Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bench Talk: Going Green

There is so much discussion these days on the environment. Are we really listening? We do our bit, we recycle, reduce and reuse. Is it enough? Have we grasped the concept that we are poisoning our planet? Maybe, or only when it's convenient. We are green when it's easy. What about when it's not easy?

We do our bit, but what about Industry? Does our bit even matter if the economics of our world do not allow for a green planet?

What is your view?

I, (Cathy), find this a difficult subject. I want to feel like I am doing all I can, but I know that I am not. I find it difficult to keep the family on the same page as me. The kids have grown up learning the three R's. However, there is many a time when I find recyclables in the regular garbage. We even have a small recycle bin upstairs, but I am the only person putting into it. The paper shredder is placed on another blue box upstairs and that is used by all members of the family. However, many times the papers in it have not been shredded, so will take up more room. I will not start shredding every one's paper! (Sunshine) We do recycle some things. We faithfully do the blue and grey box recycling but in our home I am ashamed to say that it is the extent of our recycling. (Carolin) We recycle like everyone else. And it has reduced our garbage immensely. But I am not totally convinced that we are making any difference. I think if the government was really committed to the environment then they would make a stand against industry. But I don't think that will happen and it is easier to pick on the people. Also I don't know about others but I find what can go in the box to be somewhat confusing. We also have the green bin for compostable stuff but we don't use it. As we compost already and I have heard many times that the city compost is highly toxic. So I am not sure that what is supposed to go in the compost bin is the right choice.

I do take my own bags to the grocery store and will not use the plastic bags for produce. I have started using Eco brand laundry detergent. It is all natural and good the environment. I have yet to decide if it cleans as well. I think I am going to try adding borax to the wash to help boost the detergent. Borax is supposed to be 'natural' as well. I also take my own bags to the grocery store. As a matter of fact just the other day I had forgotten them in my car and as the girl was ringing up some bags I told her that I would not require any bags and that I would exit the store as is and w0uld load them into the bags at my car. As for the laundry detergent, I am only suppose to use high efficient detergent so I am not really sure what is available. I have been using my own bags (mesh ones) for over 18 years. I do most of my weekly grocery shopping at the cheaper grocery stores that charged for a bag. And I was OK with it because my grocery bill was noticeably cheaper then the grocery stores that did not charge for bags. I think that is why now that all the grocery stores charge for bags it bothers me so much. I have been using HE detergent that is green for about 15 years. I order it through either Shakleys or Amway. A 4l bottle usually last us about 8 months and it cost around $60.00. I like it because there is no perfumes and is better for our skin.

We have a solar heated, salt water pool, try not to use the air conditioning unless really necessary. The air conditioning was not necessary at all this summer! I love my air conditioning but it has not been working for quite sometime now so we have not used it because we have had no choice. I as well am not a big AC fan. I do use it when it is really muggy out or we have company and it is warm. But I like my windows open! But I will say as soon as I get in the car the first thing I do is turn the AC on full blast!!!!

I sound like I am ranting or trying to provide evidence that we are green when that is not true. There are many times when I cheat. There are lots of times when I just cannot be bothered! It becomes too overwhelming to try to save the planet. Why should I when so many others are not? I know, I know, that's the wrong attitude and I don't adopt it often, however, it can get frustrating.

Cathy also does a lot of composting and she has 2 rain barrels. Maybe Cathy's efforts at being green can somehow compensate for my efforts at being green.. Sorry Cathy I know that hearing that will frustrate you even more, but it is the truth. I do sometimes buy organic produce and sometimes even organic cotton for bedding. When I was at Baby's R Us a little while ago buying a baby shower gift I was amazing at all of the organic things available for babies. On the mothers registry list almost everything was organic. The non organic items were listed because they were only sold as such. There was not an organic option available. After seeing all of the organic options, I must admit that I wondered, are they really all organic or is it just a label? What does the labour really mean anyways?

We as well compost and have just one rain barrel. I wanted the rain barrel because I am cheep and this way I can water the plants and it doesn't cost me any money on water.

I know there is so much more we can all do. I recently came upon a blog titled:

There are a lot of ideas and ways to become green on the, "Tree Hugging Family" blog. We cannot undo what has been done but I have to hope that if we continue to do our bit, our kids and their kids will be of a different mindset from our generation and the planet will become a greener healthier place to live.

I don't have any plans to do anymore 'green' work. I am not convinced of this global warming stuff. I think it is important to try to keep as natural as possible. But I have problems with the cost of organic food, I can't justify the price for a lot of it. And when it comes to organic clothing etc. Again I think it is just a marketing gimmick. I am more interested in wear the clothes are being made. If given a choice between two t-shirts . One being organic and the other being made at Fair Trade. I would choose the fair trade shirt. We can be as organic as we want but if the person making the product is not being paid a fair wage and treated with respect then being 'green' means nothing in my books.

I would like to see more unbleached products. If I was given the choice between natural and bleached paper products I would purchase the natural At this time I have only seen natural coffee filters and then they are not always consistent. I would buy natural paper towel, toilet paper and tissues is I could find them easy enough.

I am curious to read what others think of the whole 'green' push.


  1. Great post.. we all need to take steps to save environment.

  2. Thank-you for your comment. You are right that we all need to take steps to save our environment. Hopefully, with more people talking and blogging we will get there!

  3. I understand that you do not really want to shred the other people's paper. Last week I heard about some people have a shredding party. You can make it festive and fun to shred those paper. And with the paper shreds you can make crafts or recycle the paper. Check out my blog for more info having a festive Shredding time. I hope you guys are using a crosscut paper shredder as those are the most secure.