Sunday, August 29, 2010

No Impact Week Day 1: Consumption

If you are just jumping into Sierra Club No Impact Week posts, please read this one to understand what we are doing.

Today we were supposed to look at our consumption as a family. As in, what do we buy and what do we really need to buy?

For starters, the manual suggests making a list. Well, for us, the only things we really consume, on a weekly and even maybe monthly basis, are food, wipes, cleaning supplies, and disposable diapers (for 8 hours with the babysitter per week). I am serious, too-- we very rarely buy clothes, as in maybe a few things once or less per year if needed to look professional at work. And Christmas (but we are not bonkers in the spending department there either). Our minimal consumption of general consumer goods could be partly due to the fact that we do not have the budget for "things" (hi, student loans), but I think it is simply because we are the type to go hiking or read a favorite book or listen to our favorite music, which are all things we do not need to purchase.

For those of you who do have the spending power, some suggestions for lessening your carbon footprint are using hand-me-downs (We have been so lucky to have been given a lot of hand-me-downs for Gabe, but many community organizations or churches hold clothing and/or toy swaps. Try and find one, bring your old things, and trade for what you need!)

As far as our cleaning products, we still have ample amounts of the eco-friendly cleaners we do use so I will not be making them this week. However, I **will** be making them as an experiment when we do run out, and I will post an addendum to this post at that time.

Another helpful tool from the No Impact Week Manual on finding where to shop for less impactful items? The Green Guide.


But let's come back to today and our family...

This week all we needed was our food and baby wipes. We'll be dealing with food on Wednesday so let's focus on the wipes and whether we really needed to purchase them.

Now, when we switched to cloth diapers when Gabriel was 2.5 months old, it did not take long for me to jump into using cloth wipes. I made batches every few days, and we washed them with the rest of his diapers. Up until Gabriel started solids back in May, things were smooth sailing because Gabe's poop was water soluble, and we literally could just throw everything into the diaper pail without a care in the world. We still had disposable wipes in the diaper bag for when Gabriel was with the babysitter, but that was it.

Once the peanut butter poop arrived, so did our return to disposable wipes. At first, we just had a small batch of disposable wipes by the changing table for peanut butter poop only. And then it just became part of our regular rhythm again.

Let me take this moment to say that I had already been planning and meaning to address the disposable wipe issue in our house, but now is a good time to really put them to rest, unless absolutely needed. Why? For one, the peanut butter poop phase really is over at this point. It would be really easy to scuffle into the bathroom and shake off the wipe while I am taking care of emptying his dirty diapers. Secondly, we do not have a diaper genie or anything like that anymore, so it will keep dirty wipes out of our trashcan (And we already know trash is going to be scrutinized tomorrow as part of No Impact Week, so I guess this is a great day to kick wipes out of the picture!).

So let it be known, when considering our weekly consumption, we have kicked disposable wipes to the curb, though we still did purchase them today for the diaper bag to the babysitter.

If you are interested in using cloth wipes, please check out the recipe I posted here on how to make them. I will say that we moved from stacking them in the old wipes container and started just having a pile in a bin with a spray bottle full of the wipe elixir. I am fairly sure that this week I will be keeping a small container of the elixir by the changing table with wipes to dip them in as needed.

Signing off from Day 1 of No Impact Week! Getting eager for tomorrow's focus on TRASH...

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