Our Sustainable Actions & Room For Improvement

So, here I am in week two of my sustainability challenge. In my last post, I shared what living a sustainable lifestyle meant to me. It’s all about doing what works for my family and our needs. We come first, and then we gradually work on the environmental aspects, second.

There are many things we do to live sustainably; however if I list them all, you’d be reading forever. I may, in the future, post one big ol’ list, but until then, here are some of them.

sustainability challenge

Our Sustainable Actions

Utilize the sunlight – Natural sunlight is a big deal in our household. It makes us feel great and as a photography enthusiast, I love what sunlight does for my photos. We wake up, open the curtains, and soak up the natural rays until they dim, leaving the lights to be turned on during the evening hours – as we need them.

Cook using small appliances – We just bought a toaster oven and popcorn popper to go with our beloved George Foreman grill and waffle iron. We grill, make waffles, and need to toast quite frequently and Jayden and I love eating popcorn. By using these smaller appliances, we consume less energy and save on our electricity bill. We also eliminate package waste when buying popcorn kernals by the jar to use in the popper instead buying microwavable popcorn.

Use rechargeable batteries – We have quite a few gadgets and toys that require batteries. To eliminate the need to purchase new batteries, we use rechargeable batteries in a family sized charger. Doing so also eliminates the energy and resources required to manufacture and restock batteries as they are purchased.

Locked hair = less energy & product used – Since I wear my hair in locs, I don’t have the need to use flatirons, curling irons, or even a blow dryer. After washing my hair, I re-twist each loc by the root and let my hair air dry. To keep from going to bed with wet hair, I of course have to do this earlier in the day. My hair now requires less product and less frequent washing. I have no need to use relaxers, shampoos, moisturizing lotions, and whatever else I used to use. My staples are apple cider vinegar, conditioner, hair gel, and a moisturizing spray.

Use cloth or chlorine free diapers/training pants – In my previous post, I shared how we used cloth diapers on and off and when we didn’t use them, we used chlorine-free disposables to rid Jayden of any possible skin irritations or exposure to harsh chemicals. The first Seventh Generation product we’ve ever used were their disposable diapers which we’ve grown to love and have since graduated to their training pants which we’ve been buying before they offered to send us more for this campaign :).

Wash only what needs to be washed – Articles of clothing such as jeans and sweaters can be worn and refreshed many times before having to be washed. This preserves their quality and the energy and resources used to wash them. Growing up, I would do this only because I didn’t have any quarters to put in the shared machine in our building. I look back now and don’t feel so bad.

In my last post, I also mentioned that we had a few areas we needed to work on. Let’s take a look.

sustainability challenge

Room For Improvement

Recycle more – We have a large recycling can outside, but only select items make it into this can such as broken down boxes and large plastic items. Since we don’t have a small recycling bin inside our home, papers and cans often get tossed in with the garbage. *hangs head in shame*

Ditch paper towels – I feel we use way too many paper towels and they end up in the trash; unrecycled. Can you even recycle dirty paper towels? Ick. Anyway, I ordered some Bird-E Towels and they came today!

Wash clothes in cold water – I am one of those cold water washing skeptics. I just don’t understand how cold water could throughly clean, but I’m going to at least try washing some of our clothes in cold water. It would surely help preserve the colors in our clothes as well as add some additional savings to our energy bill.

Naturally purify our air with plants – Just like my mom, I have a bit of a green thumb, but having a small child in the house has hindered me from having many plants. I was given an air purifier which I thought would fill the void, but after researching the product, I found that it was known to emit ozone. That was definitely a purpose killer. I now have some places in mind to set down and hang some plants, so I’m going to do some shopping around for plants known to naturally purify the air such as the Areca palm, English Ivy, Rubber Plant, and Dracaena.

So there you have it, some sustainable ideas that fit our lifestyle and some ideas that we need to get working on. Join me next week where I will talk about some more sustainable ideas we do so well; selling (items we don’t need), thrifting, and repurposing. As a bonus, I want to leave you with some resources for cosmetics, remedies, and cleaners.

Product Resources

*Get $10 off your first order of diapers using code momdadblog. $49 min. total order.

What are you doing to live a more sustainable lifestyle? In what areas do you think you need to improve?

seventh generation walmartI’ve been invited by Walmart and Seventh Generation to participate in a sustainability challenge. I hope you continue to follow my fellow Walmart Moms: Jennae of Green Your Décor, Monica of Mommy Brain Reports, Jenn of Frugal Upstate, Denise of Wholesome Mommy, and I on our four week journey to living a more sustainable lifestyle.

And as you already may know, I am a participant in the Walmart Moms program. Seventh Generation provided me with product samples. Walmart has also provided me with additional compensation for the time involved in the campaign. Participation in this program is voluntary. All opinions are my own.

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Sheena Tatum

is the founder of Sophistishe. She's a free spirit, wife, boy mom, rental rebel, curator of pretty things, lover of vintage pyrex, and the tropics. Sheena can be found in NW Indiana with her husband and two scrumptious boys, clutching kraft paper, chalkboard paint, sriracha and chipotle pepper. In the midst of motherhood, wifedom, and managing a growing collection of digital projects, she somehow manages to find zen in being a quirky, introverted, lil’ lady.

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5 Comments

  • Reply September 11, 2010

    Liss

    Love your post! I completely agree with and also follow most of what you wrote (no children = no diapers). I often wonder what the huge issue is with using paper towels. There’s this commercial i saw about reusing the same handtowel when washing your hands, and how you should use this new ‘paper towel dispenser’. Are ppl really that insane that you can’t handle a few germs on something? Anyway, one thing that i noticed and was wondering about: you say you have a green thumb, I was wondering if you do any gardening. My parents do, and as long as I can remember, we’ve composted. Now that I live on my own (I live in an apt and I can’t grow anything to save my life) I no longer do it, but I do have a great memory of it as a child. Now that my dad’s retired he’s kicked the composting into overdrive, but it’s always something I recommend for people trying to reduce waste, especially if they garden. There’s also tips on how to keep your compost over the winter, and plenty of products to help you start. We’d be amazed to learn that food really doesn’t decompose in a landfill, and also amazed at the kinds of things you can compost!

  • Reply September 6, 2010

    Shynea @ PPDiva

    I am glad that I came across this post. One of the things that I have eliminated from our family is the use of paper towels. With six people living in the house we can go through a roll of paper towels a day and I thought that that was entirely too many paper towels. (Plus they are TOO expensive to buy a roll a day.) I followed the link that you posted to Bird-E Towels and I plan on purchasing some this Friday as soon as I get paid. Right now we are using towels and dish rags to dry our hands after we wash them, and I am loving the products in her Etsy store.

    I think I need to follow in your footsteps and use rechargeable batteries and more natural sunlight. We go through so many batteries at my house a week and I hardly every open my blinds or curtains.

    Take care,
    Shynea

  • Reply September 3, 2010

    Carla

    I've been looking for ways to "give back" to my environment and to hop on the "living green". You've just made it quite easy for me. I've heard of Seventh Generation but was never able to get around to testing their products. I also heard that Method has pretty good products. I'm not sure if they're natural, though. I've seen them at Target and they were pretty reasonably priced.

    As far as my methods go, I need a tremendous amount of help in that area. Like Laila, I can't tell you the last time I've received a bill. I bank and pay all of my bills online if possible. I'm trying to remember to turn off my central air unit when I'm not home. Since my family and I are always on the go, we only spend three DAYS in our townhome.

  • Reply September 3, 2010

    Some Lucky Dog

    I'm curious! What does the apple cider vinegar do for your hair??? I don't use any styling products, just shampoo and conditioner. But I do blow it dry. My hair is really thick. I remember as a kid (before someone invented blow dryers :) I would wash my hair after dinner and it would still be damp in the morning, hated that!

    I buy packs of washcloths by the dozen at Costco and use them for everything and have really cut down on the amount of paper towels we use. I was a skeptic about cold water washing, too. But now I wash everything except my white towels in cold water and haven't had a problem. I am on a mission to get my daughter-in-law to get that she can wear clothes more than once before washing. She and my grandson are living with us and she generates piles on laundry!!

  • Reply September 2, 2010

    Laila @OnlyLaila

    I'm really trying to work on my paper waste. For some reason I get so much random/spam mail. I could recycle it but I also want to get off of whatever list sends me all this random mail. I get a most of my bills electronically.

    I unplug most of my appliances/electronics when I leave the house. I'm out of the house for 10-11 hours a day so this is how I reduce my energy usage.

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