Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Roll Out the Barrel

I know many people are tired of the whole "going green" thing. Sometimes I think causes can be a bit overdone as well. Hey, I love polar bears as much as next person, but honestly I'm not giving up my Aveda products just so I can make my own soap.

However, I'm all about small steps to achieve something bigger. (Larry is laughing on the inside right now. I never doing anything small.)

Seriously though, small changes in what we do make small differences. And a lot small differences contribute to bigger ones. Butterflies and hurricanes; that's all I'm saying.

This weekend, Corey and I went to the school playground to practice batting and catching. During one of our breaks, he commented on all the plastic bottles that people had left there. We were talking about litter and Earth Day and recycling, when a plastic grocery bag got caught in the wind and was blowing around. Teaching moment! We grabbed the bag and started collecting the cans and bottles to take back home and put in our recycle bin. There were so many that we had to flatten them to fit in the bag.

Speaking of plastic shopping & grocery bags, we stopped using them at home. One day at lunchtime, I went to Macy's with co-worker and instead of having the sales clerk put her items in a bag, she pulled out this rolled-up bag the size of a twinkie and put 4 bath towels inside. They come from a company called Envirosax. The bags have a variety of patterns and can be purchased individually or in bulks of 5.

Another thing we did this year was invest in rain barrels. Truthfully, the process started after we left a beer bucket outside after a BBQ. It rained almost everyday that week and filled the bucket up. The next week, we dipped our watering can in the bucket and didn't use the hose for the following two weeks. (BTW if you want to freak people out, tell them you use a bucket and every single person will talk about mosquito larvae. Hysterical.)

After some research, I found this company that recycles pickle & olive barrels and creates rain barrels out of them. They range in size from 20-65 gallons. Most times, these are expensive since the barrel itself is over $100 plus you pay a lot of shipping. This company includes shipping in the costs of their barrels.

These green efforts work for us; they may not work for everyone. I have no plans on burning corn husks to fuel my car or making my own clothes from hemp, but I do believe that every little bit helps.

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Anonymous feefifoto said...

I never thought about carrying my own bags into malls; I use canvas bags for groceries but I figured retail stores would balk at not being able to gain the free advertising that comes from my carrying their shopping bags. For small items I usually just refuse the bag.

Have you checked out bamboo clothes and towels?

2:23 PM  
Blogger Dad Stuff said...

We have just started the canvas bag thing for groceries.

I hear you about water bottles. They are everywhere. I'm just going to drink out of beer buckets from now on.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

Oh, GOD, yes. Standing water is EVIL, and I get an ear-full every time I mention that I turn buckets right side up to catch rainwater to water my plants, like I'm personally responsible for the mosquito population.

I'm trying to figure little things I can do, too, especially with winter coming and the price of heating fuel (we use natural gas) going through the roof. Ugh. I already use reusable grocery bags (my market gives me 5 cents for each one I use), I'm combining trips to run errands, I'm coasting in my little car as often as I can (I'm up to a consistent 37 mpg in my VW Golf) and I'm considering doing the every-other-day shower thing to save energy and water, though I'm still not convinced I'm ready to take THAT step. I mean, I love polar bears, too, but I'm not sure if I love them that much...

5:40 PM  
Blogger Papa Bradstein said...

Good moves, and good role modeling. We have several canvas bags for shopping, but unfortunately, we have no memory, and so end up leaving them wherever we aren't shopping. Eventually, if we buy enough of them, we'll always have one when we need it...but that sort of defeats the "reduce" part of "reduce, reuse, recycle." Dang.

8:20 PM  
OpenID nakedanarchists said...

I love hearing another family's solutions! Thank you for sharing!

11:54 PM  
Blogger Crazy Computer Dad said...

A good friend of mine in Richmond did this last summer. It is a fantastic idea for saving water and pickle barrels!

5:09 PM  

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