Thursday, August 14, 2008

Progress Report, August 2008

Last month, I wrote about How We've Gone Green.  It's nice to look back and realize that we've done quite a bit to reduce our carbon footprint.  To recap:
  • Unless we're headed on a trip, we rarely drive more than 50 miles a week - in fact, we're often right around 20 miles per week;
  • We clean greener - more rags, mostly eco-safe products;
  • Everything but our dryer is an EnergyStar appliance;
  • We cook at home, eating out infrequently instead of daily and consuming lower on the food chain than before;
  • We recycle diligently and have cut our weekly garbage output to around one kitchen-sized garbage bag;
  • We carry cloth, reusable shopping bags everywhere;
  • The paper products we do use are as green as possible.
There are a few other changes we've made:
  • Our water use remains low - about 40 gallons per person, instead of the average of more than 70;
  • Even in humid DC, we keep our AC set no lower than 78 degrees, and normally it's around 80.  We make up the difference with ceiling fans;
  • We're buying more of our shoes - one of those things that I find nearly impossible to get second-hand, especially for our toddler - from companies like Simple and Keen with sound eco-practices;
  • We're just plain not buying much!
But I've also written about our Top Ten Eco-Sins.  Maybe they're trivial in relation to our sweeping lifestyle changes.  But every little bit helps, and so we're taking on the following challenges for the next few months:
  • We'll be using cloth diapers combined with Seventh Generation disposables when baby Fiona arrives in October.  Yes, yes, I know all about how it really isn't necessary to change out of cloth for a trip to the library, but I'm not feeling quite that brave - yet;
  • We're going to start using a drying rack for at least some of our laundry;
  • I'm going to continue to cut down on my use of disposable cleaning products, especially those pre-moistened wipes.  I mean, do I really pay $2 for 40 little pieces of paper wet with chemicals?  Am I crazy?
  • We're continuing to spend more of our grocery budget at our local farmers' market.
We've talked about a few other changes, but with a new baby on the way, I think that's about what we can tackle for the rest of the year.  Wish us luck!

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