Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Waste Not

I have been meaning to clean out my refrigerator for several days now and finally had the chance to do it this morning. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I haven't done it in months or anything (I try to do it once a month if possible) but I did happen to notice an overwhelming amount of Tupperware containers building up. I knew it was bad a few days ago when I couldn't even remember what was in them!

When I finally finished the job, I was appalled at the amount of food that I had let waste away over the last few weeks. Since Pete has been gone, I've gone through these phases where I buy all kinds of great veggies and healthy meal ingredients reminding myself that I still need to eat well even when cooking for one (my kids are on their own meal plan). But more realistically, I've also been buying frozen spring rolls and eating popcorn and brownies for dinner....that's another post.

So, I was stunned at the amount of food that I had allowed to disintegrate and spoil in my very presence. Thankfully, I have a compost that will benefit greatly from my waste, but I sure can't say that for our checking account or my under-nutritioned belly.

So, to make a long story short, I realized that I need to straighten up and fly right. When Pete is home, I meal plan and (most always) use every ingredient I buy before it has a chance to spoil on me. I've slipped a bit in that category and have allowed myself to splurge on whatever fancies my roaming eyes at the supermarket. Oh- hummus is on sale! I'll get two and have it for lunch this week...sure, Kate. I decided to try The Pioneer Woman's Asian Noodle Salad and although it was incredible- you really do have to try it...I made enough for a family of five, so the remainder just wasted away. Even while Pete is gone I need to meal plan, and therefore not waste. Simple as that. And just as a recommendation, if you're not already doing it, you may want to consider doing the same so as not to waste money or food.

The end.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What to do when you can't recycle?

Before moving to rural GA a few years ago, we lived in Upstate NY and had become pretty accustomed the dos and don'ts of recycling and such in our community. The Village where we lived had some fairly strict policies, including using clear or white trash bags so that the collectors could see if recyclables had been thrown out instead of being put in the recycling bin. If something that could be recycled, ie.: a plastic milk jug, had been thrown away, they would leave a note behind-as well as your garbage.

Trust me, it only took once to learn your lesson.

After making our move South, I discovered that there wasn't any curbside recycling pickup- no big deal, right? But, in my further attempts to drop off my recycling to the proper location, I was stunned to learn that there wasn't one. There wasn't anywhere in the county where I could bring plastics, glass, paper, or tin. Metal, and cardboard, sure, but really, how much metal are you recycling these days? I was devastated. So I began to think outside the box. I was attending Grad school an hour away and brought any items I had saved during the week to a drop off location there. And when visiting my sister two hours away, I would haul our milk jugs and wine bottles to the drop off location there.

After my self pity party, I realized that there were other ways that I could make a difference too. And here is a list of some of the things I began doing to live more green in an un-green community.

1. I stopped taking plastic bags at the grocery store and always bring my own. (This takes a while to become a habit, but if you check out this video- it will help you to remember!).

2. I started buying in bulk, so as to reduce the amount of packaging waste. (You'll often find this to be cheaper too).
3. I started composting on a regular basis. We have a garden. Gardens love compost. Composting is easy and requires very little work from me. Perfect! Visit this site to learn how to compost.

4. I stopped and thought about my purchases before spending doe on unnecessary items. I mean really, how many plastic squirt guns and junk toys does one boy need?

5. I started making phone calls to all of the companies sending me junk mail and got off their mailing lists! You can also call you utility companies and anyone else you have monthly billing with and have them send you your bill online.

These are just a few of the things that I started doing when I couldn't do much else. So, even if you live somewhere where recycling isn't an option, there are so many other things you can do to make a difference!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

In my transition to green living, I have found few things hard to give up or integrate into our new way of living. However, there are a few things that are a bit more challenging than others.

For me, the biggest one would have to be our SUV. I'm almost ashamed to admit that we have one and am always quick to add that it is a Honda Pilot, one of the best SUVs out there in terms of environmentally friendly SUVs. It produces less emissions than most and gets fairly decent MPG compared to other SUVs. And really, I do LOVE my Pilot, but no matter how I spin it, it remains the evil in the garage. If we hadn't just bought it a year and a half ago, I would probably want to trade it in for a hybrid of some sort, since they seem to be popping out all over the place now....oh well.

The other guilty pleasure in my life is Zip Lock bags! In my stunning realization last week that I was still using them and that they are something that I need to give up, I found that I wasn't sure how I could give them up! How would I freeze raw chicken or store opened bags of cookies? Of course there are other solutions, like storage containers of some sort, and I suppose I just need to find them and make it happen. That is a guilty pleasure that weighs a bit too heavy on the mind and of course a bit easier to get rid of then a $30,000 vehicle...

What are you having a hard time giving up in order to be a be more green?

Friday, September 12, 2008

My Story

Here I go! I am excited to be able to share my journey toward a "greener" way of life with you. As a 30 something mom, I can look back at least a decade if not more, and recall efforts being made in the communities in which I lived to help better the environment. About five years ago I moved to a small community in the south where very little was being done in terms recycling- or even just plain education or acknowledgement of a need to reduce waste or gear thinking toward a more environmentally friendly way of living. And when I had my children, I knew that at least for me and for my family, things had to change. I began saving my recycling and bringing it with me when I visited my sister two hours away. I started composting on a regular basis, using cloth bags at the grocery store and buying in bulk whenever possible.

Then about a year ago, I just seemed to realize that as a parent, as a mother, I needed to do more. It seems that a mother's role and responsibility has to be even greater, because she needs to lead by example. In teaching my own children about green living, I realized that most importantly, they need to understand that in today's day and age this way of living is no longer a choice, but a necessity. Simple as least for me!

So, follow along with us, as I discuss the changes we've already made, and implement the ones we haven't. I encourage and appreciate your feedback!

Best, Kate

ALSO- I'll be working on the decor of the site! Thanks Liz!