Monday, 14 May 2012

Thinking Green

So all the actions of the past couple of days have certainly made Mr Neats and I use our brains a bit differently.  When I got home from work yesterday (he works shifts and was on a day off) he'd been doing a bit of green living too.  He'd checked all the lightbulbs in the house (they are all Compact Flourescents except one, which is in our least used fitting and will be changed to a CFL when it blows), lit the fire to warm the house and put a pot of water on top to see if we could make more use of the heat produced (I used the warm water for Mr 2's nappy changes - we use cloth wipes as well as cloth nappies), boiled the jug once in the morning and put the hot water into thermos flasks to use throughout the day (it was still hot enough for our after work cuppa) and sorted out our bicycles (his to the shop for a minor repair, and mine had tyres and gears checked ready for this morning).  Well done Mr Neats!

Of course, since the effort had been put into getting my bike all in order, I had to ride to work this morning.  Since Mr Neats is on early shift today and started at 7am, this also meant I had to drop Mr 2 at daycare on the way.  He has a groovy little seat (called a Weeride) that fits onto my bike between me and the handlebars and he loves riding with Mummy.  So much so that when I dropped him off this morning he refused to take his helmet off! 
(I'm just posing for a photo here, not riding.  Always wear a cycle helmet - and shoes help too!)

I am now sitting in my office looking out at the rain and hoping it clears before hometime.

With no TV I got thinking about a few other sustainability issues last night too:
  • Driving short trips - we tend to walk or bike, but at night (especially in winter) and when it's wet we still use the cars a lot.  I'd like to cut down, so will be investing in some cycle lights and reflective gear next pay day.  Also planning trips to minimise vehicle use is important.
  • Packaging - since having Mr 2 especially we've become pretty bad at buying packaged convenience foods.  I need to get back to buying in large containers/bulk lots and dividing things up myself.  Saves money and waste to landfill.  We do have reuseable grocery bags, but the fruit and vege section often requires using plastic bags.  I also need to make sure we have mesh or lightweight alternatives.  By the way, if anyone wants to see what really happens to your waste, Hastings District Council often run landfill tours - I really recommend going on one to make you reassess your waste generating habits!
  • Doggy doo - I know, what an unpleasant thing to be thinking about, but we usually pick all this up in a plastic bag and put it in the rubbish bin, so it goes to landfill - yuck!  there has to be a better way.  I found this information from Masterpet, so went hunting a bit more and found this great guide to making your own dog poo composter at home!  Definitely going to give this one a go.
So today's tips:
Grow something!  Veges if you have room, but even a few herbs or some mesclun in a pot is a great start.
Compost - again, a bin if you have room, but try Bokashi if you have limited space - you can put it under the kitchen bench!  Available from the Hastings Environment Centre in Russell Street.
Save power - heat only the room you're in, turn things off at the wall when not in use, set your hot water cylinder at 60 degrees and use thermostats and timers.
Save water - tap off when brushing teeth, showers rather than baths, use greywater or roof runoff for water the garden and washing cars (or just do what I do and don't wash cars).
Reduce waste to landfill - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and rethink!

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