Earth to Merf, Come In Merf…

Happy Earth Day! Do you have any plans with Mother Nature today? Sadly for me, she did not bless us with a 75 degree partly cloudy day. Instead, it was overcast with a high of 53. Tomorrow’s gonna be nasty, too. But Easter Sunday is going to be beautiful, so I’ll catch up with Mama Nat then. 

My plan this Earth Day was to assess and refocus. Over the years, I’ve become more green-minded and made significant changes in my household – changes intended to reduce waste and pollution, and to protect my family’s health and well-being. But I’m far from the greenest person around, and I know there is still a lot more I can do to reduce the impact of my family on this planet.

Off the top of my head, here are some changes we’ve made:
  • Switched to environmentally friendly laundry detergent (pollution)
  • Switched to environmentally friendly dish soap (pollution)
  • Use cloth diapers (health, waste)
  • Use cloth diaper wipes (waste)
  • Use DIY or green cleaning solutions (pollution, health)
  • Use bar mops, sponges, and towels in lieu of paper towels where possible (waste)
  • Reuse Ziploc bags (waste)
  • Planted a garden (health)
  • Use reusable bags instead of plastic (waste)
  • Painted K-Dub’s nursery with low-VOC paint (health — unbelieveable difference, I can’t recommend Martha Stewart low-VOC paint highly enough)
Still on the list:
  • Cut down on disposable wipes usage (waste)
  • Switch to environmentally friendly dishwasher detergent (pollution)
  • Stop using anti-bacterial soap with Triclosan (health, especially for my children)
  • Cut further back on paper towel usage (waste)
  • Switch to cloth napkins (waste)
  • Eliminate harmful cleaning solutions, do not buy any more! (health, pollution)
  • Begin composting (waste)
  • Stop buying bottled water! (waste, health)
  • Ensure no products in our household contain known carcinogens and/or hormone disruptors (health)
  • Install rain barrels (resource use)
  • Control heating/cooling costs (resource use)
  • Offset my carbon footprint (resource use, pollution)
This post is for me, so I can come back this time next year and check my progress. (Hello future Merf! It’s so nice to see you. You look lovely today! Did you do something different with your hair?)
Is being green important to you? Is there anything on your list that I don’t have here? I’m always looking for ideas.
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36 Responses to Earth to Merf, Come In Merf…

  1. lindsay says:

    ran barrels? those just sound cool! Like catching drops of rain, hehe. I need to be better at paper towel wastage. EEK!

    • Christine says:

      Rain barrels catch the rain that comes down off the roof of your house. Basically you cut your gutter downspout and put this huge 75 gallon barrel under it, then you can use that water in your garden or something. We get a lot of rain around here, and the way it runs off our house it basically floods certain parts of the yard. So a rain barrel would allow us to prevent that massive river through our yard and allow us to redirect the water to the garden instead. Earth wins! We win! The garden wins! Woo!

  2. it’s wonderful that you have made so many changes to be more earth friendly! 🙂

    we have done several – of course it helps to live in a city so we only have to drive a couple of times a week. I still need to be much more mindful of limiting the use of paper products – paper towels tp etc. 🙂

    great post! 🙂

    • Christine says:

      Hi Jenny! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m envious that you live in a city. We’re in the burbs. But my husband and I combined drive about 40 miles a week, so not too bad.

      Paper products are a KILLER. They are expensive, wasteful, and basically unnecessary (um, except the t.p. We are NOT getting rid of that!!!). That said, we still use a lot of paper towels, napkins, and wipes in our house. I really want to cut back on that. It’s so easy to do, just gotta do it.

  3. I definitely do my best to minimize waste- now the hard part is getting my family to do it too!

  4. Meri says:

    Good for you! Good luck with all of your goals, and I like the idea of checking back in to see how you are doing 🙂

  5. Hannah says:

    My main one this winter is going to be trying to convince myself I don’t need the heater on as much, and that I should rug up… but my feet go blue, which is sad! 😦

    P.S. Earth Day in Australia was March 26?!

  6. I’m becoming more and more green, and I’m delighted that in Baden-Württemberg (the federal state of Germany where I live) we ust got a green prime minister for the first time in the history of Germany. 😀

    Recycling is a big thing in Germany – seperating at least 5 kinds of waste is standard in many households. Other things that come to my mind:

    – stop buying processed foods
    – buy local
    – buy organic
    – buy loose produce instead of packaged
    – buy recycling toilet paper and kitchen towels
    – account for the environmental friendliness or production when choosing food (chicken, e.g., is more environmentally friendly than beef)
    – save your greywater from the bathtub / shower and use it to flush the toilet (some people even do greywater filtering, but I don’t because you need to install a special filter system in your sink to do it)
    – replace all your regular light bulbs with energy-saving light bulbs
    – install a timer for your heating (so it only heat at certain hours)
    – turn tv, computer, etc completely off after using instead of having them running in stand-by mode
    – use the bike or public transport instead of going by car
    – don’t go by airplane if you can avoid it
    – adopt a tree (e.g., http://www.rogaia.com/en/adopt_olive_tree.html)

    Happy Earth Day! 😀

    .

  7. Being green is important to me, although I don’t always do as well as I’d like. My greenest actions include: not eating meat, working and shopping close to home, using reusable cloth pads, setting the heat lower and only turning on the air conditioner when it’s really, really hot. This year I want to grow some vegetables (although I might have to put that off until next year because of a mid-summer move) and buy more local food.

  8. I always have a problem with the number of ziplock bags that I go through! I don’t even know what I use them all on, but every time I see the box dwindling it makes me think about all the waste I’m creating – definitely don’t like it! I need to cut down usage of that, for sure!

    • Christine says:

      I’ve been trying to wash them out and reuse them when possible. If it had something gross in it like meat, it gets thrown out. But if it had an onion in it, or some crackers, I reuse it. It’s helped, for sure, but we still go through them. Ugh.

  9. Beyond working, I didn’t really do anything for Earth Day. That’s awesome about cloth diapers! But everyday is Earth Day for me, being green is important. I’ve made a lot of changes in the last two years and going vegan was a huge one. Also using reusable grocery bags, making my own nut and seed milks at home and buying in bulk to reduce packaging waste, carrying a Klean Kanteen water bottle around to avoid disposable water bottles. And we just started composting.

    • Christine says:

      I’m getting a composter (as soon as I can just pick one and click the “buy now” button!!!). Any suggestions on starting out?

  10. Allie says:

    Hapy Merf day, I mean Earth day! Great post 🙂

  11. LauraJayne says:

    Being green is important to me – but I am also realistic, so I try to make changes slowly, and commit to the ones I make instead of doing an “all or nothing” thing, and then giving up and doing nothing at all! I’ve been loving your posts about what you do – tons of great ideas that are totally inspiring me to do more!

  12. I have a list like this stored on my computer! Thanks for so many new ideas!!!!!! ❤ you rock!

  13. Oh my goodness this is an awesome post!! I so agree!! If you get a chance I would love for you to stop by my blog. I am having an all natural organic giveaway!

  14. Happy Earth Day! One thing that I do is wash my face in the shower to save water! 🙂

  15. Yay! Go Earth mama! Your list rocks! I was wondering what type of laundry detergent do you use? I can’t find a eco friendly brand that I like…

    • Christine says:

      We use Kirkland Environmentally Friendly detergent. It’s biodegradable and not tested on animals. It also has a light, fresh lavender scent.

  16. This is a great list! We do quite a few of those things. We’ve been composting for our veggie/fruit garden and it really cuts down on the kitchen waste. 🙂

  17. Rach says:

    What a great list! We try to be holistic in the way we live and give back which includes living a lifestyle aware of our usage. We own cars that get high mpgs and try not to drive unless we have to. Most of the products we buy are environmentally friendly and we do lots of recycling. I hadn’t thought about the rain barrel idea. We need to implement that!

  18. I use a ton of sandwich bags when I pack food for work lunches! I read that they make reusable ones! You’re doing really well on keeping our Earth pretty! I could stand to do a bit better. It was nice looking at your list though and finding things that I could do right now.

    My fiance won a beautifully painted rain barrel at an auction last year. I can’t wait until we move into our first home and we can set it up!

    • Christine says:

      I’m glad you’re finding some ideas from the list. Every change helps! That’s fantastic about the rain barrel. If you have a large roof, it can really save some moolah!

  19. Such a wonderful post. I have a serious problem with paper towels. I’m so glad to see I’m not alone. The changes you have done so far are a great step in the right direction.

    • Christine says:

      I got a package of plain white washcloths (Costco!) and keep a stack under the sink. I use those instead of paper towels for spills and whatnot. I use dish towels to wipe off my hands when cooking, or to wipe down the counter. I’ve definitely noticed we go through paper towels much more slowly now.

  20. Sophia Lee says:

    I’m switching to homemade detergent and cleaning products, too. And I try to walk if I can. I’m getting a car soon though because it’s imperative for my internship (can’t walk 100 miles a day….ack) but other than for work, I’ll be using it minimally. I totally resuse plastic and ziplock bags, too. It kills me when supermarkets use a dozen bags for one grocery trip.

  21. Awesome list. I’m still working on my Earth Day post… um, oops? Every day is Earth day, for me! ha,ha. Hopefully I’ll get it up this week. I have done a LOT in the past couple of years to be more green and thoughtful about my usage.

    I definitely need to use fewer paper towels. They are my one downfall – both at work and at home.

    I just started composting and purchased this composter: http://www.amazon.com/Soilsaver-Classic-Composter/dp/B003959G9Y/ref=sr_1_3?s=garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1303910636&sr=1-3
    (however, I got my parents to buy it at SAMS for me (I’m a Costco gal myself!) for $40). It’s awesome thus far, and made of 100% recycled material. Plus, you can recycle it when you need to get rid of it for whatever reason.

    The one I *really* wanted was this one: http://www.amazon.com/ComposTumbler-08001-5-Cubic-Foot-Heavy-Duty-Compost/dp/B000H2X2EW/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1303910680&sr=1-9
    but I thought I’d start out cheaper and see if it works for me. I can always upgrade later.

    I have this container on my counter to collect scraps until I want to venture out to the bin outside… and so far, no funky smells. http://www.amazon.com/Norpro-Gallon-Ceramic-Compost-Keeper/dp/B000K76CPK/ref=sr_1_2?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1303910756&sr=1-2

    ~

    • Christine says:

      Thanks for the links! I have exactly the same composting plan — start with a cheaper composter, learn what works for me, and get a nicer one if I feel like I need to later. I don’t think I want one of the tumblers, though. I don’t see how you’d ever get any nice finished compost out of it, unless you stopped adding stuff to it?

  22. Ooh—I’m a water bottle nazi: it drives me nuts to see people drinking out of bottles when 9 times out of 10, it just comes from someone ELSE’s tap! I kicked the habit over a year ago—I prefer the taste of filtered water so I use a Brita, and I bring my own everywhere I go. If I’m without it, well, bloody hell: I live in Canada, not Calcutta—tap is fine!

    Rant done—brilliant list! I spent my Earth Day burning calories and not fossil fuels, and hoping to ride my bike instead of driving now that the snow has melted (finally!). I could use earth-friendlier soaps and beauty products, but I’m still searching for soaps etc that do a good enough job that I don’t end up using twice as much! Good post!

    • Christine says:

      Agreed. The harsh chemicals do one thing very well — CLEAN. It’s tough to find something safe and natural that cleans as well. But it’s possible, I’m sure of it. (either that or I have to get used to things being less clean!)

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