I wouldn't go so far as to lable my wife and I as tree hugging hippies, but we do like to be more green and eco-friendly. I mean, we aren’t going to the extreme like not showering, using indoor plumbing, and not living without electricity. However, we do try and make a conscientious effort to help by reducing our waste. However, in the beginning, I honestly wasn’t really all that on board with this whole “recycle” thing. I thought it was just a joke. I mean, who cares ya know?
We really started to think about our environmental impact about 2 years ago. We had moved into a new rent house. Our city has curbside trash pickup twice a week. However, the city sent us curbside recycle bins as well. You place your designated recycled products in the bin and they are collected once a week when the recycle truck comes along and takes it to the recycle center in town. There are three bins that are color coded for Plastic, paper, and aluminum/metal. We thought that we’d might as well give this a try. I mean, we've got the given to us, so might at well utilize them. So before we thought about throwing something in the trash, we decided if it could be recycled. If so, we rinsed if needed (soap/Landry detergent/shampoo bottles) then we put it in the recycle bins outside.
Now just a little background about our household, I am “responsible” for taking out the trash. In an average week, I would say I took out about 4-5 tall kitchen trash bags full of garbage to the trash can outside. Well, after about a month of this, I started to notice a difference. I was ASTOUNDED how I was only taking 1-2 trash bags a week to the trash can outside! What the heck?!
So now instead of thinking recycling was dumb, it turned into, hey it’s helping me not take out the trash so much! Ha-ha (Anything to help me stay in my "Man Chair" watching ESPN or DBZ)! Then our garbage production really started to make sense when I saw that by the end of the week our recycle bins were literally overflowing with items in them to be recycled. It was not very hard. Just making sure that all the little things like coke cans, coke bottles, boxes, paper, plastic (seems like EVERYTHING is made of plastic), milk jugs, cereal boxes, etc… were put into the bins. Not really that hard. Jennifer and I both agreed that we could see how just doing this simple thingas recycling can really help. I mean think about it. We cut our household trash production in half! And most of the stuff we were putting in the trash now is biodegradable. Mostly food scraps and paper towels. Our trash out by the curb turned from 4-5 bags piled up to about 1-2 with the recycle bins OVERFLOWING beside them. And that really made me realize that by justa little effort and thinking/common sense, we can cut our waste production in half AND help recycle and reuse.
Some other things that we try to do is not use the Plastic bags; yep…those bags from Wal-Mart. Most of those won’t ever biodegrade. They’ll be here on earth for a LONG time after we are. Most aren't biodegradable and If they are, then it’ll take a LONG time for them to break down. So another effort we have started is to use the reusable recycle grocery bags. Take em into the store with ya and have your grocer use those instead of the plastic sacks. I’m starting to see more and more people with them. Think about it... Personally, replacing those plastic bags with the recycled reusable bags, we’ve probably saved 20-30 bags per grocery shopping trip every 2 weeks. That could possibly be up to 700+ bags a year! We do keep some of the bags on-hand, but most of them are taken to the recycle center or BACK to walmart where they have a recycle box to put them in.
Try growing a garden! Not only have we had fun watching our plants grow during the summer, but it gets us outside, working in the yard, burning calories, but helps us eat healthier too! Less processed foods and more natural and healthy foods like fruits and vegetables will make you feel better! And those food and vegetable scraps from the garden can be made into a compost pile! Even less that goes into your trash bag!
Shop your local farmers market! And take your recycled bags with you! Not only are you helping out your community by giving back and purchasing from local farmers and growers, but you’re not pumping money into that powerhouse monster called Wal-Mart! Besides, dairy, eggs, meats, vegetables, and fruits from the farmers market taste SO much better thanthe mega market. Trust me on this one...I know good food.
Eat less fast food and eat more home cooked meals. You’ll enjoy the time with your family; spend less money on overpriced and poisoned fast food (yes poison. It’s killing America!). And you don’t have those plastic cups, paper bags, ketchup packets, and napkins that you have to throw in the garbage!
Use less hot water when washing clothes, taking a shower, or washing dishes. Just turn down the knob on your water heater. Using less hot water means the hot water heater uses less energy to heat the water.
Turn off lights when you leave the room (I personally struggle with this one). Conserve what you have and be sparing with it.
Some people, like me, are visual people. So when i see or learn about something visual, i really can pick up and learn and understand it better. So here are some movie choices for your weekend.
MOVIE SUGGESTIONS:These movies have really changed the way we look at food and how we view and consume food. Be ready for it to change your life. It did for us!
Super Size me (documentary by Morgan Spurlock)
Food Inc. (documentary by Robert Kenner)
Present day… we’re still recycling from 2 years ago when we started! It’s become second nature now. We both know what to recycle and it has become second nature. I’m now realizing that almost everything can be recycled. I know there is LOTS more than can be done, and we aren’t perfect and are probably missing a lot of key concepts, but at least our little bit is making a difference. I know it would be a hopeless situation if we went all out hippie living on the land, but that doesn’t fit into our lifestyle. It’s about making the biggest impact with single everyday things. Not changing the world.
Now…those of you who have stayed awake long enough to read this, you might be wondering how any of this fits into my new hobby of traditional wet shaving?
Stay tuned for part 2!