I have a friend who is a bit of a cynic. He had quite the comment when I posted “Happy Earth Day!” as my status on Sunday. Yes, there are many people out there who will show some kind of support one day a year to making this world a cleaner place, then they go back to their wasteful ways the next day.
I am a believer in being conscious every day. I usually start something new each Earth Day. Or several things. Or that month. Or I figure out what I need to do. Or I’ve already started new things and I just keep on truckin’.
One of my newest things is adding my coffee/espresso grounds to my house plants. I noticed within a few weeks that the plants were getting a deeper, richer green. Our banana plant is getting taller. We’ve had it for about 8 years and I had to bring it back from the brink of death once. Chaz took it to his office one Winter so our cats couldn’t get into it. He kept it at the office for a few year. When he brought it home, it was almost all brown. I took it to my office to put a little color in it and to try to bring it back to life. Look at it now!
I haven’t been using an air purifier since we added so many more plants to our home when we moved to Cincinnati. That means less electricity used.
I keep my small appliances unplugged. There really is no reason to keep them plugged in. Not even the coffee maker. I don’t use it every day and there is a clock on the stove and the microwave. I don’t even keep my laptop plugged in.
I stopped using paper products a long time ago. I still have a few items in my cabinets that just sit there because they don’t get used. I keep a basket of rags out in the kitchen in place of paper towels. I use cloth napkins instead of paper, even when we have company. Real plates, bowls, glasses, and silverware gets used when we have friends and family over.
We recycle and re-use what we can. I like the weeks when we haven’t filled up the trash can. With the money I save by using things like rags and cloth napkins, I can afford to put a little more into buying biodegradable trash bags.
I have used re-usable bags for grocery shopping since I was in college. I had bigger bags, which made it easier for me to carry the groceries home on the long walk. I now use them for other shopping trips, too. Re-usable produce bags are great, too. I got most of mine from Target. They can be used for straining homemade nut milks and for straining yogurt. Multi-purpose! Re-usable bags are now required on the islands of Moloka`i and Lana`i. Some places will charge 10 cents per plastic bag (if they have them) if you don’t have bags and need one. One of the markets on Moloka`i keep their boxes for you to use if you forget your bags. So glad I took some of my re-usable bags with me when I was home! I also keep bags in my car for those unplanned stops.
I would love to grow my own produce, but every year for the last 5 years, my attempts either produced nothing or were taken over by pests or something else. I thought to try again this year, but I’m going to take a break from it and focus on composting again. I tried to compost a couple of years ago. I did not have a good seal on it, so flies decided to reproduce in there and their offspring decided to crawl out and fall down to our neighbors chairs. Not good! Finding a good compost container that I can keep out on the lanai is on my list of things to do this Spring. I will be happy to have less going to the dumpster. I’m sure I won’t be able to use it all myself and will be giving it away to friends in the area. And that’s okay with me.