A few months ago we embarked on a "Greener" journey in the Blakley house as we went "paperless" in the kitchen. I had realized just how many paper towels we were using every day and I realized we were so wasteful!
So, how have we done? ...Pretty well, if I do say so myself! As long as I am on top of the laundry, I really don't even think about how we're not using paper towels or napkins. I have a larger stash of dish towels than before and our napkin holder turned into a "cloth paper towel holder" right by the sink. Also, I had to commit a drawer to cloth napkins, but I believe it has totally been worth it for the effect we can have on our environment.
We've probably used an average of 1 1/2 rolls of paper towels each month - for dog messes, grease, etc. Really, I have been completely happy with the extra money I can use toward other groceries and baby items.
As for the compost bin...we did that too. Justin used some stakes we had around the house and bought chicken wire. I wish we would have done it last year so we could have reaped the benefits of some richer soil for gardening, but I'm looking forward to next year's soil!
The compost is as far away from the house as possible, so I got us a container with a tight lid to go under the sink. I'll throw scraps from produce (corn husks, banana peels, onion peels, etc.) in there, then send Justin to empty it out once a week. Pretty simple lifestyle change that has cut down even more on our waste.
A long time ago we also switched to these great reusable bags from Target that have continued to be awesome! I heard somewhere a while back that Washington, D.C. had basically banned plastic bags. I honestly don't think this is a bad idea. The only problem (for me) is remembering to put the bags back in the car so I will have them next time! These bags have also been great for travel. I use them often to throw Elijah's toys in for short trips or throw food in for a picnic.
As this has become more common, you can find tons of super-cute options for reusable bags. Until mine aren't holding up, I guess I'll hold off on splurging for new ones!
I didn't realize D.C. put a tax on bags until I just found an article about it here. Awesome.
I was torn on this "green" aspect for a while because my brother-in-law is a postal worker. I kept hanging on to our paper bills because I felt that I was in some small part helping to hang on to his job in this (struggling) area of service. However, when I thought about it some more, I realized that I am so tired of the amount of paper that accumulates in our home. This alone made me make the switch for all of our bills to be seen and paid online.
It's an easy switch, so check with your various companies about paperless billing options if you haven't already.
I am still a HUGE FAN of these cloth diapers. They have worked great for Elijah. At 17 months, he is still in the medium size, with a few snaps to go. It's been very cost-efficient. Especially because Elijah is pretty small, so we have really gotten our use out of only 18 small diapers and 18 medium diapers. They are just a way of life for us now. Elijah does use disposables for church (because I can tell no one else in the nursery is a huge fan) and for naps and bedtime.
After just visiting the website, I feel that it may be time to treat Elijah (or his Mama) with one of the gorgeous chocolate colored diapers. Gosh, I don't know why I love brown so much!
REUSABLE SNACK BAGS
If you are reading this and are already (for some reason) thinking about the birthday and Christmas presents you would like to get me, then please just shop here. I am a fan of basically anything you could find on this website. It is really killing me to think about the amount of plastic snack bags we use on a weekly basis. And I'm not really even packing many lunches yet! This is my next plan for the Blakley family in terms of going green. I haven't sat down and budgeted for these yet, so I may hold out for presents. (Hint, hint again to my family!)
What about you? Are there ways you are "Going Green" or do you have other simple suggestions on how to lesson our "Ecological Footprint"?