What Going Green Looks Like for Me

I remember being in elementary school and learning about the dwindling rain forests. I remember the commercials that aired, teaching us the “3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” So was my foray into environmentalism, when I convinced my dad to start a compost pile and tried to turn empty toilet paper rolls into all sorts of craft items.

A decade later, we’re still trying to incorporate “green” and “eco-friendly” into our daily life--albeit in more grown-up ways. What I’ve found most interesting, though, is how friendly--even convenient--“going green” has been to our lifestyle and budget.

To “go green” you don’t have to buy a pair of organic cotton jeans that cost $150; just go to the thrift store and find a pair that fits for $10. I love buying used clothes, furniture, d├ęcor or housewares and being able to get a one-of-a-kind item for a dollar or two; it’s like a treasure hunt for me. It doesn’t even feel like I’m “reusing.”

Instead of buying something brand new that you know you’ll only use a handful of times, why not see if you can borrow it from someone else? When Michael and I needed a stud-finder for one-time use, we ended up borrowing it from my dad. I wanted to try my hand at baking homemade bread, so I asked my mom if I could have her bread maker that’s been sitting in the basement.

I’ve tried to get crafty when new wants or needs arise to use things I already have or make my own. For instance, I wanted to decorate our apartment for the holidays. I ended up ironing a large swatch of olive green linen fabric into a table runner and using some festive jewelry to accent a cluster of candles.  Even for decorations at my wedding, I trolled through my house to find items that could be repurposed for the occasion, like an old bedspread thrown atop the cake table or a picnic basket used to display the favors.

Obviously, we don’t do all of these things 100 percent of the time: We still end up throwing things away. We still buy new products. We can’t always afford the greenest items on the shelves. But we try. For us, it’s about trying to live as wise stewards of the resources God has given to us. That also includes our time and energy. So you won’t see me washing out Ziploc bags (though I do try to keep their use to a minimum) or taking buckets into the shower with me to save the water (but we also are aware of how much water we're using). A fine line, but it works for us!

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