Thursday, April 17, 2008

Earth Day Musings

Earth Day is next week and I'm starting to see some (much needed) Earth Day propaganda. I started thinking on my way to work today about the efforts we all make (or don't make) to be ecologically friendly.

What are some efforts our family makes?
  • Using cloth diapers
  • Riding the bus - I am back to riding the bus to work 2-3 days a week which not only is good for the ecology, it saves on gas expense and is more relaxing.
  • Green Energy - We just switched our electric provider to Green Mountain Energy which provides wind and water-powered energy.
  • Using Nalgene water bottles and refilling them rather than using bottled water.
  • Eating a Vegetarian diet - Plus fish.
  • Recycling - Even though we have to pay for a recycling bin where we live we opt to pay so that we can recycle our cans, bottles, cardboard, etc. I also take all the paper and cardboard to my work since we can't recycle those through our garbage company.
  • Turning off the home computer at night.
  • Composting
  • Farmers Market - Last week was our first time to go to the Round Rock Farmers Market and I hope to return all summer long.
  • Paperless statements - We're paperless with every company that allows it. Some, like our former electric company, our garbage company, and our water company send a statement every month even though we pay by automatic draft.
  • Using eco-friendly laundry detergent and cleaning products.
  • Reducing junk mail - It's insidious but we fight against junk mail. When I recieve an unsolicited catalog in the mail, I call the company, ask to be removed from their mailing list and ask how they got my name. When I subscribe to a magazine or shop I instruct them not to sell or rent my name and address. And we opt-out of credit card offers.

What are our eco-non-friendly habits?
  • Neither of us drives a hybrid car although we don't drive an SUV either
  • Styrofoam cups - Yes, the culprit here is our family's love for Sonic. We probably use (by which I mean throw-away) 10-12 sonic cups a week. For a short time, my brother thought he had found a place that would recycle them but alas. It was not so.
  • Eco-friendly dry cleaning - I used to use the eco-friendly dry cleaners conveniently located by the grocery store but it has changed hands and is now a regular dry cleaners. There is a new eco-friendly place up on 79 (6 miles from home) but what is the eco-tradeoff? If I take my clothes to a eco-friendly dry cleaners but drive 12 miles round trip to drop off and again to pick up is that better than dropping them by the grocery when I'm there?
  • Putting the thermostat on a timer - I've never been brave enough to tackle that project in spite of folks telling me it's easy.
  • Living in the suburbs.

What changes could we make? What changes could you make?

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