Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Doing Our Part

I've really been trying to think more green these days. It wasn't that long ago when I was a casual recycler. Our city has mandatory recycling, but quite often I would find myself not wanting to rinse out a jar or two, so they would end up in the regular trash. Or I'd come home from grocery shopping with a mountain of plastic bags and just lump them all into the garbage together. I think it started with really seeing how much garbage we put out each week. When there were weeks with six, seven, or eight full size trash bags for a family of four, I was really embarrassed to have people walking by or driving by before it was picked up. We're gradually getting better.

One of the things I've started doing is probably a no-brainer to some, but I've started re-using the plastic bags from the grocery store. Instead of just tossing them, I save them to line our bathroom garbages, and our van garbage. When Zander was still in diapers we would use them to wrap each diaper tightly to attempt to conceal the odor. I've also become meticulous about washing out jars, bottles and cans, and our garbage is definitely shrinking every week. One thing I keep wanting to do is start a compost bin, since that is one of the biggest sources of waste for us. We're really limited on where we could put a bin in our yard though, so we're still researching that idea.

The whole point of this post is to share my latest attempt at going green. Recently on one of the bulletin boards I visit there was a big discussion about reusable shopping bags. I've often thought about doing that, but I could only imagine the looks I would get around here... I don't think I've ever seen anyone pull out their own bag for shopping. After a bit of research and shopping around, I found the bag I wanted. Reusable Bags.com is the site I ultimately went with for ordering a bag. Now before you click that link, let me warn you, the stuff there is really cool. You will want one of everything- I have my eye on a few more items, that's for certain. Today I received my shopping bag. Here is a picture of it sitting on the counter next to my cell for size reference.
It's tiny when it's all folded up. Perfect for tucking into a purse, diaper bag, glove compartment, or a jacket pocket. Made of washable nylon, it's extremely light weight, and I wasted no time filling it with pantry goods to see how it would hold up.

I filled my shopping bag with:

48 oz. bottle juice
18 oz bottle BBQ sauce
24 oz box raisins
21 oz can pie filling
8 oz can sunflower seeds
16 oz jar hot fudge sauce
2 pounds powdered sugar
1 package chocolate chips
1 can tuna
3 boxes Jello
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can cocoa
2 boxes Rice-A-Roni

This bag still fit comfortably in my hand, and I carried it around the house for a bit to see how it felt after a few minutes. Now had I bought this stuff today and put it in plastic, it would have easily been five bags- the juice itself would have gotten one bag by itself. I already love this bag and I haven't really used it. Since we live just a five minute walk from the local store, I frequently find myself dashing off for just a few things instead of making a full shopping trip. I figure that with this bag alone I can save myself probably 10 bags per week. After a few test runs, I plan on buying a few more of these bags to stash in the van for the larger shopping trips.

Are you green? I'd love to hear what you do to do your part. And don't forget to visit Reusable Bags, they are highly recommended by The Waz household. To read about another way we're trying to do our part, be sure to check out my article tomorrow on Kids Cuisine.

1 comment:

Claire said...

That will be great! My parents have been doing research on compost bins and actually found a site with all kinds of bins. There was even a compost BENCH! Yes, underneath the bench is a compost bin. Hmmm...don't know about that one!