Still, the topic is rather top-of-mind. I live in Oregon, probably the "greenest" state I've ever been to. (All the pot and hippie attire helps I think) Here, recycling is a given, farms and farmer's markets are everywhere...and they reserve the death penalty for littering. (Ok, perhaps I've stretched the truth a shade)
So, in the spirit of saving the earth for my children's children (and my opportunity for payback), here's my own family's list of ways we're being "green" - and ways we know we should improve but can't quite make work. Feel free to add you own thoughts and suggestions in the comments.
- Recycling - Glass, most plastics, paper...all go out to the curb in our fancy recycling buckets. Aluminum cans get returned for 1/2-cent credit. Unless we get lazy and just chuck something in the trash.
- Plastic bags - We reuse our plastic grocery bags often (those that didn't hold meats anyway). I bring lunch to work in one - and bring it home again. Cat litter is scooped into them. Extras are returned to the grocery store for recycling.
- Gas - With our family of 6, we kinda have to own a gas guzzler. However, we recently purchased a small sedan for my commute to work - saving us 10mpg.
- Energy - Despite complaints, our heat is set to 67 in the winter, and 72 in the summer. Our newish dishwasher rated well on energy efficiency, and our new washing machine is a front loader that's great on both energy and water.
- Consumerism - We don't buy a whole lot, mainly because we're cheap. DVDs and books are primarily rented or borrowed from the library. Thrift store finds populate closets and rooms around the house - and outgrown/unloved items are donated to Goodwill on a monthly basis.
- Food - We hit farmer's markets about once a week in the summer, and u-pick farms a few times each year.
Ways We're Dooming The Earth:
- Recycling - Sorry, no compost for this household. (Eww) And as mentioned before, we miss some stuff.
- Plastic Bags - We should probably use canvas totes or some such, I know. Still...have you ever bought groceries for 6 people? It would require 20 totes. Uh-huh, not doing that. I attempted to keep ONE in my car for small shopping trips - it was only used for garbage collection, and eventually disappeared.
- Gas - We own an SUV. I don't carpool (work schedule too wiggly). No train to our little suburb.
- Energy - Wow, this is a biggie. We have kids, and they leave LOTS of lights on. All the time. We also own a 10-yr-old dryer that probably needs to be replaced. Plus a ton of electronic equipment that is slowly trickling energy away. Our heat is gas-powered, we have A/C, and there are no solar panels on our roof.
- Consumerism - We do buy SOME stuff. New sneakers, jeans without ripped knees. Wii games. Random toys, books we love.
- Food - Most of our food is from the grocery store - we've flirted with the idea of a CSA for veggies and fruits, but can never remember in time to actually join. We buy McDonald's on occasion, eat pizza and ice cream and out-of-season strawberries.
So there it is...my 'confession'. Am I normal? Better or worse than average? I'd love to hear feedback on all of this!