Friday, June 01, 2007

Low Impact Week

ML and I are participating in Low Impact Week, which spans this first week of June. This event is sponsored by Crunchy Chicken and some other blogs we regularly peruse. CC had several suggestion for Low Impact activities, several of which I happily noted I already do! J As I am not dragging my husband along for this low-impact adventure, my house will probably remain a mid-impact dwelling, but I figure every little bit helps…The following are the suggested and accepted tasks I will complete for low impact week, along with some I came up with on my own. Blue items are things we already do; red items are new things I’ll try that CC suggested; green items are my own additions.
1. Reduce energy consumption -
· Turn up the A/C; off if feasible. Unfortunately, I’m having houseguests this weekend – I’m guessing they won’t be too amenable the lack of A/C. Generally, though, we just use the ceiling fans and open the windows.
· unplug appliances when not in use that still draw energy when off (like your cell phone charger)
· turn off the TV unless you are actually watching something. Our TV won’t be completely off this week – the DH will watch some, and I’m sorry, but it’s the season finale of the Shield and very nearly the last episode of the Sopranos… However, I have several books to finish, and I rarely watch more tv a week than those two shows.
· use the air dry on your dishwasher instead of heat dry – we already do this…
· use only cold water in your washing machine– we already do this…
· line dry your clothes instead of using the dryer* - my new clothesline is on its way, so this will start as soon as I can install it.
· Run outdoors – I usually run on the treadmill at my works’ gym. This week, I’m going to run outside as much as possible.
2. Reduce water usage -
· take shorter showers - – we already do this…
· turn off the water when you're brushing your teeth – we already do this…
· be aware of water usage when at the kitchen sink - turn it off in between tasks – we already do this…
Fortunately, Nebraska is getting record amounts of rain this spring – we’ve barely watered our lawn and garden. 3. Change your food habits -
· try to buy organic and/or locally grown food – I intend to shop at a couple of Farmer’s Markets this weekend, and I just discovered that the grocery store blocks from our house sells locally-produced milk in reusable glass bottles! I also purchased some organic cereal and yogurt during our latest trip to the store…
· minimize pre-packaged foods and make more of your own from scratch – we try to do this as much as possible.
· use cloth bags at the grocery store instead of getting paper or plastic* - I broached this subject last night with the DH; he’s not wild about the idea of bringing our own reusable bags to the grocery store, as we make 2 large trips a month, but he didn’t say no… I already refuse bags if I don’t have much to carry, and am getting better about bringing my own bag.
· don't get take-out if it means non-recyclable packaging* - we will probably not get any take-out this week anyway…
· try eating vegetarian or vegan for the week (choose your level from egg/dairy acceptable to no animals products at all)* I plan to eat only locally-produced meat this week, if any. There are several local farms that bringing their product to the farmer’s market. 4. Reduce your dependence on paper products -
· print out only what is necessary – always!
· don't use paper towels; when you can, use cloth napkins or towels instead (e.g. public restrooms)* - I’ve been doing this at work for the past few weeks and no one has made any comments yet. 5. Reduce your garbage output -
· recycle everything you can (for your area) – we already do this – our sanitation company is very good about recycling – they take almost all recyclable plastics, glass, paper, metal, etc.
· donate used items to a charity instead of throwing them out or taking them to the dump – the new “quota year” for the Junior League’s thrift shop starts today, and I have tons of stuff to donate; this will get done only when I have a good reason to drive to that part of town – I’m going to make my errands as efficient as possible.
· compost your food waste and soiled paper products* - my compost bin needs some work, but I’m already attempting to do this.
· Use fewer single-use products - I regularly use disposable cutlery when eating at work. This week, I will bringing a washable spoon and fork; I also keep a glass at my desk for use at the water cooler to avoid plastic-bottled water.
6. Reduce Single Occupancy Vehicle usage -
· Carpool when taking trips or going out to eat with friends
7. Do something that lasts more than a week -
· replace one bulb per day with a Compact Fluorescent light bulb – I probably won’t buy any new bulbs this week, but we already have 16 CFL bulbs installed in our home.
· take your name off of junk mail and mailing lists for catalogs you don't want – we did this a while back – had our names removed from several mailing lists and credit-card offer services. Its amazing how much less junk mail we get.
· set up a compost bin for your food scraps* - see notes above
§ Start a garden – see my other blog