Many families talk about going green by making purchases. They may consider purchasing a car to lower their carbon footprint, adding solar products and panels to their home or getting some other expensive green product that makes them feel like they are being more environmentally aware. What many don’t realize is that green living doesn’t always involve purchasing something else. In fact, is it can be as simple as repurposing an existing object.
Our home sits on an acre of land. Lawn clipping are left on the ground to break down naturally and fertilize the grass. However, at least twice a month, the hedges and trees need to be trimmed and the weeds need to be pulled. To accomplish this task it takes not only hours of work, but it also generates a large pile of yard debris. While composting could be an excellent solution, it is not an option for us do our homeowners association rules and regulations. Thankfully, our city does offer yard waste only collection days and tries to dispose of what it collects in a environmentally conscious way.
While many of the homeowners in our development fill plastic bag after plastic bag with their yard waste for these special collection days, we feel that it is not only a wasteful practice to use the plastic yard waste bags, it’s expensive. Always looking for ways to cut our household budget, we have seldom used the plastic yard waste bags. Now that our family is working harder to reduce our carbon footprint, we have recognized that these bags are petroleum based products and are not environmentally friendly, as they will probably be on the planet longer than our family and our children. Because of this, we certainly will no longer purchase them.
In our household, we avoid using these products by using our regular trash bins and recycling containers for our yard waste. Over the years we have accumulated six garbage cans. We had bought two new containers when we rented a home and we inherited the previous owners four cans when we purchased our current home. While having several trash cans helps us to avoid using plastic bags for our yard waste, some weeks we end up with more yard waste than cans. Even then we do not resort to the plastic bags, we simply fill our two recycling bins with any excess weeds, twigs and hedge trimmings.
Fortunately, our collection day for yard waste is on Monday and we are able to do our yard work on the weekend. Once the yard waste has been collected, we can resume normal use of the bins for our regular household trash and recycling throughout the rest of the week. Any unused bins are stacked together during the week so that they don’t take up much space.
This is probably the simplest, most cost effective and green act our family could ever have implemented. It’s just another example how green living doesn’t have to be expensive.