Our family has started to go green. All politics aside everyone wants a clean planet, right? Here are the few green products that I’ve used that really work well for us.
Fabric Reusable Grocery Bags ($0.99 each)
Almost everyone in Colorado uses reusable fabric grocery bags. Our family alone was going through about 1000 plastic bags per year. I didn’t know what to do with all of them. We had a cabinet overflowing with them. The Wall Street Journal estimates that the United States goes through 1 billion plastic bags annually. These plastic bags are bad for lots of environmental reasons (e.g., they kill animals when mistaken for food, they do not biodegrade, etc.). But they have an economic impact too – they are costly to make and dispose of- some estimate that it costs 25 cents to create and dispose of each bag. The grocery store where I shop has eliminated them all together.
In case you aren’t sold yet, here are other reasons to use fabric bags:
- These bags are available at most grocery stores for 99 cents each. I’ve had mine for a year, and they’ve shown very little wear.
- Just keep them in your trunk, and bring them into the grocery store and hand them to the clerk as you check out. So easy.
- You can fit significantly more volume and weight into a fabric reusable bag than a plastic bag – easier to carry your groceries in!
Check out this web site, which has more to say about it… they also make the 99 cent bag that I use. I have 10 of them. http://www.onebagatatime.com/
This great web site sells a bunch of reusable bags, but some of them get pretty fancy!http://www.reusablebags.com/
PET Reusable Lunch Bags ($9.95 each)
My son needed a lunch box/bag for school, so I went online to look for one and read about all the recalls on vinyl lunchboxes due to lead. So annoying. Anyway, these great lunch bags are made from lead free materials, they are insulated, easy for a preschooler to use, and a nice price. They are obviously suitable for adults too. Oh yeah, and they’re machine washable. And for those who are really green in this world… you will be happy that they are made from recycled soda bottles (PET). They have cuter bags on this web site for kids too… but the bags I chose had me at machine washable.
Produce Preserver ($8.95 for 6 Month Supply)
This product won’t really save the planet, but I like it so much I have to include it. They are little plastic disks you put in your produce drawer in your refrigerator… they absorb all the ethylene emitted by your produce, and it slows down the whole ripening process. In my experience it doubles and even triples the life of my produce in the refrigerator. My leafy greens (e.g., spinach, etc.) that lasted 3 days max in the past now last a week. Love it.
I was initially looking for a place mat for my son to use on the go… we eat in some transient places sometimes. Then I found this, which I can also use to wrap his sandwich. Neato. And of course it is machine washable.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration
We initially installed this on our kitchen sink, because we each drink about a gallon of water a day in our family, and our Culligan delivery service (also reverse osmosis water) was getting too expensive. We paid about $475 to have the filtration installed (including labor, equipment, and first set of filters), and we have to replace the filters each year for about $100. Reverse osmosis evidently removes everything from the water, including the random pharmaceuticals that were recently detected in tap water all over the country. I wasn’t really too concerned about that, but some people are. It also removes fluoride from the water, which you might want for your teeth, so ask your dentist about that. Anyway I’m including this product here, because it allowed us to stop buying bottled water (i.e. less waste)… And if you already buy a lot of bottled water, it is actually a cheaper alternative in the long run. For the people who are truly “green”, you might be a little concerned that this type of filter needs to dispose of some water as it filters it.
One of the nice things I haved noiced on going green is that it usually saves money. The grocery store saves money by not supplying bags which eventually saves money for the customer. I get my exercieise in my house with weights, walking, and the stairs in a 35 minute program. This is going green because they don’t need to build more fitness centers and I don’t need to drive the car to get there, plus it saves a little time.