Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

I thought I'd take a break from being a real estate voyeur and analyst to celebrate Earth Day today.

In the past few months my wife and I made a few small changes in our behavior, then watched them snowballed into a few major changes. Call it the power of commitment but once we decided we could do more to be "green" we started finding other small and not so small changes we could make that would help reduce waste or energy.

The tipping point seems to be the purchase of a travel coffee mug that doesn't leak. We saw the mug our babysitter used and my wife went out and bought two, one for each of us. She now takes hers with her to school and uses it instead of a disposable cup. Not really a huge change, right? But that one step seems to have cemented our commitment.

Soon after we made a few more significant changes:

- Switched our daughter over from disposable to cloth diapers
- Bought a composter and set it up
- We found out that we could recycle plastics at Metro in the outer NE Portland, so we bought two bins (one for containers, one for plastic foil) and started collecting our plastic to recycle.
- I started biking to work more regularly, 4 days last week.
- Looking into building a rain catchment system (at our rental house) to help use rainwater to water our plants.

We have seen a measurable decrease in our weekly trash with these changes, and frankly the biggest benefit of me biking to work is that I feel better and I know I'm in better shape (40 min a day of biking will do that!)

Living "green" had definitely hit the mainstream in the past few years. So what are you doing differently? Got any tricks you want to share?

Or do you think it's all BS and we're all just doing this to feel better without making any real difference?

Either way, happy Earth Day!


Perplexed said...

We don't have garbage service! There is a recycling site within a couple miles where we can dump a garbage can full of that which is not recyclable. We fill up a garbage can about once every 60 days (since we are cheap and have one of those little platforms that hand on a trailer hitch we have two cans and make three trips a year).

Plastic garbage bags that cannot be avoided go back to the grocery store, garden clippings and yard debre are composted, recyclable materials are kept in re-usable bags until the 'dump run'.

Oh, and we stopped publications we don't read.

True, we are only two older adults so we don't consume much, but by thinking of disposal at the time of acquizition we hope help the earth.

Kimberhaha said...

Hello! This is Ian's wife and I have a couple corrections.

--We now recycle all of our plastic (containers or packaging with numbers 1-7) and any plastic foil at Far West Fibers (www.farwestfibers.com), NOT Metro. FWF has locations in the NE and SE.
--We got the Earth Machine composter at Metro for about $35 bucks (which is heavily discounted for PDX residents from its regular price). We have a significant amount of yard waste, so it's been working well.

Before doing all of this, we were filling a large trash can each week. Now we're at about half of that!

Anonymous said...

All BS