Jumping back on the eco-friendly wagon

Over the summer, I was a – as I called it – “lean, green, eco-friendly machine.” I spent my lazy summer days visiting green blogs, green websites, and green message boards. I became obsessed with cloth diapering for our future children, using only environmentally friendly cleaning products, and buying fresh, local produce. I was living in a literally (since it was summer) and figuratively green heaven.

Then school started and real world set in, and, for some reason, environmentally friendly cleaning and cooking went out the window. As the cold months set in, my favorite produce stands shut down, and it was impossible to get local produce. And, in an attempt to make my cleaning efforts last longer, I decided that I needed something stronger than vinegar and baking soda, and starting buying Mop ‘n’ Glo, Mr. Clean, and Lysol by the gallon. While J and I still recycled, and while I was still doing some green things like using microfiber cloths to clean, rather than disposable paper towels, the truth was, being environmentally friendly took a back seat.

However, I didn’t stop reading some of my favorite green blogs, although I did stop the green message boards. And then one day, as I was reading my favorite blog (valleygirlhasbabygoescrunchy.blogspot.com – check it out), I realized that buying commercial cleaners with harsh chemical products was 1) not saving me any more time,  2) was costing more money, and 3) was doing more harm to my environment than I wanted. Three strikes – and they’re out.

So I have decided to rethink my cleaning process and am planning to wean out all my old, harmful cleaning products. This means that once I am done with a bottle of something, I am not going to replace it – rather, I am going to use an eco-friendly substitute. I am going to try this with everything – floor cleaners, glass cleaners, dusting tools, bathroom cleaners, even disinfectants. While I don’t think I can give up keeping a bottle of Lysol around (just in case), for the most part, I want to rid our home of harsh chemicals and keep it clean and green.

I also realize that going back to this will save us a lot of money. For example, I had bought a swiffer wet jet  back in the fall and was using the wet jet solution for our kitchen floors. However, the solution didn’t really work that well to begin with, was costing us $4 a week just to replace, plus, I was using the swiffer wet jet pads that were also $8 for a small pack and going right into the landfills. So then I started cleaning our floors with a good old fashioned rag mop, bucket of warm water, vinegar, and a drop of dish soap – and ta da! This works better than the swiffer and is much more eco-friendly. Plus, water is free (well, relatively), we always have dish soap in our house (and now it’s an Palm’s eco friendly kind), and vinegar runs less than $2 a gallon! Voila! Much smarter decision. Plus, vinegar can be used for a variety of purposes (check out http://www.vinegartips.com for more).

So anyway, my new resolve is to make my green-ness a lifestyle and not just a short-fused habit. Perhaps this can be seen as my New Year’s Resolution #2. Book reading and a clean, environmentally friendly home – what could be better?

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