Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Reducing the (GIANT) Carbon Footprint

Considering the amount of painting and demo and wood stripping and sanding and staining we did at the house... I think it's safe to say that Dan and I have created a carbon footprint so big I would be embarrassed to actually calculate it. Thanks to all the hip new "green" trends, though, we can take small steps to reduce our footprint over time.

We're great about recycling, but something new I've decided I want to try is having our own compost bin. There is a great tutorial complete with pictures for visual learners like me at This Young House. The whole project is incredibly simple and uses just a hand drill and one of the millions of empty totes laying around the basement right now. I think it's safe to say we can get this out in the yard just in time for the warmer weather!

Since this whole idea is new to me, I did some googling to find out exactly what can go in an at-home compost bin and was surprised to find out that much more than banana peels and apple cores can be kept from going in the landfill! Here's a list of 163!!! items, many of which are a little odd, but lots that we're bound to otherwise trash.

Our teeny tiny kitchen doesn't really have space for yet another trash bin, seeing as we already have our garbage can and an extra for our recycling... so I'm going to have to get creative in finding a container for our compost materials that won't take up a ton of extra space. Wouldn't it be cool if something like this laundry sorter existed for garbage?

As far as other little footprint reducers, I'm hoping to drive myself to getting into the habit of bringing reusable grocery bags to the store when we go shopping. The grocery store closest to us that we usually go to gives you 5 cents off your total bill for each of your own bags you bring in! While 5 cents isn't much, it's bound to add up to a bit of a savings over time, while also reducing the number of annoying plastic bags we have stuffed into the holder in the pantry. I've also gotten in to the habit of drinking out of a reusable water bottle that one of my favorite vendors from work gave me. Call me crazy, but I can't stand drinking water from a glass, and was therefore a sucker for bottled water.

Maybe Dan can build me a 3-bin garbage sorter? With a lid to keep out the stink? :)

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EDIT: 3-bin garbage sorters DO exist! But, they cost a small fortune. This one is $70.00 at Walmart online -

So now, obviously, I am on the hunt for something like this for a much lower cost...

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