Thursday, April 23, 2009

Here's To The Future, My Dear Son

I know that Earth Day just went by and I hope everybody did something to celebrate. I have learned a lot in the past 6 years about conserving and reducing my carbon footprint, I guess ever since finding out I was bringing a child into the world, my mind has been on what I can do to be a good example to my son. I want to share some of my tips and ways I try to reduce, reuse, recycle in my home. Some of you may already do most of this, hopefully I will get tips back from you all too.

One of the first things I changed was the way I did laundry. I used cloth diapers with my son, I would soak them, wash in vinegar, and hang to dry, the throw them in the dryer for 5 minutes to soften them. I always used paper lines so removing the poop was easy and flushable.
I always wash a full load, use half the detergent it says to use (and my clothes come out just as clean), I use a tablespoon of fabric softener on a wet pad (made from old burp cloths) so the container of liquid fabric softener last over a year and my clothes still come out soft and static free.
I hang towels, pants, and bigger items like sweatshirts to dry and soften for 10 minutes in the drier.
I wash the lint trap 4-5 times a year to remove any build up and make the drier more efficient.

When it comes to cleaning, I have also switched from using any chemicals to having 3 items, dish soap and baking soda, vinegar, and a green planet toilet bowl cleaner. I use microfibre cloths and water for almost everything, microfibre mops (I keep a wet one and a dry one) with boiling water do the trick on any floor, glass is streakless with a microfibre cloth, and dust clings better than anything on them. With that type of cleaning, I like that the kids can all help, my son loves it, and the can roll around the floor and I don't care because there is no chemicals to worry about.

I switched all my light bulbs to the energy saver curly ones. At first they seemed dimmer, but when I saw my electricity bill, I was thrilled!!! We never leave any lights on in a room unless we are in it. My son at 2 knew to turn off the lights (respect your environment runs in his blood now!).
I turn off my computer every night, and almost all things are on power bar that we switch off every night. The water heater is turned to the lowest setting (the water is not hot enough to burn anyone either!) and our heat is turned to 19C(66F) and that saves on gas, we bought a water heater blanket too, it makes a difference.

Our recycling has greatly improved with Calgary's acceptance of plastic, we love it. I have reduced my garbage output to less than 1 bag a week (for 5 children and myself!!) from 3. We recycle nearly all plastics, papers, tin, glass, cardboard because the city now does the sorting, making it much easier for us to just have 1 bin. I have put a composter in the back corner of our backyard, and all out organic food waste goes in there, with 5 kids during the day, that's a lot of fruits and veggies, coffee grounds and tea leaves! We are going meatless 2 days a week, and trying to always buy local foods (though not much fruit to chose from), and the farmers markets are great. I try to make small meals, and if we get hungry we can have fruit to fill us up, that way not much food goes to waste. I make coffee and tea at home and buy the flavoured syrup to make latte's like Starbucks!

We walk a lot, and if I drive anywhere, I make a mental map of all the places and things I need to do so I don't end up back tracking or having to go out more than once. I'm at about 1 tank of gas every 2-3 weeks!!! We got a bike with an attachment for my son to ride with me (he's 5), so this summer I'm guessing that will save us even more on gas and pay for itslef within the first month.

There are so many more things we do or could do, so if you are willing to share by way of a comment, please do so. We all need to learn more and try our best to do more. Those of us who are parents or are planning to be, we need to think of it for the sake of our children's children. We need to leave a planet that they too can live in.
Cheers and respect, Viviana


B.B. Bellezza said...

Great tips! I have been featuring "Green Artists" every Thursday on my blog and asking for a tip from them. One that I don't think a lot of people think about is using cloth napkins instead of paper. So simple, and easy.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post!! You are a good Mom....
Thanks for the tips!!

kristi said...

I am totally in awe of the one garbage bag a week. You are a rock star.

I think it's so great that you're teaching your son to follow in your lead. My 5 year old rides anyone in the family if they leave a light on in the bathroom or run the water for more than three seconds.

Yesterday I gave him a bag of gummies as a special treat and he sat, very thoughtfully, for several minutes trying to decide how he could reuse the package because it wasn't recyclable. They are our future...

sassypackrat said...

You are awesome! Cheers to you for reducing your carbon footprint!


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