Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Challenge

The challenge: What 10 things do you/we do to help the earth.

Sounds simple enough but there is a catch, Erin and I are both posting the challenge on our blogs so we need to have 10 different items.

Since we were coming up with the list and she started first, she got some of the easier ones that we do. However, I have managed to come up with a pretty good list.

1. Compact Flourescent light bulbs. - We have one light in the kitchen that has 4 40 watt bulbs with the very narrow base. Within the next year we plan to replace this light fixture to one that we can also use the CFLs in.

2. Recycling - I have been big into recycling my entire life. I recycle all cardboard, paperboard, newspaper, magazines, plastic (1-7), tin, and aluminum cans that we get as packaging.

3. We have a high efficiency toilet that uses less water.

4. Reuse plastic bags - When we do go to the store and end up getting plastic bags we get more than one use out of them. We use some to throw out dirty diapers, and others as the garbage bags for the small bedroom garbage can. Mostly I try to recycle them at the grocery store though.

5. Reuse clothes - We try to re-use things as much as we can. We get hand-me-downs for our kids from our friends and then pass them on again. We also buy a lot of the clothes that the kids from garage sales.

6. Garden - We are tomato lovers. and tomatoes are used a lot in our house when they are fresh, but we don't care for canned tomatoes. We took our love of tomatoes and have planted a garden each year. Last year we expanded our garden from tomatoes to include green beans, peeas, cauliflower, and green peppers. Some did better than the others, but we were able to grow some of our own food.

7. Compost - Our yard happens to be only half a lot, there is very little grass and no trees. This year we have started composting. There's not much yard waste to add to the compost pile, but we throw all of our fruit and vegetable scraps (apple cores, pepper cores, onion skin, potato skins if we happen to be peeling the potato, orange peels, kiwi peels, etc.) into the compost pile

8. We only run the dishwasher when it is full.

9. We just bought a new washing machine that is Energy star rated.

10. Last year our TV died. We replaced it with an energy star LCD TV.

Ok, that's the 10 for the challenge. I have a few items left though, so here they are.
11. We use reusable plastic containers for lunch and eat leftovers instead of frozen meals that have lots of waste.

12. We set the Air conditioner to 80 in the summer time. The heat isn't too bad, we just try to get the humidity out of the air.

13. We have been cutting out High Fructose Corn Syrup from our diet. I'm not sure what impact this has, but I expect that using foods that are less processed is better for the environment.

14. Generally we try to avoid buying water bottles, because we drink tap. Sometimes we are on the road and need a drink so we'll pick one up. When we do, we re-use the bottle with tap water quite a few times before we put it in the recycles.

15. Finally an earh friendly and romantic one. Erin and I shower together. In about the same amount of time as a single shower we both get washed, cutting down on the water usage, and the load on the hot water heater. Plus it's fun.

Erin threw out an added challenge to me. Come up with two things that I want to work on doing better next year.

1. When I take cans of soup to work, I throw away the can because there is no place to recycle soup cans at work. I've decided to open cans of soup at home, take the soup in a reusable container, and recycle the can immediately. This will recycle another 1 or 2 cans a week.

2. Walk instead of drive. We live within less than a mile from 2 grocery stores, a Wal Mart, a few gas stations, and several fast food restaraunts. I want to try and walk to these places when using them more often over the next year.

3. I plan on moving as many of our Vampire technologies as I can to power strips that we can turn off at night.