Sunday, May 2

going green

i'm not an environmentalist, but i'm a christian.  maybe it's the same thing.  i believe in thoughtful stewardship of God's creation, our world.  lately, i've become convicted by our wastefulness  been making some changes to decrease this.  shaun and i have loved the changes we've made so far!  i was inspired by the following list, which i read on katy's blog:

"ditch the disposables" - make the switch from:
  • paper napkins to cloth napkins - we have lots of cloth napkins & so started using them daily.
  • paper towels to cloth towels - we still buy paper towels for the sake of cleaning up pet messes, but we did recently purchase a bunch of white cloths that we keep in a small apple bucket on our counter right under the paper towel holder.  we love them!
  • tissues to handkerchiefs - shaun has always used handkerchiefs, & i've decided to try them.  
  • paper, plastic, or styrofoam plates to your own kitchen plates - it's rare that we use disposables, excepting the youth coffee house.  we always use our regular dishes, and if we have too many people for just those, we also pull down shaun's john deere set, which makes him happy.
  • disposable utensils to regular silverware - yep, see above.
  • bring your own container for take-out food - um, nope.  probably not gonna do this one, but we do recycle the containers.
  • disposable water bottles to reusable water bottles - we never buy bottled water.  we both have our favorite water bottles/cups.
  • plastic bags/paper bags to reusable containers/lunch sacks - i usually eat at home, but shaun has a nice lunch box, & he uses our "disposable" tupperware instead of baggies.  however, i need to be better about using too many baggies around the kitchen.
  • swiffer to a broom & dustpan or mop [or use reusable cloths like cloth diapers in your swiffer] - we have too much pet hair & cobwebs to rely solely on a broom, but i have started cutting up shaun's old t-shirts to use on my swiffer.  we use a mop for the kitchen & bathrooms.
  • disposable dusting products to cloth rags - we do a combo right now b/c i love my swiffer duster... but i do also have reusable dust cloths.
  • disposable wipes to cloth rags - we can minimize the use of chlorox wipes, but i'm not sure i'll be able to completely relinquish them [i like them too much].
  • grocery store bags to reusable bags - nope.  i should be better about this, but i ease my conscience by reusing target bags for cleaning the litter box & taking all the rest of our bags to the food pantry at church to be reused.
  • disposable wrapping paper or gift bags to reusable cloth gift bags - too expensive.  i reuse gift bags given to me, & we recycle wrapping paper.
  • single-use batteries to rechargeable batteries - nope, but we should switch over.
our town has the most incredible recycling program.  we can recycle nearly EVERYTHING, and their program motto is "if in doubt, toss it in."  i love it!  plus, we don't have to sort at all.  this makes recycling incredibly convenient.  still, i would sort if i had to.  here are some convicting facts about recycling & the wastefulness in america:

  • on average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash, $50 to send it to the landfill, $70 to burn it
  • recycling creates 6 times as many jobs as landfilling
  • the average american uses 650 pounds of paper per year
  • there is no limit to the number of times an aluminum can may be recycled
  • when glass is put in the landfill, it takes over 4000 years for it to decompose
  • for every 1 ton of plastic recycled, we save almost 2000 pounds of oil
  • recycling one aluminum can saves enough electricity to power a TV for three hours
  • half of all polyester carpet manufactured in the US is made from recycled soda bottles
  • americans use four million plastic bottles every hour, but only recycle 25% of them
  • about 80% of what americans throw away is recyclable, yet our national recycling rate is just 28%
  • the US is 5% of the world's population but uses 25% of the world's natural resources
  • the energy saved from recycling on glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours
  • in one year in the US, recycling steel saves enough energy to heat & light 18,000,000 homes 
  • last year, americans recycled enough aluminum cans to conserve energy equal to over 15 million barrels of oil
  • if we recycled all the newspapers printed in the US on only ONE typical sunday, we would save 550,000 trees
  • recycling 35% of our trash reduces global warming emissions equivalent to taking 36 million cars off the road
  • the amount of wood & paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years
if that doesn't make you sick & convict you to change, i don't know what will!  i was especially moved about throwing away paper because i think that is an area shaun and i do not excel.  we've decided to add a second wastebasket to the office for paper only.  i also plan to add recycling cans to nearly every room in the house [baskets in the bathroom for toilet paper rolls, a trash can in the basement for soda cans, etc.].  i hope this encourages you to makes some small [or big!] changes in your life, too, so you too can be a better steward of our environment.  there's always room for new improvements!

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