Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday: Going Green

monkeys on the bed!

So this is not so much a tutorial as it is a list of the small easy changes our family has made in the last year to help make a smaller impact on our earth. This has become a big topic these days and nothing could make me happier. The truth is I don't care if people are making changes to help the planet and insure a healthy future for our kids or because it is currently the cool thing to do. Either way, in the end, every small effort we make does make a difference.

For Our Family:

Cloth Diaper - We started to cloth diaper with the arrival of Hudson. We had many friends that cloth diapered when we had Sailor but I just couldn't believe them, I mean how on earth could you LOVE cloth diapering. I was convinced they were just not telling the real truth, I couldn't believe it could be easy. I was wrong, we love cloth diapering. It is sooo easy and Hudson seems to love it and even more important my husband who was adamant we not cloth diaper in the beginning is a true convert and can't stand to see him in a disposable. If you want the details on how cloth diapering works and how to choose from all those beautiful diapers out there Kelly at Our Lincoln Log did a great post on it a while ago.
***"DISPOSABLES: The 18 to 23 million disposable diapers sold in the U.S. all end up in the landfill once soiled. That’s 3.5 million tons of poop and plastic going into the ground each year. They are the third largest users of landfill space in the U.S. And the diapers, because of the plastic content, take approximately 500 years to breakdown. It is illegal in most states to dump human waste in landfills but that law is unenforced when it comes to diapers—though the packages of many disposable diapers say to scrape the poop into the toilet before disposing of it, almost no one does—and that human feces can leach and cause contamination or spread communicable diseases when disposed of in the landfill."-From the Green Mama

Diva Cup - I switched from using tampons and cloth pads to the Diva Cup. The Diva Cup is simply a non absorbing cup that catches your menstrual flow. It is worn internally and is made of silicone. Simply empty it every 12 hours. This means no sanitary pads and tampons in land fills. Between 1989 and 1999 more than 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along US coastal areas.

Homebirth - When we chose to have Hudson born at home we did it for personal reasons, it wasn't until later that I thought about how much "Greener" having an out of hospital birth is. We were so lucky to have Adrienne at our birth. She is a midwife assistant and recently wrote a post about how Homebirth benefits the planet on her blog Abundant B'earth.

Toys - This is also a personal choice of ours that has turned into a green one. We have some rules about toys in our home. The biggest one is that we are battery free. This was an easy one for us, we just don't like the noise of them. We also think kids simply miss out on something when the truck makes it's own noise and therefore the child doesn't need to do the sound effects. We also try to limit the amount of toys that pile up. I try to buy from companies that are filled with great natural, imaginative toys. Often this can mean more cost upfront thought we have found these toys have a much longer "shelf life". They last longer and our kids play with them longer. I also don't mind spending some money on a great toy verses a lot of money on a lot of toys. We also love to purchase hand made items for both the kids and us, there are so many amazing and talented crafter's out there. We also love a good yard sale, we have a bag of Lego's collected from many garage sales. Here are some of our favorite places.

*Nova Natural
*Stubby Pencil
*Sprig Toys
*Dream Child Studio
*Green Mountain Wee Woolies

For Our Home:

Cloth Napkins & Non Paper Towels
- We made the switch to cloth napkins 8 months ago and it has been great. I bought them on Etsy, I did not buy napkin style ones but instead smaller sized ones sometimes called picnic napkins. We like that they are about the size of a regular paper napkin. I bought them in a pattern so stains would not show as much. These would be super easy to make yourself. We still have paper towels in the house but we rarely use them. Instead we use rags, old towels and the Sham Wow(thanks to our friend Sara).

Rain Barrel - The hubby recently installed a rain barrel and so far so good. It cost about $40 for the barrel and parts and he had it put together in about 20 minutes. I still use our hose for my morning watering of the garden but use the water from the rain barrel for my afternoon watering. Here in the south watering once a day or not at all isn't really an option. We placed it under a piece of gutter that had no downspout. It seems to catch a lot of rain water this way, it got almost completely filled in one thunderstorm.

Keeping a Garden & Shopping Locally - We have a good size garden so we can produce some of our own food. We are also blessed with a weekly farmer's market that is within walking distance. This year is the first year I am undertaking canning, we will see how it goes. We also freeze extra veggies from the garden. This is especially great for overproducing squash plants. Simply slice them up and put them in a freezer safe container or bag and throw them in the freezer for an easy side dish come winter.

Cloth Bags or Bagless - We have cloth bags for our groceries. We even made our own produce bags thanks to Kelly, here is her tutorial on produce bags. When we are in the store for one or two items we simply say, No Thank You to the bag and carry it out or throw it in the diaper bag.

The 3 R's - Reduce, Reuse & Recycle
We also try to remember to use the basics. We try to keep the lights off unless we really need them, turning off the water while we brush our teeth, doing laundry on nice days so it can be hung out to dry, separating out all the recyclable, re-purposing old items and reducing our overall waste. Nina at Painted Rainbows and Chamomile Tea gave us a glimpse of her trash. I only hope ours can look that good sometime soon.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I love this post. I am so glad for the reminder of all the simple, every day ways to go green. And, I am so excited about your rain barrel! Although, if you were still here, it would be empty...sadly, we haven't had rain in weeks!

Also, I am totally telling Lucas about the no battery toy rule. As I write this, Lincoln's scary talking pooh toy is looking at me--if we had a ban on battery toys, I wouldn't have nightmares about talking pooh and his scary rotating head.