Green Recap: April

I’m now two months into my 12-month challenge and feeling pretty good, like maybe I could actually make it through another 300 days. However, there are only so many green products out there that I can switch to; eventually, I think I’ll be forced to make bigger and bigger changes, despite my initial intentions to take baby steps the entire way.

Let’s step into the confession booth for a second: So far, I’ve caved in once on the bottled water front. I found myself stranded at a movie theatre without my Nalgene and the management was offering free popcorn and Dasani (the worst of all the bottled waters, too). I hadn’t eaten dinner and couldn’t refuse free popcorn, but I also couldn’t ingest all that salt and starch without something to wash it down. I bowed my head in shame and grabbed a bottle. My friend graciously offered not to tell anyone, but I thought I’d be honest.

I also had some Australian shiraz the other night while at a restaurant, but only after I inquired about whether they had any Ontario wine (and they didn’t, because they have good taste). Sorry.

And, finally, I left the light on in my bathroom one day by accident, but I tried to make up for it by going about my bed-time ablutions in the dark. It was actually kind of fun … almost.

But more importantly, truly, are the successes: I’ve given away three batches of stuff via Freecycle, always to very friendly and appreciative folks; I’m generally more aware of everything I consume and discard, turn on and off, and how I travel to and fro. And there’s been so much positive response from friends, family and people I’ve never even met who read this blog — my friend Sarah has invested in a tote bag, my friend Melissa and fellow blogger Crunchy Chicken both said they were going to stop using paper towels in public washrooms, and my mom made sure the chocolate Easter egg she bought for me was organic and fair-trade. All this thrills me to no end.

If, however, I had to single out one change in the past couple months that’s accomplished the most with the least amount of effort — and that I would wholeheartedly recommend to everyone — it would without a doubt be the $6 collapsible nylon tote bag. Ever since I stuck it in my purse, I haven’t needed a single plastic bag (and normally I’d end up with at least a dozen stuffed under my sink every week between groceries and other random purchases).

I think things are going to get more difficult from here on, but now that I’m armed with tote bags, hankies and vegan floss, I feel ready for the tough stuff.

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4 Responses to Green Recap: April

  1. Nickelking says:

    And in the last month that I’ve been readin (I considered myself moderatly green before) I started keeping my tote in my car rather than under the sink, decided to forgo paper towels at work once we got them back in stock (I rarely use any other public bathroom,) Took a glass to work to use for water rather than using a disposable cup, started refusing bags at convenience stores, took to eating lunch at places that serve handheld foods, unplugged my microwave cell charger and other electronics when not in use, freecycle wanted too much info so I held an uber low cost garage sale, started flushing every other time, started watching TV on my computer (which has a lower energy display and takes very little energy for the com itself as well as replaced and started monitoring my tires.

    Maybe this would’ve happened without you, but it hadn’t so far. So there’s another naturally harvested green feather to put in your cap.

    Thanks for showing everybody it’s doable.

  2. Melissa_H says:

    Oooo Oooo Vanes – I also bought a re-usuable grocery bag (the heavy duty type) for my small jonts to the grocery store. I’ve used it a lot since I invested in it. Hopefully that counts as another victory for you. :) I will have to look into the nylon tote… where might one purchase that again?

  3. Alina says:

    Hey Vanessa! Congrats! I think you are doing a really good job! My suggestion of something relatively easy- giving up white flour and grains, bread, rice and sugar (I talked about it in my last post). And I am still lobbying against starbucks :D

  4. rach says:

    sweet blog thistle. i love everything about it!

    just one comment on the forsaking of using paper towels/hand dryers after washing hands, though. I know your hand germ-party is pumping, but I read this a few months ago and felt guilty for not letting you know!

    Drying hands after washing them is actually a really important part of cleaning your hands. I saw a study awhile back that showed people who didn’t dry their hands had *more* bacteria on their hands after washing than before washing! I think it’s all about the moistness being a great breeding ground.

    Check it!

    http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/cruiselines/hand_hygiene_general.htm

    Any chance I’ll see your book in Australia?!

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