Thursday, January 2, 2014

Eco Review

Since it's a new year, I've decided to reflect on my journey to live as environmentally sustainable as possible.  Below are some of things I do to reduce my footprint on the earth.  I've included a few items that I want to incorporate into my routine in 2014.  

  • heat with wood using dead wood from the farm and wood given to us from tree trimming
  • turn off lights when not in a room
  • turn on lights only when necessary
  • set thermostat to 81 degrees in summer
  • use ceiling fans in summer
  • transitioning to compact fluorescent lights
  • unplug energy vampires
  • plan errands to save on gas
  • don't use unnecessary appliances (e.g. electric can opener)
  • plan to buy used toaster oven to reduce energy use with regular oven
  • plan/group errands to save on gas
  • use own shopping bags
  • don't buy frivolous items or engage in recreational shopping
  • buy used items when possible
  • buy paper products made from recycled paper
  • use wheat-based or pine-based kitty litter that comes in paper bag or box
  • discard spent kitty litter in woods
  • don't use flea preparations unless absolutely necessary
  • use empty plastic food bags to scoop kitty litter
  • use old plastic dog food bags as trashcan liner (she's is on special diet)
  • only get necessary vaccinations for pets
  • plan to make own dog food from venison hunted on farm
  • make laundry soap with soap nuts and essential oils
  • compost spent soap nuts
  • buy environmentally-friendly laundry detergent for heavily soiled clothes
  • use an environmentally-friendly stain remover
  • hang most of my clothes to dry
  • wash/dry full loads
  • wear jeans and sweaters more than once
  • compost dryer lint
  • recycle any containers
  • plan to install clothesline
  • plan to make own laundry soap for heavily soiled clothes
  • make my own cleaners
  • use rags for cleaning
  • use toilet paper made from recycled paper
Personal Care
  • use bar soap, shampoo, and conditioner
  • use carrier oils to moisturize
  • make own deodorant
  • make own toothpaste
  • make own liquid hand soap
  • buy natural mascara
  • use other cosmetics sparingly and buy organic when possible
  • let hair air dry
  • use paper-based cotton swabs
  • stopped highlighting hair
  • plan to make own eyeshadow
  • plan to try the "no poo" shampoo method that uses baking soda and apple cider vinegar
  • plan to switch to bar soap for hands in the master bathroom
  • grow much of our own food
  • Bill hunts, fishes, and raises his own animals for meat
  • compost
  • cook from scratch
  • make rice milk
  • bake bread
  • make croutons from homemade bread
  • grow micro-greens and sprouts inside
  • make salad dressing
  • make vanilla extract
  • make vegetable stock
  • brew tea from organic, fair trade, loose tea leaves 
  • buy milk in glass bottles from Virginia dairy
  • buy in bulk using own containers
  • use cloth napkins
  • avoid use of paper/plastic cups, plates, utensils when we entertain a crowd
  • make my own cleaners
  • use rags
  • use paper towels made from recycled paper when necessary
  • wash and reuse ziplock bags
  • plan to use dried beans
  • buy printer paper made from recycled paper
  • use printer only when necessary
  • recycle ink cartridges
  • print in greyscale/draft mode whenever possible
  • use scrap paper
  • print 2-sided when possible
  • turn off printer when not in use
  • turn off laptop at night
  • recycle whenever possible
  • reduce packaging (especially plastic) whenever possible
  • compost whenever possible
  • drive only when necessary
  • limit spending to necessities
  • buy energy efficient appliances and electronics when old ones need replacing
  • As this is a journey, I'm always looking for new ideas and suggestions and would love to hear what others are doing.


Shona~ LALA dex press said...

That's a lofty list, but a very good one.

Happy New Year!!!!

Rachel Virginia said...

This is a great list! I would love to learn some of these things, like making vanilla extract!

What are energy vampires?

Also, buying dried beans in bulk is a good one. Are there places where you can buy in bulk?

Cherie said...

Rachel, Thanks! You can make vanilla extract by steeping a split vanilla bean in vodka, rum, or bourbon for several weeks. Energy vampires are electronics like TVs that continue to draw power after they're turned off. For bulk items, places like Whole Foods and Earth Fare have sections where you can buy all kinds of things like beans, flour, nuts, etc.

Deanna said...

Excellent! I have been wanting a clothesline for several years. We did have a line tied between trees the first few years we were here (left by previous owners) but it finally disintegrated.

Using dried beans is really easy as long as you plan ahead a bit. I like to cook a big batch in my crockpot and then freeze in meal size portions.

Cherie said...


I hang most of my own clothes to dry - I have a closet rod extending over my washer, dryer, and laundry sink so I hang up most of my clothes straight from the dryer. What doesn't hang, goes onto a portable drying rack that I set up in my bathtub. It would be nice to hang up more things on a clothesline.

Yesterday I made some pinto beans in my crockpot and froze about half of them. It was super easy and I don't know why I haven't done it before. I have a small pressure cooker that I need to use so I can cook them more quickly.