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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Earth Day at My House

If only life were so simple.

Sunday, April 22nd, marks Earth Day, the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of Fall for you Southern Hemisphere people.  It’s a day to think about our environment, and recycling, and any number of other helpful things for our planet that most of us don’t consider on a regular basis.

I’ve been over it all before with the kids:  turn off the faucet after you’ve wet your toothbrush—don’t just let the water run and run and run.  Stop using the toilet every five minutes, as a matter of fact, use it once a day and be done with it.  Quit opening and closing the refrigerator—dinner will magically appear when it’s time.  You don’t need to use paper towels to wipe up every spill when a sponge or dishtowel will work just as well—with the exception of doggy problems appearing anywhere inside the house and needing attention.

We actually do our part for the environment.  It’s a odd thing, I know, but we cut our paper napkins in half for every meal.  Most American paper napkins are folded into four quarters.  They are very absorbent compared with the rest of the world’s napkins.  In Europe, you would get one-quarter this size (and in France it would be waxed paper), so the fact that our children use double that, three times a day, seems very extravagant.  The fact that they rarely “use” the napkins placed on their laps, but instead, they drop to the ground and the dogs grab them and run, makes life even more interesting.

Yet the facts and figures emanating from Earth Day each year are quite helpful.  For instance, did you know that one tree could filter up to 60 pounds of pollutants from the air each year?  I’ll need to plant a couple in the kids’ bathrooms….

The fact that fully 75% of our trash can be recycled is staggering:  from motor oil, to plastic yogurt containers—we’re not just referring to aluminum cans, and glass bottles, and old newspapers.  Our family recycles newspapers in the fireplace, rolling them up like logs that can be fastened with twine, thus saving more trees, while plastic bags are not thrown out, they’re used for doggy do-do in public places.

These mainstream solutions are not the nagging questions of life when it comes to saving energy and reducing emissions.  I mean, I could let my hair dry without a hairdryer in the summer, but then the world would be a scary place and that’s not a happy thought, either.  Recycling and reducing energy use is not that easy.

No, instead, I shake my head over those in ladies’ rooms who insist on taking five paper towels to dry one pair of hands.  (Or, hitting those horrible dryers that sound like a space ship taking off and further seek to frizz my hair in such close quarters.)  Really, take one paper towel, or just drip dry, okay?

We all know about license plates making cute handbags, and tires being turned into rugs, and newspapers ending up as, I don’t know, refrigerators or something….

But I wonder about clothesdryer lint, and what we’re supposed to do with it.  I know that coffee grounds, and eggshells, and banana peels can be composted out in the garden, but dryer lint?  When have you ever read an article on clothesdryer lint, other than the fact it can set the dryer on fire?  That’s one of those unknown recycling categories, along with last week’s leftover soup….

I consider how an eco-hybrid car that’s reconfigured to run on french fry grease can be a good thing, either, if it means all of us eating more fries and thus, killing ourselves from cholesterol….   And why most of the famous proponents of ecologically-correct lifestyles have private jets with off-the-charts emissions….

Do you have any troubling recycling questions that we should submit to the experts?



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2 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Winnie says:

    Dryer lint solved. When you clean the dryer lint stuff it in toiliet paper cores, they make a decent fire starter. Made some for a camping trip (don’t have a fire place) and DH said they worked pretty well.

    The most troubling aspects hit me when I’m out in the boonies – and I don’t mean at campgrounds which usually have recycling. My mother’s place in the Arkansas Delta only started having trash pick-up in the last 10 years, before that we used burn barrels. No recycling anywhere and no way to get rid of large items like say an old refrigerator. Honestly what should be more pristine areas due to less population tends to be really dirtier because there is no way to cleanly get rid of trash.

    • avatar admin says:

      It’s true, Winnie, that’s why you see so many wrecked cars in everyone’s backyard! 🙂 But we used to have “recycling” in the city– it was the same trash truck that came by a couple of hours later and they threw paper, plastic, and glass all together! Who were they trying to fool? Now it’s a different truck and neighbors complain that the truck drops lots of broken glass everywhere it goes. So they called the city and everyone there knew the exact truck number and said it was scheduled for repairs “soon”. With so many lawyers in the ‘hood, “soon” turned to “immediately”, but it just goes to show that trash is a problem all over.

      Ooh, I like the dryer lint firestarters! With all of the TP and dryer lint around here, I’m sure the kids could start a cottage industry and pay for college like that. Now… how to make them cute and marketable???

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