I want to take a moment and thank The Eco Chic for allowing me to write what I think—without editing. Last week, I wrote about breastfeeding; why I didn’t and my feelings about it. After I wrote it and emailed it to her, I thought she’s call me and say, “no way” and that my guest posting would be over but she is letting me speak freely yet again! Thank you Eco Chic!
I also want to say thanks to all of The Eco Chic’s readers. Nobody responded with negativity. I truly thought I would get comments full of hatred – like I see in the on-line forums and I didn’t get that at all. I appreciate to supportive responses and comments.
Moving on…. this week, I want to talk about money. It is one of my favorite subjects. (The Eco Chic added commentary – Mama M is actually an accountant so she loves to talk about money!)
Confession time: up until six months ago—I was one of those people. I bought magazines and as soon as I was done with them, I threw them in the trash. I bought a book; read it and trashed it. I had not one but three newspapers delivered to me (I read the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and our local newspaper).I USED PAPER PLATES AND PLASTIC UTLENSELS and tossed them—without thinking twice. I probably used 19872674 disposable diapers because I never even thought of cloth (I thought people stopped using them in 1974). I even would wrap the dirty diapers up in plastic bags! I filled landfills with single use bottles (always thinking about how quick I could get things done).
I could go on but I think I have illustrated my complete disregard for the environment—and saving money. Not only did I waste resources, I literally threw away my money.
Fast forward from 2004 when I had a baby—to 2010. Things are different now and it’s not because of something catastrophic like a job loss—in fact, even in this economy, my husband and I earn more than we ever have because our careers are in fields that are actually growing. The truth is, through education and good friends, I’ve changed. I’ve looked at how I live. I did the carbon footprint thing and I looked at how I (and my family) impact the Earth.
I slowly made changes that worked with my lifestyle. The biggest thing is that I now recycle—but not traditionally. I swap stuff with friends and neighbors instead of buying things brand new. I don’t subscribe to so many newspapers (why should I… I can read what I want on-line). I share magazines and books – and even donate to the library. I don’t buy clothes and shoes and new purses without thinking about what I already have. (The Eco Chic added commentary – Mama M has done better on the clothes and purse shopping – unfortunately my hand-me down selection decreased too!)
I still have a small obsession with paper plates but I am slowly making the switch. All of these things didn’t make my life harder—it actually made it easier. I don’t have as much stuff taking up my space and my time. I only have what I want and need.
I love this way of living but I need ways I can do better. I’d love to hear what The Eco Chic’s readers do – the changes that other’s have made to live cleaner, to make the Earth a little less messy and to save money! – Thanks for reading, Mama M.
The Eco Chic’s Back to Basic Tips to Living Green
1. Keep a record of what you throw out for one week. Decide which category of items are most often tossed and make that your first priority to decrease. For us it’s cardboard, packaging, and paper. Our local recycling pick up doesn’t take this items curbside so my garage is STUFFED with bins of cardboard waiting for my to drive them down the road.
2. Look for one new reusable item to add to your collection. For instance, since Mama M uses a lot of paper plates she could purchase a collection of reusable (yet affordable) plates. For us we bought the cheap-o plastic plates from Wally World to use when we have parties and get-together’s. While they may (or may not) contain BPA – I’m first addressing the waste issue. I honestly can’t remember the last time we used disposable tableware.
3. Purchase items with less packaging waste. Buy in bulk or in larger quantities the items that you use most often. Does your child really need juice boxes or can you refill a cup (or thermos) for them from the larger bottle of juice.
4. Ditch the disposable water bottle and use tap water instead. This is one of the most wasteful areas in our society. Check out The Story of Bottled Water for more information on that topic.
5. Looking for ways to make your food selection a little more eco-friendly? Have a meatless meal day once a week. Start buying organic food from the Dirty Dozen list. Try to find and support local food producers.
Once you begin to make a change in your own life you’ll see additional opportunities where you can make adjustments. Don’t let it get overwhelming though – it’s the baby steps that really add up. Where are you at in your journey to going green? What’s next on your list of improvements or adjustments? Leave us a comment below and don’t forget – leading by example is the easiest way to reach The Other Side.
Image source and credits: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1195991
Leave a Reply