Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008

So, here we are at Earth Day. This country will take anything and turn it in to a commercial opportunity. Not that I am such a drum-thumping tree hugger that I'm railing against the system, man, but it is truly amazing to me that Hallmark is now selling Earth Day cards. Oh, the tree-humanity!

Last year I made an Earth Day resolution to bring my own shopping bag/s to stores. I've met with mixed success, but emphasis on "success" rather than "mixed." I have my little group of bags I keep in the car, including a fabu freebie from Whole Foods last summer that is a cooler bag--great for meats and veggies if I am trip chaining and have a few more stops. My husband complained at one point because we were out of paper bags for recycling the newspapers. The plastic bags still come in way too frequently (for some reason I have a mental block about taking bags in to Target, and, well, there's 10 bags right there), but we were even almost out of those at one point. Both the Acme and my local store recycle plastic bags. At one point I was aggressive enough about taking them back that I had nothing with which to pick up the dog's business. (So I've scaled back on that.) Our newspaper has gone back to rubber bands, except on rainy days, which seems like a great plan. (And has increased rubber band availability in the house, which had gotten rather low after I stopped working in an office with rubber bands that set up colonies at home.) And between the recycling option and the original "recycling" option of re-using the plastic bags as trash can liners, I feel like we're at stasis on the bags issue.

My recycling, frankly, drives my husband crazy. If it isn't being thrown away on the main floor of our house (we're in a split level), he puts it in the trash. I, however, end up collecting the dry cleaner bags, diaper wraps (not from the diapers, but the plastic they come in), dry cleaner paper shoulder covers, boxes from toiletries (contact solution, soap, etc.) and toilet paper tubes from the upstairs to recycle. I have cancelled all but two magazine subscriptions (O and Guideposts--am I old, or what?--though I do love my Bon Appetit, which I got as a gift and have loved using--that's different, though, as it's like a new cookbook every month) as I have a stack literally three feet high of ones I want to read but haven't gotten to yet. When I'm done with those, I send them to the hospital for the emergency room. And somehow, we're the only ones on our block to put out two whole cans on commingled recycling day. (Either my kids drink a lot more juice than most, or no one else's kids drink milk anymore. Or they are not obsessively recycling. Hey, maybe that's it.) And when we replaced our toilet, refrigerator, and windows, we got the ones with every energy efficient trick in the book. (Ok, maybe our toilet isn't as spiffy as Dream Kitchen's, but at least it's better than our old one.)

So...enough of sounding like a sanctimonious old biddy. This year, for my Earth Day resolution, I'm going to try composting again. Yes, I am a composting dropout. I did the class that got me the Earth Machine, and somewhere over the winter, the top popped off and I haven't been able to get it back on since. And without the Earth Machine, the actual composting was...if not pointless, at least far more difficult. But really, what a lame reason to stop...and when we increase our fruit/vegetable intake in summer, it's amazing how much of that goes in the trash. And I love the idea of creating use for something formerly considered waste.

So, back out to wrestle the Earth Machine (since really, it would be embarrassing to recycle the composter). If anyone out there has one and would like to explain to me exactly how I'm supposed to get all six of the tabs in the slots, I'd be ever so grateful.


Domestic Goddess said...

I do think it is ironic that Earth Day has become so freaking commercial. And here I am just trying to use less water, buy more efficient appliances and cars, recycle everything in sight and use cloth shopping bags. I attempt to walk with the kids as much as I can and we try to buy less. I hope we're making an impact, we've reduced our weekly trash by four bags just from recycling...

brandy101 said...

You are doing a great job!

How often does swats pick up mixed recyling? We get pickup WEEKLY! AND we don't even have to put paper in bags or bands - just toss all the mags, junk mail, old boxes, etc into our bin! Because it is so EASY almost EVERYONE doe sit - and why not? It saves $ on trash bags!

I also keep a stash of bags in the car for at TJ's or Aldi (where you have to bring your own bags anyway).

Target bags I NEED because they are the PERFECT size for my cat litter trash can thingy where I scoop the kitty junk.

How about the fluoro. bulbs? Have you switched over to those yet?

I'll be honest - I kind of hate them b/c they have to "warm up" to get to full strength.

Happy Earth Day - and yes that is WEIRD about the cards!!!!

Motherhood101aplus said...

Funny about recycling the composter. They had one on Oprah late last night. Not sure if it was something else rather than a composter but it included worms (Yuck!). Happy Earth Day!

Ter said...

I had the same thought about earth day. They were showing on the news all these people picking up trash at their local businesses, schools ,etc. and I was thinking , what about every other day of the year? why does this only happen on a specified date?

Anyway, I want to learn to compost too... I hope I will be able to do that this year..

RuthWells said...

You are hard-core, girlfriend! I am impressed.

Anjali said...

Go you! And post updates on how the composting goes... We're not ready to attempt it yet, but I hope to in the near future.

Friends of Darren Rigger said...

Try emptying it and putting it back together on a flat surface like concrete and the tabs should align.

I've had an earth maching (two actually) for years.