Thursday, March 05, 2009

It ain't easy being green

This post inspired by Sam.

I'll be the first to tell you - I'm no hippie. I'd never survive in a sea of crunchy-granola girls, that's for sure. They'd totally mock me till my death, after which they'd try to compost me or something, because I doubt that I'm recyclable. That being said though, I do care about what we as human beings are doing to the environment and I want to do what I can to help. I'm talking baby steps though, because I sure as hell am not giving up my MAC makeup or switching to reusable baby wipes. Ew. I am still an OCD germaphobe, after all.

Here are some of the small changes we've made:

*We started using gDiapers. I love these things. While a regular disposable diaper can take centuries to biodegrade (and probably won't ever do so in a landfill if you use a Diaper Genie), and a regular cloth diaper has almost as much impact on the environment (albeit in a different way) due to the soap, water, and energy used to clean them, a gDiaper takes the best of both worlds and combines them into a cloth diaper shell with a disposable liner that can be composted (pee only) or FLUSHED! Even if you do toss them in the trash (like we do, I don't trust apartment plumbing) they will biodegrade in a mere 100 days or so. Awesome.

*I got rid of the vinyl shower curtain liners in our bathrooms and replaced them with cloth ones. I was skeptical of how they'd work at first, but they seem okay after two years. Best part is I can just take them down and toss them in the wash if they start to look grubby. Reusable for longer than vinyl, and no nasty off gassing.

*We started to recycle. This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but we live in an apartment and they don't offer recycling to us here. We (meaning my husband) have to bag it up and drive it to a drop off point. It's not far, but it is a pain in the butt.

*I put CFLs in the living room lamps. Dude, I HATE these things. I hate that when you turn them on, they're not just on, but you have to wait for them to warm up. Not to mention the fact that they contain mercury, so you're up shit creek if you break one or have to throw it away when it dies. But, they were on sale, and they save energy, yada yada yada. I did it because I knew I should, not because I wanted to. I only get half credit for this one.

*I made my own all purpose household cleaner. Like I said, I'm a germaphobe, but I found a recipe for one that says it kills bacteria. One cup water, one cup white vinegar, and ten drops tea tree oil. It smells like pickles and medicine, which is weird, but better than chemicals and I don't have to worry about the baby breathing it in. The pickle smell does wear off after a bit though.

*I stopped using the pink baby lotion. Even though I loooooove the way it smells, I can't pronounce most of the many ingredients. If an adult's skin can absorb nicotine through it using a patch, I'm guessing that a baby's much thinner, more delicate skin can absorb those chemicals. We've been using 100% pure cocoa butter instead. Now, instead of smelling like a baby, he smells like chocolate.

*I also use the California Baby Overtired & Cranky bubble bath instead of the lavender bedtime stuff for the same reason. Smells even better and comes with a wand to blow bubbles!

*Along those same lines, I use Dimpleskins Naturals Bum Bum Balm instead of Desitin or A+D ointment. Big D turned me on to this, and I love it. It's so nice in comparison to the other stuff.

*I use bar soap instead of body wash. Less packaging.

*I only buy biodegradable hand soap. My favorite is Kiss My Face almond scented.

*I donate my used magazines to the local old folks home and the nearby hospital emergency room so they can be enjoyed more than once.

*We've committed to buying as few plastic toys for the baby as possible. I don't want to be one of those people who's house is awash in a sea of brightly colored plastic that beeps and lights up. We want to go the wooden, old school route, and choose toys that are multitaskers and contribute to the imagination. The one exception on the plastic thing - Legos.

Same goes for baby gear like high chairs, etc. if we can avoid it.

*I'm drinking water out of a glass instead of a plastic water bottle.

*We donate unwanted items to Goodwill instead of throwing them away. We'll put bigger items by the dumpster for what I like to call "Apartment Recycling". Someone always takes them!

*We buy organic items and produce when possible. If that organic zucchini is all shriveled and sad though, I'm going to go with the fresher looking regular one.

*We stopped heating baby bottles by letting hot water run on them in the sink until they were warm. Now, I keep a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave half full of water, and I heat that up and stick the bottle inside. Heats the dang thing faster too.

*Switched to all natural toothpaste.

*Turn off water while brushing my teeth.

*We don't use paper plates, ever. No plastic cutlery either.

*I started to make handknit dishcloths that can be tossed in the laundry and reused instead of throw away cellulose sponges.

*We take our own reusable bags to the grocery store. I'm encouraging the next generation to do this as well.

*Keep the windows open while the weather is nice to air this place out and remove toxins.

*This is probably going to sound ridiculous, but I've become more conscious of the amount of toilet paper that I use after reading about it on Sam's blog. Before, I'd grab the end, yank, and tear off whatever I got. Now I try to use just what I actually need so I'm not wasting paper.

*Same idea with paper towels. We started to use our dishtowels more too, so a roll lasts a long time. Switching to those select-a-size ones helped reduce our consumption too.

*Turn off lights when I leave a room. Grouse at husband when he forgets! LOL!

That's all I can think of right now. See? Little changes, a little at a time that I can handle.

Things I want to do:

*Start using soap nuts in the laundry, and around the house.

*Wean myself off the plug-ins and the air fresheners. Instead, I will use my own homemade spray: 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup vodka, 10 drops or so lavender essential oil.

*Buy baby clothes at consignment shops instead of new.

*Use gDiapers full time. They're awesome, but kind of pricey compared to disposables, obviously. This past week I found $5 off Huggies coupons online, and since I found the diapers on sale at Safeway... well, could YOU pass up a $5 package of diapers?

*Stop killing houseplants. Especially the ones that clean the air.

*Get the husband to use paper bags to scoop poop so we won't have any dependence on plastic bags anymore.

I'm sure I'll think of more as soon as I hit the publish post button!

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Blogger em said...

I like this post :)

I'm like you...totally not the crunchy type...but have made a lot of changes in the past year! Loved reading about yours...

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cocoa butter works as a moisturizer? Does it also work as tushie cream?

I also use natural household cleaners. Once I bought a Swiffer mop, thinking I can use any cleaner with it- but they make it so only their special bottles work with it. I guess my body got unused to harsh chemicals, and I got an awful headache from the Swiffer solution.

And ditto about the plastic flashy toys. It's so hard to find something normal these days! Every toy sings or dances or makes coffee or interacts with some computer program. Ugh.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Susanne P. said...

i love the reusable grocery bags. they stand up so much better in my trunk.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Vodka in an air freshener!?!?!?
I learn something new everyday!

3:32 PM  
Blogger Zee said...

I have already forgotten half your list but a few things I wanted to comment on. Dimpleskins has a baby moisterizer too, hard to find though. It's in the same packaging, they have one for boo boos and one that's like a natural vapor rup. I want this if I can find it! The bum bum balm also works great on dry skin patches. Asa gets them between his eyebrows and it's the only thing that has taken it away, usually less than 2-3 days later.

As for the toys, I'm right there with you. Asa loves his books, I started reading them to him with his nightly bottle as an infant. ebay book lots are a great deal and I totally recomend checking them out. I have to say that almost every toy Asa has that makes noise and lights up, has been a gift. He does like cars and has some shake and goes, the one that crashes is his favorite. He also loves musical toys. G-ma bought him the Baby Einstein Baby Take-Along Tunes Infant Toy and he loves it to this day...totally recomend it for Sawyer! But for the most part he loves to play with containers with lids, small objects like blocks and balls that he can put into something(bags, bowls, boxes, etc)and of course his very favorite, books and drawing! Oh and toy phones, find one that plays music and you can record on Parents has one, he loves it the best. There is just something so much better with toys that make a child think! From visiting others homes with small children you would think my child was deprived of toys. It amazes me how much "stuff" kids have now a days, and most of it just sits there or does all the "thinking" for them. Oh I forgot to add, I rotate his toys around too.

I use paper towels, I can't stand the smell of dish clothes after a day or two and I certainly have no real knack for laundry...haha.

10:14 AM  
Blogger AZAnjanette said...

i am absolutely convinced that the pink baby lotion is what caused my daughter (and so many millions of other kids) to have eczema. I started using the pink lotion on her as an infant and soon after noticed she was scratching her tiny baby body until it bled. The doctor said it was the scent bothering her so I stopped using all scented products. She still has very sensitive skin and I really believe that i must have stripped her skin of some natural protectant as an infant and now the cells don't grow right. Yes I know that sounds CRAZY. But when her skin goes all out of control, all it takes is a layering of vaseline and vaseline non-scented lotion for 2 days and she's all better.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Samara Link said...

This is awesome!! I'm so glad to hear I've been a source of inspiration. Now I'm going to use all your work as my inspiration! There is always room for improvement in this area. You have some great ideas here. Gotta look at what's next on my list -- toothpaste and ....

5:39 PM  

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