Monday, August 4, 2008

Going green

There's a lot of emphasis lately on being a better "environmental steward" and reducing human impact on nature.

Sometimes this is referred to as being "granola" or "crunchy."

In some ways, we've been green for a while. My mom has been recycling since I was in elementary school and our state has a refund for recycling aluminum and plastic beverage containers. All our grandparents grew up with a "waste not, want not" mentality (we were only allowed half a stick of gum or one glass of 7up at my paternal grandparent's house) which trickled down through their children and on down to us.

Being the youngest, I often wore hand-me-downs from my sisters when I was little (until I grew bigger/taller than them. Finally! New clothes!) Even now we're reusing the same bed I slept on and same dresser I used when I was younger for the kiddo in his big boy room. We have a hand-me-down dining room set and the hub and I are using the bed frame he built right after he graduated college (it's far from pretty but it does the job). We grow our own tomatoes (not enough room for a proper garden unfortunately).

I'm far from being hardcore granola (can't cloth diaper because of daycare, breastfeeding did not go as planned for the kiddo when he was born) but I would like to decrease the amount of chemicals we use in our household. So I've started trying out some "greener" cleaning alternatives.

I've switched to Seventh Generation's lavender and mint dishwashing soap.
I like it a lot, actually.

We've tried out quite a few different Method products. Currently we have their Squeaky Green 3-in-1 kid's shampoo, their Natural moisturizing body wash, flushable bathroom cleaner wipes, and best in glass cleaner. I don't use them as often as I should (except for the body wash, I use that pretty much every day) because I'm not very good at cleaning my house in a consistent manner. But I've been happy with them when I do use them!

This weekend I did break down and finally mop my floors. I sweep them at least once a week, usually more, and shake out the rugs from the kitchen because they're constantly covered in crumbs and dog hair. I tried using just vinegar and hot water to mop with, which I'd read is better for my wood floors anyway. Aside from the fact the smell made me want to break out some PAAS kits and color Easter eggs, I think it worked really well. It got all the crusty, dried on food spots from under the kiddos booster seat, anyway.

It's a slow process - we still use an unGodly amount of paper towels when we could be using microfiber or other washable cloths - but my goal is to decrease the amount of chemicals we use and increase reuse or recycling every month until the end of the year. What would that be considered, not quite granola, but more like instant oatmeal as opposed to frosted flakes?

So do you have any favorite green cleaning tips or hints? Favorite products? Just want to make fun of me (I'm looking at you, Kris). Leave me a comment. I'm always interested in trying out something new.


Michelle said...

I recently bought 20 microfiber cloths to use around the house and am going to make the attempt to use less in the way of paper towels. I also have the dish soap you mentioned and like it a lot.

I recently bought an all-purpose cleaner called Holy Cow (bought it at Hy-Vee) and like that WAY better than the Clorox Green Works crap I bought.

kmm0305 said...

I'm not making fun, you know I'm the most frugal of all. I use vinegar/water to clean floors (and the "hands and knees" method because I am too cheap to buy a $10 mop). I've also been known to clean the entire house with that concoction. I do use quite a few paper towels, although last time I cleaned windows I used the paper that the movers wraped stuff in. Now that's recycling. We share napkins at meals. Disgusting, I know. I will be doing more of my part to save the planet once Leah decides she can poop and pee on the potty.