Me and My Initiatives

When it comes to being “green,” I have a pretty severe eco-conscience but I’m not an extremist by any means. In general, I believe in less packaging, up-cycling and turning off electric goods when not in use.

Simple, right?

That being said, I don’t not buy a product because it’s packaged in too much plastic, I definitely don’t up-cycle everything that comes through the door and I’ll occasionally leave the kitchen lights on during dinner if we’re eating on the couch.

So when Matt asked me what the Zip-loc bag was doing hanging over the kitchen faucet and I told him I cleaned it to re-use it and now it was drying, he just shook his head and said, “you and your initiatives.”

It got me thinking. What other “initiatives” do I have and do I go overboard?!

1. Each week on garbage day, I strive for more recycling than garbage. I actually do fairly well with this. Our community offers single-stream recycling which makes it really easy to toss junk mail, cereal boxes and magazines in the same bag as our OJ containers and milk cartons. Oh, and when the kitchen garbage bag gets full, I pull it out of the bin and leave it in the kitchen to fill to the brim with more garbage before tying it off and bringing it out to the garage. Not only does this save me trips to the garage, but it also reduces the actual number of plastic garbage bags I use in a year.

2. I donate close to everything. Yup, _close to _everything. If I’m done using gently used clothes and dishes, they go to Goodwill, of course, but there are places to donate items that Goodwill won’t take, too. Example: I recently went through my craft bin and realized I had close to 150 pens, pencils, markers and dry erase markers. Instead of throwing them out, I reached out to a city teacher I know and asked if she could use them in her classroom (I figured budgets are tight and pens and pencils always go missing). I was right. She replied with enthusiasm that she would love to take them off my hands.

3. I put on a sweater before I turn up the heat. This has more to do with saving money than being green, but I’ll include it. Our house is old. It has so many cracks and openings that we haven’t weather-proofed (and we’ve weather-proofed a lot!) that it literally bleeds heat and more so, bleeds money. Matt calls me the “Hazi,” (the Heat Nazi) but I’m getting better now that we have little toes to keep warm.

4.** I up-cycle.** If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it’s basically using used materials to make something else or use somewhere else. Example 1: If I get a package with a pretty satin ribbon, I’ll save the ribbon to use on a present I wrap down the line. If something like a ribbon is going to end up in a landfill, I’d rather it be used more than once on its way. Example 2: I’m on the hunt for a few old shutters to use in a headboard project for the guest room bed. This is up-cycling at its finest. Old shutters that would be trash will soon be in my home, cleaned up and given a new lease on life.

5. I try to reduce plastic usage. Zip-loc bags in particular. My mom set this in my brain sooooo long ago. As in, when-I-was-in-elementary-school long ago. Instead of juice boxes or water bottles, she always sent our chocolate milk/water/juice in the original kid’s Camelbak: the Tupperware drink cup. She sent snacks in reusable Tupperware instead of Zip-loc bags. It’s a little extra trouble but she always said, “that plastic bag is going to sit in the dump forever.” It sat in my brain then and it sits in my brain now. If I make Matt lunches for work, I use Tupperware or glass Pyrex-ware instead of Zip-loc bags. When a Zip-loc isn’t used to it’s full potential, (like holding a bagel to keep it from getting stale in the example that started all this rambling) I’ll always rinse it out and reuse it.

Me and my initiatives, I know. What are yours?

P.S. This is my favorite site to visit a few times a year to see if there is more I can do to help this ol’ Earth.

P.P.S. I have no idea where this post was born. Matt’s comment about my initiatives the other night really got me thinking. You’d think it was Earth Day or something. In reality, it’s my wedding anniversary, so as soon as Matt gets home from his softball game (he asked if I cared if he played…I said no) it’s time to hang with my man. I’ll be back with a post about my DIY gift to him (linen themed!) tomorrow and Harrison’s 7-month letter on Friday!! Busy lil’ week. Happy Wednesday!