Each year for the last three years, I have tried to take on one new green habit. I am getting increasingly frustrated with the warming of the climate and have tried to do things that decrease my impact overall.
Three years ago, I switched to compact florescent bulbs for household use. My house already uses standard florescent for bulbs for the bedroom. Now, I replace all bulbs with compact florescent.
Two years ago, I decided to get off catalog lists. This was not very effective until I found CatalogChoice.org but the website works very well. If you order a lot of stuff on-line, like me, you probably get a lot of paper catalogs. I still get a few, but no where near as many as I used to.
This year, I took on the plastic bag problem. I collected all my tote bags, and got a few for free or very cheap at garage sales. They don't match and they aren't pretty (except the Target ones I got at a fundraiser) but I don't get plastic bags anymore. And being all different sizes, I can really be efficient about packing them. It only took me a couple of shopping trips to remember to take them with me every time. Now I am working on remembering to take them with me when shopping with the boyfriend in his car.
As happy as I am with the changes I have made, believe me, this does not strike me as doing nearly enough. I try to remind myself of the other things about my life that are low impact on the environment. The biggest one is, I never had kids, that is a huge savings of household consumption and waste. My job does require me to drive locally, but never to fly. I don't drink bottled water. I subscribe to a local organic farm all summer, so my fresh produce from June to October is organic and not shipped from overseas. Plus I freeze the excess, so I have frozen produce in the winter as well. I recycle everything that my village takes. My boyfriend and I are very creative about second hand shopping for home improvement and decor items, so that I rarely buy anything new for the house. We either reuse something I already have, or find what we want at house and garage sales. The boyfriend is also a volunteer at a second hand store, so he gets lots of great bargains there.
Lately, I have been experimenting with tips from the hypermilers. I have taken to coasting with my foot off the gas when possible, especially coming up to a stop or red light. Just making this one little change has definitely stretched how long a tank of gas lasts. I am working on gas mileage numbers to track this, but so far, I am pleased with the results. With my regular driving habits (too fast) I was using a tank every seven to eight days. My last full tank lasted 12 days of regular use (work, shopping). I realized with this experiment that I am also very efficient in my shopping habits. My regular stops are mostly right on the way to and from work, so I rarely drive specifically to shop. My boyfriend does our grocery shopping when he does his elderly father's, so he saves a trip there, too. He still gets plastic bags, but I need some for cat litter and for kitchen garbage, so I let that go.
So what changes have you made to make your life a little more green? I am prepared to feel totally inadequate at your great ideas..... ;-)