September 26, 2009

30 Days of Happiness, Day 30: Clean, Green Livin'

My sister-in-law Mandy sent me a link to The Story of Stuff video last weekend, and I have to say, with Operation Purge in the works, her timing couldn't have been better. If you have twenty minutes to spare, watch the video. It's extremely inspirational. It talks about how our stuff (meaning our various belongings) is made and what impact this has on the world.

Taking care of the planet has always been important to me. Here are the things we currently do to live a clean, green lifestyle:

1) We drive small cars that eat less gas. In a perfect situation, we'd be able to exist with just one car, which would be a hybrid. We try to walk when we can. If we had a better public transportation system in our area, we'd definitely use it.
2) We use cloth diapers and wipes for Charlie. We do use one disposable diaper a day, to try to catch Charlie's morning poop, and when he does poop, we use disposable wipes because they clean him up more easily. We also use disposable wipes when we're out and about because they take up less room in the diaper bag. But most of the time, it's cloth.
3) We recycle. We recycle more than we throw away, actually.
4) We don't buy bottled water. Instead we have a water purifier on our tap, and we use that to fill our various water jugs.
5) We have reusable bags for grocery shopping. I tend to forget them often, but I never throw away the paper or plastic grocery bags. I use them for shipping out books.
6) We use eco-friendly laundry detergent and try to use either vinegar or Method products for cleaning (although we do have our fair share of chemicals in the house, which we will use up and hopefully never buy again).
7) We have a clothesline. I would love to use this more often if I could figure out how to make our wet clothes not come out stiff after being hung to dry.
8) We feed Charlie organic formula, and when he starts solids, I will be making his baby food myself. (I am seriously so excited about this.)
9) We shop at our local farmer's market.
10) We donate things and have yard sales instead of throwing stuff away.
11) When we get books, I try to get them through Paperbackswap. I built Charlie's entire library this way. It's a good source for getting rid of unwanted books as well.
12) We reuse things, like gift bags and tissue paper, instead of buying more. This goes for a lot of things around the house.
13) We print on both sides of the paper.
14) We try to turn off lights when we're not using them and regulate our air conditioner.

The video has also made me think of a lot of things that we can do to live a cleaner, greener lifestyle. Here are some changes we'll be implementing for our lifestyle:

1) We are going to start using reusable sandwich and snack bags instead of using Ziploc bags. Not to mention cloth napkins and cloth towels (instead of paper napkins and paper towels).
2) Once we're out of our vast collection of shampoos and conditioners and body washes, I'd like to see about making my own or just buying an eco-friendly version.
3) We'll buy things used more often. We just made a big purchase for Charlie on Craigslist this past week: an exersaucer!

It's in excellent condition, and we got it for an excellent price. (Please ignore the fact that it's made out of plastic.)
4) We will try to support small businesses more instead of big corporations.
5) Whenever we actually have a backyard that isn't made up entirely of cement, we'd like to have a garden.
6) I'd like to recycle my current wardrobe instead of getting rid of pieces and buying more. And when/if I do buy more clothes, I'd like to get them at thrift/consignment stores. Obviously I won't be wearing anyone's used underwear or shoes. We all have our limits!
7) And I'd love to learn to sew clothes.

Living a life that respects the earth makes me happy. I know that we could always be better at it, though, so give me some green tips of your own, please. Tell me what you do to save the planet.


Thanks for tuning in to my 30 (plus) days of happiness. It was a great exercise for me. I definitely was counting my blessings and I realized all that I have to be grateful for. Life is better to most of us than we realize, I think.

After posting so much in the last month, I think I'm going to take a short break away from the blog to try to catch my breath and get caught up on life stuff. See you soon!


kim said...

I am the opposite of green, unfortunately. :(

Love the exersaucer pic!

Crazy Daisy said...

Great Post, photos and super list!

I'm also moving toward using cloth napkins. I'm trying to find something fun/cute though!

I really have enjoyed your 30 happy days! Keep smiling and looking forward to hearing more updates soon!

phairhead said...

the boyfriend and i are bought a house, so i was going through my crap and i just recycled an ass ton of magazines. gave away yarn and knitting needles (i'm just not a good knitter!) and am selling a few items. i just can't believe the junk i held onto!

inflammatory writ said...

For body washes and shampoos that are eco friendly, you should try Lush ( All of their soaps, body washes, etc. are eco friendly, handmade, and also pretty awesome. I started using their solid shampoo a few years ago and its great. Now, if I could find an eco friendly conditioner, I'd be happy. But my curly ass hair needs its condish.

I also just bought a stainless steel water bottle for the gym/work. That's been the best thing. It keeps the water cold and it doesn't waste tons of plastic. Win!

alyssa said...

Your post was so timely! As I was packing my lunch the other day, wasting another baggie, I thought there must be an alternative. Same thought when it came time for lunch and I grabbed yet another plastic fork and knife. I'm going Etsy shopping today :) My girlfriend just mentioned to me she is starting to use cloth paper towels. Not sure I'm there yet, but it's in the back of my mind. Same with diaper wipes - I may vote for that, but I have a feeling my hubby with veto it. Perhaps I'll use cloth wipes and he can be wasteful ;)

Angie Eats Peace said...

I do most of these things, as well, (aside from the baby stuff) but know there is more I should be doing.
I try to hope that my vegan diet offsets the 100+ miles I drive, a fews/week : /

Anamika said...

I'm on a mission to learn to sew. :)

amber said...

Sewing is way fun! I highly encourage you to give clothes a shot. :)