Home » Green Living » Green Living – Our steps

Green Living – Our steps

I’m more into this than hubby is, but I’ve always has an interest in the environment (and natural health).. and I am a Pagan, so the Earth is more important to me than just the planet we live on.

We’re already doing a lot, but I know there are more things we can do… so I’m making a list, since I might be more likely to try to do more when its all written out, and I might inspire someone to make a small change in their lifestyle too.

What we do is try to use less water, less chemicals, recycle and reuse more…. but not in an overboard way – just simple things we can do to save water, power or use more natural things.

When Out and About

What we do

  • Try to limit car use when possible
  • Take reusable grocery bags
  • Use reusable produce (fruit & veg) bags
  • Try to buy natural/organic and less packaging where we can
  • Try to take our own drink bottles to avoid buying drinks

What I would like to do:

  • Use car less and walk more
  • Make sure I always carry more reusable shopping bags

At home – In the Garden

What we do

  • Created a pond and overgrown garden surround to create a safe home for frogs (not any in there yet though 😦 ) We have a diverter from the drain pipe so water from the roof can go into the pond to keep it topped up (and we can potentially divert it into a tank later)
  • Divert water from the washing machine onto the garden
  • Don’t have a fussy garden that needs a lot of water (we don’t water it from the hose)
  • Bucket out water from the bath, collect water from the shower and kitchen sink (when rinsing veg or waiting for the tap to heat up etc.) onto the garden
  • Keep the lawn longer so it doesn’t dry out as quickly
  • Compost (not that we have much to compost between the dog and chickens)
  • Green waste – our council provides a wheelie bin for us to put lawn clippings and other plant matter waste into, so what doesn’t go in our compost bin (or to the chooks), goes in there and is mulched up by the council.
  • Sweep up leaf litter off the footpath/driveway to use as mulch for the garden so we don’t need to buy mulch
  • Use old soft drink bottles in those spike things to help keep plants watered without using too much water
  • Growing (or attempting to) some of our own fruit and veg
  • Not using chemicals on the garden/pests
  • Have chickens to provide us with eggs and manure for the garden – which also recycle kitchen scraps for us. They are fed on loose grains (and food scraps) rather than mystery composition pellets (some pellets contain chemicals to artifically colour the yolks deeper yellow for example). They free range sometimes…. but we pick them grass to eat when they aren’t free ranging, and their coop is big enough to allow them plenty of area to scratch around in , its just not got grass anymore.

What I would like to do:

  • Install a water tank – can’t really afford it, but my father bought us a 200lt drum that we plan to hook up to use on the vegie patch one day
  • Divert bath/shower water (other than bucketing it out)

In the House

laundry

What we do –

  • We divert all washing machine water into the garden
  • Use the water saver setting on the washing machine and do only full loads, no prewash loads
  • Do not use stain removers, soakers, disinfectants, fabric softeners etc. just eco-friendly detergent (usually soapnuts) with a splash of eucalyptus oil for freshness if needed
  • Try to stop the machine before it does a rinse cycle when using soapnuts to save water and power
  • Don’t own a dryer – dry all laundry outside on the line or on racks inside.
  • Rarely iron… hang washing well to avoid wrinkles
  • Wear clothing more than once (unless it’s looking dirty) to limit amount of washes.

What I would like to do:

  • Make my own laundry liquid so that we don’t have to buy one to have on standby (for when we don’t want to use soapnuts)

Kitchen

What we do –

  • In Summer we usually keep a small bucket in the sink and 2 larger buckets on the bench (marked “for garden” and “for pond”) and when running the hot tap we collect all the water and put it in the bucket for the pond – to keep that topped up.. and when rinsing vegetables, or our hands, that water goes into the “garden” bucket which is then used to water the garden. I even collect water from rinsing crumbs off a plate, or rinsing out a coffee mug… so we collect a lot of water that way (when we’re good).
  • Rarely use the microwave (which is switched off from wall when not actually being used so the display isn’t wasting power).
  • Recycle all recyclables and try to buy food with less packaging
  • Try to make food items instead of buying prepackaged ones. Baking cakes from scratch instead of using cakemix, baking crackers and muesli bars instead of buying school snacks etc
  • Use a reusable sandwich wrap/bag or plastic lunchbox instead of using cling wrap.
  • Use a silicone baking sheet instead of aluminium foil or baking paper
  • Food scraps (peelings etc.) either to the dog or the chickens
  • Make homemade pet food for cat and dog sometimes
  • Use lemon juice and bicarb to scrub bench tops instead of cleaning products. The multipurpose cleaner I use for lazy days is natural.
  • Rarely use the dishwasher
  • Switched to eco-friendly more natural dish washing liquid
  • Wash the floor with just Very hot water, a little lavender essential oil and a little dishwashing liquid – no disinfectants
  • Use knitted dishcloths that last longer than sponges and can be washed in the washing machine
  • Limit use of paper towels to only soaking up excess oil from foods
  • When shallow frying, pour oil into a container rather than down the sink

What I would like to do:

Bathroom

What we do –

  • Use organic/natural shampoo & conditioner (tried BS and ACV, didn’t work), Herbal toothpaste, natural soap, deodorant, moisturiser etc.
  • Clean with BS, vinegar and lemon juice
  • Run shower into a bucket to collect water while heating up (to go in pond or on the garden). Sometimes I’ll shower with a bucket in with me to collect more water for the garden.
  • Bucket out bath water for the garden
  • When MiniObsi was little and home all day we had a container of water and (organic) soap in the sink so we could wash our hands through the day without running the tap.
  • Turn off the tap while brushing teeth – use it just to wet the toothbrush and to rinse the brush after.
  • Shorter showers and less often
  • Replaced shower head with a water saver one (council did it for free – yay!)
  • Dye my hair with Henna instead of chemical dyes.
  • Use more natural mineral makeup where I can, instead of commercial stuff (not that I wear makeup a lot)
  • No hairdryer.

What I would like to do:

  • No more commercial deodorant for hubby (he’ll probably not agree though)
  • Getting together more of a supply of natural mineral makeup (getting there)
  • Make reusable cotton balls (eg make circles of cloth to use instead) for the few times I use them
  • Use more Hankies instead of tissues
  • Remember to turn the shower off while shampooing to save a bit of water.
  • Get a shower timer to help stop hubby taking long showers

Toilet

What we do –

  • Buy recycled toilet paper
  • Use baking soda and vinegar to clean the toilet (most of the time)
  • I use cloth pads
  • Use cloth “wee wipes” as toilet paper (for #1 only!)
  • recycle toilet rolls (and use them to plant seedlings)
  • “If it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down”

What I would like to do:

  • No more chemical toilet cleaner
  • No more chemical air fresheners for toilet (make my own from a spray bottle and essential oils?)
  • Get a dual flush toilet, or better yet one of those fancy new kind with the sink above it.

Rest of the house

What we do –

  • Switched most, of the light globes to energy saver ones (think only the outside spotlight ones are still normal. We tried LED lights, but hubby said they weren’t bright enough)
  • Try to turn off lights when we’re not in the room
  • Avoid using flyspray
  • Close doors/windows to keep heat in/out… try to use a fan instead of airconditioning in summer (we have one airconditioner, not ducted)
  • Used Cloth Napies on my daughter (when she used nappies)
  • Put an extra blanket on the bed (and wear more clothes) instead of using the electric blanket
  • Try to keep things that don’t need to be on (extra tv etc.) off/unplugged until needed.
  • Set up computer to go into power saver mode after a short period of time of inactivity, and turn off at the wall when turning it off.

What I would like to do:

  • Turn off more stuff at the wall
  • Don’t use electric blanket as much
  • Look into renewable energy

In my business

What I do

  • Well firstly I’m mostly selling eco-friendly products 🙂
  • Try to limit car use when possible – I go out to post only twice a week unless I was already going out anyway… rather than every day.
  • Use only recycled paper for the printer (I’ve just started using 100% wheat pulp paper)
  • Reuse old printed on paper for printing orders for my own records (print on the side that wasn’t printed on previously
  • Limit printed materials that go with orders and have instructions online
  • Stickytape used to wrap orders is biodegradable cellulose tape (when I can find it)
  • Instead of using plastic prepaid satchels which most people don’t re-use, I put the orders in ziplock bags which are more likely to be reused (as well as the fact I can squeeze the air out and often post things cheaper). I use plastic over cellophane bags because they are  more durable (so more likely to be reused)
  • Posting envelopes are mostly 100% recycled paper (I occasionally need to use a larger size than I have, which I use ordinary paper ones for). I only use plastic satchels when I have to.
  • I write addresses on the envelopes rather than printing an address label
  • Fabric scraps are sometimes donated to kinders/child care centres rather than thrown out
  • I get some fabric scraps from other businesses, to help use fabric that would otherwise be thrown out.
  • Some of my fabric is organic cotton.

What I would like to do:

  • Find cellulose packing tape for sealing the envelopes
  • Find recycled or at least unbleached tissue paper to wrap orders in (google searches only find toilet paper…)
  • Buy a treddle sewing machine – ok, more for the coolness factor, but still….. sewing some things under treddle power would be cool.
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