I was reading an article about easy steps to take to be more earth-friendly, and as I read it, I thought “Wow, moving to Ireland has made me greener.” and giggled over the irony of that thought.
The article is totally geared towards Americans. I can tell this, after living outside of America for a little bit. Because half of their tips and ideas are just normal ways of life here in Ireland.
Tip #1 – bring reusable bags to the store.
Yeah, have to do that here, at least to the grocery store. They sort of banned free plastic grocery bags. You can still get them, but they charge you per bag – kind of like Whole Foods does. But even more, just about every store will ask you “Do you need a bag?” At least half of the time, I say no because I already have one on me.
Tip #2 – don’t buy bottled water
Well, never really did anyway. Never understood paying $1.50 for something that comes out of my faucet anyway. And the stuff coming out of my faucet here in Ireland is free. We all have Camelback bottles, and I swear it’s upped the kids water intakes, especially the boys.
Tip #3 – cancel catalogues
yeah…I barely receive any mail and I guess the Irish postal service doesn’t deliver junk mail. It gets delivered by someone else later in the day. And you can easily opt out of it by posting a little “No Junk Mail” sign on your mail slot. There are days I get no mail at all. Completely different than when we were living in the States.
Tip #4 – switch to all natural detergents
Okay, this one I’ll admit to regressing on. I usually use natural cleaners. But I got here and didn’t know what to buy, so went with what looked okay. I do want to get back to natural cleaners though. First, I have to work my way through the stuff in the cabinets. Cause I’m also trying to be thrifty.
Tip #5 – wash your clothes in cold water
Eh, did that already.
Tip #6 – line dry your clothes
Okay, this one I’ve been forced into. Come to my house at any time now and you’ll find either a clothes line in the back garden full of things blowing in the breeze, or a drying rack in the bathroom with items draped all over it. I’ll admit to being a little weirded out by hanging my underwear outside for the world to see…but have zero issues putting Josh’s boxers out there!
Tip #7 – use toilet paper made from recycled stuff
Yeah…um…we’ll maybe consider that someday
Tip #8 – stop using paper towels
I was a paper towel junkie. To my amazement, I’m still on the first little roll we bought almost two months ago. And I have a whole other roll I haven’t used yet. It would be interesting to see what the cash savings are there. But it’s a good thing I’ve reformed – they don’t sell jumbo 12 packs of paper towels here. And if they did, it’d be hard to cart home.
Tip #9 – turn down your thermostat
I don’t even have a thermostat anymore. I was thinking about that today. I used to constantly check to see what the temperature was in the house. I had to have it at least at 70 or I’d start getting cold. Here we have radiators. You set the boiler to go on twice a day. I have it running from 6:30 am to about 10 am. Then it kicks back on from 6 pm to 11 pm. All our radiators have dials, so you can adjust the rooms separately. At first, I was always cold. Now, I’ve adjusted…though it also has warmed up more outside. But I’m certain our heating costs will be way lower than before.
Tip #10 – stop wasting gas
Honey, I haven’t used gasoline in over two months! When we had the rental car, it was a diesel. Now, we don’t have a car. I’ve been walking, using public transport, or riding my bike everywhere. How freaking environmental am I? Where’s my cookie for that one?
Tip #11 – Recycle
The problem with half the recycling set-ups in the States is that they make it so hard to recycle. Either you have to drive your crap to a center, or spend time sorting it just right, cutting cardboard down to the right size, tying up bundles of paper, or my least favorite, returning cans and bottles to the store to shove through a machine in a stinky room to get your ten cents per can or bottle back. Here your garbage company leaves you a big green trash can. You fill it up. They take it away. Cans, paper, cardboard – throw it all in there. How simple is that? And to motivate you, they charge for your trash by the kilo, so you recycle ALL you can!
Even more fun – every other week, I’ve gotten a little card through my mail slot with a sticker on it from places collecting clothes for charities. You fill a bag, put a sticker on it, leave it outside your door on the day marked, and they come get it for you. Easy peasy.
So really? If you want to be more environmentally friendly? Move to Europe. You’ll be forced into it.