Monday, February 1, 2010

One Small Change: February 2010

In January, as part of Hip Mountain Mama's One Small Change challenge, I made a commitment to bring more cloth into our daily lives and subsequently reduce the amount of paper and plastic products that we use and therefore throw away. I happily continued using my reusable grocery bags, lunch bag, and coffee cup.

I bought some reusable produce bags from Qwerty O on I love these bags! I think the clerks at the grocery store are somewhat annoyed (because I end up putting more than one type of produce in a bag together), but I've been really happy with the change.

Although I always used to save my plastic grocery bags when I still used them, I'll admit that I never saved the produce bags, which meant they went right in the trash. What an easy and important change to make!

We also used cloth napkins all month, and we will definitely keep up this habit! It was fun to go to my local thrift store and choose a fun and funky assortment of cloth napkins. We usually use them for a few days and then put them in the wash.

I actually didn't buy or use a single paper towel all month! (which wasn't really part of the plan...but it just ended up that way) The only time I felt the need to have a paper towel around was when heating food up in the microwave (to minimize splatter, you know), but I ended up either using a plate to cover the bowl being heated, or just let a little splatter happen.

I also purchased some cloth sandwich bags from Qwerty O's Etsy shop. It was great to buy them from this shop because they're actually sewn by her daughter who is saving all the money she makes from their sale for college!

So, I didn't actually use these great bags this month...but that's not because I was using plastic instead. I just don't really use baggies that often, and lately have been taking salads for lunch, which I don't need the bags for. But I'm happy to know that I have them to use instead of plastic baggies.

Overall, I am very pleased with the small changes we made in January.

So, for February, I'm turning towards our energy use. Actually, in January (without planning to), we turned our thermostat down three to four degrees. When Sadie slept over at her Grandma and Grandpa Peterson's house at the beginning of the month, the room she stayed in was much cooler than her room at home. And she slept through the night for the first time in months! So, we immediately turned our home's temperature to a more reasonable 66 degrees (from my preferred 69/70 degrees) and we've kept it there all month (I'll admit it's because Sadie has continued sleeping through the night and I'm convinced that's part of the reason...poor thing was just too hot!).

So...along these lines, I'd like to continue making small changes that will affect our household energy use. I plan to be more conscious about turning off lights that aren't being used. I also want to start evaluating the "vampire" power use in our home. Vampire power is the energy that small appliances use when they are plugged in, even if they are turned off. Studies have shown that this energy can account for around 10% of residential energy consumption! The easy ones to start with will be cell phone chargers, microwave, computers, and hairdryer.

I look forward to making this one small change in February!


Gratefulmom said...

Good for you!!! I need to do that more around here. We are big into our bi-weekly recycling but I know that I really need to cut out papertowel in our home. Before I got the courage to knit socks, I knit up around 30 dishrags so those come in handy for eveyday cleaning. I have a collection of store bags in the back of my car and always forget them which drives me nuts. How do you remind yourself? It's always at the register when I see them for sale that I remember I have about 10 in my car!:)

Christy D. said...

I'll have to check out that QwertyO shop. I like those sandwich bags and produce bags a lot!

Our family's "small change" for 2010 was to join a CSA to have locally grown organic veggies this summer, and eating only meat that is hormone-free, free-range, and locally grown if possible.

Hip Mountain Mama said...

Hey Rachel! I am so glad Jan went well! I love those snack bags and produce bags! I have been bringing produce bags to the store also and I am hooked! Good luck with your energy...I think a lot of money can be saved by just doing a few small things!

Meghan said...

Rachel I think it is so cool you are doing all these things. It gave me some great ideas on ways to cut back on plastic use in our house.