Saturday, June 21, 2008

Living "Green"

I wanted to share something that has been on my mind lately-- besides the impending birth of the baby and mulberries.

Living "green".

I hope this isn't going to be another trend for people to jump on the bandwagon and say, "look at me! I'm green!" and then a few short weeks or months later, they go right back to doing what they've always done.

Being green IS a total lifestyle change, one that can be as easy or as hard as you make it. You can take small baby steps and grow from there, which makes it easy, or make big changes which sometimes can be costly and hard to keep up.

The husband and I have always been aware of our consumerism and after moving to our first house and discovering what a great recycling program our landfill had, became avid recyclers. Moving here, where there are nearly no recycling options at the landfill, we've had to find other ways to reduce our trash and recycle.

During the winter time, I admit to using our dryer when drying clothes. Partly because we bought a vent that lets the warm, moist air go back into the house instead of outside. Helps to heat the house and restore the humidity in the air that the wood stove dries up. My point? Since installing my outdoor clothes line (made of recycled telephone wire), I have just received my first electric bill that has zero dryer energy on it. Our average monthly bill is around $130, and it has gone all the way down to $89! That's $40 in savings!! Nothing else has changed-- we still use the same amount of electricity for lights, TV, cooking (electric stove), and computer. The air conditioner has not yet been used and the only thing that has changed is the dryer usage. I should add that I am probably using the stove more because of the jam-making I am doing these days.

Just imagine the power we all can save if everyone would choose to line-dry their clothing instead of using a dryer.

There are many more changes that we'd like to make / add to make our lifestyle even more green:

-A bigger garden for one-- I haven't been able to plant as much as I hoped this year (I like to think my growing belly gives me an excuse) but I'm happy with what we have planted so far.
-We plan on getting chickens next year, so we are busily working out chicken coop plans and gathering used materials to build one.
-I'd LOVE to get a goat, too, for the making of goat cheeses and yogurts, but I don't know if that is feasible just yet.
-I want to get more fruit trees than what we already have-- cherry, apple, blueberries to name a few.
-Rain barrels are desired as well, but I still need to figure out how to truck the water from the house alllll the way to the garden without breaking my back or having to buy multiple hoses.

There is much more that we could do, but these are the biggest goals we have at the moment. What kind of changes have you made this year that has made a big impact on your life and / or wallet?


beta said...

I would love to line dry our clothes

sadly our HOA does not allow it.

LS said...

Several serious changes in my life are Three R's. I reuse just about everything in my apartment. I am avid recyclers.

I wash and hang most of my clothes in a small portable washer

I scoop and dump cat liter in the toilet using Swheatscoop brand, it is flushable.

I brought energy saver fireplace electric heater. Use little heating and AC. My electric bill average is $25.00 and water bill $20.10

I swap books through

I support and buy local organic vegetables. Am trying to eat healthy due to family inherited cholesterol.

I use cloth bags for grocery shopping. I even bike to shop and drop mails. I drive to work only and 55 or less mph.

I turn into green fanatic I guess. LOL

Wendy said...

We've made SO many changes, I can't even begin .... Line drying is definitely one of my faves, though.

And speaking of line-drying: to Beta. I hang-dry my clothes year-round. I live in Maine, and I've even used my line outside on sunny days in well below freezing temps and with three feet of snow on the ground (I have pictures on my blog ;). Sometimes, though, I can't hang things outside, and so I use a wooden rack. I found a really sturdy one at a local mill store that will hold about a load of laundry. Maybe your HOA restricts having a line, but I'd bet anything you could put a wooden drying rack on your deck or in your driveway or on your balcony on sunny days.

Other "green" and "frugal" changes include using a DivaCup and cloth sanitary napkins. I'm saving $60 per year, have reduced my garbage output (because everything is washable and reusable), and I'll never have to buy sanitary "supplies" again. If the average woman menstruates for thirty years, you're looking at a cost savings of around $2000, and the savings to the environment if we all did it would be immeasurable! I'm trying to convince the hubby that we don't need toilet paper either, but he's not convinced. Funny that he didn't have a problem changing a cloth baby diaper, but he won't even consider the idea of using cloth towels to clean himself on the toilet ;).

fated follies studio said...

jenny - i wish i were in your shoes, lol. my husband thinks i'm crazy because i was a family farm with chickens and a garden and i want to homeschool our kids. he says we have to buy a home first, ha ha. i appreciate your thoughts and opinions greatly. baby steps is the best way to go, although it can be hard in an apartment. my family's biggest goals are to pay off this one chunk of debt we have and for my husband to hopefully find a teaching job in tennessee for the 2009/2010 school year. everything seems to take baby steps these days...

Tara@From Dawn Till Rusk said...

We have really tried to embrace the whole green 'thing' and our children are happy to join in too. We make it a game to hang the washing out (when the weather allows here in England!), we recycle everything we can and we compost as much as we can.
Our goal this year has been to see how little we can send to the bin men each week and totally ditch plastic bags.
Hopefully if the children are brought up with it and are used to it, they will continue to lead their lives that way.

Sparx said...

Not many changes here but we are line drying all the time - mind you in the winter we use the radiators and rarely the dryer. Still on the cloth nappies and recycling wipes - haven't thought about towels instead of toilet paper as per Wendy though - that's quite radical! You going to go with cloth nappies? Can't recall if you do or not already.