Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I'm Pea Green

I've always tried to take care of our earth in whatever ways I could. For years I've been careful not to let the water run when I brush my teeth. I've recycled aluminum cans and newspapers. I've used cloth napkins and towels as much as possible. I have a water filter on my refrigerator and also a pitcher so we can refill water bottles instead of buying them. I save any plastic bags I get and take them to the library where they reuse them but I also have "green bags" for the grocery store. Here's the problem.

I often forget to take my green bags into the store when they're right there in my car. I grab a paper towel without thinking when I spill something. I love hot showers and spend far too long in them. So instead of being this wonderful rich shade of green which would mean that I'm doing all that I could do save our environment, I'm sort of a pea green. Sickly green. So I'm looking for help here friends.

How do you recycle if you live out of the city limits and there aren't recycling programs where you live? How do you remind yourself to take your bags in, take quick showers, etc.? And what kinds of things are you doing for our earth that I could copy? Green is not my favorite color and I hate, hate, hate pea green.


Val said...

Well, I am not too good at it compared to you. I think you are doing great. I do try to be aware and try to save every way I can.

Michelle said...

I think we probably all fall short, but the fact that we think about it is sure a step in the right direction.

I hate it when I see someone throw an aluminum pop can in the garbage when they could redeem it and get a nickel back. I just want to run over and get it out of the trash (and sometimes I do!).

I still pick up pennies on the ground and I know alot of people just walk on by. I guess I did without for too many years to be wasteful and not care. A penny saved is one more than what you had, right? You might not have earned it, but if someone else doesn't want it, I'll take it!

I can't wait to hear how people are practicing green.

Oma aka Meme said...

the hard thing for me to do is to recycle the paper-glass - and tin cans- as I have no way to get them to the recycle now- I do not drive and in the winter the area where we can take them is to far and to unsafe to walk-
I did stop buying paper towels- I have enough towels - rags -etc- I have a few rags that are rags to toss if the spillis something I really do not want in my laundry-
I save all the returnables and give to the grand kids-
I too am pea green and trying to find ways to contiinue to be more green -also
I am less green with hubby gone as I do not have his help - etc
hugs from Meme

Lori said...

Oh my gosh, we are so much alike. We do have a recycling site in a small town only a few miles away that we take and dump the glass, aluminum and paper. We also have a good old fashioned burn barrel as well. We live in the middle of nowhere so it's not an issue with the neighbors. And I as well will not give up my long hot showers. I'll adjust alot other of my ways, but the hot showers are non-negotiable!

Unknown said...

Well, being in the environmental industry...ya know I have some good ideas.

Do not buy paper towels in the first place and you will not use them. You will save lots of money too.

When you know you are going to be going shopping, get your green bags out and put them on top of your purse. You will see them and grab them.

In the country, you can make a composting box and add your biodegradables to it and turn over the pile every couple of weeks. It will give you the best top soil and a free workout.

Newspapers can be rolled into logs and tied with twine for starter logs for the winter months.

Buy as little plastic contaniers as possible and always see if you can repurpose it. Whipped topping containers into food storage bowls and such.

Join together with some neighbors and collect your recycleables, see if you can rotate on who drives them into town.

Julie in the Barn said...

We're lucky out here in Ca. because curbside recycling is mandatory. Even though we live in the boonies we do have a garbage service and we just use special containers to set out at the street with our recyclables. We actually have almost no garbage for pick-up, maybe 1 can per month. We compost all food scraps and shredded paper from the junk mail. We buy our food from local producers and at farmer's markets and almost never buy packaged foods because of the huge waste involved. Read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver for an eye opening view of waste in the food industry!

We keep our thermostat set no higher than 65 and don't have air-conditioning. We've replaced all our light bulbs with those energy smart spiral ones. I wash & re-use freezer bags. If we have a drought again this summer, I will water my potted plants with grey water. We no longer have a lawn. It is a huge waste of water. I try to use only old fashioned cleaning agents like vinegar or soap instead of chemicals and detergents and I rarely buy anything in an aerosol can, only pump bottles I can refill. We really try to live a green lifestyle but it's hard to do sometimes. I think it's not just about recycling but more about the choices we make as consumers.

I'll get off my soapbox now.*s*

Angie said...

My turn for the soapbox now, from an English perspective! I'm in north Lincolnshire, which is about halfway down the eastern side of Great Britain. I suppose you could fit GB a few times just into Texas so, yes, recycling is getting ever more important to us.

All town councils provide each household with various bins for recycling. We have a brown one for compostable stuff (or you can compost it yourself but you don't want that bogged down wqith hedge clippings and grass trimmings do you? So - brown bin). There's a red wheelie bin for our plastic and cardboard, a green box for drink and food cans, aluminium foil wrap and cartons and a blue box for paper (that's any sort of paper).

If you have cellophane wrappings or any foil backed cardboard or tetrapaks they just have to go in the landfill rubbish, as does cooked food waste, aerosol cans, envelopes (cos of the sticky stuff). Oh and you have to wash out food waste from cans and bottles, tho you can leave the label on.

SO,,,,,,I avoid buying the 'rubbish' things, most supermarkets will take back bags for recycling -even from a different shop. There are banks of skips (mainly in car parks) where you can take most things and they even have skips for clothing, shoes, spectacles, books... and so on.

Our bin collections are fortnightly. I think that ought to be enough for anybody if they use the proper bins for disposal but there has been a lot of antipathy about it as it used to be weekly in the 'bad old days'. They'll have to get over this but Brits are noted for their unwillingness to change the habits of a lifetime

Soapbox? That was a double decker bus load!!!

love, Angie, xx

Nancy Near Philadelphia said...

I've been making grocery bags for friends for gifts lately and they have been well received.

I keep a couple in the car and some on the doorknob of the back door to take with me when I go.

Gene Black said...

My extra step is to have a bucket in the bathroom to collect that water that goes down the bathtub drain while I am waiting for hot water. This is perfectly good CLEAN water. I use it for various things. In winter when the air is too dry indoors, I use it to fill my humidifier.
It can also be used to refill the back of the toilet after a flush. It is great for watering the pets (if you have any.)
You will find a good use for it.

Also water used to cook food, that is being drained off can be used to water plants too.( better for outside plants)

BarbCarol said...

My collection of shopping bags IN THE TRUCK keeps growing because I can't remember to take them into the store with me and must buy another once inside.
Walmart is our only source for shopping in the OK outback. But they now accept plastic bottles and aluminum cans. I just hope they are actually recycling them.
We burn paper, compost kitchen scraps and plant trimmings, heat mostly with wood from fallen trees, use outside clotheslines, raise a lot of our own food. Just little things but I have convinced myself it will help.

molly said...

The tiny steps we all take DO count when you multiply them by thousands or millions. I had the same problem remembering my cloth bags [I used to keep them on the back seat.] Now, when I'm setting off to the store, I put them on the front seat with my purse and shopping list!

In Ireland most people don't take daily showers--they figure so much hot water, besides being wasteful, is just drying out your skin and hair and washing away natural oils! I still think that way...

We put very little trash out for pick-up as we compost everything possible. We try not to buy products that have excess packaging.......

Good luck in your efforts to be greener! If everyone does their bit we can make a difference.

Anonymous said...

So many folks don't even try to recycle, so give yourself a positive check mark for doing what you can. I think the first step is to not bring those kinds of things into the house to begin with. The excessive packaging on products just drives me crazy so I try to buy things without packaging, or with the smallest amount possible. But my biggest problem is my brain! I keep the bags in the truck and forget to bring them into the store with me!

Marge said...

Why did that post as Anonymous? It's me, Marge!

Jacquie said...

I forget to bring my bags into the store as well. Sometimes, I forget them in my kitchen after unloading groceries.

We don't have a recycling program here in my little small town, so that is a tough one here. I'd love to recycle the paper from work that I throw away!!

Mary L. Briggs said...

Oh my, I love those hot showers, too. And I've yet to find a way to do without paper towels, though I'd love to. I think a lot of it is habit~some I need to break, too! Hope you had a wonderful Valentine's weekend!

Unknown said...


I'm one of the Recycling Officers from Tetra Pak in England. Angie, you might be interested to hear that we have transformed carton recycling here in the UK and you should be able to recycle your cartons near you. After working hard with Local Authorities and our industry partners, between 2007 and 2008, carton recycling coverage increased from 20% of UK Local Authorities to 86%. You can find your nearest carton recycling facilities by checking our website or emailing us on

And for those of you in the US, you aren’t being left out. In 2004 39 million of you could recycle your cartons, this went up to 50 million last year, and coverage is growing all the time. Look out for carton recycling near you!

I hope this helps you to be a brighter shade of green,

Jenny Walden, Recycling Operations Officer, Tetra Pak UK

Anonymous said...

You are not alone! With my silly memory letting me down all too frequently with things just as you have described, I rely on *helpers* such as, if I don't write it down, chances are it will be forgotten, so I keep a steno pad where every day I begin a new page and I jot down my to-do-list, and I bet you are already doing something like that. I find that the only way I can remember things when I shop is to put the items (shopping bags for example) in the passenger seat of my car so that I see them when I arrive at the store. The same goes for dry cleaning or whatever, if it isn't in the front seat, I will not remember it. Sometimes I put things in my car for hours or a day or two before I need it.
The only recycling program in our town is to collect it in separate bags, containers, boxes or whatever, and load up the car and take it to the place and then unload each collection of items and place them into the proper receptacle. It is a hassle because of limited hours and it takes time but it is doable. I have let that slip recently and my granddaughter reminds me that I am "killing polar bears" by doing so. She chided The Doc ("Pa") Friday evening for leaving the TV on when he left for something. Out of the mouths of babes...

Anonymous said...

Marlene-I have a friend who has a blog at and the whole premise of it is-be as green as you can be. In other words some folks can never be totally green for the environment-but everyone can do something no matter how small it is-and it still helps! So I'd say your not pea green-your just as green as you can be!

Lisa @ Life with 4! said...

i'm pea green also. i'm not totally gung-ho about it but i do my part where i can.
we do have recycling pick-up here, which is great.
i use Green Works cleaner. it's coconut and lemon based and works just as well as harsh chemical cleaners (it smells good too).
i reuse plastic grocery bags for our bathroom trash.
i use baking soda and vinegar for my dishwasher. this works wonderful.
those are the main things i do to help out our environment. i am trying to incorporate "greener", healthier habits into our family.

Fiber Babble said...

Wow, there have been a lot of good suggestions here!

I live just north of the middle of nowhere, and it's a 12-mile CAR trip to recycle for me (sigh). I don't recycle glass and cans as much as I'd like to, though I understand that there will soon be a more local place to do so.

Because we have to PAY for the water we use, I catch the cold/warm water in the kitchen sink while it's getting to the hot water. That is used for coffee and also put into the refrigerator to have cold water on hand when I remember to drink it. (faster and more energy efficient than standing there with the door open, filling my glass from the fridge's water dispenser)

My dog gets fresh water with every meal. Her "used" water goes into a pitcher next to the sink, as does melted ice cubes from a drink and other water that would normally just get dumped down the drain. This grey? water is used for watering my plants indoors and out, and I also use it to splash into that crusty chili bowl to help soak off the gunk (no point in putting perfectly potable water into a dirty dish!).

I have a patio table that's a little bit off level - so I have two 5-gallon paint buckets that sit under the "low" corner and catch massive amounts of rainwater runoff, which is then used to refill the pond and water outdoor plants.

DON'T leave the water running while brushing your teeth. Fill a small cup about 1/2way full while wetting your toothbrush, then turn off the water. Brush and use the water in the cup to rinse your mouth. Turn on the water again only to rinse out your brush (HUGE savings there).

I stick my grocery totes AND my purse into one (very pretty) tote. That way I can't forget it/them while shopping, because my purse is in there!

If your grocer/market is small and personal, you can talk to the butcher about wrapping your meat in 'butcher paper' instead of using that styrofoam tray with the plastic wrap (there's a bonus to living in a small town!). I think that the paper is compostable.

In addition to re-using 'fine china' (aka whipped topping tubs), find some of those shower-cap-looking things that many of our mothers and grandmothers used. Just pop one of those things on a plate or bowl and you've got one less "dish" to wash and nothing to throw away when you've eaten the leftovers (I found mine in a dollar store).

You can wash and re-use zip-top bags (including those that food comes in, like shredded cheese) as long as it didn't have meat in it. And yes, I know it's pretty irresponsible to buy pre-shredded cheese in those bags instead of just getting the brick and shredding it myself. :-)

If I were to start a compost heap I could probably cut down my curbside trash by as much as 50% - that and a "real" rain barrel is on my list of things to do this year!

Janet, said...

Wow, all these people make me feel like I'm a pale green. I do much of what you do. I recycle my aluminum cans, take my newspapers to the recycle bin, and recycle my plastic bags you get from stores. I try to remember to dry my clothes outside on the clothes line in the summer and I take quick showers.

Kelly said...

Oh my goodness, I hate pea green color too!!
I have cloth and string bags in my backseat of my car to take into the grocery store when I am running in for a few things, but like you I tend to forget to grab them, I do have one I use for library books though. I need to move the bags up to the front of the car...I am trying to use handmade bar soaps with natural ingredients too for myself and the dogs for baths. My husband still loves Dial. I don't know if bar soap matters that much for green use? We recycle plastics, cans, etc. within city limits, they pick up every other week. I try to use scratch paper out of something used on one side too for notes, messages. I am also trying hard to use up stuff, and not buy more until I have used up what I have (like lotions, makeup, etc.)