We conserve water as much as possible. I have reduced my showers to 5 minutes and we just installed a rain barrel to water our plants. However, our kids love to turn on the faucet to brush their teeth or wash their hands and run the water forever. They are still young so it is hard to make them understand they are wasting water. Since it is so hot outside, they want to play in the baby pool or run through the sprinkler. We try to limit the sprinkler use or strategically place it to water new grass or plants, but sometimes we just let it run in the name of good fun.
I started a compost heap several months ago. Nothing fancy or thought out. I just dumped our kitchen scraps and yard scraps in a pile, stirred it every now and that was it. Well, our dog started getting up in the middle of the night and barking at something. It was driving us nuts. We finally realized some creature was eating the scraps from our compost heap. I stopped adding to the pile and our dog has stopped barking in the middle of the night. Well, I have been to lazy to build a proper compost bin and do more research on how to properly maintain it. There are just so many hours in the day, you know? This is something I hope to do someday. hopefully sooner than later.
We recycle what we can and I recycle at work. However, I am still not quite sure what plastics are really supposed to be recycled at our local center. I have read conflicting information. So most of the time everything with a number gets thrown in. I really hope I am not screwing up the whole process.
4. LESS WASTE
Now I always taking packaging into account when purchasing items. Although, I am conscious of this it is still hard to avoid access packaging and waste. Eating take out is probably the worse, but I still do it. I have learned which restaurants are the best as far as this is concerned, but sometimes food and convenience win out.
We now unplug our toaster, coffee maker, hair dryer, and computer when not in use. We always turn off the lights when we leave a room. We never leave the TV on if someone is not sitting in front of it. However, the TV and DVD player in our room stays plugged in all the time eventhough we seldom use it. I have a Smart Power Strip that I need to install on our entertainment system, but have not gotten around to it.
Like the Green & Natural Mom, I like toilet paper and probably use too much. We also use disposable diapers for my 2 year old son who will hopefully be potty trained soon. (wishful thinking I know) However, we do not use paper napkins, plates or paper towels. We use cloth napkins and rags for spills and clean ups.
I really wanted to start using all homemade cleaners. I do use a vinegar, water, soap blend to clean the countertops, but the bathrooms are a different story. I decided to splurge on a store bought"green" cleaner. It works well and does not smell toxic so that is a plus, but I am not 100% sure of its contents. I know it is better than what I was using so that's good. When I am in a hurry, I still use windex on the windows. Using the vinegar blend with newspaper works, but I hate all the grim on my hands as I clean. (I know lame, huh?) Cleaning is definitely a work in progress.
8. HEALTH & BEAUTY
This is probably the biggest challenge to me. I use Skin Deep as a guide when purchasing new products and have done pretty well with deoderant, sunscreen, soap, shampoo, and lotion. Make-up is a completely different ball game. I would like to say I go au naturale, but that is not going to happen. I still use the make up I have always used.
9. EATING OUT
We like to eat out on the weekends and I don't see that changing any time soon. I know it would be more environmentally friendly and healthier to eat at home using locally grown foods. My husband and I have a huge weakness for Pizza and Mexican food. I always think that this might change if I had time and energy to cook, but that is probably not true. I guess only time will tell.
This is one I mull over way too much. I know there are many "green" options out there now for toys, but again convenience often wins out. It is hard to find any of these type of products locally and I like to see and hold the toys or products before I buy them. I know buying used at least for my own kids would be perfectly fine, but I enjoy buying them something new as much as they like getting the new toy. I try to reuse items we already have around the house for gift wrap. We always make our own cards with supplies we have on hand.
I could keep going, but she said 10 things so I will stop now. I can't really say what exactly made me want to "go green". I know it was not one thing or event, but I know I am committed to it. I am going to keep plugging away, making changes every day.