Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Why I separate my recycling, and other Type-A Hippie stuff…

Yes, I separate my recycling. Doesn’t it look pretty? When it’s time to take it out to the bin, though, it all gets dumped in together. Why do I waste my time separating it, then? I’ve already said…because it looks pretty and organized in my kitchen. I recycle everything I possibly can, by the way. If it looks like it could possibly go in the recycling, I put it in there. I can’t toss those batteries, but collect them until they can be taken to the hazardous waste drop off, along with the empty paint cans. Those CFL bulbs? They go with me to IKEA. Did you know that you could recycle Brita filters as most Whole Foods? Yep, I do that, too. I think I am an OCD recycler.

This is just one of the strange, secretly hippie things that I do. My last foray into blogging was centered around my discovering new green-ish, crunchy, hippie things (um…go check it out- http://thegreentexan.blogspot.com).

I’ve made a habit of using more reusable items and less throw-away stuff. I try not to be one of those “I’m better than you because I use or do this” kind of people who brags about what they do and then challenges your morals because you don't. I just try to do my part and hope there are others out there doing the same. 

Here are a few examples of permanent changes I’ve made in my life:

Hankies- I have several vintage hankies that I use when going out to nice places, but my everyday hankies are very soft fleece cutouts. Rarely will you find a box of tissues at my house, except when I know company will be coming. These fleece hankies are so soft on my nose when I have a cold and easy on that sensitive area under my eyes when I’ve been crying. Plus, I know I won’t blow a hole in them when I blow my nose! I love them and couldn’t imagine not having them in my house, purse, car, desk at school, yoga bag…you get the idea!

Real cloth napkins- I have literally 100 cloth napkins. I use them for every meal, even at school. There is just something special about using a cloth napkin which forces you to slow down, relax, and enjoy your meal. I use 1 roll of paper towels every month or so. I also keep that usage down by using cloth kitchen towels. It just makes sense to me.

Reusable kitchen items- I use lidded Pyrex instead of plastic ware. It’s better for re-warming things, and you don’t have to worry about any plastic leaching into your food! The downside…it hurts when someone misplaces my Pyrex and can be expensive to replace! I do not drink plastic bottled water, but instead use aluminum bottles and refill them. Also, I have several reusable baggies I use in place of plastic baggies. It just makes more sense and you can clean them out!

Clothes drying racks- I’ve gotten bad about not drying my clothes on the racks every time, but I do pull them out quite a bit. I went almost two years exclusively using drying racks. My mom and I bought a new washer and dryer together, though, and my drying rack habit has gone by the wayside. It is awesome to put clothes outside in the middle of summer and they’re dry before you even get the chance to get the others washed! Just put the darker items in the shade so they don’t bleach out.

Composting- I compost everything that can be composted. I have a barrel composter and use the “soil” it makes to do anything from filling in holes in my yard, enriching the soil that is already there, and, sometimes, supplementing the organic soil for my garden. 

And this is the point in the blog where it gets a little TMI…read at your own risk!

Reusable toilet cloths- First reaction…gross! Yeah, I thought so, too, but I don’t use them for everything! Well, not all of everything…not #2. I use toilet paper for that! The big thing about using reusable toilet cloths is that you need to wash them every week. Drink lots of water so you don’t have a bad smell. In reality, it’s not any worse than washing your panties, so don’t get them all in a twist over this! I made my own (actually, my mom made them for me) out of thinner fleece than the ones used for my hankies. There are certain times of the month you wouldn’t want to use these. Ladies, we know when that is, and this is when I use the TP!

Reusable menstrual pads- yeah, if you thought the toilet cloths were gross, these can be downright disgusting. I quit using disposables about 6 years ago and haven’t really looked back. I don’t like the bleach used in most pads, or the diaper-like feeling in wearing them. I do use bleach-free cotton tampons when necessary. I’m tempted to try a Diva Cup (http://divacup.com/), since they do sell them at Central Market, but I just haven’t needed it yet. There are many patterns where you can make your own, but I get mine from www.lunapads.com. So, just how do I keep these from totally getting the gag-reflex going? Well, I have to be on top of washing them right away. I have a lidded bucket I keep in my bathroom, where I place my reusable toilet cloths that the pads go into. My period is generally only 3-4 days, so there aren’t many in there and they don’t sit long. As soon as I’m done, the bucket gets filled with water, a scoop of oxy clean gets dumped in, they soak a bit in the oxy clean, then dump, rinse, wring out, and wash with the towels. That’s it. The best part…I always know I have them and there are no emergency store runs!

So, there you have it. These are the few things that I’ve continued to do over the years. You wouldn’t think of it to look at me, but, yeah, I have the soul of a Green Peace-lovin, tree-huggin hippie and I try to do my part in saving just a bit of the planet that I can. I’m sure that there are many subconscious things we all do to help Mother Earth, but it is so ingrained in us, that we don’t even pay it attention anymore. I’m always on the lookout for something else to add to my repertoire, so if you find something you think sounds cool, let me know, okay?

Oh, and I have one thing that I tried to change, but just couldn’t get used to- reusable coffee filters. I have six of these just sitting in my cabinet. No matter how clean I thought I got them, they just weren’t right and made the coffee taste a little (actually, a lot) funky. I’ll use them in a pinch, but for now, unbleached disposable or my French press is the way to go for me! Um… don’t try them unless you can find a better way of getting them clean than using boiling water and baking soda.