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My Green Cheats: 15 Ways I Don't Help the Earth

The following post is from Katie of Kitchen Stewardship:

source: Spring Dew

It’s not easy being green.

We can’t just throw everything away in good conscience.We often pay more for humanely raised meats and take the time to pick bugs and weeds off our garden vegetables by hand, and we probably take longer to kill ants naturally (and other insect intruders) rather than just spraying chemicals all over our kitchen.

Sometimes, I just don’t feel like it. I cut corners every once in a while.

Today I’ll enter the Green confessional and snitch on myself:

1. Particularly at the end of a long day of washing dishes or when I’m in a hurry, I might throw away things that should be recycled or reused. The most common offenders? Dirty zippered bags, mustard bottles, and those sticky peanut butter jars.

2. I don’t always unplug my hubby’s cell phone cord when I pass it. Phantom energy wasted, I know.

3. Lately, I’ve been really brazen about leaving the fridge door open when I pour a quick glass of milk or get a piece of cheese out of a box of slices.

4. I’ve even left the water running while I finish brushing my teeth (gasp!).

5. Our television is not plugged into a power strip that gets turned off when not in use. When it was at our old house…I always forgot to click it off anyway.

6. I leave the door to the garage open as I go in and out to van, even in the winter when I’m wasting heat. Sometimes the energy it takes to open and close the door when I’m already late is worth the energy wasted in heating and cooling costs.

7. I don’t always sleep my computer when I should.

8. I took some heat for this one when I posted my cloth diaper reviews, but I unapologetically use the dryer for my cloth diapers instead of hanging them on a line.

9. Even though I know showers waste a ton of water, and I’ve told other people to take shorter showers, I consistently take incredibly long showers. I just can’t get out. I think it’s because no one is asking me to do anything for them, and it’s quiet, and that’s so different than the rest of my life that I just don’t want it to stop! Plus, in our 64-degree house in the winter, turning off the hot shower water is simply torture.

10. I’ve gotten rid of so many chemical cleaning and personal products…but I’m still using up my last bottle of Neutrogena face wash stuff in the shower. It will probably last me two more years…

11. I tend to leave the light on in a room to remind myself that I have another task to do in there (you know, “I’m going right back”), and sometimes I get really distracted elsewhere and it stays on for waaaaaay too long.

12. I still use some plastic containers. I haven’t bought any new in a long time, but I definitely still use them, especially for things like breads and muffins, and bags of cut produce in the fridge.

13. I don’t compost. I bet that one is hard to believe, but I just don’t have a system yet. In our old house, I would compost in the summer, but I wasn’t very good at it (turning it and getting things to actually decompose rather than just sit in the can and be yucky). I need a plan and a place for it…

14. Don’t hate me…but I don’t always buy organic. Not even meat and cheese. Some of my excuses are good ones, like not having access to organic options, but sometimes it’s just laziness (I want some chicken breasts for a quick dinner, so I cringe and buy them on sale at a regular grocery store) or that frugal pinch ($1.99 for one organic, slightly not-firm cucumber or $1 for five little ones, hmmmmm).

15. I also don’t source all my food locally. Increasingly, I find that I’m ordering food online, but I do hate to think of all the shipping fuel and packaging used just to feed my family.

When I make a green cheat, I feel sort of guilty, but also sort of free, like that concupiscence in all of us that makes getting away with doing something naughty sort of fun and exhilarating, until the sensible side reminds us that we ought not to have done it.

Every so often, when I’m feeling overwhelmed or tired or cranky, I get jealous of all the people who go through life without thinking about their impact on the world.

These people buy what they want without worrying about toxins or sustainability. They throw away things when they’re finished with them without an iota of guilt, and they don’t take the extra time to find a natural cleaning solution, conserve gasoline, or worry about whether they turned the lights off or not. Their brains are probably not filled with facts about how genetically modified crops are taking over the normal ones and male fish are born with feminine parts.

They’re also to blame for overflowing landfills, chemicals in our water supply, and persistent hazardous toxins destroying the earth for future generations…so then I don’t feel so jealous.

I might just go pick that mustard bottle out of the trash and rinse it properly.

Does the green lifestyle ever exhaust you?

Katie Kimball has been “green” since 5th grade when she read 50 Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth. She remains slightly disappointed that she didn’t actually save the whole thing back then, but now that she has 3 kiddos counting on her, she keeps plugging away hopefully. Katie blogs at Kitchen Stewardship about real food and natural living and is the author of Healthy Snacks to Go and other eBooks, available for Kindle.