Over the past few years, I have gotten a lot more environmentally friendly. But I am afraid the more I try to do to help better the environment, the more I end up hurting it, or wasting, at least in some other way.
Example 1: I use reusable bags every time I shop. (I make an exception for my Kohl's visits, as I use those bags to line my bedroom garbage can.) The problem is, the bags get dirty and germy, so I sometimes spray them with a disinfectant spray. But isn't that just harming the environment too?
Example 2: Years ago, before I lived in a place that recycled, I threw things in the garbage as soon as I finished them. End of story (for me, anyway). But now I rinse jars, jugs, and cans because I don't think you are "supposed" to leave food particles, remnants of PB, etc., on them. And that, of course, means using water unnecessarily. Maybe I don't need to do this, though?
That said, I have made some recent changes that seem to help the world without hurting it in some other way (at least as far as I can tell):
- When I shave my legs, I turn off the water. This works in the summer because I don't get cold standing in the shower with no water on me (it probably helps that I take cool showers). And I use the water from my shower to rinse my legs (I put the drain stop in during my shower to collect water). I don't do this in the winter because I get too cold, but I also tend to shave only once a week then, so not as big of a deal. :-)
- I run the washer, dryer, and dishwasher only when they are full, and I try to do these things in the evening whenever possible. I also do most of my laundry in cold water. And I stopped rinsing most of my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher.
- I try to combine trips whenever possible. In fact, many times when I volunteered for lunch duty at J's school last year, rather than go home for an hour and a half before pick up, I went for a walk, took a run, or helped out in some other way at the school. And unlike at least half of the parents at pick up, I don't run my car while waiting. I don't care if it is 30 degrees or 90 degrees. I deal with it.
- I try to buy refillable stuff whenever possible. I wish more of the products I liked offered this (Bath and Body Works, are you listening?!). And sometimes it ends up costing more to go this route, so I don't always take it. But I do what I can.
- I recently started bringing home my mother's empty plastic bottles and cardboard to be recycled. Pretty much everything imaginable can be recycled where I live, but in my mom's neighborhood, only glass, cans, and newspapers are recyclable. And unfortunately, that woman goes through a lot of plastic.
- And one good thing about my no longer working at my last job? I don't sit in traffic contributing to all those emissions!
In the meantime, if you want to brag about what you do, I would love to hear it. I am certain many people do a far better job than I do, but every little bit helps. The planet we may save is our own.