When we first started looking at how to reduce our impact on the environment it was important to me to find changes that were easy and had very little impact in our daily life. I think part of the problem is that we don’t want to give up the luxuries we have become accustomed to and that keeps us from making any changes at all. One of the very first changes we made, started from a cost savings stand point. We were given a Keurig Coffee Maker as a wedding gift, both my wife and I never drink a whole pot of coffee, we really only have 1 cup a piece per day. The Keurig was a perfect gift for us. I quickly noticed that the “K-Cups” that you buy to put in there roughly cost about 1 dollar a cup. Spending 2 dollars everyday to have a cup of coffee seemed ridiculous to me, especially since traditional bags of coffee (12 oz) cost close to 8 dollars and make quite a bit more coffee. I went online and found a reusable (“K-Cup”) that has a flip top lid and lets you fill it with what ever coffee you want. Not only does this save us money but it reduces the amount of plastic we consume and waste.
Another area of change came after I decided to buy 5 reusable grocery bags. We grocery shop weekly and on average come home with 20+ throw away plastic bags. Now granted we never just threw them away, we would use them as trash bags, but we quickly realized the waste was tremendous. The reusable bags have been around for a while, we just never gave much thought to them. Since using them we find that all of our groceries fit into those 5 bags we purchased, which makes our trips to and from the car shorter and have felt no impact on our lives at all.
Now we’re rolling, what else can we change to help the environment? I started paying attention to how we were using things in the home. The one area I found to be completely wasteful is how we use paper towels. Grab and throw, grab and throw. We have been trained that the sponge is evil and kitchen germs are more deadly than the Black Plague. When the truth is those that survived the Black Plague were mostly the people whose immunes systems had been built up because of their exposure to filth. Now I am not saying by any means to leave your house filthy, but what I am saying is that for millions of years people have made it along just fine without throwing away their sponges and rags. We have since picked up a dozen washable rags for spills and cleaning and this works out great plus saves us 6 dollars a week.
I would love to hear your ideas on simple changes we can make and what you are doing in your home.