Friday, April 27, 2007

Small Things DO Make A DIfference

Sometimes with the drudgery of trying to keep things simple and taking extra effort in lots of small ways to save and conserve, you sometimes wonder if it's making a difference in the grand scheme of things. You know since there are so many people who don't care gobbling up the world's resources without a second thought.

With only a couple of simple changes, our power bill from February to April has gone down nearly $30 (new bill: $86 for 2 months). That's $180, which is more than 4 months of electricity use we conserved in two months.

"With weekly use of just one reusable bag at the grocery store, each person can divert approximately 100 plastic bags from ending up in landfill sites each year". Click on that for one of the many bags we use for shopping. Cloth bags are great as they hold so much. They're also easier to lug around, sturdier and it's great knowing one small thing can make such a huge change.

"If every household in Canada replaced 1 roll of virgin toilet paper with 1 roll of recycled toilet paper we could save thousands of trees for more highly valued uses." Even though we use mostly cloth (except DH ;) ), after the toilet paper we do have in our storage is used up, I am going to switch to this. It's generally not any more expensive than the other ones. Now I don't agree with what they say about it may take more energy to use reusable since we wash everything in cold water. I don't care what they say, cold can wash clothes clean without special formulas. Our homemade laundry detergent is super effective, super simple and cheap to make. I'll post the recipe later.

Use compact fluorescent bulbs wherever possible in your home. They use 75% less electricity than traditional bulbs and last years longer. One compact fluorescent bulb can save you three times its cost in electricity. We have been using them for more than 2 years now and it really does make a difference. We have also switched to all LED nightlights. They cost pennies a year to run. The one we have in our family bedroom is sensitive to light so when it's dark, it comes on but at night, it doesn't. I believe the label said it costs less than a dollar a year to leave it plugged in all the time.

Cloth diapers make a huge difference. If you take all the disposable diapers a baby would use in a week, put it all in a bag and leave it in your kitchen, how pleasant would that be? Imagine that, every week your child is in diapers, sitting in a landfill somewhere, not able to decompose in plastic garbage bags buried in the earth, full of human waste, which is technically illegal to put in most landfill sites, multiplied by each person alive, as that's how many diapers there would be if no one used alternatives. Considering some kids don't potty train until they are 3-4 years old (I know, many train earlier), that is a LOT of waste. For some REALLY good facts on the toll disposable diapers have, Check Out This Website: Real Diaper Association. I like that site so much, I will add it to my links here :)

Another is reusable containers. Where I live, it is estimated that anywhere from 25-35% of all garbage on the side of the road are Tim Horton's coffee cups, which are made from non-recyclable, non compostable materials. Walking down any street in town, you can see how bad this situation is. Now, we have three Tims in our tiny little town, and they are always packed to the gills. They actually had to rebuild one so the drive-thru traffic would no longer interfere with one of the main streets in town (it still often does though). So we have hundreds and hundreds of people hourly getting coffee from just one chain in these cups that will never break down. It's almost mind boggling how much waste that would add up to over time. They offer alternatives for reusable containers but few take them up on it. I think there should be greater incentive for that or they should at least switch to compostable cups (other places have done that). Fortunately it's not an issue for me since I don't even go to Tims, I just have to wallow in it's filth. An article from a few years ago (they didn't solve the problem and it's worse now). Here's a blog which gives a great visual impact of the cup problem.

Wow, those are just a few of the many, many things that may be small changes but make a huge difference.

1 comment:

Carla said...

We ceased to buy virgin TP and now exclusively buy Bio-Life TP from Shopper's Drug Mart. We also use cloth bags as much as possible. We do, however, use disposable diapers for DS at night since he is a super soaker and gets rashes from being in cloth all night but one diaper a night after nearly 2 kids and 6 years of cloth isn't a big deal. DD still uses cloth at night.

Oh, great news is that Tims cups and lids are now recyclable. That keeps a ton of garbage out of landfills!!