Sunday, April 22, 2012

How we celebrate Earth Day

So, if you know anything about the Derrenbacker family, you know that we are a little granola-y. It's Todd's fault really, but I am happy we are this way. It makes me feel better about what we do and the impact we have on this planet.

In a effort to show you how easy it is and to celebrate Earth Day (which is today) I thought I would share what we do.

First things first: It really should be mostly credited towards Todd. He started this whole mess with simple recycling. I never recycled before we were married. Nothing. Nada. It just wasn't something I had any want to do. And that's how it started. We now recycle all plastic, paper, cardboard, and aluminum that comes through our house.

I think what really convinced me that this was a good thing was our trash.  When I saw how little trash we have compared to our neighbors that don't recycle I was amazed.  We NEVER have a full trash can at the curb for pick-up (unless it is one of those weeks when we skipped a week because we forgot to put the can out). But some of our neighbors have full and overflowing trash cans EVERY WEEK.

And the effort to do this? Not much. We have one extra trash can and two tall laundry baskets that we use to collect our recyclables in and Todd makes a trip about twice a month to the bins about one mile away.  At holidays we have to go more often because we have more cardboard due to shipping containers from Amazon...

Lynchburg has curbside recycling but it is about $240 a year, so we save our money and just take it ourselves. However if you live in Lynchburg and are interested, the website is Recycle Easy.
Recycle Easy

Happy girl in her cloth diaper

Cloth Diapers
Again, Todd's idea. I wasn't so sure about this one when Kara was born. But I promised we could try it out. So we bought 3 cloth diapers and when I realized
A) What an impact it had on the amount of trash we collected (again)
B)What an impact it had on our finances
 I was sold.

BumGenius diaper. See how it uses velcro to close like a regular disposable?
Up front, cloth diapers cost more. They are around $16-20 a piece for the all-in-one diapers, which resemble disposables. We bought about 15 diapers, so expensive. But when you think about the fact that they were the only diapers we used from age 3month  to almost 3 years with Kara and are now using the same diapers for Sophie, that is a HUGE savings. HUGE people. Do the math.
Even with washing them every other day, it is a big savings.
Want to know more about cloth diapers? Ask me or go here

"I like big butts..." Yeah the cloth diapers gives her a little more junk in her trunk. But we like it that way :)

For wipes we use baby washcloths. We got a ton for Kara when she was an infant in various baby shower gifts. We would have to wash her every day, three times a day to use them all. So we took some and used them as diaper wipes.  I wash them with the diapers and when they come out I put them in the sink with a little baby soap and swirl them around for about 30 seconds. Then I wring them out and and put them in a wipe container. Because we wash diapers every other day, they don't get moldy and they smell like baby soap. And who doesn't love baby soap?

Paperless Kitchen
This one, finally, was my idea. I mean, I stole it from one of my favorite blogs, but it was still kinda my idea. It is also the one thing my friends roll their eyes at or stare at me like I'm an alien when I talk about it. Even more than cloth diapers. Because why would anyone want to get rid of paper towels and napkins in a kitchen where children reside?
Because it's easy and makes me sleep better at night. :)
Simply, we bought about 20-30 cloth napkins and started using dishtowels exclusively. That's it. We wash them all in the washer on hot. We have napkins for everyday use and napkins for our guests (less stains). Yes the well used napkins have stains, but they aren't dirty.

Our napkin stash

Again, simple mom comes to the rescue if you want more info:

So, all in all we are certainly don't take it to the extreme. But we are doing our part, without that much effort. In the future I'd like to have kind of compost pile if we ever get a bigger yard and a more energy efficient house if we ever move.

Happy Earth Day! 

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