On Wise Bread yesterday they were asking people what commitments they were making to the environment. Reading through those lists, I realized that as my family has become more committed to handling our money responsibly, we have also become more green. We've done a lot of things in the last couple of years.
1. WE DID build a rain barrel (a free neighborhood association event) that we use to gather water for our outdoor pond, vegetable garden, and indoor fish tank. WE WILL use that water for indoor plants and see if we can’t use it to flush the toilet as well.
2. WE DID install a programmable thermostat this summer
3. WE DID just replace all our light bulbs with CFC bulbs, for which we got a rebate from our local energy company that made the $4.95 bulb 79 cents!
4. WE DID just put our electronic equipment on power strips so we can turn them all off at once every evening.
5. WE became a one-car family, using carpools and busing. WE DID buy a scooter, which my husband uses to get to work when it’s above freezing. It gets 90 miles per gallon!
6. WE stopped using paper towels.
7. WE DID stop buying lunch at work, saving money and a massive amount of paper waste. I WILL start bringing silverware from home and stop using plastic silverware from work.
8. WE DID pick up some free reusable grocery bags at our state fair and we’ve been using them about half the time. WE WILL find a way to remember them every time we go shopping.
9. WE WILL find more ways to walk to our errands rather than drive a car. Two weeks ago we walked to the grocery store with our reusable bags and two of our kids. We had a great conversation along the way about what we are doing to be more financially and ecologically responsible. We asked for their ideas as well.
10. WE WILL sign up for a CSA (community support agriculture) share next summer as a way to eat local and minimize the gas used to transport food long distances.
11. WE DID bring paper home from work that had been printed on one side so we could use the other side for printing.
12. WE DID spend much of the year decluttering. We posted items online on Freecycle and were able to recycle ceiling tiles, old wood paneling, old bicycles!
13. WE DID start this month sending cease and desist notices to vendors who send us catalogs.
14. WE DID save a couple of plastic drinking bottles. We buy the large container of V8 juice and pour a day’s drink into the smaller plastic bottle to bring to work.
15. WE DO wash and reuse plastic sandwich bags, but WE WILL start using more durable plastic containers and try to live without the baggies altogether.
16. WE WILL look for ways to avoid using the clothes dryer. I hang most of my clothes.
17. WE WILL look into e-bills to see if we can do it without losing track of bills!
18. I WILL sew some decorative bags that we can use and reuse, instead of wrapping paper, for the holidays.
19. WE WILL switch from single use dryer sheets to reusable dryer balls.
20. WE DO have a composter in the yard, but it rarely gets turned so it's not doing much. WE WILL look into making a tumbler composter for more effective composting and do more composting.
With the money we are saving, WE WILL make progress on our 10-year plan to make our house more energy independent with solar or geothermal.