Thursday, May 1, 2008

the Extreme Eco Throwdown has begun!

Well, it's May 1 and snowing like crazy. Just yesterday it was 80! Crazy Colorado weather. So, I've committed to Crunchy's challenge and here are my resolves. Note that I didn't do ALL of them, but I do resolve to do the ones I list all month.

I commit to:

1. No plastic
2. No paper products
4. Local food only
5. No garbage output
6. No excessive water usage

So, some explanations. No plastic is a toughie. I'm happily in love with Burt's Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo bar, fresh lemon in place of deodorant, baking soda/salt/peppermint essential oil for toothpaste, Eco-dent floss, Dr. Bronners bar for washing and Seventh Generation laundry detergent (which came with a plastic scoop! argh! at least it was recyclable.) Basically, if I'd run out of a product that used plastic, I'd replaced it for this challenge. Obviously, we're taking products here and not appliances etc. Thanks goodness! Plastic is EVERYWHERE though. It's close to impossible to find a supermarket item without something lurking. Even the Silk soymilk has a plastic cap. It's recyclable, but it's still plastic! And there's that pull-off tab thingee under it to deal with. Oy.

No paper products is easy. We are using cloth wipes, towels, hankies, Keeper, etc. The whole family is on board with this one. If the 'guest TP' runs out this month, I'll replace it with Seventh Generation. I was annoyed that the 12-pak came wrapped in plastic, but Whole Foods said I could order a case (unwrapped) from them, so I will when the time comes.

#3 was no driving. Sadly, I can't do that yet, but I can minimize extra trips and combine errands. And walk/bike whenever possible in Rock Creek.

Local food only will be fine, except for things like oils and spices. While breakfast for me is easy (eggs, homemade toast, local jam, local nut butters), it's tougher on my kids who prefer maple syrup on their (homemade) waffles. Lunch is easy-peasy: homemade bread, local jams & nut butters, local cheeses etc. Fresh fruit and veggies are really coming into their own so I can expect more in that department as the month progresses. Dinner is easy too, since I usually prepare dishes from our CSA share (starting May 20) or from the Farmer's Market. I've finally found local flour. WheatLand Farms. The wheat is grown in several Northern Colorado counties and milled near Greeley. It's available at King Soopers.

No garbage output simply interests me. If we have no plastic and we recycle all glass and paper, will we still have garbage? I'm curious. I'm guessing most of the garbage will accrue from the mail. We don't fill our garbage pail each week anyway, but we do have a few bags. I wonder. We'll see!

No excessive water usage. I'm already trying army showers but I don't like them much at all. It's close to impossible to get the water temp back to a normal level without wasting a bunch while fiddling with it. Still, I have shaved (not!) 5 minutes off my 10 minute showers, last time I checked the clock. I'm aiming for another 2 minutes off this month. Also catching the "heating up" water to water the garden (which will get planted the weekend of May 17-18! can't wait!) and the bird-attracting flowers (probably going into the ground on Sunday).

#7 was no electricity which I can't do, but I have eliminated the dryer, unplug everything when not in use (like that electric toothbrush charger!) and don't turn any lights on til it's pretty dark in the house. That is going well.


This morning the kids and I baked 4 different types of cookies for the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon tomorrow at Horizons. I filled up the left sink with water and a squirt of soap and put all the dirty dishes on that side, then put them into the dishwasher. That MUST be more efficient that rinsing off each dish. (another Duh! moment for me, *sigh*) I also baked 2 loaves of bread ... 3rd bread baking of the week! Sam and Mae are into sandwiches again so we're really going through it quickly. I tried to make bagels last weekend but they didn't work out. I'm going to try again this weekend. In the meantime, Ted has been ok with the lack 'o bagel in the morning.

Last but not least, running is going well. It always seems to snow, sleet, hail or rain on Thursdays, so I was prepared this morning. Crazy snow. We are coming to the end of Week 5 of the training program. I need to plan something for the month of June so I don't fall off the wagon.

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