Thursday, August 19, 2010


Waste makes me sad, and the older I get the sadder it makes me. I can hardly stand to watch the Kleenex Disposable Hand Towel commercials. Have you seen these?

The commercial talks about how your hands are only as clean as the towel you use to dry them and then proceeds to show a dirty white rag being sneezed on, and the dog grabbing it with his mouth, and kids wiping their hands... I grew up with 4 dogs, 3 cats, 2 birds and an aquarium of critters, this kind of thing never went on in our house. It never went on in any of my friends' houses either. There simply is not a big problem with hand towels soiling hands. And even it the towel gets soiled, you can just put it in the laundry and grab a fresh one. Our houses are not truck stops or malls, do we really need protection from our families and friends in this way? Should we all install toilet liners in our bathrooms as well? This is not a product that solves an existing problem, rather it attempts to create a problem to make money and unfortunately creates more waste in the process. As if our lives were not full of enough waste. Not very responsible on the part of the Kleenex company, and kind of a sad commentary on our culture of waste.

I am regularly reminded about the struggles of people around the world. Not enough food, no clean water, or not enough water, disease and death as a result of this lack of resources. Then to walk the neighborhood or drive around town and watch how we treat our resources just makes me sad. Every morning when we walk our dog we watch the broken sprinklers spray water directly into the street where gravity takes it to the sewer (I've alerted the management, but they don't care). Everything in our stores are so over packaged. Do we really need the cardboard box and a plastic bag for our cereal? Do we need our street lights to be on all day and all night? Who pays for that?

I'm certainly no saint when it comes to consuming resources - being home all day every day doesn't help with that. I spend a lot of time online and with the TV on. I'm sure my showers are too long and bathing the dog certainly uses too much water. But I'm very aware and try to do what I can to cut back. While I can't be sure it really makes a difference it reduces some of the guilt I feel because of it. Here are some small things I'm doing to cut back.

1. Shut the water off when brushing, washing, etc.

2. Use only compact florescent light bulbs and turn off everything not being used

3. Unplug the computers, routers and all other blinking appliances overnight

4. Keep the temp set high during the summer and low (as low as I can handle, which isn't as low as my husband could handle) during the winter

5. Only run the dishwasher and washing machine when I have full loads

6. Use those ugly plastic covers on the window during the winter since our apartment is not energy efficient

7. Try to buy products that have as little packaging as possible, and are not overly processed themselves

What I really want to do is have a garden and a compost pile but not really possible in big city apartment life. Can't wait until we move back to the Midwest and settle into a SMALL house.

Have you done things to cut back on your consumption of resources? I would love to hear what you do and/or suggestion for other things I can do?


  1. Funny, I was just saying the same thing to my husband when we were watching TV and this commercial come on, I said good, more trees are killed and the earth is once again used for a big trash can. Nice post.

  2. 1. take short showers
    2. buy water filters, not plastic water bottles
    3. use reuseable shopping bags, no paper or plastic
    4. shop at local farmers markets, support the local growers.

  3. Yup, my jaw just about hit the floor when I saw that very Kleenex commercial. Great tips.

    We use reusable shopping bags for groceries and reusable canisters when ordering restaurant meals to go.

  4. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

    Thanks for all the great suggestions!