Happy cold, snowy morning to you! It started snowing here about an hour ago and it is gorgeous. I’ve been reveling in these beautiful mornings this week, despite the almost below zero temperatures. Here’s a pic I snapped yesterday morning… I love that you can see the frozen lake in the distance…
Currently there is way more snow on the ground and now sun to be seen but it is still equally beautiful.
I was thinking about how I wrote earlier this month on the topic of wanting to be more intentional about taking care of our planet. I have gotten a few questions about what we already do to be more environmentally friendly. I think a lot of people I talk with really have the desire to make changes in their habits but don’t really know where to begin.
In light of this, I thought I would share some little changes that we have made that feels like they are making a big difference.
The biggest and easiest thing I think we can do is recycle. We have free curb-side recycling here in our town and my guesses are, where you live might too. More and more towns and cities are moving towards free curb-side pick up of recycling, all you have to do is put it out. We take our large recycling bin to the curb twice as much as we do our trash bin which makes us feel great about all of this waste going to be recycled.
There are so many times when I go to the grocery store in a given week and bring these babies along. When we first got married, we bought 4 reusable grocery bags for about $4. It feels like everywhere we go now, people are giving these away for free. It’s amazing how many plastic bags we save just by bringing our own. Also, if I forget one week, I either use the plastic sacks for trash bags in our bathroom trashcans, or I take them back to the grocery store the next time I go and they’ll recycle them for me.
One thing that I really struggle with is my love for sandwich bags. They are so convenient and so easy that it’s hard not to use them. When I found these reusable sandwich and snack bags from Lunchskins, I fell instantly in love. They are dishwasher safe and really last! I sometimes use plastic sandwich bags (read more below) but am really trying to cut down on how much I use them.
It is a rare day when you see me without my Nalgene water bottle. I take this thing everywhere. We NEVER buy plastic water bottles unless it’s an emergency, so we take these water bottles with us just about everywhere. This one is BPA free (very important for plastic) and is dishwasher safe. I will forever love Nalgene.
I think I’ve posted before on how we don’t use very many household cleaners. We mainly use vinegar, water and a little bit of certified biodegradable dish-washing soap. For the tough stuff, I have been known to buy a bag of Cascade and use it sparingly, but we really try and stick to Seventh-Generation or companies like it that have a longer vision for the protection of our environment.
Another easy-peasy thing you can do that small but so important is plant a new tree. I think this is so often overlooked but so important. J and Aaron (his bro) planted many trees this summer… they even started a tree nursery. I love that about his family, they’re really into trees. Here is just a small glimpse of some of the trees they planted.
Okay, I feel like I need to address a couple of things:
1) We are totally and completely imperfect. What I mean by that is just because J and I do these small things, does NOT mean that we have achieved “perfection” when it comes to being environmentally conscious. We have our flaws. Big ones. Believe me.
2) If you do not hold the same viewpoint as we do on this, know that we are not judging you. I repeat, “WE ARE NOT JUDGING YOU.” A lot of times when I share about things that I get passionate about i.e. stewardship of our planet, I can come off as “holier than thou”. I repeat #1… I am flawed and completely imperfect at this. If you don’t recycle, you’re not a bad person.
Now that I’ve gotten those things off of my chest, I want to share some ways that I’m hoping to improve this year.
1) Compost more. We have a compost bin but we seem to always forget to empty it, so then it starts to break down into gross-ness and goes untouched for way too long… needless to say, it doesn’t get composted. I want to be more intentional about composting so that we can use it for nourishment in our garden, and also so that it cuts down on the waste that we throw away.
2) Shorter showers. This is such a hard one for me, Queen of long showers, especially in the winter. I realize how much water and gas I waste when I take 20*ahem* minute showers and I’m working on it. One minute at a time. It’s a slow progression.
3) Plastic bags. I mentioned above my love for plastic sandwich bags. I’m really trying to cut down on how many I use and reusing them if possible. I know that there are toxins that are released when you heat them up, so when I do reuse them, I just rinse them in cool water with soap. Just fyi.
4) Drive less. Currently this is a little bit tricky as J and I both have over an hour commutes one way. However, I have been walking to the post office, bank, and bakery as much as possible. My goal is to get a basket for my bike so that instead of one big trip to the grocery store each week, that when it warms up, I can take a few small trips on my bike and save gas. I CANNOT wait until I’m out of school and no longer have to drive everyday.
5) Use less paper. I love writing things down and crossing them off. It’s one of my things in life. I know that in this high-tech age that I should have an app for those sorts of things, but I don’t. I still use paper and pencil WAY too much. Even though I do recycle most of the paper that I use, I would really like to make an effort to leaving paper for things that really need it: mainly writing letters.
So there are a few ideas of how we in the W household do things and what we’re hoping to improve on in this coming year. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to throw them my way. If not, then have a great Friday!