Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You Gotta Have a System

As I've slowly adopted more sustainable lifestyle habits over the last year and a half, I began to realize that my home wasn't set up to accommodate them. For example, when I used to use paper towels, I didn't need a special place to put them when they were used. Their special place was known as "the garbage." Once I gave them up, however, I suddenly needed a system to take care of clean and dirty rags.

Over time, I've devised many such systems:

Our town has some curbside recycling, for plastic, cardboard and paper. I keep a bin right outside the door for these items. Bottles have to be taken to the recycling center, so I keep a bag under the sink for those.

While there's probably no real justification for it, I don't like to put dirty rags in the laundry with my clothes. I put used rags and washcloths into this basket. I use a lot of rags because I spill a lot. Clean rags have a bin in the kitchen.

Sometimes (oh, horror!) I forget to bring my reusable bags to the store. If the place doesn't have paper and I can't just carry out my purchases in my hands, I get plastic bags. They get re-used for cleaning the litterbox. (True story - this box with a nice useful hole in it was named "The Funbox" by the company that manufactures it. I'll wait until you can stop tittering)

Because I don't want to put paper outside in our tropical, humid clime, I keep a separate bin for paper that's going to get recycled. The bin is for magazines and flat paper. The garbage can is for shredded paper, which also gets recycled. I sometimes need to print items for work, so paper that has been printed on one side goes into the printer to be reused.
These shelves in the kitchen hold reusables. The red fabric bin holds paper bags. I use those to put the magazines out to the curb for recycling, or to hold the bottles (also for recycling). The produce bags get reused for more produce or go back to Central Market for recycling (I'm really trying to cut back on these.) Once a Zip-loc bag is used, I wash it out and use it again. A Ziploc bag also holds tinfoil that can be reused. (I realize this paragraph is making me sound like a Depression-era granny. Good! They really knew how to reuse!)

What systems do you have to keep your green life organized?

Note: Sorry I've been absent for so long, Greenies! I've been sick with a bad cold, and have been pretty much reduced to staring at the TV for the past week. But I'm on the mend and hope to be posting more regularly!

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