Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Wow! The other half is posting!'s me.

Angie usually includes photos, and maybe one of us will add pics to this post, but in honor of Earth Day, some little things we do to help the little planet we live on, and some other things we are thinking of doing...someday. Who would think that the oldest child would be the green hippie in the family?

On to the list.

1. Recycling. No brainer. We used to have to drive it a few miles to a recycling dumpster, which seemed counterproductive, but now we have a blue recycling can behind our garage. We sort the recycling (see previous post about our mud room) for no reason other than entertainment and ease of storage, then put it all into a bag that goes in the blue can.

2. Composting. In a daring move that I may come to regret, my wife and I made a deal. I got to buy and keep worms in a plastic bin in our apartment (now in the basement) and, in exchange, my wife gets a cat. We now use the worms to compost much of our fruit and vegetable waste, as well as unused bread. Other composted items have included tea bags and coffee grounds. Most of last year's jack-o-lantern was composted, too. We have used the compost to fertilize our house plants, window boxes, and now the seeds for our garden. Much of it will be used this spring when we plant outdoors. As for the kitty? Watch for posts about that later this spring.

3. CFL bulbs. They create less waste heat that traditional bulbs, which means less energy used and a lower electric bill. Added bonus, I haven't had one burn out in the over two years I have used them. "Dislike" the fact that they have mercury and need to be disposed of at special sites when they do finally burn out.

4. Power strips. "Energy vampires" are appliances that use electricity even when they are not "on." For example, those chargers for cell phones and video games. Anything with a little led light or clock is continuously using energy. Even our computers and televisions are running when off. Our toaster, which is used for maybe 3 minutes a day, has lights on it! Easy solution has been plugging all these things into surge protectors and flipping the switch off.

5. Energy star appliances. Personal favorite is that the dryer has a sensor. If the load is dry early, the dryer shuts off...genius!

6. Air dry clothing. Thank goodness spring is finally here.

7. Hose timer. No more trying to remember to shut off the hose at night. Coupled with a soaker hose and a lot less water is wasted.

8. Low-fume paint. Sorry, I can't remember the official title, but the paint and primer we have been using is low fume, which means less air pollution while the paint is drying.

9. Gardening. That means buying fewer vegetables that have to be shipped from halfway across the planet. The plants reduce CO2 and the flower garden will provide habitat for butterflies and other insects.

10. Electrical lawn mower. No gas emissions. Ours mulches, so no landfill space is wasted.

11. Ceiling fans. Make the rooms feel cooler, using less a/c

Eventual goals...

1. Regular composting. I would like to compost our lawn waste, too. The worms would get overwhelmed I fear.

2. Rain barrel. I would like to collect rain water from the roof to water the lawn and flower garden. Why use tap water if I don't need to. Maybe it will spare someone's basement from flooding, too.

3. Windows. We want to get better insulated windows.

4. Tankless water heater. Why use gas to heat up water in the middle of the night? Really?

Hopefully these goals will be realized some day. Don't plan to see us raising our own livestock anytime soon, but I think these reasonable goals can help. I bought a book about this topic a while back full of easy things that people can do without drastically changing their quality of life. Probably should reread it. If I find it in the room of boxes we still have, I'll post the title.

Bye for now fellow Earthlings.


  1. aww! How cute to have the "other half" post! Bravo! Can you get my husband to post on my blog too?

    I didn't even know they made hose timers so that's new info to me. Good to know!

  2. Heh, he's a trip! He hasn't posted here since the worm bucket update last year! And I didn't even have to ask him to do it. Maybe once Kyle's man cave is complete, he'll post about it?

  3. Graham - you are adorable! The paint and primer you're talking about is low VOC (we used it in our house too and loved it!).


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