Apr 23, 2008

Going GREEN in Abilene

In honor of Earth Day, I am sharing ways that my family is working on taking care of the resources God has given us, and at the same time trying to live more simply and frugally. These are ways that we. . .


1. Switching to compact flourescent (energy efficient) light bulbs & turning off lights when we're not in the room. (If you didn't know, compact fluorescent bulbs use four times less energy than incandescent ones. If every American family substituted five CFL bulbs for incandescent, it would be equivalent to taking eight million cars off the road for a year.)
2. Not buying bottled water or paper plates. (We use washable plastic bottles and plain old tap water.)
3. The following things are small but help cut energy costs a little at a time: unplugging appliances while not in use, limiting TV watching in our house & turning the T.V. off when not in use, and washing clothes in cold water
4. Using less paper towels, toilet paper, kleenex & wipes. I am using dish towels and cloth napkins more often and cleaning with old rags and sponges.
5. Became a member of GreenDimes to reduce junk mail sent to our house
6. Driving less (This one is easier in Abilene where everything is relatively close, but the main thing here is that we are doing more at home like going for walks or riding bikes instead of always being on the go!)
7. We pay our bills online and opt to receive statements online so we don't get extra paper mail.
8. Sharing bath time to use less water! (Okay that was a stretch so I could post this cute photo of Pierson with his buds, Levi and Will.) Ava and Pierson do usually share a bath though.


9. No more plastic or paper grocery bags for us. We now use reusable cloth bags at the grocery store! In Abilene, you can get free bags at the Chamber of Commerce.
10. Eating leftovers at home and eating out less. This one is especially helping our budget! On that note, when we do eat out, I try to return any ketchups or condiments we don't use since we usually grab a handful, and I am trying not to use as many napkins at fast food places. It's so easy to be wasteful at resturaunts, but we're making an effort.
11. Had a SWAP night with girls from our small group to share our "gently used" clothes, jewelry, shoes, home decor, etc. This was such a fun idea that we've decided this will become an annual tradition. We all left with new (to us) stuff and got rid of things we no longer needed.
12. We shop at garage sales and Goodwill for clothes, home accessories and toys. (In Abilene, Goodwill gets all of Target's cast offs, which are often still in great condition AND Friday is $.99 day for all children's clothes. Thanks for the tip, Mandy!)
13. Sell and buy kid's clothes at Dittos for Kiddos. (This is a great way to make a little extra money and buy clothes for the next season while clearing out clothes that are outgrown!)


14. We sort and recycle paper, glass, plastics, cardboard & cans. I had good intentions to recycle for so long, but I finally bought mesh pop-up bags which I keep in the garage for sorting, and added an extra recycle bin under our sink next to the trash. When it fills up, Ava and I take it to the garage to sort items into plastic, paper, etc. When those bags are full, Chad takes them to our neighborhood recycle bins at HEB. It has become part of what we do, and doesn't actually take much time at all.
15. We are members of Abilenefreecycle which is a great organization that has groups all across the US. It's an easy way to give away what you don't need to someone who does!

16. I am looking into how to start a compost in the backyard. You'll have to check back to see how that one goes.
17. After I use up the cleaning products that are already in my house, I am planning to start using natural ingredients to make my own when I can, or at least buy organic so my house stays clean without chemicals.
18. We have been challenged and encouraged by some friends who have made the committment not to buy anything retail except consumables (groceries, toiletries, etc. and gifts, socks and underwear) for a year! We're going to try it for the month of May! Help hold me accountable if you see me at Target!

I would love to hear what you are doing to be more earth friendly. Share your ideas!


Kara said...

wow! i'm impressed by your list! i know of some places in town that take leftover metal and wood stuff in order to reuse it. also, you can get (and drop off) mulch at the recycling place. sarah probably knows more about that than i do!
good luck during the month of may!

Sanjiv said...

GreenDimes here,

Thanks for spreading the word.

Sign up for free, and we'll plant a tree!

Topher said...

Intense. I'm really impressed. You've inspired me to do more.

I'm driving Kate's old car, which amazingly gets better gas mileage than most new cars right now. But, in 6 months last year, I had driven it approximately 80 miles. I ride the train to school, and I rarely have to leave the apartment except for church. I have to say that we usually take Jenny's car, so that also helped minimize the miles.

I'm trying to start a compost right now. Since we're in an apartment, I'm just using old milk jugs with the tops cut off. We'll see how it works, and I'll let you know anything I figure out.

Unknown said...

Wow - I printed this off - there are some great ideas here. My mom and dad have had a compost pile for years and use that to grow the most amazing garden each spring! Thanks for inspiring me to do more!

Chesley said...

I think this is great what you are doing! I got some great ideas off this post. I try to reuse and recycle everything I can.

Thanks Summer!

Kate said...

Very inspirational. We need to start recycling now! No excuses. Thanks for sharing great ideas. And CUTE picture of Pierson!

lisajo said...

I love your list. We have been doing a lot of the same stuff.
1. I have found that old holey boys undershirts make great rags that leave very little, if any, lint on mirrors when cleaning.
2. I also buy patterned rugs so i don't have to wash them as often, but just shake them out.
3. Reusing plastic containers is great for crafts, or extra tupperware for left overs.
4. I also have been making baby food for Addison instead of buying all of it. It is cheaper, healthier, and so easy. I freeze them in ice cube trays, then transfer them to ziplocs, which is great for portion control, too (each cube is about an ounce).

Good luck with your no-retail endeavors. You are so brave. Keep us updated!

Shawna said...

i love watching your kiddos on your blog! and big KUDOS to you on going green!