Monday, September 01, 2008

Going Green is Fun!

This summer I found that making green changes can be fun! For years, going green was a bit of an inconvenience in many ways. It seemed that Organic produce put a huge dent in our budget and often required a trip to a separate grocery store that was farther away. Recycling took extra rinsing and taking extra time to remove labels. The only thing that started out as more convenient from the start was using the green cleaners my Shaklee business provided me. Everything else seemed like so much extra effort. The green passion in me now almost hates to admit all this, but it is true. Early in my marriage, my dear hubby was the recycle and water conservation police officer in my household, and I was the frequent violator!

Several things have shifted all this in the last two years. Our local grocery store began to carry more and more organic foods and produce and then over time started putting them on sale frequently. Now it seems they are almost always stocked with my favorite organics, and their prices are more reasonable than not. Also we recently had a Sunflower Market move in very close to us. So, if I am going to make a separate trip for some big sales on natural products and meats then I can drive just a few minutes away for that now.

The next thing that happened is that our local recycling loosened up on their requirements. Now I still rinse everything out, but I don't remove labels anymore. And they take all the plastics 1-7 now! So recycling isn't nearly as hard as it was. Also, as I've gotten more in the habit, it isn't nearly as time consuming simply because it is something I do without thinking now. It comes much more naturally.

But this summer, more of the fun began! After having inspiration from several sources, I decided we were going to do away with the paper napkins at meals. It took a few easy steps and we were 100% converted to all cloth napkins! And the most exciting part is that the way we did it we were able to get the kids on board and happy about the change. Here are the steps I took to convert us:

1. I took the kids to the local fabric store and found the remnant bins.
2. I asked each of them to pick their favorite 100% cotton material out of the bins.
3. We took them all home and we cut them out. Actually I snipped them at 9 in. squares and then ripped them. It created a nice edge on each napkin all the way around.
4. Washed and dryed them all. Snipping of any fraying edges is necessary after the first wash.
5. Fold them up and then provide each child with their special custom cloth napkin at every meal.

I am SO excited to have completed this project. The time investment was WELL worth the effort. And the small napkins only need a small space in the loads of laundry I'm already doing every few days. It is great.

Please feel free to comment and share one of your favorite GREEN tips. Also, see these great GREEN books listed at for more ideas than one family could ever accomplish:

Green Goes with Everything by Sloan Barnett

It's Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living by Crissy Trask

The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time
by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen

Enjoy! Feel free to comment if you've already read some of these yourself.

:) Kaycee