Thursday, November 20, 2008

how green are you?

I often think of myself as a pretty environmentally conscious individual. But, I'm sure a staunch Greeny would argue I could do more. I was wondering... if I added up what I do to help out our planet would that be considered very much by an expert? (that's a purely hypothetical question... I'm not going to research it at this point in my week) I'm looking for ideas for what else we can realistically do. We live in a suburb and have to commute each work day; most of the places we shop and socialize at are not within walking distance of our home. What do you do, especially if you are also a Suburbanite, to help reduce that carbon footprint?

This is what my husband, son and I do regularly....
  • recycle by using the bins provided by our city for paper, plastic and glass
  • don't buy bottled water because each of us (the little guy included) has our own Naglene bottle (BPA Free) that we take with us wherever we're going
  • mulch our lawn instead of bagging it and we sweep our clippings off of the pavement instead of using one of those obnoxious blowers
  • we don't over-water our lawn or water during inefficient times of the day
  • we put solar screens on the windows at home to reduce our energy consumption
  • I drive a Camry Hybrid
  • we wash large loads of laundry instead of small ones and wash using cold water (ok, sometimes I just have to use hot)
  • wrapped our hot water heater with a blanket
  • have a programmable thermostat for our a/c and heating unit
  • use ceiling fans to help circulate air
  • my husband turns off the ignition when idling in his vehicle (my car switches to the hybrid battery in those situations)
  • turn off the faucet while brushing
  • don't use plastic bags... we bring our own canvas bags when we shop
  • recently changed from liquid laundry detergent and fabric softner to powder detergent and dryer sheets so that we use less plastic...the paper products seem easier to recycle...we could be wrong on this
  • I stockpile my MAC make-up containers so I can recycle them at the MAC counter and get a free lipstick! (If you use MAC products then you know they last for-ev-er, so I have to hold on to these for awhile to get the required number of six to trade in.)
There are things that I know we could do, but I'm not sure we actually ever would consistently....
  • utilize a composter for our food scraps (can you add dog poo to those???)
  • keep a vegetable garden
  • use a push mower & edger (yeah, I don't think Hubby would dig that...)
I know there are more things we could do, but honestly my mind is going blank right now. So, tell me...what do you recommend? What do you do?