Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who Made This Great Big Mess?

That's a direct quote from the comfy couch - a favourite show around here. I'm looking around my home and it's a level one disaster - despite my best efforts! This weekend is going to be our garage sale. The long range forecast calls for Sun for many days in a row. Yippee!! Now all I have to do is run around like a madwoman and fill another box with stuff to part with on Saturday! Pretty much everything has been moved to my parent's home, where it will be held - but I have high hopes of just one more box of 'stuff' leaving my own place. Maybe much of this stuff hanging around isn't necessary? I could be wrong, but I'm going to challenge myself to one more full boxload!

I'm glad I've inspired my cousin, Brenda to purge her stuff. Yep, if it's moved with you and you haven't looked at it in over a year - and it's not seasonal items, well you probably don't need it. If it's very sentimental - then find a way to unpack it and put it in a place of honour.

I'm going to retract that statement now, though - for any of you that have a determined toddler who looks to be a climber, maybe it's a good idea to leave it packed a little while longer, lol. And if it's stuff you're keeping for the next baby, then it's ok to hang on to it - but only until the next baby!

Speaking of which, if you read the comments on my posts, you know the cat's out of the bag! Yep, we are expecting number two in December. And yes, I did keep all of number one's stuff for this baby. When we are done with it, my plan is to pass it on, give it away, sell it at a swap - just get it out of the house! But saving it all is green - I really don't need much of anything - especially if it's a boy ( if it's a girl, I reserve the right to frilly dresses and a tea set)

I think that I'm going to suggest to my family that if anyone wants to send the new baby a gift when it's born, perhaps they might instead wish to throw a couple of dollars towards a diaper service. I've been looking at them a bit and there are many that aren't very expensive - and would be a great thing for the first bit until I'm up and running with a baby and my active little man. If you know someone that's expecting - see if they are interested in cloth diapers - and if they would be if they didn't have to do the laundry. This is a fabulous gift for them and it's good for the earth, too. And don't forget g-diapers as a possibility to help reduce the disposables when they are out.

I don't know if I mentioned this here, but in Canada there is something called the Red Dot Campaign. http://www.reddotcampaign.ca/ I got one of their stickers at the sustainable living expo and put it in my mailbox. I've learned something - if you live where you have multiple mail boxes together - the postal carrier opens the whole panel and won't see it on the inside of your door - put it right on the bottom, front of your mailbox - they see that. I have to move mine or print one and tape it there as mine isn't working - the carrier can't see it when he opens the panel since I put it on the inside of the door!
Canada Post also has launched a place on their website to help you be 'greener' http://www.canadapost.ca/corporate/about/green/Consumer/recycle-e.asp

I often feel overwhelmed by the amount of paper we receive and charities can be really bad for this. In their need for soliciting funds, they do multiple mailers. I suggest this - if you want to sponsor a charity and you will always send money at a certain time of the year (I do one each Christmas in memory of my Grandmother) send them a note - or call them, to ask them to take you off the mailing list, saying you will send at this time each year and the other solicitations are a waste of their funds and our resources. I immediately stopped receiving the mail and I will without question be giving as I promised. If you tend to need the reminder - write it on your calendar, set up a reminder in your email using your calendar function, put a note in your Christmas decoration box. Doing this saves money that can be put to better use and saves energy and fuel in the creation and delivery of the mailings and saves the trees used for the paper. If you never intend to donate, do the same thing, anyway. They save and you don't get the mail. Now that's a win -win!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My little green update

It's been a few days since I've posted, so I thought I would pop in and quickly share a few things I've done this past week.

Over the weekend, we made a concerted effort to eat from our fridge. We had so many leftovers in there and rather than see it wasted, we made up some interesting combinations for meals. The result - a much emptier fridge and a bigger pocket book than we'd have had if we'd eaten out as we kept thinking of doing.

Last week at work I took a big batch of posters that couldn't be used and rather than recycle them, I cut them all up and turned them into scratch pads. It took a few minutes, but I ended up with a couple dozen scratch pads that I put into our supply room for people to use.

I've been very good about recycling and took down a lot of things for the bins - and a big batch of stuff to my parents since they recycle some things where they live that we don't in my city.

We thought carefully about our veggie order this week and I've already steamed and made most of it into nice chunky kidlet food.

I have visions of using some veggies in some muffins, too - so that I can sneak some more veggies into my kidlet. I thought that perhaps making something from scratch and knowing what was in it would be a good and green thing. I looked at a package of muffin mix and there were just too many things in it I couldn't pronounce!

I haven't done much in the way of shopping as I'm trying not to bring more stuff into the house (we still have enough despite my decluttering efforts), I've shared a green tip with my e-mail group and I keep trying to be green at work - avoiding the takeout containers and using my reusable hot pot.

It's been a good week and I'm heading into this one with a positive attitude. Oh - and my green books arrived from Canadian Living online. I'm looking forward to reading the Living with Ed one as I enjoy the show by the same name.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green... At Work

This week I participated in a conference call (the green way to have a meeting!) about sustainable development at work. This is something the government has committed to with its workplaces, and as part of this initiative, at work we have a volunteer committee. I, of course, had to join!

One of the things we discussed was paper recycling. Yes, you heard that right. It doesn’t happen everywhere as many locations are leased from other companies and so we are not a part of the recycling that happens. We are looking at how to make that happen in those locations.

The conversation moved on to lots of other ideas – one of which was how to encourage employees to use less disposable stuff – and if they use it, how to encourage them to take it home to recycle, rather than throw away at work. Plastic recycling doesn’t happen everywhere for us, either. For example, in the building I work in, the owner company doesn’t want it as they think the containers will attract rats and pests since not everyone cleans things properly.

We decided that we’d look into how to encourage people to bring reusable stuff to work. That maybe for next year’s Earth Day we could find a way to get reusable lunch bags for everyone. We also talked about one location that has a fully stocked kitchen – they have plates, glasses, mugs, cutlery etc. for everyone to use. In some places there are water jugs – and while many now use the kind that are wired into the water supply with changeable filters rather than the big jugs, people use paper cups – a huge waste maker. Maybe we can find a way to encourage people to have their own glasses/mugs for this – even with their name or something on them so they don’t misplace them when it’s busy.

I bring home my recyclables, and I have my tiffen and hot pot and cutlery – but there is so much more we can encourage each other to do. Bringing a litterless lunch is a great intiative in my opinion. And for those that use the cafeteria where there is one – bringing your own takeout containers & cutlery should be encouraged. I see a lot of coffee mugs, but there are still paper and Styrofoam cups in the office in the mornings. The question will be how to encourage people to make the change. Less resources used, less garbage created – so much better for all of us.

I think it will be my own personal initiative to encourage my coworkers to bring a takeout container to work, and to encourage those without them, to get a reusable mug. With just those two things, we could make such a difference in the garbage we generate and the resources we waste.

If you do anything at work to be green - please share. This is one place many of us have trouble with and we can all use all the help we can get!