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Going Green; Faux, Fun or For Real

April 27, 2009

Okay. Those of you who know me might know I am pretty nutty about the use of toxic chemicals in the home and about recycling. But there are different types of nutty. First off, I have recycled for years. I have been married to the same dear man for almost 20 years but he still doesn’t know what you can recycle and what you can’t. In every town there are certain things you can recycle. The plastics havae a little number on the bottom. In our last town you could recycle 1-5. Here just 1, 2 and 3. But if it looks like cardboard, my husband throws it in. If it looks like plastic, my husband throws it in. But I digress as usual. The thing that irks me most is when people say “what I do can’t matter, can’t make a difference”. What I say is “if we all picked up our trash, there would be no trash”. Not exactly but you get what I mean. But there are many levels of “going green” these days. There is celebrity going green, there is moderately wealthy or well off going green. These levels of greenness involve major renovations to your home or the building of the perfectly green home, sometimes with expensive eco-friendly materials, etc. Then there is “going green for show”. People who talk big or who make a show of this but don’t really live it. Now I am all for the big gesture, the green home, etc.; but not all of us can do this. But all of us can make some simple changes. But we resist. Use a little less paper towel. Buy micro fiber cleaning cloths and wash them. Use vinegar to clean everything and reduce your bleach footprint. I buy eco-friendly laundry and dish soaps. They are a bit more expensive but I save so much on the other household cleaning items that I still save. Of course now the clorox brand has come out with a line of “green” products. This is great and I’m all for it. But the traditionally eco-friendly brands are actually less expensive (they used to be the expensive ones). Meanwhile, Americans are so addicted to multiple cleaning products that we don’t think something as simple as vinegar will work (and not smell once it dries). If you need bleach, use a bleach pen on the spot, not a cup of bleach. But trust me, you rarely need bleach. Wash your cans and bottles and put them in the recycle bin; and your magazines and your newspapers. Stop using disposable items like paper plates, cups amd napkins. Fill your dishwasher all the way up. Combine laundry so you are running a full load. Clean your AC filters amd your dryer vents. These are normal people things you can do that make a difference. You don’t have to be rich to do them and, despite what my teenager thinks, what one person does can and will make a difference. I am not a celebrity and I do foget my reusable grocery sacks, I am a nut but not obsessive, I can’t retrofit my house but I can retrofit my habits. Change is not only possible, it is necessary.

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