Monday, September 29, 2014

Conservation Monday #8: Guilt Free Showers & Other Tales

Our move from the San Francisco Bay Area to Denver has meant many changes and adjustments, but today as I add to my Conservation Monday series I want to focus on what this move has meant for my conservation habits.

Guilt free showers. There is no drought here! I am keeping in place my shorter shower practices, but I don't feel bad if I need that extra minute of hot water to help me wake up. While we are in temporary housing we also don't have a balcony full of vegetables to water, so I don't have to stop up the tub while I shower in order to water the plants. Oh, and flushing the toilet without feeling guilty about all that water flowing down is priceless.

Recycling. I threw a recyclable drink cup in the garbage the other night because there was no recycling bin anywhere in the shopping center. After the 3 bin system instituted by SFSU (recycling, compost & garbage) this forced garbage feels unnatural. We do have recycling at our apartment, though it's so far out of the way that while Sean was here ahead of me he thought there was no recycling at all! I was determined to find it though, and I did. No more yogurt cups going in the garbage for us!

On the topic of recycling, Colorado also doesn't do a deposit on bottles. So, while in California we always saved bottles and cans to collect the CRV, those items just go into the single stream recycling here.

Packaging. This is more for us personally, rather than the area as a whole. Because of our temporary housing situation, and our sparsely populated kitchen cabinets, we are buying more packaged food and less from bulk bins. We just don't have the space for a lot of the cooking and baking we normally do from scratch. I'm looking forward to getting into a permanent house where we can unpack all of our kitchen supplies, and get back to baking bread, using the slow cooker, and all the things that are not possible right now. But for now, we'll get the precooked chicken fajita strips and deal with the fact that we're tossing plastic wrap in the garbage, and a plastic tray and cardboard wrap in the recycling. It makes me sad, but I know it's only temporary.

Plastic bags. Our county in California had outlawed plastic bags a while back, so it was always a bit of a shock on our summer road trip when a store would give us a "free" plastic bag. And here in the Denver area, stores will give us so many plastic bags. It's reminding me how wasteful free bags can be -- a bag for my toilet brush and nothing else? On the other hand, it's been nice to have all those bags on hand for cleaning the litter box, since I gave my old stash of bags awaiting reuse to my mom before we moved.

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