Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Major Update One

I've had several friends ask how the changes are going, am I able to sustain what I started.  Although I've given my readers a brief update on our progress (or lack thereof!), I thought I would give a major update on ALL changes since Day 1.  Since this will be a LONG entry, I've divided it into two posts.  Here's the first update:

1. Switch to paperless billing - this has been so easy, I have to wonder why I didn't make this switch earlier.  It's been extremely simple to keep track of bills and payments.  As long as I pay this bill right away when received, I don't have to worry about forgetting.

2. Environmentally-friendly ant killer - as mentioned last fall, this didn't work so well long-term.  I had to resort to ant poison to get them out of the house.

3. Eliminate bottle water - another really easy change.  I've only had bottled water twice since I made this change.  Both times the water was purchased by someone else, and only because there was no other alternative in sight.

4. Place jug of water in fridge - again, very easy.  DH hasn't run the tap for drinking water since.

5. Buy recycled lined paper - another easy habit to fall into. 

6. Eliminate junk mail using "Red Dot" campaign - it's amazing how just saying "NO" to junk mail has reduced the paper waste in our house.  I had no idea until it all went away.....

7. Unplug electronics when not in use - we're about 95% there in remembering this.  There are still a few occasions when I forget or DH does, but those times are now the exception, not the norm.

8. Buy environmentally and body friendly face moisturizer - this one is a bust.  I just can't find an eco-friendly moisturizer that I like.  I've settled for a lesser damaging one - it has a lower score on the Skin Deep database, and doesn't make my face feel too greasy.

9. No more hot showers - they aren't steamy any more, but I still run a hot shower in the winter. Since I am using the army shower method, I don't feel guilty about it.

10. Turn off light while showering - again, now that winter is here, it's low light vs. no light, but once spring arrives, I plan to switch off the light completely

11. Take navy showers - 99% compliance rate.  I've actually learned to like them....

12. Eliminate hair dryer - the frizz says it all. 

13. No more disposable coffee cups - again running about a 95% compliance rate with this one.  I've gotten into the habit of taking my coffee mug with me whenever I know I'm going to be out.  It's the spur of the moment times, when I'm not in my van with the extra mug, that I've resorted to the disposable ones. 

14. Preserve foods, preferably local and organic - I did quite a bit - peaches, corn, jams, beets, rhubarb and salsa.  I hope to up the produce intake next year.

15. Eliminate baths for kids; have showers instead - let's just say I tried it, and it didn't work so well.  I sometimes manage to bath two kids at once, so I'm saving a bit of water there....

16. Use only one glass per day for juice/coffee/wine - I've been getting lazy and forgetting to set aside my glass/mug.  Must get back into this habit.

17. Use GoodSearch for Internet - I've almost given up on this search engine.  It just doesn't get the results.

18. Eliminate the use of CFCs - done. 

19. Buy environmentally and body friendly deodorant - I haven't found one that I'm completely satisfied yet, but I'm not giving up hope.  There are still a couple of other brands to try, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that I find one I can live with.

20. No more book purchases - use library instead - this has been surprisingly easy.  I have only purchased one book that was non gift related, and ONLY because the library didn't carry it.

21. No more plastic takeout containers - this has been hit and miss.  When I do get a plastic container, I recycle it to my daughter's nursery school for use in their arts/crafts area.

22. Add a green tip to email signature - I try and change the tip every week, so people don't get bored with the same old thing.

23. Spend time everyday researching green issues - I haven't been doing it every day, lately, but at least twice a week I am researching new ways to be "green".

24. Environmentally friendly groundhog removal - now that we have a dog, I'm hoping that this won't even be factor this summer.  :)

25. Only buy ethically farmed/fished seafood - this has not been happening.  The kids won't eat seafood, except shrimp, and truthfully, I'm not going to travel all the way across town to buy an ethically farmed shrimp ring.  For the few times we eat it, I'm just going to accept that I'm a bad person.
26. Get rid of plastic everyday cutlery - this happened until DD2 discovered a small cache of "zoo" cutlery in my party box.  She's insisted on it being out and used.  It's only a dozen or so items, so as they crack and break, they will not be replaced.
27. Carbon off-set all vacation travel - I'm saving the world, one tree at a time.

28. Use recycled furniture (from someone else) - this was a one time event, but everyone compliments me on my couches.....

29. Return neighbour's beer and wine bottles to store - I don't know if my neighbour read my blog and feels guilty, so returns his bottles now, or if my other neighbour beats me to the punch, but there haven't been any bottles to return lately.  Maybe once the summer arrives and we start drinking out on the front porch again.....

30. Make my own hand soap - tried it, didn't like it, and decided to use triclosan-free cream soap from the store.
31. Install a front door screen - love it, love it, love it.

32. Use no VOC primer when painting - we plan to paint another couple of rooms this spring, so hope to to use low VOC primer and paint.

33. Consume and purchase only fair trade chocolate - I'm about 80% compliant on this one. I try and make sure any that I bring into the house follows the rule. But I just can't resist chocolate, so I will eat it if offered to me, regardless of its moral qualities.  It's only being polite. 

34. Use handkerchiefs at home - this has been a fairly easy habit to adopt.

35. Use vinegar/water to clean eyeglasses - DH is back to using the spray bottle stuff.  I might see if I can find him a soft cloth to use.

36. Get rid of all Swiffer products - done.

37. Drink Canadian origin juice as much as possible - this has been pretty easy - we only drink apple and orange as a rule, so I just make sure the apple is Canadian-origin

38. Recycle laptop - Scott, did you keep up your part of the bargain?

39. Use Freecycle at least twice per month - I haven't been using Freecycle much lately, but plan to get rid of a tonne of stuff this spring

40. Purchase reusable sandwich wrappers - this was a great idea in concept, but reality has proven that my kids don't liked squished sandwiches, and will not eat them if the sandwiches have been sent to school in these wrappers.  I use them for myself now, or when I'm short on containers to send non-squishable stuff in their lunches.
41. Stop using Ziploc bags - I actually don't know what I was using them for.  I haven't missed them at all.  I keep one box of XL bags for when we are camping and I need to store liquids or something else, but so far, one box has lasted until now.

42. Compost wine corks - every time.

43. Bring own flip flops to spa - it felt weird but yes I did.

44. Re-gift baby items - and I have lots more in my basement looking for a good home.....

45. Use environmentally-friendly nail polish - I haven't tried this yet.  When I went to the spa last time I didn't bother getting polish (did THAT ever feel weird), but plan to take the polish with me on my next visit.

46. Not use plastic plates - we don't use them every day.  However, when we have company and lots of kids, they come out.

47. Use recycled dinnerware - no need to say anything more.

48. Environmentally friendly insect control - it's amazing how a little cider vinegar can go such a long way.

49. Environmentally friendly scouring powder - love it.

50. Cancel unread/unwanted magazines - and I don't miss them at all.

51. Partake in "Clean the Capital" initiative - enough said.

52. Calculate my carbon footprint - *shudder*  Not as good as it could be.....

53. Ban Styrofoam - those darn meat packages trip me up.  The rest of the house is styro-free, but I can't seem to get away from the meat ones. 

54. Drive using cruise control whenever possible - a very easy habit to get into.  I'm amazed at the fuel economy I've had since starting this change.

55. Drive the speed limit - much to the chagrin of drivers around me, I've been driving on or around the speed limit.  I've had great fuel economy, and get to my destination only a few minutes later than if I'd been driving 10 or 20 kms over the limit.


  1. hey I saw this in the paper and thought of you right away!

    hope all is well


  2. hi click clack - a navy shower is one where you turn off the water while lathering, so water only runs to rinse.

    PH - interesting article - I'll have to see if I can find her products close by.

  3. Go, Eco-Mama, go! You are such an inspiration!
    Thanks *again* for blogging about everything you do! Yay! Rah! Rah!

  4. Thanks Deb. It's nice to get support from total strangers who think my goals and objectives are admirable. It makes me think I'm not so crazy after all..... :)

  5. What you do is so worthwhile and no, you are not crazy! It's the rest of the world that's crazy to think we North Americans can go on living in our overly-consumpitve ways.

  6. Ah-ha! That's what I was guessing. I've noticed during my last six years living in Germany that it's a pretty common way to shower over here. I don't like it much in the winter--then I simply shower infrequently (once every two or three weeks with the occasional hair wash in the sink in between) and then when I do I revel in the hot water, and in the summer I'm showering outside under a watering can, which gives you the navy shower effect automatically, I guess, since you have to pull on a rope to get the water to pour on you, so when you stop to lather the water stops as well.

    Oh and my favorite tip for a nice scrub is mixing whatever liquid soap you use with used coffee grounds. It makes my skin so incredibly soft--I recommend trying it very very highly.

  7. Is there such a thing as an ethically-sources shrimp ring?? Where did you get that in Ottawa? (I do agree it's hard running around to all these different places to get certain things.)

    And yes - my weakness is Easter Cream Eggs!
    : (

    Thanks for the review - such great reminders!

  8. totally with you on the chocolate...I can't refuse it! Oh, except if it has palm oil. Once I learned about palm oil production affecting the rainforests, I can say no to Reese's Cups. Still feeling sorry for myself for giving up Nutella, which also has palm oil!

  9. Click Clack - I'll try the coffee grounds scrub when I'm ready to venture into making my own cosmetics.

    Urban Girl - I have no idea if there is such a thing as ethically-sourced shrimp ring! :) The point I was trying to make was that it's not worth the effort I would need to put into it to find out, as the closest fish shop to me is half-way across town.

    Dmarie - what is this about palm oil affecting rainforests? Do you have a link to a news story, etc. that I could review?

  10. Dmarie - I also was so upset I had to give up Nutella because of the palm oil. Just found a link to Rawtella which might be a good substitute (no palm oil at all):

    Also Green & Black's Organic hazelnut spread uses organic palm oil (they are a member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil).