Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Green Goals for 2009

Another year! Another chance to make new habits or change old habits so that we reduce, reuse, and recycle better, and become better stewards and citizens of this planet Earth.

First, looking back on 2008. In January I posted here my 13 un-green habits. Surprisingly, some of them have changed for the better!!

1. Hot showers. Those have actually decreased in time slightly since Jake hasn't been interested in taking showers lately. And I learned a new green trick -- when taking baths, don't drain the bath water until the water has turned cold -- the heat will be used to help keep your house warm, instead of just (literally) going down the drain.

2. Facial tissues. We officially made the switch over to cloth hankies and I love it!! Of course, seems we never have enough, but that can be remedied.

3. Using the car. Umm... I haven't been using public transportation any more BUT I have gotten really good at combining trips. The other day I hit the lamp repair store, picked up my reel lawn mower, returned something at Target, and went grocery shopping, all in the same trip. Yeah!

4. Compost. Argh... well the very good news is that Portland rolled out new compost bins, meant to be used for yard/garden compost. In it I throw things that could have come out of my garden and haven't been cooked -- like the stems from kale leaves that we don't eat. Or tomatoes that we just didn't get to in time before they started to go bad. So that has definitely helped.

5. Cats eating meat. I don't think that one will change, and with the cats only being 6 years old and very healthy, it will stay that way for a long time.

6. Shoes. Humm... I think I brought just 2 pairs of shoes this past year. One pair I have used a LOT. So not bad :)

7. Automatic lawn sprinkler system. No change there. Pass.

8. Batteries. Something I still need to tackle for 2009.

9. Turning off electronics. I am really good about turning off lights, and we are awesome about unplugging the blackberry charger and toaster when not in use. I still need to get some smart strips and hook them up in my office. A goal for 2009.

10. Thermostat to be set lower. Still working on this one. After I saw this, I got up, turned down the heat, and put on a sweater. Sigh.

11. Clothes drying rack. I was awesome at using it this past summer. Harder to use in the colder months when it takes all day. I need to start trying again, just one load a week or something.

12. Using the vegetables. I think I've gotten a little bit better.

13. Reducing plastic bottle use. I have done really well on this one! I've actually been using baking soda to "wash" and apple cider vinegar to rinse my hair for 6 months now, and it is working really well. It also resulted in not buying all those plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles. I do buy Dr. Bronner's liquid soap, but have been refilling those bottles at the store.

So all in all I did really well this past year.

Some things I want to focus on for 2009:

1. Keep using cloth bags at the grocery store but more importantly, learn how to not accept bags or tissue paper at ANY store/market where I shop. Having two of these ultra-compact bags in my purse at all times has greatly helped with this goal. The other day when I did my multiple errands in one trip, I actually didn't know I was going to the grocery store at the end, so I didn't have my cloth grocery bags with me. Fortunately, all my groceries just barely fit into the 2 ultra-compact bags that I keep in my purse!

2. Get some smart strips and hook them up in the office to save on energy drain when things are not in use.

3. Be mindful of when we don't need the thermostat on and when we can at least turn it down. Kind of hard to have the heat down when you have a toddler who loves to run around naked!

That is it for now. We have other projects that will keep us busy this year, so want to keep it simple. What is YOUR green goal for 2009?

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