As outlined in perhaps excessive detail in past entries, we have taken all kinds of steps towards being more environmentally responsible. We always have cloth shopping bags in the trunk of our hybrid (and hardly ever request paper or plastic or any kind of shopping bag anymore); have turned off our sprinkler system and water by hand only when absolutely necessary (we haven’t watered at all in over two months because of the rain), and buy mostly local and organic (which, all debating aside, I think tastes better.)
There are five things we are embarking into in 2009 that require a bit more involvement that I thought I'd share.
1. The first has to do with putting things I own and never use into the hands of people who need them. Here is a partial list:
If you have shoes in your closet that you never or seldom use (and don’t go telling me you don’t) check out souls for soles.
I found a place that takes eyeglass frames in case you have a few that are no longer the right prescription (or that make you look like you belong in the 80's.)
Every time I travel on business, I throw the beauty products I like the most into my suitcase, until it dawned on me that I had more lotion, shampoo and body wash than I'd ever need. So I dropped them off here.
If you have books you've read and won't read again, ship them off to someone who wants them. Bookmooch also lets you donate points if you don't want to bother with the swapping.
2. The second step we've taken in our effort to go green is composting, to reduce the amount of waste we put in landfills.
We finally found a composter we felt was right for us and have been experimenting with it for a few days. I’ll let you know how that goes. For now, I feel virtuous every time I go out and dump in my banana peels (and Luca has become a eco-sergeant.)
3. In honor of my brother Pedro who's a water conservation expert, we’re looking into installing a rain barrel in our backyard to collect rainwater to use later for our plants. This might be something we get around to doing before the next rainy season because we didn't move fast enough this time around.
4. We also think it would be really fun to plant our own vegetables (specially since, as a result of composting, we’ll have lovely, rich soil in our hands). We need more time to really get this one going, though.
5. Finally, we looked into how much solar panels would cost but based on their price and the money they would save us (in relation to our current energy consumption) we’ve decided to wait. Getting a personal assessment is free so I recommend you look into it (because price and the money you save is related to where you live, what direction your house faces in, how much energy you use, and a lot of other variables.)
I'll keep you posted on progress (and try not to bore you) and am really interested in hearing anything you’ve been doing.