How We’re (Eventually) Going Green

April 22, 2010

Number 85 on my 101 in 1001 list says: Make an achievable plan of steps to take to have a more environmentally friendly life. Since today is Earth Day, I figured now is a good time to make that list!

But first, here are some things we already do:

-Recycle cardboard, paper, aluminum, plastic

-Drive a hybrid vehicle

-Use cold water for laundry & dishes

-Minimize use of electricity & use energy efficient bulbs

-Use cloth bags for groceries

-Drink out of reusable mugs for coffee

-Water lawn at night

-Buy used when possible

Now for the list:


-Put up a real, locally grown tree each year

-Make my own cards

-Buy energy efficient outdoor LED lights

-Choose experiential gifts like show tickets, spa gift certificates, etc.

-Use homemade wrapping paper like paper bags, magazines, or newspaper


-Make our own cleaning supplies

-Ditch paper towels in favor of microfiber cloths

-Keep the amount of “stuff” we own to a minimum (we don’t have a lot)

-Reuse, donate, or recycle anything we don’t need

-Stem the tide of junk mail

-Turn off the power strip to the TV when not in use

-Call electric & gas companies to ask about alternative energy sources

-Buy used: everything from gadgets to clothing to furniture

-For future appliance purchases, consider energy-efficient models

-Install low-flow faucets, showerheads, and low-volume toilets

-Start harvesting rainwater


-Start composting

-Start shopping at farmer’s markets for produce

-Find a source of local meat, and eat less of it

-Buy organic when possible

-Buy in bulk to reduce packaging waste

-Cook at home more often, and cook just enough


-Shop thrift stores for clothing

-Take good care of clothes and wash them sparingly

-Use less products

-Buy organic products from companies whose philosophy I believe in


There are so many more ways than this in which a person can live an environmentally friendly life, and for a comprehensive guide I suggest you visit this website. However, the above are the things I feel are achievable for us. There are some ideas I’m just never going to get behind (anyone heard of the “selective flush”?), and some that just aren’t feasible (like building our own, entirely green home).

Some of the items on my list will be easy, and others will take time and effort. But if we can get to a place where we’ve basically achieved them, I’ll be proud.

Tips, links, and advice are always welcome. I’d love to hear about what works for you. :)

Posted in: personal, domestication, personal, goals, personal

Comments on How We’re (Eventually) Going Green

  1. 1

    From Kyla Roma:

    You do so much already, it’s awesome that you’re upping the ante! I compost and it’s really simple (and great for your plants) and Mister & I are actually switching over to organic dog food this month =)

  2. 2

    From kapachino:

    The first step was making the list, now I actually have to do some of it! The trick is one thing at a time, I think. :)

  3. 3

    From Katy:

    I make some of my own cleaning supplies with vinegar, Borax, water, essential oils, and a couple spray bottles from the dollar store. There aren’t a lot of good products with which to make a good dish detergent, so I buy that. Thankfully, there are some good green off-the-shelf products available. You can get coupons for Seventh Generation from their Web site. I like the book “The Naturally Clean Home” for recipes to make your own herbal home cleaning supplies. It’s a good book with some really practical tips and minimal environmental preaching. =)

    I like your list! Good luck!

  4. 4

    From kapachino:

    Thanks Katy! So far I’ve made my own laundry detergent and I’ve bought most of the supplies needed to make other things. But the detergent ran out and I got lazy and bought some as a replacement, so next time I need to make a bigger batch.

  5. 5

    From lauren:

    haha you sound like such a hippie! but seriously, i admire you. you know how much i love one time use, throw it away kinds of things.

  6. 6

    From kapachino:

    Seriously, the older I get the more of a hippie I become! I’d like to think I’m a pretty sensible one, though. :)

  7. 7

    From Emily Jane:

    Great list! We always re-use bags for grocery shopping and I take my own travel mug for coffee/tea around with me. We’ve started buying lots at the local organic food store too – luckily it’s 2 minutes from where we live!

  8. 8

    From Her:

    “Ditch paper towels in favor of microfiber cloths”

    When I was reading that, I kept seeing Dutch instead of Ditch. It was terribly confusing. =)

    As for being green, the biggest things we did were giving up eating meat, leaving our car behind in Texas, and supporting the organic movement whenever possible.

  9. 9

    From Andrew O:

    Solid list.

    Two things I’d add, although I’m not sure which category to put them in: when electronics wear out or break, it’s worth refurbishing/repairing instead of buying new. Sadly, many consumer electronics are being designed to blow up after two years. So it’s also worth the effort to buy things that can be repaired.

    Second thing: I’ve always had this fantasy about having an orchard instead of a yard; because housing prices can be obscenely high in places where fruit trees do well, if I ever buy a house, I’ll be planting a native tree for my birthday every year.

  10. 10

    From Ashley:

    I feel such guilt when I use paper towels, but I think that will the hardest thing for me to give up.

  11. 11

    From dadman:

    You can save a few trees by not getting a printed receipt every time you use an ATM or any kind of debit machine. Easy to do!

  12. 12

    From Ashley:

    very impressive. i just might have to give some of these a try. ps your blog is lovely. i love how one of your “obsessions” is the rory gilmore book club. never heard of it till now, but i love that show and reading. so thanks!

  13. 13

    From kapachino:

    Thank you! Just checked out your blog as well and it’s adorable! I’ve been asking my husband for such a long time to blog but he just won’t. Oh well! :)

  14. 14

    From Nora:

    I make sure to leave a few reusable grocery bags in the car so that I remember to use them. If I’m running in for just one thing, I don’t accept a bag and will throw it in my purse or carry it out. When I get gas, I don’t take a receipt ever.

    If you have recipes for cleaning supplies, would you mind sharing?

    We recently purchased a rain barrel which collects the rain and can then be used to water plants & the lawn. They are fairly decorative and do a great job of recycling water (obviously).

    Can’t wait to see how this unfolds!

  15. 15

    From Becca:

    Hey kathleen,

    Besides the cloth diapers (which is probably our biggest contribution and one that I know you want to do, too), we reuse the junk mail/envelopes we receive in the mail for grocery lists, to do list, and other notes so we don’t use additional papers for them. Envelopes work really well because then you can store your coupons in them when you shop! Then recycle the paper after that use.

    Also, we have started only using cloth napkins. You can make them out of anything, they are fun to use, easy to wash, and make every meal feel a bit more special. Plus Eli can’t tear them up or try to eat them.

    Oh, and I have that Naturally Clean Home book too and love it!

  16. 16

    From Andrea:

    My mom just started harvesting rain water and she has a great “pot” for it that hooks to her hose and actually looks really nice in the backyard. If you start to look for one, I would be happy to ask where she found hers.

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