Homemaking

Happy Earth Day from #HomeCrazzyHome

Going back in time this Earth Day to share some very old posts with you…from another time…another place…heck, a whole other life. But still they ring true for me today in our new #HomeCrazzyHome!


In the spirit of recycling, I thought I would use those famous words from Friends character Joey. As we have looked this week at the 3 R’s, reduce, reuse, recycle, I have shared with you ideas that my family are using to cut our carbon footprint on this precious Earth that we call home.

Reducing is always a challenge, because it goes in the face of our societal values of having more and doing more, but it is the highest form of recycling.

Re-using is something that has been natural for me through out my life. It may be challenging at times to creatively transform old household items into new uses, but this has become one of the staples of our Frugal Family’s efforts to be more environmentally friendly…and save money.

Recycling has become the catch phrase for the 3 R’s, but is strictly speaking altering one thing into another. It is important that we recycle as much as we possibly can, because making consumables from recycled goods is always cheaper and better for the environment than making them from raw materials.

But we should recognise too that recycling should only be used after we have reduced and re-used.  For our children and their futures, we must use all the arsenal of tools embodied in the 3 R’s: reducing wherever we can, re-using everything that we possibly can, and recycling every item that our councils and recycling centres will accept.

Today I am wanted to look at those things that my family could do better:

All this plastic...what a waste!
All this plastic…what a waste!

1) Reducing excess packaging. I think this might be the most challenging to tackle; partly because a great deal of it is beyond our control. We are, I admit, large consumers of electronics (blame techie husband). Have you ever noticed how much packaging goes into one tiny piece of plastic? A memory stick that is one inch by two will most often come in a plastic (non-recyclable) package with a large cardboard inset and an information packet. I recognise that this is an anti-theft device, but aren’t there other alternatives? What about putting such items behind the counter? The other side of that is that the packaging contributes to the cost of that piece of plastic and metal. Of course, this is an issue that will require a concreted effort from consumer and most likely government intervention to address. What I can do for now is to choose to purchase my fruit and vegetables loose. I am also hoping this will cut down on both spending and waste by purchasing only what we need.

2) I am going to remember to use those little switches on the power plugs. As I mentioned, being American we do not have such things. It has been hard for me change a lifetime of habits. But with my husband’s help, I am going to use these magic little buttons more often.

3) We are going to replace all batteries with rechargeable ones. About half of our batteries are rechargeable; mostly the ones in our keyboards and mousse. But over the coming weeks, we will replace all batteries with rechargeable ones…since these are particularly toxic waste in our landfills.

Trying to use water more wisely.
Trying to use water more wisely.

4) I am going to use less water when washing dishes. I have this habit of running the water to rinse dishes as I go. The new plan is to wash everything and sit it on the counter until I am done. Then use the same pan to rinse the dishes in cold water.

5) I am going to have a spring clean out. I may be doing pretty well at re-using but I could help others to do better by donating all the stuff I am not using to Freecycle, the Islington Swap Xchange, or my local Mind shop. This will make my husband very happy as he has been complaining about my daughter’s toys for a while now.

So what can you do better? Remember though this is not about being perfect, but the little things that we can realistically do and continue to do. The things that may seem so small that you don’t think they will make a difference: things that if we all did would make a huge difference. I invite you all to share your list with me.

Originally posted March 20, 2009

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