could be thrifty/green, could just be quirky

  • I always get the very last bits of peanut butter/mayo/ketchup out of the bottle. I use spatulas and spoons - those silicon spatulas. I am capable of getting the teeniest specks of laundry soap and fabric softener out of the bottles too. When I reach the end of a tube of something like hand cream I often cut the flat end off the tube and stick my fingers down in it to get the last bits.
  • I shut off lights all the time. Our house is pretty dark.
  • I am always contemplating how to re-use bread bags.
  • And dryer lint.
  • I like to wait until the carpet in the living room really needs to be vacuumed. Why waste energy on a slightly filthy floor?
  • I recycle everything in the whole world. Mostly. I break down and recycle every box from every kind of food we buy - rice boxes, cereal boxes, cookie boxes.
  • If I accidentally spill out too much of a particular cleaning product (like Bon Ami) I will leave a little pile somewhere, to use later.
  • We don't use cloth napkins but we re-use those big paper ones. One little smudge of sauce? I will refold that napkin and put it back in the drawer.
  • We hardly use paper towels at all and often cut them in half when we do.
  • Cold water wash, in as few loads as possible, the smallest amount of detergent, and the bottle gets rinsed clean when it is nearly empty and that water goes in the laundry too.
  • I tell myself that window air conditioners, used with discretion, with all the curtains closed is greener than central air.
  • No chemicals on the lawn, garden or trees.
  • Green shopping bags have completely replaced grocery bags, we never forget them.
  • I run the dishwasher at odd times but that's really because I often forget to turn it on.
  • I buy large sizes of shampoo which I figure means less plastic.
  • I'm always yelling at Youngest to get out of the shower.
  • Towels, as well as some articles of clothing, are used more than once before laundering.
  • I read on the internet instead of buying magazines.
  • I never use those plastic produce bags at the supermarket.
  • We make every attempt to repair things rather than dispose of them.


jenny said…
Okay, my quirky/thrifty great aunt? She used to make braided rugs. Out of bread bags.

I don't recommend trying it.

And dryer lint? My kids stuff it into small empty boxes with some sticks and it makes an awesome firestarter.

Yelling at Youngest? That one made me laugh.
barbra said…
I learned recently that dryer lint is compostable.
Anonymous said…
I am impressed that you always remember to bring along the reusable grocery bags. You ARE a saint :-)
Anonymous said…
When I go to the grocery store, I ask for EXTRA plastic bags. Then I use those to throw in the ocean when I'm at the beach with my kids, and I get bored.

Have you heard about the place in the Pacific Ocean called "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch?"

Yeah, thanks to me you have.
rock on!!!!
Anonymous said…
Very inspiring. Do you compost too? POur city has curbside pick-up for compostable food scraps, paper towels, etc., that goes in the yard waste bin. It's great.

Amy A. said…
You can make paper out of dryer lint.

Do you let your produce roll around the cart or do you use smaller versions of your grocery totes?

If you don't use the produce plastic bags what do you carry to pick up after the doggy? Or do I want to know?

Full of questions, ain't I?
Unknown said…
Me too! I do a lot of this stuff, too. I patch up my pants instead of buying new ones -- not because we can't, but because I hate to waste things that were sewn in sweatshops, and I hate to buy more things made in sweatshops unnecessarily. I want to start making my own clothes, but am not quite there yet. My house, yard and wardrobe definitely trend toward quirky!

I didn't know that dryer lint was compostable. Very interesting. I do a lot of line drying, but we still do use the dryer and produce lots of lint sometimes.

If you have any good bread bag ideas, I'd love to hear them.
Anonymous said…
We started our serious recycling here oru teeny town two days ago.
People are LOST.
I tend to do much of the stuff you mentioned minus the dryer...I rather not use it at all and hang my clothes in the air whenever I can.
I yell at my son ALL the times and I ALWAYS shut the lights off. Always. My family makes fun of me when I cut the napkins in half...
Julia said…
We hang our clothes to dry here too, but I'm not sure how possible that is in the US - do washing machines spin fast enough to wring clothes nearly dry?
Anonymous said…
I've got about three-quarters of the things on your list and am shamed that I'm not doing more. Well, except for the paper napkin thing. Never that one.
abrowncow said…
have you ever heard of the people that do dryer lint art? there's someone who makes sculptures and another who does portaits...

you can take the horrible net bags that onions come in and pack them with brushed out dog fur and dryer lint and hang them for the birds - like a one stop shop of things for nest building.
Anonymous said…
crochet the bread bags into bags to use for produce... I know how much you love doing crafts ;o) nec
Anonymous said…
Black bird I award you this months Green Award for this post - which shows true devotion to greeness!
BabelBabe said…
if your market recycles plastic bags at all, they will tale clean, dry bread bags.

and yes, dryer lint is compostable which is good as I generate huge amounts of it, as we have nowhere to hang clothes out here.

i do use cloth napkins and everyone assumes I am a snot : )
MsCellania said…
Good for you!
I wish everyone could do this.
We even rip apart stuff that we are going to throw away, and recycle every bit of metal that we can. Right now, we have an old Barco projector that needs a complete dismantal, as well as two old pots and pans. The handles, at least, are going to the recycle center. (they are old teflon - I have to do some research about them)
I have started to unplug every appliance if it's not in use; toaster, coffee pot, microwave too. I turn OFF the computer when it's not in use.
But reading your list made me realize I could do ALOT more. We use new paper napkins with every meal. I always wash in warm (but our water is freezin-ass cold!) I always forget my green bags for groceries and I run the dw even if it's not full - My supersensitive nose cannot stand day-old dishes! And I take deep baths or long showers. Big Old carbon footprint here...
RW said…
We use cloth napkins and we all have our own napkin ring holder and I encourage my family to use the napkin at the next meal... unless it you have used it wipe up a spill. or blow your nose (which I am shamed to say does happen) how did they ever think that was a good idea?

I am still learning to remember the cloth bags for groceries.

We buy big bottles of shampoo.

I think we do too much laundry though.
Anonymous said…
Told you that peanut butter jar wasn't empty!
Here's the UNREAL thing I heard on the food channel - Did you know you are not suppose to keep mayo, ketchup, open jars of jelly jam or preserves, salsa, and seafood sauce in the fridge for more than 3 months? Yeah right!
Hell, I've got mustard in there from the Carter administration!
Joke said…
Whoa! I'm green too! And here I thought all this time I was just a cheap bastard...when I have been forestalling global cooling all along!

I am very strangely smug as of now.

Anonymous said…
You're not quirky! You are incredibly green. Are you Scottish somehow, too? Or Dutch?
Yes, you do sound like a bunch of saints.
Unknown said…
I do much of this, as well. It bothers me when people are wasteful, or recklessly selfish and thoughtless about our overflowing landfills.

I recycle or compost nearly everything I can, including the mayonnaise & ketchup bottles, after I've gotten every last usable speck out.

I don't have a dishwasher (other than my own two hands), so sometimes it's a question of laziness versus thriftiness or being green.

I also apparently have a much higher tolerance for dirt than some others, so I can go REALLY long stretches of time between vacuuming the carpets.

We are able to recycle plastic bags with our curbside recycling, so I recycle dry cleaning bags, clean food bags, and all plastic shopping bags, along with grocery bags.

We're also able to put the used paper towels, napkins and any paper plates in the yard waste, along with other compostable food scraps and cross-cut shredded paper.
Eliane said…
I wait until there is so much tooth paste spill in the bathroom sink that I clean the whole sink with it.
GS said…
I love the eco reason to vacuum less - must try that one sometime!

I read this post after your more recent hobo signs one and wondered if we could combine the two - a sign on the door diagramatically to say 'not lazy - just conserving energy by vacuuming less"

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