Friday, March 4, 2011

Crunchier than the average bear?

Sometimes I wonder where I fall in the world of "crunchiness" (as in the slang term).

Here is the urban dictionary definition.

Some of those? Yeah, I fit in. I have adjusted my lifestyle for environmental reasons and I am a nature enthusiast. And I am a mom who cloth diapers. And I do enjoy spending time in the woods (But just because I do. Not for any other reason!).

I was thinking today of the small things I have done over the past couple years to be more, well, crunchy I guess.

I started using cloth diapers and wipes. I do still use disposables at certain times, like when all the cloth is in the wash or when I need to use some rash cream or when we travel. I'm not snooty about it, but I'd prefer to keep as many disposables as possible out of the landfills. Plus cloth diapers are adorable, and they save money.

I switched from paper napkins to cloth ones.

I (finally) always remember to take my reusable grocery bags.

I have eliminated a lot--but not all--plastic from my kitchen. No more Glad Ware, etc. What plastic is left is hand-washed (by Logan, I might add) instead of putting it in the dishwasher, so it doesn't break down/leach chemicals (at least any more than it already does).

All four members of my family have stainless steel water bottles we use every day. I got some stainless-steel drinking straws, too. LOVE them!

I stopped using paper towels for most things. I use regular towels and cloths for cleaning now. Paper towels are reserved for certain messes, basically poop and puke. That kind of stuff. I even have reusable cloth pads for my Swiffer Wetjet, and I refill the bottle with my own cleaner instead of buying refills.

I started using greener cleaning products. Either stuff from ecoStore or homemade goodies like vinegar and water or homemade laundry detergent (Fels Naptha, borax and soda ash. Can't beat 2 cents per load!!!).

I switched first to more eco-friendly feminine products, like cloth, but then I tried the Diva Cup and was hooked. It took a couple months to get accustomed to it, but now? LOVE IT! Zero garbage. Very little hassle. I shower in the morning after the gym and at night before bed, so that's when I take care of cleaning it. No problemo.

I scout the local consignment and thrift shops and donate things to them. I also signed up for the local Freecycle emails. I've given things away and taken a couple things too.

I used to sun-dry laundry on the line during the warm months. Our new neighborhood has a "no clothesline" policy. I still sun the diapers on a rack outside, and am looking into a retractable clothesline that I can still use out back, at least occasionally.

I recycle whatever I can, even though now I have to pay to do it. Some stuff (like the plastics and colored glass that aren't accepted by the county program) I actually have to drive an hour to Whole Foods to recycle. I still do it. I just save up a lot before I go, and run other errands while I'm there, to make the drive worth it.

All our fruit and veggie food scraps, plus dryer lint, coffee grounds, eggshells, etc. go out back in the compost pile.

I have a brownish thumb, but I do try to grow a few things in the warm months, like lettuces and spinach on my salad table.

I hit up the local farm markets for as much produce as I can. I do buy local meat sometimes. Now that I have a small chest freezer for storing meat, I'd like to do it more.

I've tried to eliminate fake foods like artificial sweeteners, trans fats, etc. from our diet, and I try not to buy too many individually-packaged snacks for Logan and Hubby's lunches. I get the big bag and divide it out instead.

I try to teach my kids about the things I'm doing and why, so they'll carry it on throughout their lives.

I guess my whole mindset has changed, because now I tend to feel guilty about things like using a paper towel or napkin, or heaven forbid a paper plate. I am appalled when I see people throw plastic water bottles or other recyclables in the garbage.

I also feel really guilty about one vice I have. Magazines. I subscribe to a number of magazines, and I LOVE them:

Clean Eating
Whole Living
Women's Health
Mary Jane's Farm

Also, Logan uses WAY too much paper with all his drawing and book-making! I've tried to get him to use dry-erase, but he loves having the drawing or book to carry around, look at and share afterward. I just keep recycling it, keeping only very special pieces.

I don't know. I guess I've been taking such small steps over time that I am completely used to the changes I made to be "greener" and healthier, and I get a little weirded out when I come across people (most people) that don't do the same things.

I wonder if I'm becoming an eco-snob. I don't necessarily look down on people who don't do the things I do, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me. That I wish I could make them do it too. That it makes me sad that they don't.

In reality, I don't really have any idea if the changes I have made are doing any real good for my family's health and the planet's well-being. I like to think theyI am taking steps to make for a better future for my children.

What about you. Do you think I'm crunchy? An eco-snob? Just normal? What steps have you taken to green up your life?

The "green team!" (St. Patty's Day last year)


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