Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Not a treehugger... but getting a wee bit closer.

Hey! It's Earth Day! :)

I have been compiling this mental list of things we've done over this last year to be more Earth Friendly and Environmentally Aware. Most things also have the added bonus of saving some money so, win-win! :)

Now that we have a house, with our own laundry, I was able to make a major switch. Ashley is cloth diapered 50-75% of the time - also using cloth wipes the majority of the time. We usually use disposables when we go out of the house (don't want to deal with transporting icky diapers back home)and also we use them overnight since we co-sleep, and want our bed to stay clean and dry. I realize there is wool for overnights, and storing diapes in wetbags for dirties, but this just works for us right now.

Speaking of laundry, we bought a High-Efficiency washer and dryer when we bought the house. I do diaper laundry 2 times a week, and it uses considerably less water, gas, and electricity that a non HE model. Even though I run a cold rinse/drain, followed by 2 full hot cycles - it still uses the same amount or less water than a single cycle would in a top loader.

We only use HE detergent which has the added benefit (since you use less per load) of lasting longer.

As for detergents, we use Ecos (for day-to-day laundry) or 7th Generation (I only use this for diapers, as it's more $$) but it has no optical brighteners, fabric softener, or other stuff that can break down or leave residue cloth diapers and covers.

Both detergents are earth-friendly, phosphate-free, and made from non-toxic, plant-based, natural ingredients.

We are a bleach-free family. I opt instead for natural-based OXO BRITE to deal with laundry stains. As for diaper stains, there is the old-fashioned line drying in the sun (which bleaches stains) - it's free, natural, and effective!

I use only Method Cleansers or Mrs. Meyer's for day-to-day our cleaning... kitchen, bathrooms, wood furniture cleaning, etc.

I also use vinegar for cleaning. It's got anti-bacterial properties, and helps with hard water mineral deposits.

I admit to using Lysol toilet cleanser - it is the only chemical-based household cleansing agent I use, and I don't know of any way around that at the moment. We have hard water and low-flow toilets. The combination cause really unsightly blackish stains, discoloration, and build-up in our bowls. The Lysol cleanser is the only thing I have found that combats it.

I use microfiber towels for dusting, cleaning bathrooms, and glass, and mirrors. We have a microfiber mop as well. After cleaning, the go right into the washer.

We are scaling back our paper towel usage, but that is a hard one with 2 little people who make big messes.

My dad recently bought me a Shark Steam mop, which even though it's electric, saves me from having to even use the Method stuff on the floors. It uses only water for cleaning. And with 1100 square feet of hard floors, every little bit helps!

We bought a fake tree for Christmas this year, and replaced our old strings of lights LED lights.

We bring our own bags whenever possible. (Remembering them is a matter of putting them on the doorknob right after they are emptied so they make it back out to the car the next trip out.)

We have almost completely cut out buying water in plastic bottles. I used to clear out my car and it would be filled with empties.

I have also been researching composting and eliminating some or all of our lawn in favor of low-water, no-mow options. As it is,we only water by hand right now since our sprinker valve needs to be replaced.

By no means are we perfect... we definately have a lot of room for improvments/refinement. We still forget our reusable bags in the car, use too many paper towels, and have a 4 year old that loves to flush the toilet, even after just one pee. But it's little things that add up!
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