Crunchy's Eco-Throwdown comes to an end tomorrow. I've done well, but not as well as I thought I could.
I committed to:
1. No plastic
2. No paper products
4. Local food only
5. No garbage output
6. No excessive water usage
No plastic was HARD. It's everywhere! But truthfully, not buying things made that pretty easy. I also only am gifting books (wrapped in comics, something I've always done) to the birthday children (we have 3 parties this weekend alone!). The kids' water bottles are replaced by stainless steel and I am 100% committed to not accepting plastic at the store (I bring my own bags for bulk items as well as big ones for the whole shebang. That's been fun.)
No paper products was easy since I was coming at it from a paper-free place. We already use cloth wipes, towels and hankies.
Local food only was tougher at the start of May and easy now, with the Farmer's Market in full swing. The big chore is to make sure to put up enough so we can still eat locally in the late winter. Mmmm, the beet greens and red chard are soooooo good after a long winter!! I've found local flour, honey, nut butters, eggs, and produce. The rest I'm working on. Hard to get local tofu that is not wrapped in plastic! Looking into making my own.
Originally I wondered, without plastic and without buying new things, would we have any garbage? The answer is yes, but SOOOOOO much less! Today, Friday, I pitched our full kitchen garbage into the large bin in the garage. We downgraded from a 90pound bin to a 60pound bin since we weren’t filling the 90pound. I noticed, while tossing it in, that this was our FIRST bag. Garbage pickup in on Mondays! I anticipate one more bag, since we will fill up the kitchen bag with the 2 small upstairs bathroom bins. Anyway, if we keep this up, I'll downgrade again to the 30pound bin. I would LOVE to manage just one trash bag per week. But two is not bad!!
Using less water has been a great lesson. I just never thought of it before. Now I fill my kitty litter jugs with 'warm up water' from my not-daily-anymore shower, keep jugs on hand by the drainspouts for afternoon rain showers, and keep the dishes in soapy water before putting them into the dishwasher, rather than rinsing each dish. I'm still doing a load of laundry a day, but I'm trying to not just toss things in just because they've been worn. This is easy for Paul and me, and even Mae, but the boys' clothes are always SO DIRTY!! Working on it.
I didn't sign up for the electricity one, but I've made some simple changes that should help. I don't turn any lights on til early evening (taking an Army Shower in the semi-darkness is an example!) and am in the process of transferring the deep freeze food into the regular freezer so we can turn it off in the summer. No AC needed yet, and our goal is to make it til August (July can be pretty brutal). Paul has a good system of closing all the blinds in the front (south) of the house and opening up the back, then switching around 3pm. So far, it's working well. It's only gotten up to 82, but I'm hoping we can stick it out!
This has been a great challenge, but a tough one. I plan to continue doing everything I've started and see where it takes us. The kids are SO aware of what's going on. "Is this plastic?" "Mae's wasting water!!" "Did this peach come from our farm (our CSA)?" Very cool.