Living Green

   Trying to green is an important part of my life, though it wasn´t always this way. I have had episodes in the past where my husband snatched away air freshners that I was happily wielding, not aware of all the crappy chemicals in them. Since then I am learning to live a bit greener and healthier each year, bit by bit. Very few of these changes are actually sacrifices I make for the planet. Many were decisions made to save money (anything that saves electricity), or just because it´s more efficient (menstruation cup) or healthier (organic food).
   Living in Germany means I am by default greener than inhabitants of many other western countries (energy is expensive here, packaging of products is regulated by the govt and line drying is easy) but still I know I could do more. I have lived in countries where people live much more simply and sufficiently, so it pains me to see how much is wasted in the West.

    I made a list of things of green changes that I have implemented since I have my own home (and these changes make me really happy). I also made a list of some of the many things that I could do better. At the end of the year I will review it and hopefully I will have improved.

My green efforts:

Around The Home:

  • Using baking soda & vinegar to clean, or eco-friendly cleaning products.
  • Reusing packaging material.
  • Buying as much organic food as I can afford.
  • Organic & mostly local fruit & veggie box with almost no packaging arriving at my home every week :)
  • Energy-saving bulbs in half of the lamps at home.
  • Giving away instead of throwing away (freecycle, asking people, or putting things out on the curb).
  • Microfibre wash cloths for the home and my face.
  • Commuting by public transport.
  • Eating vegetarian food that is high in raw plants and low in animal products.
  • Avoiding soy.
  • Buying secondhand very often (ebay, flea markets, people I know, thrift stores).
  • Using cloth diapers part of the time (this is one of the few things on this list that takes an effort to do).
  • Not buying drinks or bottled water (the tap water in my town is really good, BTW).
  • Eco-friendly laundry detergents that come in refillable packs :)
  • Sorting my trash with care and disposing of problematic stuff like old medicines responsibly. (I know: duh, but I´m still surprised at how many people don´t).
  • Bricks in the oven & bottles of water in the fridge to cut energy usage.
  • Not using drier cloths / paper napkins etc
  • Using rechargeable batteries almost exclusively.
  • Power strips almost everywhere to prevent energy draining.
  • Always shopping with cloth bags.
  • Passing on all magazines that I have read.
In The Garden:
  • Collecting rain water in the garden for watering plants.
  • Not watering the garden (apart from container plants & newly planted stuff). The trick is to not have even an inch of exposed soil, there is something growing everywhere and I never plant anything if I read that it needs watering all the time. Ok, I´m also too lazy to water anything regularly).
  • Composting raw food leftovers.
  • No chemical pesticides or fertilisers.
Personal Stuff:
  • Thrifting a LOT, for clothes as well as for stuff for the home.
  • Organising clothes swaps.
  • Using the cup.
  • Mostly natural personal-care products.
  • Always having my Sigg bottle with me.
  • Using mostly natural / alternative medicines
  • Trying to buy ethically when I can afford it.

What I would like to change:

  There are probably a million things that I´m not so happy about and want to change. Here are the things on my mind right now:

  • Switch my bank to a more ethical one, or at least one that doesn´t invest in nuclear energy.
  • Long and hot showers, need to be shorter and cooler.
  • Have the computer on standby more often.
  • Be more efficient while washing dishes.
  • Toilet train kid no.2 soon.
  • Think before I buy stuff, to minimise throwing away stuff that very soon broke / I don´t want any more.
  • My favourite teas come in tea bags that are individually packaged >:(
  • Forgetting to bring my non-disposable coffee cup.
  • I should access online supermarket newsletters instead of picking up paper versions.
  • Research which chocolate brands are slavery-free.
  • Stop accepting free crap. Even if it´s free, it´s still crap.
  • Try Furoshiki with thrifted scarves instead of gift wrap.

Things I wish I could do, but not really possible right now:

  • Buy in bulk. Not an option for a lot of things, besides I still haven´t dealt with the pantry moths. Besides, I don´t have a car. (Ok, in the end I´m still greener).
  • Top loading washing machine, not going to get replaced by a front-loader any time soon.
  • Stop buying from cheap stores that carry stuff probably made in sweatshops.
  • Heating the house a lot in the winter (kids love to wear as little as possible by day and won´t stay covered at night).

     Any ideas of not-too-difficult changes I could make ?


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