Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Saving Green is Green

Hi friends! Sorry for leaving you hanging earlier this week. I tend to put off writing posts until the night before and didn't have much free time over the weekend. I have this lovely lady to thank for that :)

The wedding was beautiful and I did re-wear last year's bridesmaid dress to the wedding. I paired it with earrings I received for Easter and a retired Jess LC necklace.

Back to the post at hand. Now that we have a house, we're on the hook for everything. Utilities such as water and trash are no longer included in our monthly rent payment. The utility bill tells us how much of the local service or resource we used that month. Therefore, we strive to minimize energy waste so not to waste money. Being green and saving environmental resources is an excellent consequence of this decision.

And policymakers understand this. They offer incentives to entice the public and reward good behavior. For example, the US tax code includes a tax deduction for charitable contributions. I know some people donate to their favorite charity regardless of this incentive, but how many individuals or businesses wouldn't donate if they didn't receive this perk?

On a more personal level and to continue the example of utilities, our weekly trash pick-up requires a $2.60 sticker on each 35-gallon trash can or bag of yard waste. How much do you think it costs me to recycle? Nada! Recycling pick-up is free. So you better believe that we're more conscious of what gets thrown out versus recycled.

We've also made the conscious decision to begin composting. We love cooking and can have a fair amount of food scraps. There's also yard waste that we'd rather compost: fallen leaves, sticks, trimmings from our bushes or hedge. Here's how our compost bin currently looks:

You can see a mix of brown and green ingredients: watermelon rinds, egg shells, leaves, coffee grounds, and twigs. Brown includes dead leaves, branches, and twigs. Green includes items such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds. There should be balance of brown to green. You also need to be sure to water your compost to help break everything down. And every so often we John turns the compost. See more specifics at the EPA website.

John built the compost bin by taking a trash can and drilling holes into the bottom and side. The air also helps turn our "organic matter" into compost.

Here are a few other things we do to save/be green:
  • Use water collected from the dehumidifier in the basement to water plants
  • Bring reusable bags to the grocery store
    • Bonus at Whole Foods since they give a small refund when you bring a bag. You can also donate that refund to their current charity.
  • Turn off lights when we're not in the room
  • Turn off the air conditioning when we're not home in the summer
  • Turn down the heat when we're not around in the winter
  • Turn off the water when brushing teeth or washing my face
  • Shop locally. My personal favorite is at farmer's markets.
Down the line, we might get or try to make a rain barrel. John's uncle has one and really seems to enjoy it. Or we might start saving water in the shower while it heats up like Jillian of Cornflake Dreams.

What are ways that you save the environment or save on utilities?
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