Thursday, October 30, 2008

Makin' the First Move

Olive S. Oyl here.

So, there is a whole spectrum of green out there, and just as most Americans think of themselves as being middle class, I think of our household as being somewhere right smack in the middle of greenitude. Not a total neophyte, but certainly not off-the-grid. We live in a city, and we're no homesteaders. That's why I thought I would share -- for the many of you who are just plain normal like me and the rest of the country -- my favorite "first moves" from the last couple weeks. I know you have these moments, too!

First up: I have to say, I have been trying to move over to line drying our clothes for a couple months now, but have space constraints (outside won't work cause we have trees front and back and lots of bird poop). But when I finally scraped together enough drying racks to do an entire load? The light bulb that went off for me as I looked at my cloth rags drying was pretty bright (for an energy-conserving move). Sheesh, does it feel nice to be using less energy to clean my floors?! I think that's a forever move. Crunchy towels and undies may be negotiable, but line dried rags? Here to stay. That's just silly.

Second: Reusing Ziploc-type bags. I haven't bought plastic sealed bags in over a year now, and I still have some left! This is mostly because I started washing and reusing the bags that other stuff comes in, like our ginormous bags of frozen blueberries, and our bags o' grated cheese. I think I speak for all of us when I point out that this first move is momentous. Every bag you wash and reuse? Wherever you got it? Cuts your plastic bag consumption by 50%. Shazaam! Feel that in your pocketbook, too.

Finally: Creating recycling and compost stations upstairs. My friend Susannah suggested I do so, and it's funny how satisfying it is every time I clean out my hairbrush and put the hair in my green bin (green for compost, purple for recycling). Toenail clippings, too! I have a friend from grad school who was doing this in his vegan Berkeley group house 10 years ago, so it feels extra-nice to be finally following in his footsteps.

How 'bout you? Makin' any moves? Feeling good about any first steps?


Green Bean said...

The compost in the bathroom is a good idea. I'm forever thinking that I should put the hair or whatnot in the compost bin but don't quite make it all the way out to the kitchen.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea you could throw your hair in the compost! (Not that I've started the composting yet, but it's my plan). Shoot, I have a little nest of hair every morning going in the garbage. PSYCH! Thanks for sharing that tip...

Share more! Share more!

greeen sheeep said...

The bathroom compost has been on my to do list for a while now. Hubby goes through crazy amounts of Q-tips!

I did just install a clothesline in the basement. Now I can line dry year round - with no worry of woodticks!

JessTrev said...

Green Bean - yep, my friend who gave me the tip nailed it - it's all about making your systems support what you want to do. We all have good intentions! Just lazy (speaking for myself!).

Anon -- you can also put DRYER lint into the compost (not that you would have any since you are line drying ;)) and shredded newspaper (not that you'd have any of that cause you read yr content online!).

Greeen Sheeep: holy woodticks. Never thought about that (apparently I am lucky in just moving right to indoor line drying)!

Mindful Momma said...

The hair! Never thought of will I do it?

JessTrev said...

@mindful momma - don't forget the fingernail clippings ;)

organicneedle said...

I do the same thing with bags that come in with things we buy...cereal liners & pretzel bags make great sandwich bags. I do NOT reuse dairy or meat bags. I have read that you can never fully wash a bag...and meat and dairy can lead to some super funky bacteria. If I need to wrap cheese I try to use a 2nd or 3rd use bag that I am willing to toss afterward. The only thing I buy bags for is freezing because I find that the freezer bags do make a difference in the freshness. It is really amazing how once you change your perception as to what can make a much wasted you can prevent.

JessTrev said...

@organicneedle yes, it's all abt perception - I love to use plates stacked on top of bowls as much as I can for leftovers now

tx for the tip on dairy aka cheese bags. guess I should skip em.

I have been wondering what folks did in their freezers. Any other thoughts?

Susannah said...

Susannah, c'est moi -- thanks for the shout-out! That tip came courtesy of my green pals in San Francisco whose weekly trash is down to one plastic CVS-size bag. They are my heroes.

My "first step" that I can't give up is carrying home my recycling. I just got back from a trip and was freaked out by the waste I saw in the Boston airport (hello? no recycling bins at all?) and on the airplane. I took my AND my seatmate's newspaper home with me and packed out my empty water bottle too. A phrase rings in my head, "Throw away? There is no away!" (printed on our reusable sandwich wraps :)

Anonymous said...

I would have never thought of composting upstairs. Brilliant!


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