Easy Bein’ Green

April 22, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Posted in Family | 22 Comments

I used to dumpster dive.

When I was younger and my parents would throw away something recyclable, I would dive into the trash can and rescue it. I would write out a passionate plea from the discarded can, bottle, or jar and set it on the counter.

“Please don’t send me to the landfill. I can be turned into a purse!”

Tending to the seedlings.

“I don’t want to strangle a sea lion. Cut me up and recycle me please!”

“Save me … and the earth. Reduce, reuse, recycle.”

My parents laughed. But they also listened (and recycled).

My (Phthalate-Free) Soap Box
I can’t remember when or how I became aware of the need — the urgent necessity — to protect our resources, animals, air, existence. (Mom, do you?) But it’s been on my mind for most of my life, especially since I became a mother. If we don’t have a planet to comfortably live on, what do we have? If we don’t make sacrifices now to ensure a healthy future for our children, what else really matters? If we don’t protect and respect our world as carefully as we do our children, how can we expect them to?

This Earth Day, I’ve spent some time reflecting on these big questions. But also on some little ones. How am I doing my part? Am I teaching my children to respect the world around them? How can I do more?

Small Change, Big Bang
Here are a few ways we make every day Earth Day chez Fluffy Bunnies.
1. Just say no to plastic bags, plastic wrap, and water bottles. (And cheap plastic toys as toddler party favors. You know you hate ’em as much as me.)  Opt instead for glass containers, reusable (BPA-free) plastic, or cloth alternatives.
2. Clean green. Baking soda and vinegar are our best friends.
3. Take cloth bags to the grocery store. Better yet, keep them in your car so you don’t forget them.
4. Recycle: glass, plastic, cardboard, paper, anything and everything you can.
5. Run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine.

And here are some changes I resolve to make:
1. Start a compost pile. (Note to self: Tell Husband about this.)
2. Buy only organic versions of the Dirty Dozen.
3. Recycle batteries.
4. Buy Reserve these books at the library.
5. Nip my paper towel obsession in the bud.

There’s nothing earth-shattering here. Just the opposite, I hope. It’s easy bein’ green (with all due respect to Kermit). And dumpster diving is optional.

Have you asked yourself these same tough questions? Found any answers? What small changes can you make?


Learn More/Do More:


Edited to Add:
My friend Susan recently posted about this initiative to greenify the blogosphere. To erase your blog’s carbon footprint? Only takes one tree!

carbon neutral coupons and shopping with kaufDA.de



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  1. That is a great list of ideas – thank you for this post!

    I admit that I forget my reusable grocery bags more often than not, but we are trying to reduce our waste as much as possible. One of the things that has made the biggest impact for us is that when we have to buy something, buying only high quality items. If we need to replace something, we replace it with something we will have for life. The fact that items designed to last this long are generally more expensive also limits our ability to buy for the sake of buying.

    Other than that, we’re working on the compost pile, and love baking soda and vinegar!

  2. We do all of the Small Change items already. This weekend, we’re buying a composter. For real. I’ve been talking about doing it forever and we just got a notice the other day that they’re having a big sale on them, so we’re going to do it. Finally.

  3. Go Stacia! We’re trying to run the greenest little school around. I hope the kids remember.

  4. For those who haven’t seen it, see Food, Inc. It’s a movie that helped me understand the current state of the meat industry. We still eat meat but strive for more organics now.
    Stacia – great post!

  5. Paper towels are on my hit list, too. Every little bit helps, right? Happy Earth Day!

  6. I admit that I’ve avoided these tough questions, but I have started using natural cleaning products and remembering my reusable bags for the grocery store.

    I’ll work on the rest, I promise.

  7. After your reply to my comment on Late Enough, I threw the reusable bags into my car. Great idea 🙂

    And I agree with you about vinegar and baking soda – no other cleaner could get rid of cat pee (that previous owners left behind for us – how nice) better than the above combo.

    I started to use rags and towels for the kitchen in place of paper towels but the urge is there to just quickly use one and dispose of it.

    I am far from doing all I can, but at least every little bit helps.

  8. First of all I just love all the pictures of your Dad with your children and this one is so sweet. Just had to say that!

    Great post – I recycle but am not great when it comes to plastic bags, but I have given up completely on bottled water. So I have more work to do. I will add that, since becoming a Mom my morning shower is now very short and somedays gets completely skipped and I only wash my hair about twice a week as time allows, whereas I used to shower and wash my hair twice a day, once before work and again after the gym at night. So just being a Mom is making me more earth friendly 🙂

  9. Thanks for link to Dirty Dozen – I resolve to buy organic there as well.

  10. Yes! Simple questions like those provide the little reminders and small challenges that we need.
    Cutting down on plastic is my favorite. It feels good to produce less trash, but with plastics I feel better having fewer even to recycle, given that recycled plastics have limited uses. We switched a few years ago to glass food storage. And I’ve stopped using thin produce sacks at the store – I wash all of that food, anyway.

  11. These are great tips. I need to start with the super easy ones. 1) Paper towel habit and 2) plastic bottles. I will admit I was quite embarassed drinking my (probably poisonous) diet coke out of a plastic bottle yesterday. Sigh.


  12. Yes… as her parents, we were guilted into recycling starting about the 4th grade of elementary school…but once the habit stuck, I simply can not throw certain things in the trash. I break out in a cold sweat and my hands start to tremor if I try…BUT when I throw it in the recycle bin…I am overcome with a sense of peace.

    Heck, we went on vacation to the beach for a week and brought all our recycle home since there was no place to recycle there…that was a little over the top.

    • Success! Another convert! =>

  13. p.s. in the beginning, i used to try and sneak things into the trash…but she always won that game!! no matter how i tried to hide things…she could find them. 8}

  14. Great tips, Stacia.
    Compost? Unfortunately, no can do.
    But every little bit helps, right?

  15. Flora is already talking about taking care of the Earth, and the Earth as a living thing — and she’s only 5. And I’m not sending to any hippie school; I guess the idea of stewardship is popular even in pre-K at the Catholic school. Yay for us!

    We are vegetarians, and I belong to a CSA. We do as much organic as we can afford. I want to compost and start a garden, too, but I need my husband 100% on board with this because, frankly, I have a black thumb. We do a lot of other stuff on your list, although in lieu of paper towels, I have an obsession with those disposable cleaning wipes. I love those things, and I can’t quit them.

  16. Love hearing about this.
    Us? We eat our lawn. I mean our dandelions. Yum yum.

  17. I’m still working on my paper towel obsession, too!

    Baking soda and vinegar are lifesavers.

  18. Oh, paper towels. I so want to quit you. And yet…

    Excellent list, Stacia. We need to focus on this more in our house – thanks for the tips!

  19. I’m totally with you on those plastic party favors, weddings too! I don’t want it, don’t do it. I have recently tried weaning myself off paper towel overuse. I bought a pack of plain, white flour sack towels and they are the ones I use for Adriana’s food adventures and drying hands. I toss them all in a basket I now keep in the kitchen and wash the load once a week. So easy! I collect our batteries in a plastic box (recycled packaging) and when it’s full I drop them off at Radio Shack, Best Buy or Whole Foods.

  20. I hope that you learned some of that in the seventh grade gifted life science class. We celebrated Earth Day every year. I hope I made a difference.

  21. I know I’m a dork, but I love my steam mop. I can clean anything flat without using chemicals and there’s no more carrying buckets or wringing out mops. It’s super fast and easy and no more toxic chemicals. Not as easy, but a big money saver – I bought a lunchbox with little containers so that i never have to use baggies or foil or anything else in the lunchbox that will be thrown away. So even though I have to wash those little containers, it takes 2 minutes and I save money because I never have to buy disposabe storage things.

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