Friday, October 2, 2009

It's Not Easy Being Green

I wouldn't say I've lived a posh lifestyle with complete disregard to the environment, throwing endless things away for convenience, but I definately could do better. Mostly I would attribute it to a lack of knowledge, not lack of caring. However, in the last 6 months or so my eyes have been opened to some things that I hadn't noticed. It started with my homemade laundry soap (courtesy of the Webster clan) and a daily awareness of wastefulness and reliance on manufacturing. Then, I found the book Green Housekeeping. Wow! So wonderful! Now, I will say there's some things in there that are a little over the top for me, but it has educated me greatly.

Now, I need to make a disclaimer: I am in no way saying I live the ultimate green life. But I am trying a little bit at a time to transform my way of thinking and living to better my children's future. Notice I did not say 'save the planet'. To be frank, this statement irks me because I think it's ridiculous. George Carlin may be crass, but he's not so far off to say we are egotistical to think the planet needs our saving - it doesn't. Now, before you get defensive thinking I'm saying eco living is hogwash, I'm not saying that at all. The planet will go on fine for many years until it's swallowed up by the sun. We as a race, however, will be in a mess of trouble. That's my point - live with a conservative mindset to better our futures and make ourselves more self-reliant. That's the mental direction I'm heading, one step at a time.

My mom told me about an article she read (I have no idea where) in which a man saved all his trash for a year. Yowza! He realized a vast majority of it was product packaging and food waste. I would love to compost but at the moment I am too cheap to spend money on a compost bin. Shame on me. Christmas gift anyone? It really made me contemplate how I purchase things and what I do with the packaging. I have begun to change my purchasing choices based on this fact. I have also started saving a lot of packaging and creatively repurposing it throughout my home. I love to organize, so I can't complain about my lovely assortment of boxes, bins, jars and bottles. Something very fun I have begun to do is use these in drawers as custom organizers. I love all the little plastic ones you can buy, (oh, the Container Store...) but they are expensive and I just can't rationalize it when I can do this for free. Plus, there's a greater variety of sizes. It may not look as 'pretty' but I'm much more satisfied reusing these boxes than throwing them away and buying more plastic. It could use some fine tuning, but here's what I did with my kitchen junk drawer:

I don't have a before picture, but I'm very pleased with the results. I mean, what does your junk drawer look like? If it's like something out the Container Store catalogue, I don't want to hear about it. On second thought, go ahead and post a pic, I'll live vicariously through your pretty drawer...

Now, I make a lot of my own baby food, but I don't make all of it. Therefore, I have quite the collection of baby food jars. These are wonderful for so many things! One of my recent repurposes for these were some homemade decorative pumpkins. I have been oogling the ones in stores, especially the ones made out of grapevine. But I don't have any grapevine. I do have lots of kudzu I just might try drying out though... Anyway, I had also seen some cute fabric ones that I like but once again, I'm just too cheap to spend money on something I really don't need. So, the other day when the boys were particularly happy, I rummaged through my stash and came up with these:

They weren't really the fabric I wanted, but I didn't purchase anything to make these. I took 3 baby food jars of different sizes, stuffed a square of fall colored fabric around and in to the center. Then I took a torn piece of cardboard and rolled it up for a stem. The leaves are from a silk fern I had left over from a floral project. The bows are rafia and for a finishing touch I wound some gold wire around a pencil to use as a curly vine. Overall, I was pretty happy with my makeshift pumpkins.

I'm really enjoying this transition in my life and I'm looking forward to new creative ideas for a self-sustaining lifestyle. I only have 1 1/3 acres, so I won't be buying a dairy cow or chickens anytime soon, but I hope to start a garden next year. I'm definately doing an herb garden - I want lots of lavender. What are some of your favorite ways that you try to live green? Thanks for sharing!


Ashley said...

You don't have to buy a compost bin, you just need a big rubbermaid container! Actually, some people don't use anything at all, they just have a pile somewhere in their yard...but I like the idea of having it contained somehow. So, I just used one of the big rubbermaid containers we bought when we moved, drilled some holes in the bottom, and voila-compost bin! I had a lid on it, but it actually seemed to make the bug problem's better when it's just open and the air can get to it. Every once in awhile, you just go back there and turn it over and you're good. Mine is out behind our fence so the dogs don't get into it, so I have a bucket that I throw things in and take back there once it starts to smell :)

Oh, and we recycle...I don't use the garbage service for recycling, we take it over to the recycling center ourselves because the garbage service doesn't take as much as they take over at the recycling center. I honestly never realized how many cardboard boxes we used...I'm talking like the packaging that food comes in. That's what piles up the most.

I'd like to see that book sometime if I can! I bought Summer a book about Green gardening and I was going to read that, too, but now we're not friends anymore, so...oh well.

LeeBeeP said...

That's great, thanks for the suggestion! I actually did try just having a pile, but the bugs got so bad I had multiple bites after running my little kitchen bucket out. And then Isaac saw a critter... so I decided to nix it for awhile. You're right about the air circulation, that's very important. Oh, and you're welcome to check out my book, but I found it on amazon for less than $1 used. Great deal. Also, does the recycling center charge? That's what I keep hearing. And where is it? I would really like to do that.

Ashley said...

Eww, gross :( Yeah, I'm all about this whole composting thing, but I'm not gonna lie...the pile grosses me out. And now I'm really glad that I have it in a container after hearing that. Grody.

I didn't really even know you were into the whole green thing. We must unite and combine our powers to better our childrens' futures! haha

The recycling center I go to is the one in Snellville. Technically, I think you are supposed to be a resident of Snellville to be able to dump there, but I've never really been clear on that so you could call and ask. It annoys me to think that they would turn people away who want to help recycle. Anyway, they never check my ID and Patrick has been taking it by himself for awhile now and he never has a problem. But then our plates say Gwinnett where yours say Walton (?) so that would be a clear sign you don't live in Snellville. I don't know, call them and ask. Google it...Snellville Recycling Center. It's behind the old Library...on Lenora Church Rd.

Oh, I'd also like to see those pumpkins in real life...I couldn't really see the detail that well in the picture.

Lauren said...

My big green wishlist item right now is a compost bin as well. Although switching to cloth diapers helped out our waste-load a lot, as well as our monthly budget.

I was making a lot of our own cleaning products for a while, and then switched to buying BioKleen and Charlie's Soap brand everything. But when we run out, I'm going back to homemade. :)

I love your ideas for repurposing! Cute crafting.

ps - please put the "follow" gadget on your blog, since i'm lame and don't know how to use google reader. ;)

LeeBeeP said...

Ok, then I'm lame too, because I'm not really sure how I'm supposed to add a gadget...


Ashley said...

from your dashboard, click on layout.

Then, click on add a gadget.

Then, a list will come up. Click on the plus sign by "followers," which will then add it to your page.

I have Friday and Monday off...four day weekend! Maybe I could come see you...?