Monday, June 11, 2007

Reduce, Reuse And Recycle (RRR)

Kristin, over at A Few Things to Say, has put out a RRR challenge and I volunteered to get myself tagged for this meme. Awesome idea, Kristin! Everyone, come on out and expose yourselves!

Here is my current list of reduction, reusing and recycling efforts:

  • We use the Ottawa recycling program to its fullest – which is not very full considering the recycling program we had in Germany. I cannot believe the plastic containers that still end up in the regular garbage. However, it is a start.
  • We use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • We have never used pesticides on our lawn (unlike everyone around us – and they all have small children and/or pets!). I have a ‘This is a beautiful lawn – pesticide free’ sign posted at our front door so the neighbours don’t come a knocking about our dandelions (I love dandelions. Did you know that they were introduced to North America as a food crop?). Not that I mind having a discussion about dandelions but, they may as well know where I stand before they knock on the door.
  • We use an electric lawn mower. We had purchased a push mower and got rid of our old gas mower a few years ago but our lot was really too large for us to keep up with, with just the push mower. Bad on electricity but better for the air.
  • Although we technically have two vehicles (a 2000 Mazda ProtegĂ© and a 1988 Westfalia Volkswagon camper van), we try to act as a one car family. This is not difficult in the winter as the van is stored during all ‘salt on the road’ months. DH and I negotiate who needs the vehicle on any given day and, some days, it doesn’t move at all. The van is rarely used except for camping and the odd ‘large haul’ trip (e.g. like picking up our new patio set from The Bay).
  • We have installed a high efficiency furnace, hot water tank and air conditioner in our current home.
  • Although I find it very difficult to live through the humidity of an Ottawa summer, the A/C is not too cool and usually only cuts in in the late afternoon as we use night air and curtains to keep the house quite cool during the day.
  • Since buying this house in 2002, we have also upgraded the insulation in the basement and replaced all of the old, drafty and, in some cases, rotten windows.
  • DH rides his bicycle to work most days of the week.
  • We compost all through the year.
  • During the summer months, we use a rain barrel for garden watering.
  • We have installed and use a clothes line. I love it!
  • I use the hot water cycle in the washing machine only once a week and never use bleach (wet white clothes on the clothesline combined with the sun is the best bleach of all).
  • We use natural cleaners in our home, as well as handmade soap. Some of this is due to the fact that I am highly allergic to most cleaning products. I figure that, if I react to it, it isn’t good for the environment either.

Here are some things I would like to add to my list:

  • I would like either four rain barrels at the four corners of the house or an underground cistern to capture rain water for gardening. DH is already talking about the cistern for our new house.
  • I would like to find an organic farm or regularly attend a farmer’s market to source our vegetables and meat. This should not be an issue in the Annapolis Valley when we move.
  • I need to get better with using my reusable shopping bags. I’m terrible. I have them but they just don’t seem to get used that often. That being said, I do recycle the plastic bags at the local bag drop off or for Para’s ‘apples’.
  • A hybrid vehicle would be a joy. With the new baby, we are currently looking at new vehicles. We don’t want an SUV or a mini-van and are looking for a wagon of some form. However, finding a hybrid wagon that will fit all of us and still be in our price range, is not looking promising.
  • Our dream is to build an off-grid, eco-friendly house someday. Thus one of the reasons why I was in an interior design program.
Off to watch a movie and do some knitting on a very exciting development. However, I’m not telling you about it until I’m 55% complete the project. I don’t want to jinx it by blogging about it too early and developing another WIP that never gets finished. And the particular type of knitting I'm working on is reputed to be tricksy that way. However, I am knitting. Ferociously.

The picture at the beginning of the post is of my 'knitting helper's' over the past weekend. Yes, that chair is orange. Orange is my favourite colour!

Here's another hint of knitting 'candy'.


Kristin said...

Great list. I use handmade soap too, it lasts so much longer and hardly gets soggy. Have you heard of Moonsnail Soapworks in PEI?
We really want to get rain barrels to water our veggies.
I also need to get better with reusing bags.

Alisha said...

Love your knitting candy colors!!

Furry four legged knitting helpers are the best!!!

JustApril said...

That's a great list of positive stuff. We used to have those bag recycle places around here, too, but I haven't seen them in quite some time =(

Your sock beginning looks great!