My husband and I have been married for 8.5 years, and we have 3 children. When we met we were just young college kids- going to fraternity parties, eating really bad junk food (we ate hot dogs from a gas station at 2am on several occasions- I still can't believe I ate "death dogs"- YUCK!)and worrying about what we were going to be when we grew up. Life seemed so hard back then, but really- we didn't have a whole lot of responsibility. Fast forward 11 years- we own our second home, cars, have children, have to make responsible decisions about EVERYTHING. Not just where to eat but WHAT to eat, and how that meal has an impact on our health and our environment. And not HOW to cook, but how to not be wasteful when cooking. My word, how we have both changed- especially me! I used to not care about "Organic" or being Green. I mean, I was just one person so I couldn't save the world on my own, right? I admit, I was pretty arrogant in my beliefs. But having children makes you grow up and realize that it's not about YOU anymore, it's about THEM. And their kids, and their kids' kids and so on.
We cook 3 meals a day at home for the most part. Occasionally we may order sushi for dinner, but on average it's 3 meals a day at home. Our kitchen truly is a working kitchen. We make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 5 people- that's a lot of food, and A LOT of waste! The packaging, the leftover food, the veggie peels and rinds, etc. Not to mention washing all those dishes! It had been bothering me for quite some time the amount of waste we had so I wanted to find a way to green up our home. And to get the girls involved. Luckily we have recently made friends with another family who is also taking steps to live more eco friendly. In fact, they have a blog- www.Greenlivingeco.com. They have inspired us to make the changes we have been talking about. Sure, we recycled some stuff, when we remembered. But not everything we could. Now we recycle more than we throw away. And we've started composting. Why waste all that organic material that can be used to grow more veggies?
Here are some of the changes we've made around our home to be more environmentally friendly and responsible:
We recycle everything we can. We bought a special trash can to put next to the regular trash can so that we will remember to recycle (the girls do it too!)
We found this at Lowe's.
We put a small trash can under our kitchen sink for our compostable waste.
Once this bin is full we dump it into this:
We usually empty the compost trash bin once every two days.
As I wrote about in a previous post, we put in a raised bed garden this year. Here's how it looks after a couple of weeks:
We have so much small wildlife in our yard that we made it a table instead of just a raised bed. This is to keep the moles and (hopefully) the rabbits out of it. The squirrels are a whole other issue. I sprinkled cinnamon around the edges to see if that keeps them out. I read that you can use cinnamon, nutmeg, or cayenne pepper. Hope it works, otherwise the next step is to build an elaborate screen to keep over it. My husband has plans to turn the table into a small green house to use for cold weather veggies as well.
We've started switching over to all green cleaning products.
I am still looking for my favorite brand, so I am in the process of testing out products. I can say that I am not crazy about Trader Joe's dishwashing detergent, but I do like the clothes detergent. I also love Method products- I love their glass cleaner! Seventh Generation is also a preferred brand- we LOVE their diapers for Abby! Best diapers on the market in my opinion. (And we tried ALL of them- after 3 kids we're diaper experts at this point!)
I will use Clorox Green Works in a pinch but I am not crazy about it at all. I find it leaves a residue and I don't like the smell as much as the others.
A couple other changes we are making in the coming weeks:
Building our rain barrel
Putting a clothesline in the backyard to cut down on our dryer usage
Along with these changes around the house, we are also changing the way we shop and buy groceries. We belong to a CSA so our veggies will be fresh, local, and organic. We buy only organic, humanely treated meat. Our beef comes from a farm in West Virginia, our chicken and eggs (and soon pork!) from a farm here in the area.
We also try to buy as much organic products from the grocery store as possible.
Those are a few of the big changes we are making around our house. We are hoping our girls will learn to be responsible about the environment as they grow, and will learn to have respect for all living creatures, even those on our dinner table.
Are you making any changes at your house?
**I promise the next few posts will be recipes! I have a few good ones to share this week