Clean & Green

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In an online discussion group of which I am a member, the challenge this week was to make some changes in your routine to make your life a little greener.  It was noted that actions that are good for the environment can also be beneficial to your purse.

When I stopped and thought about this, I realised that most of how I choose to live is a result of making the best choice I can in the prevailing circumstances.  Some of these things are what I have always done and others are changes I have made but it is so long ago that I do not even consider them as particularly green.

Here are some of our household patterns.

Use locally-made, environmentally-friendly washing liquid, laundry soaker, dishwashing liquid and dishwasher powder from Kin Kin Naturals.

Make my own wool wash and cream cleanser.

Finished product

Use bicarb and vinegar to clean most surfaces.

Hang clothes outdoors to dry or in front of the fire.  Use clothes dryer rarely.

Washing

Run our home on tank water, grid-connected solar power and solar hot water service.

Grow some of our own fruit and vegetables.  This week I have picked lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, radishes, pak choy, lemons, oranges, mandarins. grapefruit and avocadoes.

Compost all our scraps or feed them to the chickens.

Keep chickens for our own supply of eggs.

Catch public transport to work.

Complete multiple errands when making a trip in the car.

Re-use as many resources as possible.

Re-washed plastic bags

Avoid processed foods.

Make choices when shopping to avoid packaging – buy bulk/loose goods.

Use my own bags/containers when shopping.

Meat in containers

Heating from a slow-combustion heater fuelled by wood collected from our property.

Fireplace

Give away items no longer needed via Freecycle or op shop.

Buy only what we need.

Repair things that we already own.

Stitching new lining
This is not a complete list but is an indication of what we do every day to lighten our footprint on the planet.

What choices have you made that could be viewed as ‘green’?

 

How Green Was My Christmas?

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Well, Christmas is over for another year and I hope it was a good one for you and your families.

One of my goals was to reduce our overall environmental impact from the festivities so it is probably time to review what I did and whether it made a difference.

Cards – I only sent 11 Christmas cards by post this year.  This is a significant reduction over the years.  There was a time when I posted between 50 and 60 cards each year.  I sent ecards and emails with our family newsletter.  These are generally well-received, save time and money for me, reduce clutter for the recipient.  I will continue to do this.

Gift-wrapping – this year I made fabric gift bags to use which seems to have been successful in making a significant reduction in the amount of wrapping paper which ended up in the recycling bin.  There was still some from gifts we received but that may change in time, who knows?  Perhaps I will make some for Belle to use next year as well.

Gifts – I made a few hand-made gifts and also a couple of experience gifts and some Oxfam Unwrapped gifts which seemed to please the recipients.  I need to plan my handmade items a bit further in advance next year.  I received a couple of practical and requested gifts so I was very happy.  A bathmat, colander, air mattress, gluten-free sauce and dressing and a Kathmandu voucher as well as a promise of dinner when we are next in Melbourne.  We do not want to be overwhelmed by ‘stuff’ and my family understand that. Yay!!

Food – we made a conscious effort not to over-cater and were mostly successful.  I have fruit cake leftover as well as a little smoked salmon and some cold, grilled chicken.  All of this will be stored appropriately and used to avoid any waste.  We had a special meal with close family but did not over-indulge.  Next year I would like to try to be more organised with my garden and be able to use more home-grown produce.

I am pretty happy with our achievements and will continue to  work on improving each year.

I would love to hear about your celebrations – what worked and what didn’t?