Friday, March 06, 2009

Only The Good Friday - It's So Easy Being Green

This week at Candid Karina has been full of fluff. Reality television fluff and nothing else. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my fluff. I think life is way too serious and stressful, so if we can indulge in a bit of fluff now and again, well, we should do it. However, every now and again, we need some substance as well, don’t you think?

On that note, it’s high time I jump back into “
Only The Good Fridays”. My friend Shelly at This Eclectic Life started this meme, and I really do think that the idea of spreading the “optimism virus” around the blogosphere is a fabulous one, and one that I want to continue to be a part of. It’s been a few weeks since my “Only The Good Friday” post, but I’m back.

With that said, what good can I put out into the universe today? Well, let’s start with just that, the universe. Or more specifically, our planet.

See, I’ve just recently, within the last year or so, started making a true effort at being “Green”. A little late to the game for sure, but I’ve finally started taking steps to be a responsible resident on planet earth. I never gave much thought to recycling, or waste, or my “carbon footprint” if you will. But that’s beginning to change. I’m not quite ready yet to buy my own compost thingy (what are those things called anyway?), but I’m taking little steps in the right direction. And each small step makes me feel better and better about myself and about my place in this world.

It started small, with recycling. No, I didn’t even recycle a year ago. To be honest, I live in a condo, and had no idea we had recycling bins available to us. Just never put two and two together. Then one day someone mentioned our recycling bins (which somehow, in all the years I’ve been at my condo I’d completely failed to notice), and I knew I had to do my part.

So, now I recycle all my paper/cardboard and plastic. Each week I notice that I recycle more and more, and I toss less and less in the trash. If you don’t already, you can do it too.

One of my biggest complaints about recycling was that I just don’t have the space in my small condo for different trash/recycling bins. You might think the same thing. You might think you just don’t have the time for sorting your trash. You (and I) would be wrong.

I wish I could share with you a picture of my recycling corner, but I didn’t think to take one, and I’m not home as I write this. But in a corner of my kitchen I have my trash bin, a small “milk crate” under a chair (for plastic bottles) and an oversized shoebox (for my paper products). That’s it, that’s all it takes. I may at one point invest in a compartmentalized trash bin, but for now, this works.

How do you handle yours?

But it doesn’t stop there.

I’m recently on a major de-cluttering binge at my house. Having lost 25 pounds, my entire wardrobe no longer fits me, so I’m faced with massive amounts of clothing I can no longer wear. I’ve also decided that nobody needs to have as much crap as I have so every time I open up a drawer, or a cabinet, I find myself sorting, cleaning and purging. But this just means I’m creating more waste, and the idea of tossing out something that is still in perfect working condition doesn’t appeal to me one bit.

For example, last year, for my birthday, I received a new coffee machine (A Senseo which I love madly, deeply). But this meant that my existing coffee machine sat, unplugged, under my kitchen table for 10 months. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it out, it still worked perfectly well. But I couldn’t exactly sell it on ebay, it’s at least 10 years old. What to do?

Enter “
Freecycle”. If you don’t know about Freecycle, you absolutely MUST click here and go find out all about it right now. With Freecycle, you basically join a local community of folks who post things they are giving away FOR FREE in lieu of throwing them in the trash and overloading our dumps. In return, you too can list your free items. It is the most amazing, ingenius idea, and I have now freecycled a rice cooker, a car remote starter, said coffee maker, and two other items that I can’t think of right now. I also have a printer and a router and a few other things that I’ll be listing shortly. These are all items that for one reason or another (mostly because they are “not-so-gently” used) I couldn’t sell, but could still be put to good use. And I’ll tell you what, the feeling you get when someone receives these items and is genuinely grateful for them? A nice bonus for sure.

Of course, there is always ebay and craigslist for those items you can still make a buck on. Hey, I’m not against that, we can all use a little extra cash now and again.

But what about the clothing and the shoes? Well, for the most part, I just donate my clothes to those donation bins you find behind the churches and in parking lots everywhere. Of course, my accountant yelled at me this year for not keeping track of my donations, so I’ll be doing a better job of it this year, because hey, we can all use a tax break, right?

And just today, through one of my Twitter friends
MaryBabySteps I discovered this website: DigNSwap. All I can say is that I’m so looking forward to breaking out my camera tonight and photographing lots and lots of clothing to list for “swapping”.

There are a million other places you can swap, donate, and sell your stuff. Do it for the environment, do it for the charity, do it to make money…but just don’t throw it all out in the trash.

A few of my other favorites:
BookMooch; PaperbackSwap; SwapTree;;

What others do you know of? Please share!

Finally, one last bit, because man, this post sure is turning into a novel.

Okay, so, grocery shopping might just be my least favorite chore of all time. Seriously folks, don’t ask me why, but I’d rather scrub the toilet. It’s been this way since I’ve lived on my own, and I think a lot of it has to do with the chore of carrying 15 bags of groceries in the house all by myself. There is the unlocking of two different doors, carrying stuff up the stairs, all those plastic bags, UGH. There is also the fact that even when I only buy a few items I seem to drop $50 but that’s another story all together.

The bags. That’s always been one of my issues. Not only because they are a hassle to carry in the house, but because I feel like they are such a terrible waste. SO MANY bags for such a small trip from the store to the car to my house.

A while back I decided I was going to buy a few of those re-usable shopping bags and start using them whenever I went shopping. Of course, because I have a history of being a bit of a shop-aholic, this was not working out very well when it came to all my other “non-grocery” shopping, because I was never prepared with the bags whenever I decided on impulse buys. Since my shopping habits have been curbed quite a bit lately, I don’t feel as badly about the amount of “shopping bags” I’m using when I do go shopping now, but I’m still hoping to remember my re-usable bags for larger shopping expeditions.

But with the groceries, I really wanted to start using those bags. I really wanted to, but I kept forgetting to bring them with me. Time and again, I’d only remember as I was putting my groceries on the conveyor belt…the bags were at home.

Last night I finally remembered my bags and took them into the grocery store with me. I shopped, and had my groceries bagged in my three colorful re-usable bags. You’ve got to love me for my mixing and matching even my bags, because I have one from the local grocery store, one from Target and one from the Dollar Tree…hey, they all serve the same purpose. Anyway, the point is that my groceries, which usually occupy no less than 10 plastic bags, sometimes more, all fit, quite nicely, in these THREE re-usable bags. Three bags which were about 100 times easier to carry into my building. So not only am I helping the environment, but bringing the groceries home just became less of a chore.

Why haven’t I done this before? You can rest assured that I will be doing it every time I grocery shop from now on.

You can do it too, and trust me, you will be glad you did it simply for the benefit of the ease of carrying the bags in the house. The fact that doing so makes you “green” is a nice bonus.

Okay, that’s it, that’s all I’ve got for you today. I know there are a million other things we can do to help the environment, and there are actually other things I DO myself…but for today I just wanted to inspire you to try on some green.

Please be sure to stop by
Shelly’s and see who else is spreading the Optimism Virus today. AND while you're there, be sure to wish her a HAPPY Birthday!!!


Insightful Nana said...

Thank Karina for all of your "Good Friday" information.

I'm posting "Only The Good" on Friday's also.It's so interesting how everyone is posting so differently on this "Good" day.

Nice to get to know you.

Insightful Nana

Anonymous said...

Hmm may have to check out the reusable shopping bags. we always end up with like 13 or 14 plastic bags and although we usually try and save them back to recycle for small trash can liners, used diaper receptacles while on the go, etc. we generally have to throw some out or try and find a recycling place. we also can NOT recycle here, which pisses us off. we had probably 1/2 as much trash when we recycled, and we recycled EVERYTHING, cardboard, plastic, tin cans from canned food, glass jars, and anything and everything imaginable. yes, please do recycle your clothes. even if its the salvation army, at least its something

Anonymous said...

Good on you, KarinaKarina (you always make me feel like siiiingiiiing....) It's a pretty good feeling to be "a part of" the earth instead of "apart from" it, isn't it?? I love your newfound efforts. This is such a good OtGF post!
If you're crafty you can make your own reusable bags from your old plastic shopping bags! Check out the lins at Creative uses for Garbage bags

Anonymous said...

What a great post, Karina! Sorry I didn't get out on the internet yesterday. My husband made me go out into the wide world for my b-day! LOL. GOOD on you for all your re-cycling efforts. And thank you for the links to places to swap our stuff. I'm gonna bookmark those.

Also...huge congratulations on your weight loss! That is an Only The Good post in itself.