them. A Lot. I also forgot them on small trips to the drugstore, farmers market, etc. so I put one in my purse to carry around wherever I go. I found out I WAY overpaid for these! And, of course, four weeks after I bought 6 for $24.99 + shipping, our grocery store started selling them for $0.99 each! Grr. I did have a couple instances where people would place my groceries in their plastic bag first and then put it in my cloth bag, but I just asked them to take them out and did an internal eye-roll.
Day Two - No more paper invoices
I thought this would weird me out but I LOVE IT!!! I don't have a huge ugly pile of unpaid invoices on my desk anymore and as soon as they come in, I schedule them for payment. LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!
Day Three - Picking Up Trash in Public Places
Uh, not fun, but I don't get as embarrassed anymore. My sister, Shannon, also turned me on to geocaching, which launched a really cool program called Cache In Trash Out which makes my litter-picking up fashionable!
Day Four - Purchasing Used Clothing
This is going slow, but well. I haven't purchased ANY new clothes since that post and have visited the kids' consignment shop and Goodwill. I picked up a couple used tank tops and have re-outfitted Ethan's shorts supply. Daphne got a new swimsuit and some nearly new tanks as well!
Day Five - Unsubscribe Me
It took a couple weeks but they finally stopped sending me the Friday & Saturday editions. Two weeks ago they called and asked if I would like to start receiving the Friday & Saturday papers FREE again. Hmmmmm. Then last week, we never got our Sunday paper. I have no clue what is going on down there but hope I get my coupons this week. If not, I'm just going to cancel the whole thing and get my news online.
Day Six - Shutting Off the Lights
This took a while to get used to, but now even my hubby and kids remember to shut off the lights when they leave the room! I was super-bummed, though, when I got my last electric bill to see that I actually consumed MORE energy last month, but am hoping it's the timing of the bills and meter readings.
Day Seven - Learning What Can and Cannot Be Recycled
One of the easiest things to do is having one of the HUGEST impacts! I am down to only ONE AND A HALF TRASH BAGS PER WEEK!!!! Again, I've even got hubby taking the plastic bag out of the cereal box to recycle the box itself.
Day Eight - Learning How to Program the Thermostat
Easy. Done. Don't think about it anymore.
Day Nine - Buying Locally Grown Produce
AWESOME! Our dinners now taste like they used to when I was a kid and my Dad used to have a big garden with corn, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, etc. We are eating yummy strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, watermelon and peaches for fruit. All great stuff! The only thing I cheat on is apples. My son LOVES apples -- and the kid doesn't eat much else, so I figure I kind of have to get him something he'll eat. I'll be sure to stock up on local apples this fall, though.
Day Ten - Using My Own Coffee Mug at Coffee Shops
Cool. Found most places give you a discount ($0.10 or so) per cup each time you refill. Sweet. Unfortunately, I'm not doing very well at REMEMBERING my cup though, so I've actually been skipping the cup o' joe a lot instead. Oh well... saving money is good too.
Day Eleven - Turning Off the Sprinklers
I swear you wouldn't even know I did this!!! My lawn is just as green as all of my neighbors, who use their sprinklers a couple times per week. The super-duper-extra bonus is that now our grass doesn't grow as fast, so we only have to mow it every other week!
Day Twelve - Putting an End to Junk Mail
This is the hardest frickin' thing I've ever tried to do in my life! It's up there with quitting smoking and giving birth for God's sake. I did, however, run across a couple organizations out there who claim to be able to do all this for you. If you're interested, check out 41pounds.org or Stop The Junkmail.
Day Thirteen - Went on Vacation
Yeah, that was nice. :-)
Day Fourteen - No More Hot Water Wash Cycles or Bleach
OK, when I said "I won't have to sort laundry anymore" in my righteous, smug and ignorant manner, why didn't someone correct me??!! Come on folks, this isn't a spectator sport here, help me out! I have turned several of my son's white shirts pink and my hubby's sport socks are looking a tad feminine as well. Here's my big tip: YOU STILL NEED TO SEPARATE YOUR DARKS FROM YOUR LIGHTS!!! Other than that, though, it's going well :-)
Day Fifteen - Switching from Chemical Cleaners to Natural Ones
Uh, yeah. Ummmm. Well, I haven't actually cleaned anything, per se, since that post... anyone feel like coming to visit? ;-) What can I say, two kids, an eco-blog and working from home can keep a girl busy.
Day Sixteen - Swapping Paper Napkins for Real Ones
I like it, makes me feel all upper-crusty. Hubby hates it. I think the problem is I only have one set of really LARGE napkins. They're the fancy kind you use at holidays. I keep saying I'll make some smaller, daily use ones, maybe with Scooby-Doo fabric or NE Patriots, something he and the kids will like, but again, pretty busy here. Maybe after faire and Halloween sewing seasons are over...
Day Seventeen - Using Freecycle
As I said, I've been freecyclin' for a couple years now, so I'm an old pro. Love it, still love it, still use it. I think I'll start posting really odd items, like bottle caps and such, just to see if there are any of those "garbage artists" in our area.
Day Eighteen - Educating Myself About Plastics
Again, a HUGE part of what I'm doing here is learning. Unfortunately, a lot of times it gives me an upset stomach, panic attacks, or makes me want to find a religion. (yeah, please don't try to convert me folks. Religion is like a rhinoceros -- I don't have one of my own and I don't want to be trampled by yours). Nonetheless, educating ourselves is paramount if we are to stop the destruction of the planet.
Day Nineteen - The Gifted Child
I got so much feedback on this! People LOVE the idea. I'd love for all of you to take a minute and come up with a really cool "experience gift" and email me with it. I'll put them all together in one post that we can all refer to when we need an idea!
Day Twenty - Talk to Your Friends and Neighbors About Recycling
This story about my friend Leah inspired me to try to create a community compost here in Richmond. I met with a local nursery who has a compost field and they were going to give it a try, until they checked their permits and found out that they're not allowed to take post-consumer waste :-(. But, the important thing is to keep on talking about -- you'll find a lot of other people out there want to do their part too!
Day Twenty-One - Changing My Energy Supplier
Easy. Done. Don't think about it anymore. I got my "welcome" letter and found out it will take up to 45 days for the change to take affect, but still, we're on the right path.
Day Twenty-Two - Finding a Second Use for Lint
Yeah, I thought I'd be able to test my "Lint Log" last weekend, but you know what? It takes a hell of a lot of lint to fill a toilet paper tube! I'm still filling my first one -- man that stuff compacts down! I'll let you know when I actually get a chance to try it out...
Day Twenty-Three - Stop Using Paper Towels
We've adapted pretty quickly to this one. Nothing terribly exciting to announce. I think my husband is getting used to "running out" of disposables now. He's stopped asking questions anyhow.
Day Twenty-Four - No More Bottled Water
Hi. My name's Erin. It's been eight days since my last bottled water.
Day Twenty-Five - Write Letters to Your Congressmen
OK, the queen of laziness has not yet written her second letter, but I did see a guy with a striking resemblance to John Edwards yesterday and I said "hi". Does that count? Seriously, though, I think I'll make my letter-writing a Sunday chore. Something to do when the baby is napping and Ethan is "resting" with a movie. I did, however, get a nice form letter back from Governor Kaine, urging me to contact my state representatives and ask them to introduce some legislation. Sounds like I've got Sunday's letters all lined up.
Day Twenty-Six - Making Smart Choices About Packaging
This is another one that gives me that queasy feeling. Going to the grocery store now feels like negotiating a mine field. Hopefully this will get easier, but this first week has been challenging.
Day Twenty-Seven - Turn Down the Water Heater
Hubby hasn't noticed -- yet. Which surprises me, because even I noticed it. And I don't notice anything.
Day Twenty-Eight - Plant a Tree
Remember when I talked about trying to start a community compost? Come on, it was like five or six paragraphs ago! Grab some coffee and try to stay awake, we're almost done here. Anyhow, the guy at the nursery felt really bad that they couldn't help me, so he gave me a free bag of compost! I spread some around our little Maple Tree and he looks very happy! I haven't planted anything since the post, but, again, I'm waiting till fall when it's better for the tree.
Day Twenty-Nine - Ditching the McDonald's Toys
The kids kept whining "where's my toy" and I did what any good mom would do. I lied. I told them they were all out of toys. Fortunately for me, the kids apparently didn't notice all the other children in McDonald's were playing with small Transformers and Hello Kitty Fashion Accessories. They must take after me....
The bottom line is I have GREATLY reduced the amount of junk I buy, GREATLY reduced my landfill waste, and reduced my energy consumption. I am reusing anything I can and have increased my recycling efforts. All in all, not bad for a month's worth of work. I plan on continuing this blog as long as I still have ideas to introduce to you all (yes, all 20 or so of you!).
I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who is participating in this "greening". I love to get your emails and see the all the interesting ideas that get bounced around in the comments sections! Keep them coming!!! :-)
Friday, July 27, 2007
Looking Back to See Review We've Accomplished