Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It ain't easy bein' green

Kermit the frog really knew what he was talking about. The Dixon's recently decided to "go green." We do what we can, although I'm sure it's not enough. But we figure making some sort of attempt is better than none at all. I hope after reading this you will also try to make some changes to help our planet.

We have changed virtually every light in our house to energy efficient lights. Although it did cost us some money up front, I've seen about a $50 decline in our power bill each month. Really! Sure, they take a little while to warm up, but in less than 30 seconds, you have full light. And they're so much more efficient.

Paper or Plastic. They say that one really isn't any better than the other for the environment. They both let off CO2 into the atmosphere during production. I would always get plastic because I could carry more at one time. (I don't usually get help bringing the groceries in.) And I would use them to line the bathroom trashcan. But I don't re-use that many, so they were ultimately thrown away. I would cringe when they put the Cascade in a bag by itself. Yeah, I know why they do that, but they could have just put it in the cart. So this summer I started buying the re-usable bags. I have 5 and don't think I've ever needed more than that. At only $1 a piece, that's a pretty good investment! In the last 6 months, I figure I've saved about 200 plastic bags from going out to the trash to be burned. Here's the catch though, you have to remember to put them back in the car each week.

I recently met a friend at Subway for lunch. I got a salad and they put it in a bag for me. Of course they always put your sandwich in a bag. Why? So that you can carry it to the table I guess. Is that really necessary? No, I don't think so. I guess I'm going to have to tell them to stop using the bag. Really, I'm capable of getting it to the table without killing the environment. Imagine how many of those bags Subway hands out each day that are used for about 30 seconds. What a waste!!

And what about when you run into the store for a tube of toothpaste, or deodorant? Do you really need a bag for that? If it's a small enough amount for me to just carry back to the car, or throw in my purse, I do tell them to skip the bag. I used to get weird looks, but most people aren't surprised by it any more. Perhaps I'm not the only one.

And finally, warming up your car. Ugh. I really hate doing that. But, when the temps are as frigid as they were a week ago, you don't really have a choice. Dana tends to send Cassidy out at 6:45 to start our cars. I take the kids down to meet the bus at 7:00 and usually have to come back in the house to eat breakfast and pack my lunch. If I leave my car running the whole time, it will run for 45 minutes. That's stupid. Since it's "warmed" up, I've been turning the car off once I get the kids on the bus. So when I come back out 20 minutes later the car is cold again, but I feel better that I've made an effort.

I could go on and on, but it's passed time for me to get back to work, so I'll leave it at that. Just think about it though. Buy a re-usable bag or replace a light bulb. Your mother earth will thank you for it.

P.S. In case you didn't know, we have a new President. WOO-HOO!!!!


Janice said...

I have heard the rule of thumb for 'leave it running or turn it off?'
If you are going to sit idle for more than one min you'll use more gas leaving it running than restarting it. So, If you are going to sit at train for more than a min. You should turn your car off.

Amy said...

As I sat in line yesterday to wash my car, I turned it off during each cycle that was about 5 minutes. I'd start it up, move forward, turn it off. . . start it up. . . you get the picture. But as I sat in the automatic car wash (with my car running), I seriously questioned how "green" that was. Probably not so much.