Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Not Entirely Comprehensive List of Changes I've Made To My Life

In addition to the changes I make every month for a month and the year long non-consumerist challenge, I've made a lot of smaller day to day changes in my life since starting this blog. Here are some of the changes I've successfully made:

1) Using rags instead of paper towels for almost everything. (I have one roll of paper towels that's lasted me about 5 months or so. I plan to keep it that way.)
2) Not drinking bottled water.
3) Cutting drastically the number of bottled and canned sodas/other drinks I consume. And when I do succumb, I only drink from aluminum cans or glass bottles. No plastic bottles.
4) Using my own bowl/spoon/fork/plate at work instead of disposables.
5) No more frozen meals or other one-serving convenience meals.
6) Saving bread bags to hold produce.
7) Washing out Ziploc bags and re-using them.
8) Saving yogurt containers as Tupperware.
9) Borrowing kitchen stuff from a friend instead of buying my own stuff.
10) Buying beans, rice, sugar, etc in bulk and bringing my own containers.
11) Not using the garbage can under my desk at work so that the plastic bag isn't being changed every day. (I use the trash can in the kitchen instead.)
12) No heat.
13) Opening my window more often because outside air even in polluted LA is better than indoor air.
14) Switched from rubber cement to eco-friendly glue for scrapbook projects. The only problem is that this glue smells so good I want to eat it!
15) No toilet paper for number one when I'm at home.
16) Letting it mellow. (Which frankly, is SO much easier from an 'ew' standpoint when there's no tp in the bowl.)
17) Using compressed sponges from Trader Joe's that come in minimal packaging.
18) Using the nylon bags that California Cuties come in for scrubbies.
19) Reusing envelopes to make shopping lists on.
20) Using the bar soap that had accumulated in my bathroom instead of buying new body wash.
21) Getting on my hands and knees and scrubbing the floor instead of using the Swiffer. (Which to be honest never REALLY worked.)
22) Being okay with some dirt.
23) Adopting a live and let live standpoint when I see ONE ant or spider or other bug in my apartment. (I plan to take action though if I see a whole gang though.)
24) Freecycle.
25) Spend more time in my bedroom which gets a lot of natural light instead of sitting in my living room where I always have to have a light turned on even during the day.
26) Walk as much as I can to things.
27) Using my stash of plastic grocery bags from when I still got plastic grocery bags as trash bags. It now takes me at least two weeks to fill one little grocery bag up.
28) Cutting down drastically on fast food, take out, delivery etc. Trying to only get delivery or fast food when I know that the restaurant does NOT use Styrofoam.
29) Use a diva cup!
30) Buying organic all the time as opposed to only when I feel like I have enough money.
31) Subbing ingredients in recipes instead of going out and buying a whole bottle of watchamagiggit just for one recipe.
32) Using a hand towel at work instead of paper towels in the bathroom.
33) Donating money to environmental organizations and writing letters and emails regarding environmental issues.
34) Keeping my microwave, electric kettle and toaster unplugged when not in use.
35) Shutting down my computer every day instead of leaving it on.

Okay there's probably more, but that's all I can remember for now. Here are the changes I have NOT yet made, but have hopes I will implement soon:

1) Go to the farmer's market instead of buying produce at the store.
2) Get rid of non-stick pans.
3) Use natural cleaning products. (I'm using up the "unnatural products" that I still have from my pre-environmentally conscious days.)
4) Compost. Well maybe. I have fears about killing my worms. Or else the worms gnawing at me in my sleep.
5) Using no A/C. (I actually kind of hate air conditioning so this shouldn't be SUPER hard on me.)
6) Using solid shampoo. This one won't happen for a while. I go through about one shampoo bottle a year, and I still have PLENTY of shampoo left.

And here is some stuff that just didn't work for me:
1) Bringing my own Tupperware to restaurants for leftovers. For some reason I just can't remember to do this. Ever.
2) Using hankies. I hate this so much. I don't know why it's so hard, but it is. Luckily I haven't gotten a bad cold since I started this project, but if I did, I will probably just use my toilet paper.
3) Making my own crackers. Yeah.

There's probably stuff I'm forgetting, but for now that's what I've got. I have to say, that the BIGGEST change I've made is simply: being more mindful of my actions at all times. If I could boil down "green" living into one thing, that would be it. We all occasionally screw up. The point is not to be perfect, the point is just to always be conscious of your actions and choices.


Jenn said...

Thanks for the tip on the shampoo - am replying back on Beth's blog, FYI

EcoGeoFemme said...

That's a great list!

organicneedle said...

*That's a great list. Do not feel bad about the hankies...I could NEVER do that. (I even have a problem with bulk bins for items that can't be washed because of all of the nose pickers floating about.)

*We used to reuse Ziplocks all the time until I read that it is a big no-no for anything that held meat or dairy. Now I mark the veggie & dry good Zippies so that they get reused over and over...and try to use things like bread bags and stuff to wrap cheese or chicken and then toss when finished, or I put the naughty items in washable tuppies.

I have been using the Swiffer forever due to my skeeve issue with things like mops and sponges...but am coming to the same conclusion; it's really wasteful and doesn't really do a great job. I have found old t-shits with diluted Charlie's soap do a better job. Because Charlie's is safe for clothes, I can just toss the t-shirt in the laundry after. Skeeve-free green cleaning. Oooooo...I may have just thought of my next post.

erin said...

rock on arduous! I wish everyone was a little bit better about implementing some of these things into their daily routine

Chile said...

Great changes!

Should I admit I recently acquired a bunch of paper towels now? Will you forgive me if I tell you they had fallen out of a vehicle on the road? Seriously. My sweetie and I were biking home from a vegan restaurant and saw this lump in the road ahead. As we passed it, I saw that it was a case of papertowels still in its plastic wrapper, which was torn. Several of the rolls were quite dirty from road grime but I salvaged the whole thing anyway. I have enough paper towels now to last the rest of our lives!

I think you are right to be concerned about gangs of garbage-eating worms attacking you in your sleep. ;-)

Chile said...

Ack! That last comment came out sounding mildly insulting. I added the "garbage-eating" just to make the worms sound more disgusting...not to imply anything. *sigh* Note to self: proof comments better. Or rather, proof them to begin with!

ruchi said...

Chile, not insulted, I totally got what you meant to imply the first time. I'm glad SOMEONE understands my fear of garbage-eating worms!! :)

And that's awesome that you were able to rescue those paper towels. I love it! And just think, if you had been in a car you might not have noticed such a find! One more reason to bike instead of being in a car huh?

Sam said...

Wow! I'm so impressed with your changes. I'm inspired to create my own list.

BTW...not sure if this is true for you. But as far as mellowing the yellow goes (washing up with water instead of wiping with TP), I don't know if pee is heavier than water, but after a few hours there is no sign that I even used the commode.

I grew up using hankies so switching to tissue was very difficult. I had many people say ew to me using a hanky but I always had one in my pocket. Now that I don't care about people's reactions so much, I have gone back to using hankies proudly and in public.

Here's another tip from my motherland: you can use boiled rice as glue for paper. Just pressed down on the cooked grains. Its very effective and doesn't smell delicious (or terrible).

Now that I'm commenting more on the blogs I read I notice you're everywhere! I used to read the entries on my reader and never actually visit the blog....I'm not stalking you however :)

ruchi said...

Thanks for the tip on glue. And yeah, I have a HUGE loudmouth and don't know how to shut up! So I do comment a lot. :)

Chile said...

Beany, question on the rice glue. Once this dries, is it stable? Or, is there danger of rot? (I'm thinking old food = compost smell...)

EcoGeoFemme said...

beany, we don't flush much, but I try to remember to do it before we leave for work. Otherwise, when I get home it smells like an outhouse! So, no, ours does not sink. I think my boyfriend is mostly responsible for this though. I'm sure my pee is clear and smells like lillies. :)

Unknown said...

We haven't met, but my name's Jonathan and I'm friends with Ben "Mouse" McShane. He told me about your blog/project and said we'd probably have a lot to talk about. For one, I used to live on a ranch where I got very much into worm composting and have brought many of my wriggly friends with me to LA, so I could help you get that started. I'm also a big fan of Michael Pollan, environmentalism, farmers markets, gardening (I started a small garden at the office where Ben and I work), and will be attending my first Green Drinks in Culver City this Thurs. You can check out my myspace blog to get some of my thoughts on these things here http://blog.myspace.com/jsjkim.

Ben also mentioned that you were going to the Voxhaul Broadcast show at Spaceland this Monday. I'll be there, too, so maybe we can have a chat between sets.

Congrats on your blog and all you're doing!