How have you gone green, and how have you failed?

posted 3 weeks ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
Member
1013 posts
Bumble bee

This is a great idea-generating thread! I do think it’s important to be careful with the word “fail”, though. Maybe “could do better” or “needs improvement” instead? It sounds less final and discouraging. But then, I’m a big softy ๐Ÿ™‚ .

Pretty Good:

-I have sensitive skin and hate all fragrance, so I’ve never used dryer sheets or fabric softener and all my soaps and shampoos are biodegradable anyway, BUT I’ve recently discovered shampoo and conditioner bars, which cut out the water problem. Also, they come in plastic-less wrappers and last me at least a year each, which I love.

-Bathing less, lol. I take “whore baths” as my mother calls them (use your imagination), but only wash my hair once or twice a week. I don’t have an oily scalp and use zero product, so I can usually manage this pretty easily without getting gross. 

-Cutting WAY down on tiny plastic containers. For me this means using less makeup (not buying any and all lipstick shades I want just because I can), investing in brands that use glass, paper and metal containers, and buying in bulk and decanting (we save the big containers for water collection and chemical storage (partner is a photographer). 

-Basically not buying new clothes that aren’t organic cotton or linen (this has gotten much easier over the past few years). This involves significant thrifting and also mending old garments with holes. No more disposable clothes!

-We still use Ziplocs, but wash and re-use them constantly. 

-Buying all produce loose (not shrink-wrapped) and using mesh bags.

-Making most food items from scratch and hardly ever ordering take-out (even pre-pandemic). 

-Collecting soapless wastewater and rainwater to use on the garden.

-No AC, although this wasn’t really a choice, we just can’t afford it. 

-Using plastic free, 100% organic cotton sanitary products (I can’t do the menstrual cup thing, but I’m not sure I consider them to be all that much greener, especially considering you have to sanitize them with water after every use).

-Switching to non-nano mineral sunscreen that is reef safe. 

“Needs Improvement”:

 

-AMAZON DEPENDENCE!!!!

-Still using plastic trash bags—plastic use is the fucking hardest to get around!

-Our dishwasher is not very efficient AT ALL, and it probably would be better to just wash by hand, but it’s a pain in the ass. 

-Meat and dairy consumption could be lower and of higher quality when we do indulge. 

-I have yet to find a good plastic-free brand of floss! The idea of those little strings choking wildlife makes me really unhappy, but I just have to floss! 

Post # 3
Member
2185 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

I love this! 

 

Doing pretty good!

-We use a lot of “unpaper towels” in lieu of regular paper towels 

-We make sure to keep lights off in rooms we aren’t in

-We drive fuel efficient cars

-We try to minimize our meat consumption, and when we do eat meat, 99% of the time it’s free range/grass fed

-We aim to minimize single-use plastics…reusable water pitcher, large tubs of yogurt, etc

-Wool dryer balls

-Most of our household cleaning supplies are non-toxic

-We use biodegradable dog poop bags 

-In terms of clothing/shoes, we don’t necessarily always go for the most hippie dippie brands, but we make an effort to pick things that are higher quality and will last

-We live in an apartment. We have the money to buy, but haven’t yet (we plan to move in 2 years). So it’s not that we purposely picked an apartment for environmental reasons (more people can live in a smaller area/fewer building supplies, cheaper utilities, less lawn, etc compared to renting a house), but it’s a nice perk.

-We mostly use reusable grocery bags, and the plastic bags we do get are used for bathroom trashcans and scooping the cat’s litterbox.

 

Needs work

-Our AC use. We live in the south and being too hot turns us into cranky monsters, so we keep it cold. I like to think we make up for it in the winter when we don’t use the heat much.

-Recycling. This one is rough. We live in a walk up, and we’d have to collect our recycling and bring it ourselves. 

-Reusable produce bags. We have them, but I always forget them!

-We’re impulse buyers of dumb things, need to work on that

Future/past good things

-When we lived in a duplex, we did compost, and will again once we’re not several floors up

-We’re expecting our first child in December, and will cloth diaper. I’ve already scouted out a few well-reviewed disposable options that are either biodegradable or made in certified zero-waste facilities for daycare/travel. 

-On the kid note, I dealt with our long TTC process by researching/bookmarking baby gear in a really intentional way to make sure that we end up with a small amount of higher-quality things that will last multiple children. I’m glad I did this, because now with the hormones, I want ALL THE THINGS but keep reminding myself of our priorities. I’d rather start very small and then buy/acquire extra things we need, versus creating a ton of waste by buying 8,000 things and only using 5 of them. 

-I used to be great about reusable menstrual products, but fell off the bandwagon and justify it by going for organic/non-toxic tampons…once I’m dealing with cycles again, I need to get back with it!

Post # 4
Member
180 posts
Blushing bee

GOOD:

-we use resusable menstrual products (my daughter uses cloth pads and I use a diva cup)
-we started using our organic bin when garbage pick up moved to every other week instead of every week
-we use washable containers for lunches and only use plastic baggies occasionally
-before the pandemic I used reusable grocery and produce bags 
-I only wash my hair every 7-9 days
-our pool is salt water and our hot tub uses all natural products
-the books I read are borrowed or e-books

BAD:

-since the pandemic we go through a lot of Lysol wipes
-lots of Amazon purchases!
-I need to work on lowering my tolerence for cooler pool water (I currently won’t go in unless it’s heated to at least 84 and we live in a cold climate so this doesn’t happen naturally)

 

Post # 5
Member
66 posts
Worker bee

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@xiphosura:  try a waterpik! My dentist told me about it and i love it!

Post # 6
Member
512 posts
Busy bee

The good:

I recycle and reuse.  My trash is near a minimum.

I run the climate control only as much as necessary to not be sweating or shivering.  I am a little cold in the winter (helps with metabolism!) and hot in the summer.  Because my hands do get very cold in the winter, I keep the heat at 68F (20C) during the day.  But I do have it at 60F (16C) at night while under a quilt, and keep the A/C at 82F (27C) during the day and 76F (24C) at night.  I have a whole house humidifier that runs with the furnace during the winter, and I run fans in the summer to supplement the A/C.

I drive a fuel efficient car, averaging 33 miles per gallon (and 41 on the highway).  For our non-US bees, that’s 7.12 L/100km and 5.74 L/100km.

For both health and environmental reasons, I don’t eat much red meat.  I have a fair number of bean and fish meals, and poultry.

The bad:

I try to travel places a lot.  Even that fuel efficient car means CO2 added to the atmosphere and the road trips add up.  Same goes for flying.  I feel bad about this, but it’s a balance between living my life and limiting my impact.  I am very concerned about climate change.  I am considering offsetting my carbon emissions for trips.

I don’t compost.  I don’t have the patience for it.  I don’t have many food scraps, but they do go in the garbage.

Post # 7
Member
678 posts
Busy bee

I love this thread, there are some great ideas one here!

Good: I don’t want to repeat anyone else’s ideas, but one thing I can add is I stopped using makeup wipes and now just use a washcloth or those makeup eraser clothes.

As for bad: I am terrible about wasting produce. I feel like so much food I buy goes from underripe to bad in the blink of an eye and I have to throw it out. We do compost, but I still would like to fix this. Does anyone have ideas to help?

Post # 8
Member
2185 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

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@wonderwedding:  do you have a dog? We actually save some food scraps and cook them up for ours! Gross chicken/meat bits, bruised fruits/veggies, etc. As long as it’s dog-friendly, it’s a great way to use the food (and make a tiny dent in your pet food bill). 

Post # 9
Member
538 posts
Busy bee

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@wonderwedding:  Soup or stock! You can actually save off cuts of veggies (peels, onion butts, etc), put them in a freezer bag and keep them until you have a full bag and make stock. You have to see them going bad though! If you just have a lot of veggies you can make yummy soups, sometimes I will make mishmashed veggie soup with some lentils or beans in it.

https://www.garlicandzest.com/scraps-vegetable-broth

https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-soup-from-almost-any-vegetable-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-35301 

I love this thread! It’s made me think of a few things I hadnt even considered. Like period items. I havent had a period in like 6 or 7 years (iud), I didnt even consider all the enviro-savings with no pads or tampons for that long lol. 

I compost everything. And recycle most of everything else. My city does a great job on both, and I love it. We get bi-weekly garbage pick up, but I normally only put mine out once a month (still get charged bi weekly though grr…). I also always recommend using parchment paper instead of aluminium foil for baking trays, as the parchment is compostable. 

Things I struggle with: Reusing anything plastic – meat related. I buy meat in bulk (good!), but repackage it into ziplocks or food saver vacuum bags for the freezer. I cannot stand reusing them for more meat, so I end up throwing them out ๐Ÿ™ I also need some of those mesh baggies for produce, as that is the only plastic bags I get at any store. Also saran/glad wrap. Ive seen beeswax wrap but its a bit pricey. I will re-use plastic wrap for veggies or bowls so its not as bad, but I still hate using it and tossing it. 

Post # 10
Member
1013 posts
Bumble bee

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@skuzzlebutt:  This is what we do! Although it’s less from a green perspective and more from a “we love soup” perspective. 

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@humblebee2015:  I think I may just do that! I have sensitive gums and some tightly wedged molars anyway, and it seems like a gentler alternative. 

Post # 11
Member
5 posts
Newbee

I like this thread! I know that individual action can’t outweigh the impact that harmful industries & corporations are doing to the planet and I don’t really believe in “green capitalism”… but I like to think that the steps we take to make our lifestyles more sustainable do still matter in reducing harm.

Good:

Driving preowned hybrid cars, buying secondhand furniture/supplies whenever possible, mowing the lawn as little as possible & not using any pesticides in order to encourage the growth of native plants/attract native pollinators, wearing/mending clothes for as long as possible, composting, using as much of an animal as possible (eating offal/making stock with carcasses), trying to decrease meat consumption in general, reusing bags and containers and/or using biodegradable ones, kicking our Amazon habit!

Needs improvement:

Our house isn’t insulated and so our heating/cooling is pretty inefficient, many of our appliances could use updating to more energy-efficient models, and I could do more to decrease my plastic use in general… I’ve also wanting to go vegan for years but my health conditions make it really difficult :\

 

Post # 12
Member
1013 posts
Bumble bee

If and when we can ever afford to move (oy), I have always had a fantasy of building our own house, and if that’s possible, I’d LOVE to live in a Passivhaus! There are some great pre-fab models out there, actually. NO MORE HEATING OR COOLING EVER!!!!

(For anyone who doesn’t know what that is and is interested: https://www.phius.org/what-is-passive-building/passive-house-principles)

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@pearlbee:  This is not to knock anyone who chooses to be vegan, but I’d like to reassure you a litte re veganism and sustainability, speaking as someone who also can’t ever be vegan due to health issues: It is not the be-all end-all of environmentally friendly eating, at least not in most industrialized nations. Staying vegan while getting adequate nutrients while cooking entirely from scratch is time consuming and labor instensive, and most vegans in the US rely pretty heavily on processed soy, almond and starch products, all of which rely on fossil fuels to be produced, and many of which contribute to a lack of crop biodiversity, which wreaks havoc on the environment. We ALL could survive on fewer animal products, and it’s generally a good idea to keep our consumption to a minimum, but unfortunately, as things are, pushing that to the absolute extreme can end up putting more stress on our resources than simple moderation. 

Post # 13
Member
3084 posts
Sugar bee

Great thread!

I have:

  • switched to re-usable towels instead of paper towels for most instances, but some stuff we do still use paper towels for. We probably use at least 50% less paper towels than we used to.
  • switched to reusable cloth pads for my period. (I know it’s not someething for everyone)
  • switched to reusable face “rounds” for washing my face, removing makeup
  • composting more
  • getting better about preventing/minimizing food waste.  Eating leftovers, using food before it spoils/expires.
  • Trying to avoid buying stuff in unnecessary packaging.
  • Hanging more of our laundry to dry rather than using the dryer

 

Post # 14
Member
5 posts
Newbee

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@xiphosura:  Thanks! I’ve done a lot of reading on veganism and am aware of the issues you’re talking about. No lifestyle can eliminate harm, anyway. But I admire the general commitment to harm reduction & social justice that most vegans I’ve met have, and I do think that in order to live sustainably people will have to shift to a significantly more plant-based lifestyle sooner or later. Whatever steps we can take now to make that transition easier will probably benefit us a lot in the long run. ๐Ÿ™‚

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