Sunday, March 22, 2009

Deliciously Green Update

It's been a while since I've posted about Green developments around the house. I've actually started such a post several times, but never seem to finish. I'm determined this time, though!

Here's what I'm currently doing...

Homemade cleaning spray... I like it a lot, but don't love the smell of the tea tree oil. You wouldn't think that 20 drops in 3+ cups of fluid would make a difference. But it does. If it weren't for it's antibacterial properties, I'd leave it out.

Kitchen rags... I remember that some of you were skeptical when I first said that I was going to reduce my paper towel usage. Well, ha! I've been extraordinarily successful! I have a drawer full of old dish towels that have found new life as rags. So instead of tearing off a paper towel, I reach for a rag. It was surprisingly easy to get into the habit -- even the family took to it well! Now a roll of paper towels can last an entire month! (We were going through one to two a week!)

Castille soap... I use it to make my own hand soap! It's not drying and it cleans well although it doesn't have the thick consistency of store-bought soap. We've discovered the hard way that we have to cup our hands around the pump so soap doesn't squirt across the room!

Dish soap... Yesterday I opened my first bottle of Seventh Generation dish soap. I loved it! It had a great bubbling properties and cut grease like a champ! It was comparably priced to Dawn (my previous favorite), so I can't say I saved any money, but there are no phosphates in it!

Laundry detergent... Here's where I did another switcharoo to Seventh Generation. Clothes are just as clean with less detergent needed. In fact, last December I started keeping track of how many loads I get from each bottle of detergent. By keeping track, I've been much more aware of how much I pour into the cups. I got 76 loads out of the last 64 load bottle. Coolio!

Paper... Printing less and reusing the back sides of sheets that we have printed on. I've even been using the clean side of worksheets and notices that come home from school. (Lesson learned, though... Make sure you don't print a coupon on the back of something you wouldn't want the world to see. Good thing I caught that one in time!)

Napkins... Cloth napkins are a hassle, but I'm sticking with it. No one ever remember to put their napkin back in their napkin ring, so I gave up on that. Instead, I took a bunch of cloth napkins upstairs and together we spent an hour with the sewing machine. I sewed a different pattern on each napkin, giving each of us our own color. It has easily solved the problem of whose napkin was whose!

Energy savings... I still have my thermostat set to 67 day/62 night, but we've still been using more energy than a year ago. The past couple months have been a bit colder than last year, but still, I'm surprised by the lack of savings. I need to be more dedicated in unplugging unused appliances, turning off the computer, etc. Oh, by they way, our water heater is still turned slightly down, so there's some savings there at least.

So let's add the savings up. I haven't added up my savings in about three months, so let's see what I can add to my Green Fund this month!

Cleaner: $5 (2 bottles of 409)
Kitchen rags: $15 (24 rolls of paper towels)
Castille soap: $15 (5 bottles of hand soap)
Dish soap: $3 (no monetary savings, but environmentally safe!)
Laundry detergent: $13 (1 bottle)
Paper: $5 (paper, ink, energy savings)
Napkins: $9 (3 packs of napkins)
Energy savings: $0 (bummer)

A grand total of....... $65! Comparatively not much, but it's something, right?

Now here's a Green something I've been thinking about. Not actually considering, perhaps, but thinking about... hankies. I go through tissues like there's no tomorrow. My nose always runs when it's cold and since I've been keeping the house at 67, it's always cold.

Am I ready and willing to try handkerchiefs? My dad uses them. And I saw a woman (about my age) using one yesterday at a Girl Scout workshop. I like the idea, but is it gross? I mean, if you have a cold, then yeah, it's gross. But for a simple runny nose, how bad is that? I don't know.

It's certainly not easy being Green, but it's worth it!

(Quick post script... I just found these organic cotton hankies online. Check them out...

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