Friday, October 23, 2009

In Which I Am Green... Sort Of

Despite all the talk these days about "going green", there are just some things that I refuse to cut back on or change. I realize that this impacts my carbon footprint in a negative way, but the way I see it, my quality of life sometimes takes precedence. I'll continue to recycle as much as I can and make sure I'm not being flat-out wasteful, and if that isn't enough, well, excuse me for a moment while I go plant a few trees.

One of the things I refuse to budge on is my use of paper products, like tissues. I'm sorry, but when I've got a cold and a metric ton of snot ready to be dispensed out of my nose, I'm going to want more than just one tissue to make sure the resulting deluge of sticky sinus juice doesn't blast right through those two plies and wind up on my hands. There's not much I hate more than that.

Same goes with toilet paper. I know that it's my shit I'm wiping, but that doesn't mean I want any of it on my hands. When I'm tasked with the chore of cleaning up after laying some cable, I'm going to wrap my hand with enough TP to put any Halloween Egyptian mummy to shame.

Really the only other thing I'm picky about is regular light bulbs versus compact fluorescents. When I turn a light on in my apartment, I want the light to come on at full strength. As anyone who uses compact fluorescents knows, they are dim for a little while and gradually become brighter....

... and that drives me crazy.

In just about every light fixture in my home, I use low-wattage incandescent bulbs, just like good ol' Thomas Edison intended. I am aware of the fact that even low-watt bulbs use more energy than CFLs do, but I'm okay with that. I'll gladly pay a little more to the power company each month if it means I'm not stumbling around my apartment in a weird semi-darkness until the bulbs finally warms up. (Before anyone gets on my back about energy conservation, I'm known as the Light Nazi in my house. I'm always shutting off extra lights or lights that were left on in other rooms.)

Maybe it's guilt, maybe it's laziness-turned-green thinking, but I do make up for these aforementioned shortcomings. Like not flushing the toilet every single time I take a leak. This drives The Boss crazy, but still I do it. No sense in wasting 1.6 gallons of perfectly good water each time I empty my bladder. Also, I wait to empty the trash until it is overflowing onto the floor and we are forced to start putting our trash on the edge of the counter. No sense in putting extra plastic trash bags in our landfills, right?

Conservation, people.

What things do you not like to cut back on?


P.S. Don't forget about the Fall contest!


Organic Meatbag said...

TOTALLY with you on this one, man... and I don't care if it is not as biogdegradeable as the "green" toilet paper, but NOBODY screws withy my soft, cushy toilet paper...there is no way I'm wiping my ass with something that could take varnish off of a table...

Stereos and Souffles said...

Agree about the TP. My dad is the VP of sales for a recycled paper products company and there's no way I'm using that stuff. I doubt he wanted to use that sandpaper tp either until they had cartons of it delivered to his house.

Moonspun said...

Sometimes it matters more what you do, than what you don't do, if that makes sense. And shutting off the lights is a big thing! We are also a "if it's yellow, let it mellow" house...that makes a difference, too. You can always by TP with some recycled materials, and I am sure that means your shit won't be on it again! :-)
I like eating food that is individually packaged. Like 100 calorie package of Lorna Doones! It's good for my psyche and not overeating. Not so good for the environment.

Mwa said...

I completely agree with you on the toilet paper and the tissues. Cannot handle the dirty hands. In fact, since we have children I've gone one worse and I now use a couple of wet wipes each time I do my business.

As for the lightbulbs, we have switched. In fact, we don't have a choice any more as the "old kind" are not allowed any more over here.

I also use my tumble drier sometimes in summer when I want a load dry in the night or when it rains.

And I do like to use the car sometimes when I could go by bike, but mostly I walk, so I'm not too bad.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I'm with you on the toilet paper and tissues, they're all made at least partly from recycled paper these days anyway....

Light bulbs too, especially as the energy saving ones contain mercury and are linked to a few health problems in sensitive people. LEDs are the light of the future, brighter than incandescents, no mercury and no health problems

Lana said...

i feel that if it's biodegradeable, you're good. wipe away.

also, i once read that the carbon footprint of a cheeseburger is seven times that of driving an SUV for a day. with all the butchering, transporting, and cooking of the meat, making the buns, etc....

food for thought, or maybe i just like to pull that one out once in a while because i LOVE my big ass truck and can't imagine life without it.

Alan said...

I'm all with ya on the toilet paper. Anything less than the best for my ass is not an option!

Mom said...

I bought a stack of kitchen sized towels (tea towels) and use those instead of my beloved Bounty paper towels. I still buy paper towels, but I save them for really nasty clean-ups and for use with my painting.

I also add water to my liquid automatic dish detergent. I think that it gets the dishes cleaner, the way they make the stuff, it's too thick.

Amy said...

I'm so glad you asked. I live with my "green" in laws at the moment, and it is starting to get to me.

In my opinion, you cannot be green *and* a neat freak! I have a total bacteria/germ phobia which therefore prohibits me from even thinking of using a disgusting sponge to clean.


So, when I clean the counter tops, I opt for approximately 20 papertowels to ensure I'm not wiping down food prep areas with salmonela from a filthy sponge.

Drives my MIL crazy, but I sleep better over the whole thing. which is really all that matters;)

LucyCooper said...

I feel the very same ways about lightbulbs. Fluorescent light is like kryptonite to me. It's awful and it makes my eyes go lousy. Reveal bulbs are the only lightbulbs I buy.
Oh, and I won't rinse out olive oil jars or syrup bottles to recycle the glass and plastic. The sticky/oily ones all go in the trash.
To offset these behaviors and keep my carbon karma clean, I'm willing to consider installing a rain barrel and a compost bin in the spring. The water, would be great for the plants. And I think my kids would love a container of rot to play with in the backyard.

carissajaded said...

I'm pretty much with you on everything you said... but I have to disagree with the flushing the toilet thing. However, I only shower a few times a week so doesn't that count for something? I also don't wash clothes very often so I feel quite proud of my green thumb.

Nyx said...

We have the CFLs at our house - they drive me nuts. When I turn a light on, I want it to freaking go on, not take a minute and a half to warm up.

And I love me some papertowels. I'll use cloth ones whenever I can (of course, then I've got the enviromentalists hollering at me because I'm creating more loads of laundry), but I *refuse* to use a sponge to clean the countertops. Sponges...yech. They're like one big bacterial cesspool.

Notes From the Grove said...

We began recycling like crazy last year. And now we hardly have any garbage. That's been pretty cool. Next, I'd like to learn how to do a compost pile for all the crap I throw down the disposal.

Logical Libby said...

I am willing to use the CFLs, but I am not willing to give up sodas in cans. They taste better than the stuff in 2 Liter bottles.

Jaime said...

The paper towel vs. washable towel argument bothers me. I think we're more in danger of running out of fresh water than we are of paper towels. So I'll keep using my paper towels!

Miss Mariposa said...

toilet paper. AC!

dsmcaron said...

What is it about men having to use so much toilet paper?

JennyMac said...

I only want high quality TP...sorry..I tried one version of "green" and felt I would turn green when the tp was basically dissolving on my hand. Ugh.

Aunt Becky said...

Depends. Hm. TP is something I don't compromise on. MY ASS is highly important to me, you know and must be wiped with the finest quality ass paper.

LiLu said...

"If it's yellow, let it mellow.

If it's brown, flush it down!"

Natalie said...

Hankerchefs make me want to vomit. Nothing as nasty as snot in your pocket.

Aunt Juicebox said...

I try to be as green as possible, but being economical is far more important too me. I do not recycle because we don't have a curbside pickup, and I am sorry, but I refuse to pay to take my recyclables in to a center. I like the CFL bulbs personally. I prefer dim light, because I am somewhat light sensitive. I have to fight with my husband, because I want to sit in the dark if the tv is on, and he hates that. Also, CFL bulbs save me money in two ways, when I buy them because they don't have to be replaced very often and I buy them in bulk so I get a good deal, and truly, I've had bulbs last 4 years, and some still haven't gone out. Also, it really does make a difference on your power bill, and I'm not talking about pennies. I also do stuff like unplug the microwave, and I have the tv/dvd player, etc plugged into a power strip that I can turn off when we aren't using it so it doesn't draw power. I want to do it in the living room, but every time you switch the dvr off, it resets itself and takes forever to start back up. I don't own an electric can opener even. I do all kinds of weird stuff.

mumma boo said...

Right there with you on the TP and tissue issue. Also, I won't cut back on my bottled water consumption. I recycle all the bottles and I can't stand drinking from a reusable container. Besides, someone has to keep all the bottle water folks in business.

Chibi Jeebs said...

I won't skimp on toilet paper, tissues, or paper towel either, and I hate the CFLs (especially after hearing about the related health concerns and the difficulty in disposing of them).

We won't get rid of our cars, either (yes, two), but we don't have a good enough public transit system to do that (plus, I commute 35 minutes/50km each way).

We do recycle, use fabric shopping bags, try to use plastic containers instead of baggies, and so on.

Mad Woman said...

Ignoring my recent "Climate Change" post where I perched myself on a wobbly soapbox and proclaimed to the few how awful we all are, I actually agree with you. We're an incandescent bulb household. I can't stand waiting for those stupid CFLs to get brighter. And's apparently very difficult to dispose of them properly, so people are just trashing them anyway. Pointless?

TP is important to me. I will not compromise. Soft and cushy. But we also do the mellow yellow thing here. My spawn have even gone so far as to tell me they can't wash their hands after going because it's a waste of water. Nice try!

Tammy Howard said...

I do what I can. I use my canvas shopping bags (most of the time - when I remember them...) I do what I can. But there are compromises I won't make, too. TP is definitely one of them. I have been accused of being hypocritical due to this and other compromises. I think if we all just found some LITTLE ways to be green with which we were comfortable instead of feeling like it had to be an all or nothing proposition, we'd all be in better shape...

Badass Geek said...

Organic Meatbag: Amen, brother.

Stereos and Souffles: I think even then, I'd still go out and buy the good stuff.

Moonspun: You're right. Doing little things helps more than doing nothing.

Mwa: I used to live in an apartment where CFLs ruled supreme. It was torture.

Crafty Green Poet: Less power consumption, too.

Lana: I've got a big truck, too. It's dead now, but I've still got it.

Alan: I agree 100%.

Mom: The powdered stuff works the best, if you ask me.

Amy: Sponges are gross.

LucyCooper: Hey, rot is fun.

Carissa Jaded: It all evens out, I suppose.

Nyx: Paper towels are just awesome.

NFTG: Recycling is good. When done right, it really does cut down on garbage.

Logical Libby: They do! I'm glad someone else thinks this.

Jaime: Paper towels, indeed.

Miss Mariposa: Agreed.

Dsmcaron: It's not about using more than I need. It's about using an adequate amount to prevent me from touching poo.

JennyMac: Exactly.

Aunt Becky: I agree completely.

Lilu: If it's green, stop drinking purple Gatorade.

Natalie: I've always thought that, too.

Aunt Juicebox: Seems like a lot of work to me, but to each his own.

Mumma Boo: Exactly. Poland Spring needs your business.

Chibi Jeebs: My truck isn't working right now, so I guess that helps the ol' environment, right?

Mad Woman: Yeah, it kind of defeats the purpose.

Tammy Howard: Every little bit helps.

Laura said...

I am definitely with you on the toilet paper. I hate scratchy stuff on my booty. And even though I have been feeling guilty about it, we have been using alot of paper plates since the munchkin was born. Who has time to do the dishes?

Lola said...

I think I'm pretty good to the planet in most ways, but I will never use cheap TP, and I'm the queen of paper towels. Sponges and dish rags are dirty, rotten breeding grounds for germs, and that's that.

Doing more laundry, just to dry your dishes and counters seems incredibly stupid to me.

There is also the issue of the Gangsta Jeep, but I hardly ever drive, so my damage is very limited.

As for the bulbs, I hate those stupid energy-savers and the ugly light they give off but have a few here and there just for kicks, like in the garage and the cellar. I choose to live by candlelight as much as possible anyway.

You're doing your part, man, and so am I!

Sandy said...

I pretty much agree with you on all points. Regading the TP question though, we have a septic system so using lighter weight paper is a good idea. But Paul will not use anything other than that fluffy, multi-ply stuff. And I hate it. Which is why it's a good thing we have two bathrooms with two different types of TP.

lovelila said...

I can't cut back on tissue paper, no way! When I'm sick, my room is like...the tissue paper graveyard... I'm sorry I had to share that, haha!

Kaylen said...

I like to be slightly green, but not fully green. Like a light living room color green, but definitely not a watered-every-day lawn green.

Hankerchiefs are the most disgusting thing EVER. That seems like such a bad idea!!!

And some of us (um, a friend of mine maybe) has a very sensitive toilet-wiping-area and I, I mean SHE, really needs something soft and kind to clean up after my, HER, business. I feel bad for the trees and all that, and feel wasteful as a spoiled American, but whatever....once you've had ass issues, you do not mess around with cheap toilet paper. To balance that out, I buy cheap tp for the guest bathroom!

I try to drink enough water that my pressure urine is nearly clear and as such, I don't feel bad about not flushing the toilet! My son on the other hand seems to piss out the strongest smelling, darkest yellow boy-pee ever, and he MUST flush immediately or the houseplants start to die.

rebecca said...

You are hysterical. "I know it's my shit I'm wiping..." I didn't expect to laugh so loudly so unexpectedly! Thanks! You're getting me in trouble here at work! LOL!!

Nej said...

This time of year, it's dark when I get home from work....and that's when my carbon footprint becomes the size of an elephant.

(Physically the size of an elephant. I'm guessing an elephant's carbon footprint is actually quite small.) :-)

Anyway, when I enter a room, the light goes on. And it stays on until I go to bed. No darkness for me. Dark = sleepy. Dark = no motivation to accomplish anything.

Drives Mot nuts, but my house is lit up like Las Vegas until I go to bed. :-)

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