Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"green goals" 2010

We've been making our way towards a more sustainable, "green" lifestyle for about 6 years now. It started as a way to trim costs and stay on budget, as very young parents of two children. That still is one of our driving motivators, but over the last year or two it's also become about sustainable and clean living. I find that most areas of sustainable living lend themselves to being naturally cheaper, but not all. I've also found that I am willing to spend more in those areas for things that I feel good about buying. Like locally and humanely raised meats.

Inspired by Sara's post on green living goals for 2010 over at Handy Hooker  I thought I'd jot out my own here as well. It's something I've been thinking about a bit anyway, with the new house and all . . .

Sustainable/Green Living 2010 Goals

1. Get a freaking clothesline already. Or have The Husband build me one. We finally have a yard, and I would love, love, love to sundry our clothing.  As of 4/3 we have the supplies, should be in the ground in the next week or so!

2. Continue learning about/adding/working on our compost. The Husband built me a compost area - we're about 2 months into adding to it. I'd like to spend the winter reading up on 'proper' composting some more and really get this one working for us for the summer.

3. Start our garden. Up until this last year, I've grown our food in containers, I'm anxious to dig in the dirt. I need to step back and take it slow. Spend some time in the winter planning the garden. Keep it small and simple this year, I have many more years to expand on it.     Well, I don't know how small it is (not as big as I wanted!) But as of 4/4 seeds have been started and the garden walls are 90% built!

4. Get back into chemical free cleaning. I have to admit to a guilty pleasure I picked up this past year. Clorox and Lysol wipes - oh how I love them. I keep them under the bathroom sinks for all the tooth paste mess. I keep them in the pantry to grab for a clean up when we have surprise visitors. I love how they make a quick clean up so quick and so simple. I hate the waste and the packaging and the chemicals though. I need to come up with a simple alternative, that isn't generating more and more laundry too. I know, the sensible answer is a spray bottle and a cloth (which I do use for most cleaning), I've tried it - it just doesn't seem to work as well. Then my sinks are all gooey from the kids toothpaste (I think they get more in the sink than on their teeth)     
Haven't used the wipes in several weeks, still using some chemicals (lysol in the shower where kitty poops - ew!) but have decreased dramatically.

5.Get back into a meal planning/grocery shopping routine. I've been out of sync since we've moved. I just haven't gotten back into a good groove. I'm wasting gas on multiple store trips (and we don't live 5 minutes from one anymore!!) My meal planning and dinners have suffered for it too.

6. Reduce our trash. Our actual trash output is really pretty low for a family of 4. We're still producing a lot of recyclables though. I'd like to get us down to a bag a week of trash (sometimes we're at that now) and one bin (or less!) of recyclables.

7. More canning. I learned this year, a couple of jams and lots of apples. Tomatoes next year. And after that . . . I already have my eye on a pressure canner . . . ;)

8. Donate things I no longer need. I'm a bit of a pack rat. I need to let go of things that our family and our home don't have a use for anymore, and pass them on to people who do.

9. Kevin is (supposedly) going to learn to hunt (with a friend of ours who does). Not really my goal - but I'll cook it, so it counts!

10. Use leftovers. I am so, so, so bad at planning leftovers.   ok, this could still use a little improvement - but it's gotten much better. I have a shelf designated for leftovers, and we have been using them much more.

Things I do already that I am pretty proud of

1. Grow a portion of our own food

2. Have learned to can

3. Have HE appliances (ok, they came with the house, but I'm still claiming it!)

4. Have started the compost

5. Watch our water usage (mostly because we'll run out our well, but hey - I'm still aware of how much water we use! We have had to make adjustments!) This includes less flushes, like Sara over at Handy Hooker.

6. Are using wood heat

7. Are conscientious about electrical usage. (ok, also because NIMO is charging us double our bill for "delivery charges"!)

8. Eat a mostly local diet most of the year. Make continuous efforts to buy from local farmers and businesses with humane practices.

9. Use a Diva Cup

10. Buy most items second hand. Books, clothing, toys etc . . . (of course, this tends to contribute to the aforementioned clutter. I'm a thrift store junkie)

11. Handmake various items, clothing, toys, blankets, pillows, decorative.

12. Make our own wine and beer.

13. Use energy efficient bulbs throughout the house.

14. Only buy recycled toilet paper

15. We don't buy paper towels or napkins. On the very rare occasions that we do use them, we buy eco-friendly brands.

Things I may never change

1. Gas usage. We don't live close to - anything. The Husband is in school an hour from where we live. We travel fairly often for music- either for The Husbands band: Boots N Shorts or to see live music/festivals.

2. Long (ok, not as long with the well) hot showers. I loves them.

3. Stop my magazine subscription. Know what's a little ironic about that? I subscribe to Mother Earth News. I can't help it, I really like physically having the magazine to look through - it's just not the same online. I already do so much online, it's nice to break away and have some tea and read a magazine.

I've come a long, long way from that 23 year old just looking to stretch her meager dollar a little further. What started as a way to save pennies has turned into a lifestyle for our family. Again, the choices aren't always cheaper - but most times they are and when they are more expensive, I find they are more than worth the cost in the long run.
The move we made this summer has increased our foot print in some ways (like gas for travelling) but overall will lead to us living a more sustainable, simple lifestyle. It's going to be an adventure for sure - and I'm so looking forward to it.

I'm glad Sara posted this blog when she did, with the holidays and the new year coming, it's a great time to get your goals set back in line.

What about you? Any plans or "green" goals for the next year?

PS I've never been a fan of the term "green" and hate that it's become so easy to use. It seems like such a marketing ploy, a trend, doesn't it? And we all know what happens with trends . . .


Valkyrie said...

Great goals! I am jealous you have a compost pile and a husband who supports your gardening endeavors. I can't get Daniel into gardening. He goes out and mows the lawn every other week, and every other week, I have to listen to him carry on about the yard work. >:-( He would never let me plant a garden. Boo!

I started using a diva cup a few months ago, and I love it!

As far as flushing, we let the yellow mellow. :-) I try to flush before company shows up. But we don't flush every time. It's just silly. We are very water conscious here. Third year of drought for Nor Cal.

We always produce way more recycling than trash, so I guess that's good. But we do produce a lot of recycling.

Sparkless said...

Wow that is a fantastic list! You know I just use a washcloth to wipe down the sinks and some homemade cleanser with vinegar. It's just as good as the wipes and as convenient since the washcloths are already in the bathroom and I just toss them in the laundry afterwards. The cleaner I put in a spray bottle under the bathroom sink so it's as easy as the lysol wipes.
I admit I used to love those too but used them mostly on the toilet. Now I just use some paper towel and homemade cleaner on the toilet. I know the paper towel isn't the best but I haven't quite got to the point I feel comfortable using washable cloths on the toilet. I'll get there soon.
I've used a Keeper (same as a diva cup but made of rubber)and cloth pads for almost 10 years now. Love it! I did buy a diva cup to see what the difference was but liked the Keeper better because it stayed put for me better.
I'm always looking for inspiration to save money and go green and your list is a wonderful one!

Sara said...

Great list! The cleaning supplies always stump me. I'm either thinking Amway or Method cleaners. Wow on Kevin hunting. Did he do that as a kid? Jon hasn't been in over a decade. I think once James comes of age to go with, Jon will pick it back up. I like your goals and look forward to the coming Spring and summer with the garden. :)