My mom and I were talking today and she commented on how she didn't realize how "earth friendly" I had become until she visited last time. She didn't really raise me that way, but I ended up that way after I moved to Michigan a few years ago. I thought I'd share with you guys some of what we do and use in our home to make us more "earth friendly".
When we moved into our new home in July, I was so excited that we'd be able to finally recycle conviently. I mean, living in Michigan, we have the bonus of getting $.10 per bottle or can you return to the stores, but I can now recycle papers, plastics, aluminum and glass right from my front door! We never throw those things in the trash now and we cut our trash output in half by recycling!
We started using cloth diapers with Payton when he was 1 year old because of an allergy he had. With Maxwell, we started at 3 months when he fit into the small size of FuzziBunz. By using cloth diapers, except for when we travel out of state, we have saved ourselves over $1,000 so far JUST with Max! I'm sure by the time potty training comes with Max, it will be closer to $5,000 total! We use mostly fuzzibunz, although I have a new love for Knickernappies Disposanots! We just wash them here at home and don't worry about a diaper service.
Recently, we've started using Chico Bags as a way to stop using plastic bags from grocery and other stores. They are VERY compact and I carry two in my car, one in my diaper bag and another in my purse. We gave out a few as Christmas presents this past year and recieved a great response from them from family, teachers and friends!
When Payton was young, we were going through tons of sippy cups, but I was worried about plastic leaching through into the drink and that those chemicals were being consumed. We found an alternative in Sigg Cups and Klean Kanteens. We have four Sigg Cups, mostly in the kid patterns for Payton, and recently purchased two Klean Kanteens. Klean Kanteen is also coming out with colors this May! We use them all the time when we're running errands or going to an event or the zoo. No need to pay $2.50 for a bottle of water when I have one with me!
We have gotten rid of most of the harsh chemicals that were in our home. We use natural cleaners from stores or online purchases as well as the old-fashioned blend of vinegar and water. It works surprisingly well! Clorox GreenWorks is available in most stores now as well as Method Cleaners and Seventh Generation. For laundry, we use Seventh Generation soaps or even Arm & Hammer Essentials (the green bottle).
We have also forgone all paper products on our house. We use cloth napkins, regular plates and bowls and only use about 2-3 paper towels a week! I just can't make the cross to cloth toilet paper, but I know a few who do. I just can't go that far. This has made a small dent in our budget with buying less disposible products, but beyond that, it's nice to not add more trash to the landfills.
We are in the process of switching all our interior bulbs to more energy friendly bulbs. We also recently purchased a new front loader high efficency washing machine. I really like it and because it's so effective, we actually cut our drying time by 35 minutes, making both our washer and dryer more bill friendly!
**WARNING** If you're uncomfortable talking about the "female cycle", stop reading now!!!!
After the birth of Payton, I started using a menstrual cup instead of tampons. I read reports of the bleached cotton in tampons leading to not only TSS, but also more severe cramps and heavier bleeding. Basically, the idea is that you don't want anything drying or unnatural in your body. I would say that about 80% of my friends are also diva cup users, even ones I thought would never try it! It's very easy to insert and when it's full, you just dump it and reinsert it. Changing it about two or three times in 24 hours. SO much easier and my cramps are virtually gone and my cycles are much less heavy! My friends report the same!
So, that's most of it. Maybe it's inspired you to make a change or two in your life! Or maybe you're just more informed. It's been a great feeling to know that I'm doing my part, and teaching my children how to do their part to prolong the life of this world that we enjoy so much!