Thursday, February 14, 2008

Easy Ideas for Going Green

In case you're wondering (and even if you weren't) we've been slowly taking greener steps to create a healthier home. Mostly, because doing so has helped to save us money and has lately become more convenient, but also because I've begun to notice a difference in how I feel with less toxins around.

1. Recycle. Duh.

Currently, we recycle aluminum cans. Gaines go through about a box of sodas a week, and the bonus is that we can drop off the empty ones at church and make a little extra money for our elderly members.

2. Use cloth.

I have a couple of cheap cloth shopping bags I got at Garden Ridge for $1 each. I try to remember to take these with me whenever I go to the store, but sometimes I forget. If I do bring home plastic bags, we keep them and reuse them. We also part-time cloth diaper, but that's an entirely different post for another day. Oh, and cloth napkins. Sometimes I remember to use those, but I need a better system for what to do with the dirty ones.

3. Become aware.

Having a baby DOES change everything. I'm not a complete clean/germ freak, but seeing how the little dude puts everything into his mouth really makes me pause. Eventually, I'd like to try out the baby surface spray and other products from Mrs. Meyers. Right now, I just use hot water and mild soap for most things.

Also, since Trader Joe's came to town, I've enjoyed using their laundry detergent, especially on cloth diapers and wipes. I'm open to trying other brands, though, so if anyone has any (reasonably priced) recommendations that are either unscented or that have a clean, fresh, natural scent, let me know.

4. Slowly get rid of chemicals.

I have tons of harsh cleaning products, but since I bought most of them at a warehouse club my stockpile has lasted for years. However, whenever I run out of a product, I try to replace it with something more eco-friendly. I'm currently loving the Method window cleaner with it's fresh mint scent (yay for Target!). I'd like to try out more of their products -- I'm thinking of just tossing out everything I have and getting the detox kit! But for now, I'll switch out one product at a time.

5. Freecycle.

It is my new best friend. A few months ago, we gave away our old TV, and yesterday, I picked up a filing cabinet!

Besides the other usual things like changing out to the long-lasting flourescent lightbulbs, using less water, keeping the thermostat constant (and using lots of blankets), how else do you try to make less of an impact on the environment while also being cost-effective?


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