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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Greener House I

What can you do as an individual to switch your lifestyle to a greener one?
Well, think about it like this: every little step helps! Get started, feel good about it and try to get family and friends on the same boat.
Here are some ideas to start with (and let's start small to not get overwhelmed :-)

  • If you haven't already, use a water filter at home and reusable water bottles (our filter is from aquasana and we use SIGG and Klean Kanteen water bottles)
  • Use cloth napkins at home and at school/work and outside the house never buy disposable cutlery
  • Recycle and make yourself familiar with recycling procedures in your town (my town for example does only accept plastics 1 and 2 - but there are other ways to recycle the others, click here for more info). Here's the guidelines for recycling in NJ
  • Turn off electronic devices and lights when not in use (this is a biggie. Try to watch out for houses at night where there seems to be a light on in every single room!)
  • Switch to energy-saving light bulbs (but be very careful not to break them at all. If you do, you have to follow a very strict protocol to not pollute your living space!)
  • Reuse packaging, paper, envelopes etc. for personal use or art projects (in our family we save almost everything. I started a project with our 4-year old son Liam where I put tons of stuff like toilet paper rolls, magazine papers, envelopes, wool and fabric rests etc. in boxes that we had decorated with stickers before and called it his "Krimskramsecke" (German for "This-and-That corner). For quiet time, Liam loves to go into his room and just starts to make something out of. I was astonished to see how creative he can get!)
This is a "family-feet" mobile that we made of old cardboard, wool rests and colored paper
  • Wrap presents in fabric and wool or packaging paper that kids (or you!) can decorate. Get creative! Think out of the box - like unused clothes, funny magazine pages, newspaper,..
  • Please avoid styrofoam at any cost! BUT WHAT IF I HAVE A PARTY??? I hear you scream. Well, either just use your normal stuff (most of us have a dishwasher for god's sake :-) or try to use biodegradable products that decompost. Another option if you're having a lot of parties and not so many dishes and cutlery is PRESERVE (sold online or at Whole Foods, it's made of recycled #5 plastics)
  • Pass outgrown and unwanted clothes and toys on to somebody who might need or want them. This is also another form of modern recycling! We get most of our stuff used at either garage sales, swaps or from our friend's kids. Saves money and helps the environment
That's enough for a start. The next topic here will be THE KITCHEN!
Check back for more green ideas.

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