Monday, April 23, 2012

Keeping it Green

Happy Monday! I hope you and yours had a good weekend. It was gorgeous here, and I did everything on my list.

As you may know, it was Earth Day yesterday. I know lots of towns had recycling drives, fairs, and rummage sales. I figured this was a good time to share some more of what Mr Official Taster and I do in our lives to be green. I also wrote a pretty extensive list last month.

  • I mentioned last month that most of our cleaning products were weird-chemical free, and this spring, I've been slowly replacing our personal care products as we run out. By "personal care" I mean toothpaste, facewash, bodywash, shampoo, etc. I especially love my new Avalon Organics facewash. It smells great, and I only use a tiny amount (a dollop maybe the size of the head of a thumbtack?) because it lathers up into more than enough.
  • A lot of people use reusable shopping totes these days, but I also reuse plastic produce or bulk bags (within reason). If they need it, I give them a quick rinse when I get home from the store, allow them to dry, and then stuff them back into a shopping bag. It doesn't slow me down at the store, and bags that hold rice or apples don't get that dirty.
  • Plastic bags get recycled. Every grocery store, and a good amount of other types, has a bin near the front somewhere where you can recycle used plastic bags. I let mine collect for a while, and then drop them off once or twice a year. The hardest part is remembering to bring them from the car into the store.
  • I said it before, but I'll say it again: Farmers' Markets. Not only are you getting delicious, local, fresh and often organic products, but the farmers get your money directly. No middlemanperson gets a cut, so families doing the work get a better deal. Find one near you here.
  • Take advantage of your grocer's bulk section if available. I find some products (though not all) to be cheaper than their packaged version, but I really like being able to get as small of an amount as I want. For example, I get pine nuts in bulk because pesto only uses a third of a cup. I just get what I need, and I don't have to worry about the remainder becoming rancid. (and pine nuts are waaaay to expensive to waste!)
  • Speaking of waste, I've been trying to cut back on food waste. If we don't finish our fresh strawberries before they start to turn, I'll hull them, lay them out on a lined baking sheet, and freeze them. Once frozen, they can all live together in a ziplock bag, but spreading them out lets them freeze individually instead of in a big clump. They'll be great in smoothies! When Mr OT tried a new recipe a few weeks ago, he bought some fresh basil. It didn't all get used up before the leaves started to wilt, so I made some pesto and froze it. Find yourself with some stale bread? Give it a whir in a food processor for breadcrumbs. A little creativity and foresight can save a good amount of dough down the line. 
  • Walk or bike when you can. I understand it's not always feasible, and although my new job is probably close enough to bike (with a little conditioning), I would be terrified to do so. The route there just doesn't feel safe. However, I never let myself drive to the library. It's a rule. 
  • Finally, and the least palatable: we pick up after our pups every. single. time. Poop that's left can really contaminate our water supply, so we always take the extra 5 seconds to scoop.

That seems like a lot, but it's really only a small effort on our part. What are some of the things you do to stay green year-round?

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