Thursday, November 29, 2007

Green Within Reason

I am a conservative with a dash of green.
My friend Sara encourages alot in this area. She is reasonable. She is not militant or judgemental. If you did not know, you would not know. She thinks I am greener than I am. She was shocked to find out that I do "retail" exclusively for Christmas. Sadly, I had never given any thought to any other way. I look at my stack o' retail gifts and think, could I have done things differently? Do I want to do things differently next year? I'll be thinking on that. It requires a whole lot of thought to be creative. Sometimes it requires twice as much money as well.

I thought it might be interesting to you to see my green inconsistency. I would love to see yours as well.

  • We get a real tree every year. It takes approximately 6 years to grow a Christmas tree. To be green, we would purchase a balled and burlapped tree and plant it after Christmas. Knowing both my limited income and my lack of skill with growing things-we would be much better off just burning up a $100 dollar bill than buying a balled and burlapped tree! The next best thing would be to get an artificial one(made in a foreign country by children-different guilt trip/post for another day) and reuse it over and over. I have no skill at "arranging" branches and our artificial trees always look pathetic. I have no guilt over getting a real tree every year. It is so much fun and I love the tradition and the memories we make while doing so. We buy from family Christmas tree farms. This year, we may drive quite a way to support a family farm. But we still will-or try anyway! My commitment to local area farmers is stronger than my desire to "be green". We have even thought of how cool it would be to have a tree farm ourselves, then I remember the bolded item above.

  • I so wanted to use cloth diapers with my baby number one. I told everyone to buy us those. My family balked-They HAD to use cloth diapers. They filled our home with disposable diapers and wipes. They told everyone who bought us a present to buy us disposable diapers. They thought it was a money thing-it wasn't. However, I got used to the ease of disposable diapers and never looked back. I wish I had grown a backbone and done it. My kids probably would have potty trained before they were three. I usually buy diapers as a baby gift??? I have no shame. Pitiful. Also, I would not even consider a CLOTH reusable maxi pad. UGH. They do exist and true greenies embrace them. Also there are mooncups. I truly lack this kind of commitment!!

  • I hate paper plates, napkins and cups. There is something so wasteful about creating something that is made to use one time and then throw it away. I use them all the time though-at church, cookouts, birthday parties. I do not use them on a daily basis though. Even when we host care group. I like real dishes. I reuse alot of things meant to be used only once. I firmly believe in REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. But I am not very zealous in the recycling my trash area. I do recycle useful containers. I consider yard sales to be a form of recycling as well. The one area I am weak in is napkins and paper towels. However, I plan to remedy this by buying some real napkins. Enough for company. I also have a gift wrap addiction. Love it!(There is something so wasteful.....blah blah blah.)

  • I don't balk a bit though about throwing away poopy toilet paper. I do try to follow the ten square rule-depending on the TP quality. BTW-I have totally switched to Cottonelle. I bought it a few months ago because it was soooo much cheaper than Charmin and I have remained in the Cottonelle camp ever since.

  • I make alot of food from scratch because convenience foods are both unhealthy and have a ridiculous amount of packaging. I don't feel this way about all foods though-I love a cake mix. I make my own biscuits and now also-my own rolls. I buy frozen veggies more than canned-but this is a taste preference more than it is a "green" one. I would love to can my own veggies, bake my own bread, make my own yogurt, have my own chickens, grow my own beef and pork-but I know my limitations here. I am not "that" woman. If we had to live off of our garden, we would surely starve.

  • Someone gave me a basket of used clothes as a baby gift when Lilly was born. I loved it. I not only appreciated that she thought enough of me to do so-but that it took much longer to select those purchases that it would have to do retail. I also appreciated how much more she was able to purchase for the same amount of money. It stands out as one of my favorite presents ever. I'm too worried about what others would think to do the same for someone else. WIMP! HYPOCRITE!!!

So, now a quick recap of me being a hypocrite greenie.

  1. I lamented adding disposable diapers to a landfill somewhere-but not a bit over pads.
  2. I don't mind wasting gift wrap a bit. (maybe a little)
  3. I waste an entire tree once a year-we use it and then we burn it up in a bonfire at some point the next spring or fall. (We usually invite friends and waste paper products.)

  4. I hate using throw away plates, napkins, and cups. I don't mind throwing away toilet paper a bit.

  5. I reduce, reuse, and recycle-but not anywhere near what I should.

  6. I try to be conscious of all the packaging we buy and truly seek to keep it as minimal as possible. I don't buy anywhere near the amount of convenience foods that I see others buy. Our trash company still brought us another can because we have so much trash.
  7. I like getting a thoughtful used gift, but I don't give them because I fear what the recipient might think.

Please make me feel better and share your wasteful ways. OR give me a tip or two on how to be greener. No chastising or lectures though, I don't need any more guilt. I keep a good amount of it around already.


Mama Mia said...

"It's not easy being green...."
I would like to! However, we go through printer paper like Cottonelle.
I squeeze every possible purpose out of my Wal-Mart bags. Yeah I know shopping at WM is like blasphemy in the Green Bible.
Let me introduce you to the joys of the Faux Christmas Tree.
But I do LOVE my cloth Library bag...if I ever remember to actually take it to the Library.

thruchildeyes said...

We moved 25 minutes from all our dearest friends. That's a lot of wasted gas. Dishes are my most dispised household task - we use disposable at all gatherings over 8 and at all meals after a new baby's birth. We can only do the best we can with all the other considerations. (I choose local over green when a choice must be made.) I know lots of people who try to do what is socially and environmentally best, but not a single one claims to be 100% green. You are doing so great!

thruchildeyes said...

And let me say, all I know about being green I learned from my much wiser parents and sister. You are doing great things by teaching your children.

Sandy said...

I am not green- I am cheap, and sometimes they happen to overlap :-). I reuse gift bags as often as possible and I would buy every household item or clothing used if I could find it. It wouldn't bother me a bit to receive a used present that was thoughfully chosen, but alas, most of the people I buy for do not share the sentiment. It drives my husband crazy to find "used" paper in the printer. I have a love/hate relationship with my fake Christmas tree- ask me in a couple of weeks. I used to be a snob about paper plates and then I had 5 kids. Now I love them. Besides, I am saving hot water :-). And speaking of hot water, we save on baths in our house too :-D.

Jason said...

I have gotten to the point that I CANNOT throw away even one piece of paper. If I do, I end up going to the trash and getting it out and putting it in recycle. Same with any other recyclable items. And as for paper plates, I think I'm sick. We use them, but then I find myself going through the trash to clean them off and recycle them.

As for disposable diapers, I'm so not green. I just could never see myself hunched over the toilet, washing out those dirty cloth diapers. Life is too short and too precious to do that.

Ami said...

I think most people just do the best they can. If I can put it in the recycle bin, I do. I rinse out milk jugs, soup cans etc and make sure they go in their proper bag for pickup. All soda cans and bottles get recycled, too.
I try to use containers for sandwiches (when I can find the lids!!) rather than a ziplock bag we can throw away.

I refuse to have guilt over how much I do or do not recycle. I just try to do it whenever possible. I don't shout to people, "Hey, look how good I'm being by recycling!"

After Mr I-invented-the-internet-global-warming-the-sky-is-falling gets rid of a few of the houses he owns (his electric bill for just ONE of his homes is more than the entire year's mortgage on my one cramped-but-picturesque hovel) and stops jetting around the country by private jet etc, I may feel a little differently.

For now, I just try.

janjanmom said...

Ah yes, Mr. Gore. He is a big boil on the butt of America.