Sunday, January 04, 2009

Trying to be greener...

This is a very familiar symbol to most of us: reduce, reuse, recycle. This is certainly not a new concept; I was taught the 3 R's from an early age. But as we live in an ever-increasing world of instant gratification and disposible materialism, I think many of us (including myself) have forgotten this lesson in favour of getting what you want, now! and convenience.

One of my goals this year is to green my household more. I feel this is a ongoing work-in-progress, because as I do more to green myself, I also learn more. But for the basics, I try to think about the 3 Rs with any product that I use day-to-day:

  • Do I really need to buy this item? Perhaps I can think about buying it, or find a better/cheaper/more environmental option out there.
  • Does the item really need all that packaging that gets thrown into the garbage right away?
  • Can I reuse this item in a different way?
  • Can someone else reuse this item after I've been done with it?
  • If you really think about it, everything, and I do mean everything, eventually has an end-of-life: in other words, it will end up being thrown out. So, is there another way the item can reincarnate itself without having to end up in the dump?
This past month it really hit home how much crap we had. We actually threw out, sold, gave away or recycled a good portion of what we had. I normally insist on doing a major purge every year, but Evil Homework took up all of my spare time over the last three years, so we didn't purge and we accumulated stuff. However, with the bebe coming, it really put the purge in a much different perspective, mostly because we really don't have a lot of storage space and we're introducing a third warm body into the house who will be a big magnet for lots of baby stuff.

You'll be surprised at what you can recycle or give away nowadays. Some things that we sold, recycled, or gave away included:
  • CD-R/CD-RW: we had about 50 or so, and it was really hard finding a place who would take them. Fortunately, Future Shop and Best Buy has bins that will take this stuff
  • Old electronics, including cell phones
  • Batteries
  • Paper (a lot which we shred as it confidential information)
  • Books: given to the library where they turn around and sell them for a profit. The monies then go back into the library to fund their book circulation supply
  • DVD/VHS tapes/CDs: also to the library
  • Clothing: went to the shelter
  • Older cameras: Hubby sold them on Craigslist. There are still people who like and use film cameras, go figure
  • Furniture (still yet to be gotten rid of): it will go to a good home as soon as it stops snowing and we can move them out of our house
  • Computer parts: At one point, we had about 6-7 computers between the two of us, never mind all the miscellaneous computer parts floating around. Most of these have been disassembled, and the parts brought to the recycling depot
  • Misc electronics, including adapters: to the recycling depot
Don't get me wrong, we are still guilty of throwing things out, we just trying to do less of it. And we will still buy things that are not reusable nor recyclable. We are, after all, the product of this materialistic society that we live in.

It's also getting difficult to figure out what we need for the baby, and what is deemed "nice-to-have", mostly because I've never done this baby thing myself yet. I'm not trying to reduce the number of things just because I'm trying to be more environmentally friendly, it's also easier on the pocketbook as well. I've managed to source out some baby consignment stores around town, and I'm hoping to use Craiglist, UsedVancouver, Kijiji and eBay to keep costs down. But I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't buy things that were frivolous for myself, my household, or for the baby. Trying to figure these things out, especially for the baby, is a hard task, and one way to do so is by doing research and reading what others have to say.

Wish me luck for a greener year!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Poor hubby! Nearly everything on the list is guy stuff!