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Old 07-31-2007, 08:05 PM   #1
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The GREEN Thread

Hi folks!!! I have been thinking about this starting this thread for a few days now and finally decided it would be a good to get tips and ideas from other DC'ers on what they do to conserve our precious resources. To live green or at least try to do what we can to live a greener life. I just would like to know what other folks are doing that maybe our family could adopt to live in a manner more considerate of the earth....

Here are a few things that we have done to try and promote living a greener life. I can't say that we are entirely where we want to be at, but I hope to get better at it as I learn.

Water:
I use to wash my face in warm water, turning on the water for several minutes waiting for it to heat up... well you know that leads to water waste. So now I simply wash in cold water, only takes a minute or two and I use way less water.

Also turning off the water while brushing, or rinsing dishes as opposed to allowing it to run.

Taking shorter showers... I think I am going to time my shower and see how long I spend in there!

Only watering the lawn when needed.

Recycle:
We try to recycle when ever possible, card board, containers, what ever we can do.

Electric:
Replaced all light bulbs in the house with flourescent bulbs to help save on our electric bills and use less energy... and of course turning off the lights when you leave the room. In the morning, I often take showers in the morning light as opposed to turning on the lights.

Reusable:
The latest change that we have made and I love is using the canvas bags for our shopping needs. I believe foodstorm had mentioned using them and they are great!!! I keep mine in the car and I don't have to fuss with the plastic bags anymore. Plus my canvas bags hold much more than those plastic bags and they dont break! If you forget the bags, opt for paper, they are far easier to recycle than plastic.

OK FOLKS, please share your tips, I would love to hear what you do to live a greener life!!!

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Old 07-31-2007, 08:41 PM   #2
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Never thought of the "green" thing, but Buck and I have been using washable grocery bags for almost 20 years. Whenever we get plastic bags, we save them and take them to the stores that recycle them. Also have a compost bin (started it June 2006) where we dispose of our vegetable matter. Take all our aluminum cans to the recycling depot for disposal.

I've never let the water run when I brush my teeth. That was something my father taught me many, many moons ago.

Can't say we conserve water by not watering our yard. In the nearly 40 years I've owned homes, I've never watered the grass, so didn't get in the habit of doing so.

Almost always wash in cold water and seldom use our electric dryer, even in the wintertime. I wash once a week and will only do a load if there is enough to make it worthwhile. I've made sure that we have enough underwear, socks, etc. to last at least 2 to 3 weeks so I'm not doing laundry to "do" laundry, if you get what I mean.

Our house isn't air-conditioned, so guess we are doing our part there. It's also not centrally heated in the winter and we use wood to heat the areas we occupy.

It's only the two of us, so not many lights are turned on because we usually only have the lights on in the rooms we occupy at the moment we're in them. Lights produce heat, which we are cognizant of during the summer months (see no air-conditioning above). In the wintertime we're a little more lenient with the light thing.

There are probably more things we do that are "green" that I'm not remembering, but we do them because it's prudent and the cost effective way to run a household rather than to be green. Our practices are borne of raising 5 children and trying to make our dollars stretch.

I think part of the problem with folks is that they got out of the habit of doing things the (current) green way and slipped into doing things that are convenient.
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Old 07-31-2007, 08:52 PM   #3
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I recycle all bottles, cans, and plastic containers. Don't bother wasting water rinsing them out. The recycle centers don't care if they are clean or dirty. They all get power washed during the recycle process.

I recycle all newspapers, cardboard, junk mail and magazines.

I don't buy bottled water for daily, in home/work consumption. I have a reusable bottle that I simply keep filling and rinsing.

I also replace bulbs as they expire with flourescent ones. I don't heat rooms or cool rooms that are not in use. I pull the blinds down on windows that face west in the afternoon (in the summer)

If I water the lawn, I'll take all the potted plants from around the yard and place them on the sidewalk, in the direct line of the sprinkler. I'll put a few buckets out, too....

I'll put a few bucket type containers out if it's going to rain (or under the sprinkler) so I have water to wash the patio chairs with, or clean the birdbath.

Wash only with full loads (clothes and dishwasher). No heat dry in the dishwasher.

Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge.

Melting ice from the ice bucket waters plants.

Burn the christmas tree during the first outdoor fire.

I know I have more.........
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:23 PM   #4
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Thanks, Vera. You reminded me of more.

We have a paper shredder we use and empty it into our compost bin. Gotta say, by now, we have some lovely black compost.

Also drain all canned veggies and such into the outdoor kitties' "swill" pot to be poured over their evening food. All meat scraps are put into the swill pot and cooked to give it to them.

Yeah, we also don't run the dishwasher until it's almost ready to puke.

And, as you say, I'm sure there's more here...
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Old 07-31-2007, 10:40 PM   #5
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great thread!
house is super insulated, low E windows etc...dress for winter and summer and adjust thermostat appropriately.

Have high end applainces that conserve energy and water. Never do half loads.

Recycle, reuse, avoid throw aways. Even for parties I have glass plates and glasses..food tastes better on real dishes!

Give to thrift shops or recycling centers.

Cooking wise, I make big amounts, portion them out after the first meal. Makes reheating etc simple and easy and uses less energy. ex pasta sauce, chili, stew, soup, lasagna. But also roasts, mashers, roasted root veggies, ... keeps oven use efficient...once it is heated, use it. but don't reheat it for every meal.

I know there is probably so much more I can do so I'm reading everybody's posts.
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Old 07-31-2007, 10:50 PM   #6
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Robo, you just reminded me of another way we take care of "stuff." I shop at area thrift stores for all kinds of things and donate things to the same stores, as well as offering things to Freecycle.org, which is a network that exchanges things for free between members. It's in the U.S. and several foreign countries. I've given away some amazing things, including a huge stack of used bricks. There's also Craig's List, which is a similar group, but "for sale" items.

I've always had a problem with waste and have tried to find ways to either use discards, etc. or find someone who can use them.
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Old 07-31-2007, 10:56 PM   #7
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You guys have reminded me of other stuff too!!! Katie E... I soooo want to start a compost pile, I think of all that raw food waste and keep thinking how good it would be to have one!!! I must get with you on that!

Robo.. I agree about the throw aways... I use to be hooked on paper plates and soon realize how unnecessary it was.

This may sound crazy, but if I use a paper towel to wipe up something minor, I will stash it off to the side and reuse it for something spilled on the floor, then toss it. I try to avoid the use of papertowels.

VB.. I do the same thing if and when I water.. I put all the potted plants around and get them at the same time.

Great ideas guys, love to hear more!!!
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:19 PM   #8
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Hmmm. Paper products. Never thought about them. Although, we don't use many. Mostly toilet paper. We may buy a box of tissues every 6 months. Never buy paper towels. Never use paper napkins. Have always used cloth napkins. The napkin thing is because Buck's family owned a weaving mill and we received all the napkins and tablecloths we could need.

I'd be hard put to find a paper plate in our house. We were invited to a family picnic a few years ago and I had to beg off on providing paper plates, cups and napkins. Were able to provide other goodies, though.

This is an interesting thread and one all of us can offer suggestions to and learn from. Keep the comments coming.
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Old 07-31-2007, 11:35 PM   #9
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This is a great thread - so many wonderful ideas. At my house, we:

never water the yard - xeriscaping only

have been using only fluorescent bulbs for well over 10 years now except for chandeliers, which are fluorescent now too since they started making those bulbs a couple of years ago

have had a front loader washing machine for 8 years now

use micro-fiber and tea towels almost exclusively instead of paper towels - I keep a basket full of them in the kitchen for use on everything except the most disgusting stuff

recycle everything through our city recycling program

look first for architectural salvage or used items when doing home repairs, renovations or updates

re-purpose or donate unneeded items such as clothing, housewares, furniture (I made a great liquor cart for a friend from my youngest son's changing table when he no longer needed it).

And now ya'll have given me so many more ideas - thanks!
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Old 08-01-2007, 11:13 AM   #10
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Ahhhh, here in a month or so, our front yard will be xeriscaped!!! I'm so excited!!!

I would like to get away from using paper towels... try to find those towels you speak of!
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