How being green can serve me, not just the environment.
By Tina Vice
Isn't being green expensive? Time consuming? Isn't it for those stay at home moms that have the luxury of time and extra money?
I'm a single mom, full-time employ, part-time student with an internship. Recycling was all I could do, OR was it? Truth is that being green can not only fit into your schedule or budget, but can actually help with both.
As a busy mom, who has a messy car strewn with water bottles, sitting in a drive thru, I feel the frustration and guilt of not giving my kids what they really need. High efficiency washing machines and LED light bulbs are great but where is the lifestyle and habits they the kids need to see in place in our home? This has been my challenge.
I've realized it has come down to being purposeful and thinking ahead.
Do my children really need plastic bags in their lunches? Not really. Initially it costs more to buy sustainable lunch bags and to send reusable containers. What if my first grader loses them? I need to trust them with this and take a couple of minutes at the end of the day to clean out the containers, but a few plastic bags won't be headed to the landfill.
Does it really save time to buy a fast food meal instead of cooking one? Think about the drive to the fast food establishment, the time to find a parking spot or to wait in drive thru, the time to order. Now consider the value of eating at the dinner table at home with no distractions, just conversation. That can't take place in fast food restaurant or in the car. What about the time to clean out my car after syrup or ketchup has been bounced around? What did my children get from this? Perhaps, on Saturday mornings (my only free time) I could prepare meals for the week and freeze them? Thawing a home-cooked meal sounds like less mess and more value.
This week, we will start to do a few simple things at home that will save both time and money and help the environment. We will take shorter showers. Also, we don't really need paper towels. A nice dish cloth at each table setting can be used a few times before it needs to laundered.
As spring approaches and I buy clothes for my children, the first stop will be at a consignment shop. It saves money and it keeps more from going to a landfill.
When Becky asked me to write a blog about this, it got me thinking about the things I can do that won't require much. We may even purchase a water filter instead of disposable water bottles next week. Fuel efficient cars are great but on our budget the smaller changes can take place much sooner. There is no excuse now to not make some changes toward a greener living.
Tina is an IUSB student and a working mom. She is currently interning at Just Goods.