Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Are You Green Guilty

I didn't really start blogging with the intention of having a theme to all my posts, however, lately my focus seems to be on self revelations.  So today my self revelation is that I HATE TO RECYCLE.    Not only is it inconvenient but it takes up space and it's SO confusing.  Oh, and having to remind my husband every Monday evening to take out the recycling has become beyond frustrating.  Recycling has it's own language and last time I checked, I'm pretty sure I'm not a foreign linguist.  Therefore, it's my job to learn this foreign language.  For example there are something like 13 different kinds of plastics to recycle.  Let's be honest, with the daily grind of work and family, I resent the fact that I have one more job added to the chore chart. 
Despite all this, I AM A DUTIFUL  RECYCLER! (most of the time).  So why do I recycle?  Guilt is one reason. Also, because I watch the show "Horders" I am encouraged to purge everything I own on a weekly basis.  Honestly, I would like to think that my recycling involves me on a very basic level and this makes me feel good.  When I feel good I am empowered to do more.
Nonetheless, I still have lots of green confessions to make. Speaking of green confessions, there is actually a catholic preist in England that travels to environmental festivals and accepts green confessions.  Also, there are websites sprouting online with the soul purpose of letting the green guilty confess-anonymously.
After taking a proactive analysis of my lifestyle I have found a few areas where I could do better.
For example, I still use disposable diapers.  Sorry but it aint gonna happen.  Not willing to switch to cloth!!
I remember my reusable bags when I shop, about 50% of the time.  The other 50% I'm too lazy to run back out to the minivan to get them.  I don't bring a reusable cup when I get my coffee at Tim Horton's or Starbucks.  I haven't encouraged my kids to use both sides of the paper when drawing pictures.  I run the dishwasher at least twice a day when I could easily wash them by hand.  The list could go on forever but I think you get the picture(on both sides of the page).
With Earth day approaching next week,  April 22, 2010 to be exact, I started thinking about what our family's carbon foot print is.  Don't you just love coin phrases like "carbon foot print".
To be honest I did feel a little guilty. So, I did a little research of facts that would be relevent to me and my family.   Not the boring facts that make you want to yawn!! So here are a few that got me motivated to do better.  (I could only find american statistics)

  • Americans use 4million plastic bottles every hour.  Only 25% are recycled
  • More than 20million hershey kisses wrappers are made each day.  This is equivalent to 133 sq miles of aluminum foil that is all recyclable
  • If we recycle 1 aluminum can we would have enough energy to run the TV for 3 hours(350,000 aluminum cans are produced every minute)
  • 1 aluminum can takes 500 years to decompose and the modern glass bottle takes 4,000 years
  • 1 billion trees in paper are thrown out each year.  500,000 trees must be cutdown to make 1 single run of the NY times Sunday paper
  • Plastic garbage in the ocean kills 1million sea creatures each year
  • The highest point in Ohio is "Mount Rumpke" which is actually a mountain of trash at the Rumpke landfill site
So, what can we do to make small yet measurable changes.  Awareness is the first step.  I have personally made a pledge to make the following changes:
  1. I will unplug the printer so that Sapphire can't print off 50 sheets of princess coloring pages while I'm not looking
  2. I will increase my reusable bag usage to 85% of the time.
  3. I will try to precycle and upcycle items in my house instead of recycling or throwing them out
  4. I will collect run off water from our rain spouts and have the kids water plants and trees around the house
  5. I will implement the "bottle cap reward system" with my kids.   I will encourage Sapphire and Opal  to save the plastic cap from every plastic bottle they can find and recycle.  Once they reach 100 caps they will earn a prize
  6. This weekend I will rent two kids cartoons that focus on environmental awareness and have a discussion with my kids about the environment.  ("Happy Feet" and "Curious George Goes Green") 
  7. I will personally consume 25,000 hershey kisses and recycle every foil wrapper
  8. I will start collecting ink cartridges, old cell phones and batteries and drop them off at the local library
  9. I will begin to collect all my hairs that fall out by the handfull (post pregancy thing) and either compost them or donate them to a hair salon that collects hair for the Matter of Trust foundation.  For those not familiar, this foundation is a charity foundation created by hair stylist Phil McCroy.  He developed hair mats that are used to help soak up oil from the estimated 706 million gallons of oil that enter our oceans each year
  10. I will stop yelling at my husband and start yelling at my kids to take out the recycling every Monday night.  At least this way the whole family is getting involved. 
I promsie to follow through on all 10 of my pledges!!

I also want to point out a few of my favorite websites that you can check out with your kids.

For those curious individuals, here are a few pics to show you how the rest of the world recycles


Australia (rubbish sounds so much better than garbage!)



Finally to quote Jean Paul Richter, "Do not wait for extrodinary circumstances to take action, try to use ordinary situations."