Ok so I have made lots of changes over the last few years, but there are still a lot of things I can do to be better to the earth, my family and myself. I have heard that if you put your goals out there you are more likely to stick with them. So here goes...
First let me list the changes:
1. We are now recycling paper products and alluminum soda cans. This may not seem like a huge change but with 4 kids, 3 in school we produce HUGE amounts of paper waste DAILY... Teachers send home no less than 5 sheets of paper per kid. That and soda is still my daily vice so instead of tossing the cans I send them home with my little sister and she crushes them and takes them to the recycling place and gets paid a little over 50 cents per pound.
2. We are now cloth diapering the 2 that still wear diapers. I have wanted to make this switch for a while now but because of start up costs it was not possible before this year. Little man is in them full time, and Cam wears cloth pull ups at night.
3. After 6 months of cloth diapering while still using disposable wipes, I finally said this is really dumb. I already wash poo and pee off the diapers every other day, why am I still picking disposable wipes out of the diaper to throw away when I could invest in cloth and toss EVERYTHING into the pail! I made the plunge and bought 3 dozen adorable wipes in assorted prints! BEST decision ever!
4. I made the switch to cloth feminie hygine products. I bought 3 sets of GEM cloth pads and they are wonderful. I miss my tampons, but I am not too sure of the reusable tampon alternatives so I will stick with the pads for now. Again this may not seem like a big deal when it's just one person a month on the rag (hee hee literally), but I know that T.T. is not too far off from her monthly gift and then the other 2 girls will be right behind her. The plan is to invest is several more sets of cloth pads so that when the girls get thier gift they will start with cloth from the get go.
Ok, so now for the LIST (in no particular order):
1. Recycle plastics, cardboard, glass and the other metal items besides soda cans. For this to happen I will need to sign up for some sort of recycling pick up service. I am not even sure if that is avaliable in my community but I will look into it. If not it will take a little more effort on my part, but I guess I can make the sorting and bagging into a chore for the girls so, it may not be so bad afterall... :)
2. Ditch the disposable kitchen products. Right now I admit we use a lot of paper plates, plastic forks, paper towels, and napkins. It is shameful how much we throw away in the kitchen. In my defense I am the only person (adult) in this house who bothers to clean the kitchen (namely do the dishes) and between school, work and the kids, the disposable options have saved my sanity a few times. This one item is actually one of the highest on my list. I have been researching unpaper towels, but I think I can just buy bar towels at Walmart for a lot less money and they will get the job done. I am trying to figure out how many we typically use per week so that I can buy enough to go 3 days. For napkins I already planned on just buying plain white washcloths.
3. Ditching convience foods. Like #2, these items have kept my kids fed on days when there were literally not enough hours in the day. Not only do they produce insane amount of waste, they are chock full of chemicals... I hate letting them eat junk... but allowing them to starve would have been criminal... My plan is to take this step one farther and to switch to organic where it is most beneficial and thereby justifying the extra cost. I also will be working on eliminating food dyes. I also want to batch cook healthy foods and freeze them for easy re-heating. Cooking from scratch with whole grains as much as possible. For this to happen successfully I need to replace my TINY chest freezer with a much larger upright freezer. I have even thought about what to freeze the foods in. I plan to use reuable plastic containers... I know some think plastic is the devil, but in my opinion it has got to be better than throwing away a ton of foil containers all the time.
4. Homemade bath soaps. I know it seems silly but we use an insane amount of soap in this house. The girls bathe themselves and can't seem to grasp the concept that "a little goes a long way" or that "less really is more". I want to experiment with making homemade milk/coconut/olive oil soap scented with lavendar oil, colored with vegetable/flower dyes. I found a recipe and it seems doable... I just need the time... I'm thinking this summer will be perfect time...
5. Kitchen waste part 2. This time I'm specifically talking about ziploc baggies, and cling wrap. I research reuable options and want to make the switch. My only hang up with this one is they are SUPER expensive to buy. I could sew my own if I had the time... ACK, stuck between being frugal and crunchy... I will get there, eventually.
I will be back later to fix the spelling grammar on this... little man is demanding my full attention RIGHT NOW!!!!