Green confusion

I think I do a decent job of being environmental conscious, although I know that I could be doing more. While I don't drive a hybrid, I do recycle non-stop at work and home. I don't use rain water runoff like I would love to, but I make sure I water outdoors in the very early mornings. I don't have solar panels, but I turn lights off when I leave rooms & I use natural light as much as possible. I'm sure for all the good I do, my shabby stuff makes it all counter-productive though.

My next home, I will have a large vegetable garden. I will be getting rain barrels to water my garden and flowers. I will continue to recycle & will start composting as well.

But for now, I need a couple of things answered:

1. Paper plates or re-using dishes? What is better? I mean, I realize using paper plates every meal is awful, but seriously, how green am I if I am washing dishes & running the dishwasher a few times a week?

2. Paper towels or re-using rags? What is better? Less disgusting? I really hate the thought of using rags to spread the germs & grubby shit all over my counters. Ick. Plus, I am then adding another load of laundry to my to-do list, since I WILL NOT wash those damn rags with my clothes (done it before, by mistake, and it was a laundry FAIL-everything was dull & gross). So how green is it to do another load of laundry every week?

3. I turn the thermostat up to 75 when we aren't home. I keep the fans on, to keep it tolerable, and also, so the AC unit doesn't have to work as hard to cool the house down in the evenings, when the sun is blazing from the west. But is the electricity I am using to run the fans more than the electricity used to cool the house at the same damn temperature all day?

Am I complicating things for no reason? Please, ease my mind: Give me some honest, helpful answers about this stuff. Even better!: Tell me you think about this shit, too!


ya ya's mom said...

honestly i don't know the answer to any of the questions...but...i say do what works for you. in regards to the rags v.s. paper towels...i bought a garbage can (about 3 or 4 feet tall) with a lid. i put it in the laundry room and as rags are used we hang them to dry on the top and when dry they get dropped in. i can go about 2 weeks. we launder with bleach when we're out of rags...hope this helps out. we just found that we were using so many papertowels and decided to make a change. we also use cloth napkins and use the same laundry process. we save paper plates for when there are no clean plates or for when we're dog tired.

Anonymous said...

OMG...Dishwasher...runs TWICE a day in our house. Ugh. Bad bad people. But, I figure we live in a country with alot of water (we rarely have restrictions...) and it's not going into a landfill. We do use paper when we camp though.

With the rags thing...we just use the dish cloth to wipe down the counters. Usually a cloth a day...and we do laundry once a week so they go in the 'towel' load with bleach. No smelly smell.

And yes, you are overthinking it.

LMAO..loves ya!

Manda said...

I have two words for you: disposable diapers. I have no idea how many we go through in a day but it's A LOT. And the thought of cloth diapers? Makes me shudder. It's awful! But I can't do it!!

Auntie Em said...

Just do what you can and call it a day....don't think about it anymore....you are doing fine, you can rest your head each night saying that you are trying. Maybe every once and awhile try to do a bit more and change habits and methods but don't put so much pressure on yourself. Life is too damn short!!!!!!!

Chibi said...

We don't have paper plates in the house often enough to even think of using those in place of plates. That being said, we are big fans of the dishwasher. I read an article awhile back that said with the efficient dishwashers on the market nowadays, they use less water than washing your dishes by hand (if I remember correctly, I believe the article was operating under the assumption of the water being run continuously while washing -- I have heard that if you want to conserve water, fill one side of the sink with soapy water and the other side with clean "rinse" water: it's what my great granny used to do, too!).

We have paper towels, but go through more paper napkins than anything. We also use the dish cloth to wipe down the counters (and a clean one each day/washed in bleach).

The Weather Network has been pushing the use of fans in place of A/C because they use less energy, so it sounds like you're okay there.

Fiona Picklebottom said...

I have the same questions. I don't overly concern myself with paper plates and paper towels, as trees are a renewable resource (although maybe not at the speed necessary to cover consumption, I don't know). We recycle, so there's that. But I even wonder about recycling: Do the processes used to recycle things affect the environment more negatively than putting the bottles, cans, etc., in a landfill? I just don't know much about the recycling process.

Pocklock said...

I think about this ALL the time. I do about 5 loads of laundry a week - usually all in the same day - and my dishwasher runs EVERY night. SO BAD! We're really good about recycling, but I'm with you on the paper towels vs. rags (ew germs) and the paper plates vs. dishes (i hate dishes!).

I have no answers. Only sympathy.

Anonymous said...

I never think about shit. That's why they call me a guy. And lately we've been living without a kitchen...so I don't need to worry about any of that stuff. We just go eat out! So there's your answer...eat out more.