My post yesterday, Bags, farmers and worms, oh, my!, touched on reusable bags, farmer's markets and composting. I was so, so, so excited at the comments I got. (Heck, Girl Child's second comment brought tears to my eyes!)
So, today I'm continuing on with the more...difficult?, unusual?...things my family does to help our planet. Though they really aren't that difficult. And hopefully, in the near future they won't be considered unusual, but mainstream.
Scott rides a scooter to and from work everyday. Not only is it good for the planet but it's good for the wallet. (He gets over 65 miles per gallon!)
If I could figure out a way to safely strap my kids and me together (maybe Logan on my chest and Jack on my back), I could get a scooter too! (Wait, where would I keep the sippy cups...and snacks...and change of clothes...and toys?) Oh, well! If/when Honda makes a hybrid minivan, I'll be all over it!
Frequently, we ride the bus. We actually started because we have two young boys interested with any and every thing with wheels. We have buses that go down our street and as babies the big colorful city buses always peaked their interest. Even after a year of bus rides they still get excited when we tell them we taking one that day. It's good for the planet and saves us money on the exorbitant parking fees in our city.
This topic could have almost made my my list of "no brainers." Luckily recycling is becoming commonplace and it seems like everyone has the basics down...soda cans, newspapers, glass and plastic bottles.
But what about other things...yogurt containers, jars, cans from canned food, egg cartons, empty paper towel rolls, wrapping paper, pasta boxes, plastic bags. Even the bag our baby carrots came in is recyclable. And in the city I live in, styrofoam is recyclable.
In the past, when I was done with something and wanting to throw it away, it went in the trashcan automatically. Now, when I have "trash" I turn to the trashcan as my last choice. I'm always hoping it can be composted or recycled. It takes me no more than 15 seconds to rinse out a dirty container before tossing it in the blue bin.
Here a couple of things from my recycling bin (and boy, did Jack give me some odd looks as I pulled stuff out and set it up on the counter!):
Of course, the kitchen isn't the only place where recyclables can me found. I'm slowly getting better about recycling stuff that would normally end up in my bathroom's trashcan:
In my dream house, I'd have space built into each bathroom for a container for recyclables.
No-waste lunches and snacks
With two kids, I make more than 400 school lunches a year. What if for every one of those lunches there was a juice box, a plastic fork, a ziplock bag and a yogurt container or chip bag.
Then my family alone would be putting 400 juice boxes, 400 plastic utensils, 400 ziplock bags and 400 pieces of trash from a pre-packaged food into a landfill in one year. One two-kid family in one year = 16,000 pieces of trash just from school lunches! This doesn't even take into account when Scott or I would make lunches.
So instead, we have "no-waste" lunches. I have a collection of reusable lunch containers, utensils and sandwich wraps. We use them every weekday and pretty frequently on the weekends...we picnic a lot. Additionally, I have reusable snack bags that get used everyday. Here is my collection:
The cute little bags (actually two little and one bigger) in the back are from snackTAXI. They can be used for sandwiches or snacks and wipe clean easily (or can go in the dishwasher or laundry machine).
The red gingham things are Wrap-n-Mats...you wrap your sandwiches in them and they double as a placemat. Scott and I primarily use these.
The utensils are from the dollar bin at Target. (Where else, of course?)
The plastic boxes are like bento boxes with removable compartments. You can see them in action in this post. I love that you can rearrange the compartments to fit your needs. These are what the boys use daily. They are from a company called Lock & Lock.
And the teeny tiny containers are from a local Japanese market. We use them for dipping sauces or raisins or sunflower seeds for the boys to sprinkle on their salads.
Now I will say that it cost a bit of money to get this collection. But in the long run it pays for itself. I use these things every day. That means that I'm not paying for tons of baggies and utensils. Additionally, I save money by buying a big bag of pretzels and putting some in the snack bags instead of paying a premium for little individual disposable bags of pretzels. Save money...save the planet.
Ummm...I think my family might have a drinking problem. Or maybe I just have a bottle collecting problem. One is Scott's, two are mine and the rest...well, the rest belong to two thirsty little boys.
All of these bottles are aluminum and reusable, of course. They are used for water and occasionally juice. That means no plastic disposable water bottles and no juice boxes. Woohoo!
And again, they pay for themselves. Instead of paying for bottled water, I get mine for free out of the tap. (Don't like the taste? We had a Britta pitcher and now we have a Pur filter on the tap. Both taste great.) As for juice, I buy a big bottle and am able to water it down (for health and economic reasons) when I fill up the boy's little bottles. Way cheaper than juice boxes...and way better for the environment. (Did you know juice boxes are usually not recyable because they are coated with a plastic that can't be seperated from the paper?)
Well, that's all I've got.
Actually, that's not quite right. I've got one more thing.
I put together a 'get green starter kit' that I'm giving away.