Sunday, June 22, 2008

    A Greener, Bulkier Me

    After living in a walking culture for so long, I have mixed feelings about being a car owner again. When it's blazing in New Orleans and I feel like my skin is going to fry every time I go from the car to the restaurant/movie theater/store even with my SPF 50, the notion of saving gas by walking is wilted by the reality of the weather and a reminder that skin cancer runs in my family.

    My sustainable herb porch project.
    The car does allow me to do one my favorite, grandmotherly like activities, which is to buy in bulk. The last time I went to Target I came home with such a large package of paper towels that I had to open both of the front French doors to get it in the house. That got me thinking about the amount of paper napkins and towels, tissues, and toilet paper that Jon and I use, and how to reduce it.

    A few weeks later, we bought some inexpensive cloth napkins and started using and sometimes reusing them before washing them with a load of towels. Although it seems we shouldn't have skimped on the napkins and will need to buy some nicer ones in addition (they're very rough and we've both been avoiding wiping our mouths as much as possible ever since), it does feel better not to needlessly throw away paper products after each meal.

    I've yet to find a company that sells boxless tissues, but someone must -- I'd love to buy a couple of nice looking boxes to refill, instead of the perky pastel flowered cardboard boxes I usually purchase in four-packs.

    While I did cut up some old towels for rags to keep in the kitchen closet, I'm still working on downsizing my paper towel use. The big package that I bought has the kind of paper towel that is perforated in various sizes, so that helps cut down on waste. If I had more counter space, I could see placing the rags in a countertop basket for easy access. For me, accessibility seems to be the key to greener living. Though it takes a little more work up front, it often makes me feel better and is pretty simple once I get in the habit.

    Alas, I have no present plans to change my toilet paper habit. For it, I'd drive many miles, under any weather condition, as long as I could buy in bulk.

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