Ways WE'RE green.

As a couple, we're at the point where we can't think of too many more ways to conveniently be green. In the rainbow spectrum of eco-friendliness, we've gone from orange/yellow to chartreuse, but know we can become Kermit green with some new ideas. Of course the anal-retentive alien in me has to tally what we already do, and hopefully this exercise will spark something we haven't thought of yet.  

Growing up in a rural town and a limited budget, my mom's frugality instilled life-long habits which were unknowingly green,
Do not buy "DryCleanOnly" clothes
Empty the dryer's lint-catcher
Don't let water run when brushing teeth
Eat whole foods, not packaged/processed foods
Don't hold the frig door open!! ("Yes, mother!")  
Use cloth napkins, and cleaning rags
Short showers, washing hair every other day
Use bath towels multiple times (our bodies are already clean, after all)
Turn lights off when you leave a room
Set the thermostat lower and wear a sweatshirt
Set the thermostat higher and drape a wet washcloth on your neck
Use rechargeable batteries when possible
Give plants as gifts instead of cut flowers, unless they're from the garden!

Pack our own food as snacks on trips
Eat up the leftovers
Donate clothing, unless completely unusable for rags
Water plants in the morning, not the heat of the day
Washing/drying full loads of laundry and dishes
Avoid unnecessary car trips
Turn cars off. Don't idle longer than 10 seconds.

Then, when we moved to NC and bought our own house, we weren't all that passionate about being kind to the environment, but did eat about 30-40% organic for health reasons, not realizing it was also green! And our particular city made it extremely easy to recycle. In that, they basically accept almost everything all in one bin, even aerosols. Of course, at the curb they don't accept batteries, light bulbs, etc; but, they have a location available for you to drop them off. So after saving them in a labelled "dead batteries" bag all year, when I'm on that side of town, I'll take them along and drop them off. Same for our lightbulbs; although, we inherited them from the previous owners, and they are like the Energizer bunnies - only burning out a few times in 3 1/2 years!

NC as a whole is so environmentally active that they banned aluminum cans and plastic bottles from their landfills. Goodwill has also stared a recycling program for electronics - working or not. And since NC has made it so easy to be green, and our tv channels at that time had channels like the GreenTV, it spurred me to be more receptive to the idea of being intentionally more kind to the environment.

So after learning more, we started to :
Stop buying eggs in stryofoam (we eat a LOT of eggs)
Avoid drinking soda, unless it's for an occasional rum and coke!
Recycle everything possible
Avoid buying aerosols when possible
Buy fuel-efficient cars - a Civic and Corolla, and take care of them so they'll last longer.
Use cruise control, and coast, a LOT!
Our dog was spayed.
Don't use single-use water bottles
Switch to online bill-pay and "paperless" statements
Share lawn equipment/tools
Set thermostat low in winter (63), and high in summer (78) 
Use sunlight instead of lights all the time
Buy as much "used" as possible: couches, tables, books, shoes, clothes
Rent/Borrow instead of buying new, i.e. library and Netflix
Listen to radio and music online instead of buying CDs, etc
Email documents instead of printing them
Only use snail mail for thank-you cards or packages
Sweep off sidewalk/driveway instead of hosing down with water
Switch to compact fluorescent lights (for enclosed lights only) when ours burn out
Use dimmer switches most of the time
Buying things that LAST when we have to buy new.
Only shave legs when I must (summertime)

But the minute I found out I was pregnant, something kicked that IDEA of being green into reality. For instance, I found myself almost completely unable to reach for a paper towel. ?And when I started drinking coffee, I didn't buy a coffee maker (they eventually break) and instead used a french press that is kindof a family heirloiom, given to me.

Since pregnant, we started doing things like: 
Only use cloth napkins
Use rags and microfiber towels for cleaning (unless it's egg/dog poop, etc!)
Not using ANY plastic utensils/cups/dishes
Use reusable cloth bags at grocery stores, retail stores, and farmer's markets
Not flush every time I went #1 (which was a LOT being pregnant!)
Refrigerator and Freezer are set as warm as possible
Clean the refrigerator's coil more often with the vacuum attachment
Hubby works from home more
Receive direct deposit checks (employer and IRS)
Wash all clothes/linens in cold water
Bought more in bulk when possible (i.e. Sam's membership)
Stop using paper grocery lists altogether (keep a digital one on my phone)
-have only bought about 10 pens in 5yrs!

Then when I actually gave birth to our little Munchkin, I understood that people really do mean it when they say the words "feel the need to leave a better world for their children." I also became more aware of chemicals that harm us and the environment, in addition to the material waste I was aware of previously.  

Since having Munchkin in our lives, we: 
Choose to Cloth Diaper + use cloth wipes (have to be washed in hot water though)
Choose Breastfeeding
Use handkerchiefs and burp cloths, instead of tissues
Keep our fuel-efficient cars (Those SUVs are so tempting...)
Make my own cleaning products from vinegar, alcohol, baking soda, etc
Use non-toxic and green product brands like: SeventhGeneration, Jason, EcoSmart incectisides, 365 Bodycare, and so on
Skip dryer sheets except for towels.
Use baking soda instead of deodorant. (Don't knock it til ya try it - it works better!)
Make Munchkin's baby foods at home
Reuse his food jars/containers for craft supplies 
(when we do buy packaged, pureed foods for him)
Avoid fast-food like the plague, literally.
Get take out much less than in Cleveland (maybe once a week)
Drink less store-bought, bottled juices -- drink a lot of plain water!
Eat less meat overall, and no fish -- yuck!
Buy local and organic as much as possible (probably eat 60% organic groceries now)
Buy our gifts local for local family or online for distant friends/relatives
Give gift certificates when possible (saves gas driving to 5+ stores, and them returning items)
Source most of my sewing/crafting materials from thrift shops

Boy that's longer than I thought it would be. I guess those changes become routine and you start to accept them as habit and common-sense, especially when you consider that we made them slowly, and in stages.

Can you help us think of any additional things we can do? Please add them in the comments below!

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