Going Green in Bits and Pieces

Recycling more buried posts. This was originally posted August 28, '08 and the last part isn't so relevant anymore. Some of it I accomplished, some I didn't, but I still do all the other stuff. It's a good post, so I wanted to reuse it so it wouldn't go to waste.


I was reading an article on ways to go green, and it reminded me of the small things I have done to help conserve energy, along with large things that were forced on me. I've found the large things are not really such inconveniences when I take the alternatives into consideration.

These are the things I've done so far to try to go green:
  • Stop using paper towels. I bought a package of 12 bar rag/mops, so I always have plenty of things to clean and wipe up spills. I still use paper towels to drain fried foods, but I honestly don't eat that much fried foods, and I'm thinking seriously of just asking someone who gets the newspaper to drop them off at my house so I can use that instead. It's what my mother used, so if it's good enough for her, it's surely good enough for me.
  • Use homemade dishclothes instead of synthetic sponges. I knit about a dozen dishclothes from cotton thread, and I use them to wash dishes and wipe up spills. I still use scrubby sponges, but more and more, I'm finding I don't need them as much as I thought I did. Usually, by using baking soda and a rag, I can scrub just about anything off of a scratchable surface without damaging it.
  • Use homemade or basic cleaners. I use baking soda and vinegar for most of my cleaning needs. I make my own window cleaners from equal parts alcohol/ammonia/water and I use basic cleaners like ammonia and bleach for heavy duty scrubbing. I won't go into all the zillions of uses for these basic ingredients, but believe me, there are many.
  • Recycle and Reuse. I recycle everything my city will take, including cardboard. I reuse a lot of containers that my food comes in, like the plastic tubs for margarine. I try very hard to find a purpose for something that isn't recyclable before I throw it out, but that isn't always possible.
  • Reuse plastic grocery bags to toss out garbage and trash. This is a no brainer. I usually use the cloth totes, but if I have forgotten them, or if I've bought too much and have to take the plastic bags, there is no need to return them to the landfills if not as a useful item first. I even found a nifty little rack that screws right onto the inside of your kitchen cabinet door that holds them, and keeps the garbage out of site as well, I line all my smaller baskets with them. Did you know that it costs $4000 to process enough of these bags to make 1000 bags, that sell for around $100? There has to be a better alternative, but until we find one, we just do the best we can.
  • Use Compact Flourescent Bulbs. I have about 8 in my house, all in the lights that I use most frequently. I did a cost analysis on the specialty bulbs, and found that the cost savings wouldn't be worth paying $7-15 a bulb for those, so I do have regular light bulbs as well. If the law that they have passsed stays put (which I don't think it will), incandescent bulbs will be phased out in a few years, so we'll all have to get used to using flourescents.
  • Unplug appliances that glow. I read this awhile back, and while I'm not faithful about it, opting sometimes just to leave the computer on with the monitor off, I usually go ahead and unplug everything I can after use.
  • Use Public Transportation instead of driving, and use rideshare as much as possible. This is one of those things that was forced onto me, when my car died right after I quit my job. But I've actually used it as an opportunity to start a Yahoo group for people in my area to set up rideshares, and I've found that walking and riding the bus is actually pretty enjoyable most of the time.
These are things I'm working on doing in the future:
  • Grow my own food: Have the fruit trees planted, just need to get those veggies going.
  • Teach others how to grow vegetables by doing a free program at my local library.
  • Starting a compost pile. Some of the things I now recycle can actually be used in the compost pile.
  • Using Freecycle to get rid of clutter. Keeps things out of the landfills.
  • Build and use a solar oven and a solar dehydrator.
  • Use only aluminum foil, glass, or wax paper for food storage. Again, one of those things that worked for my mother, and should work for me as well.
I'm sure there is more I can do, and I think of new things every day, but don't have time or money to do them, such as use solar energy. The way I look at it, if each of us only does one thing, we can collectively re-green and save this big blue marble on which we live.


    i wonder if you have heard this
    you can cultivate, or rather shall i say raise, earthworms in specially made pits or plastic containers with soil and wet cloths.
    they are then used to make compost

  2. Yes, I have. I had a worm bucket, but they drowned..long story. I'm going to start putting worms into my compost pile when I get it big enough. I love worms.


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