Exploring Holistic Alternatives

Families practicing: Alternative & Natural Health; Attachment and Mindful Parent

To you greenies out there or those of you trying to be more green, what has been your biggest challenge?

For us right now, it's making our house more energy efficient. We have single pane old windows and when we had those 30 degree nights last week, my husband and I had to throw huge comforters over our curtain rods in our bedroom so we (the kids, he and I ) wouldn't freeze (and so we wouldn't crank the heat up unnecessarily).

Also, the car thing has me stuck. We have a minivan that I want to sell but I LOVE the space it offers us. I just try not to drive it unless we have to--for long trips or when dh has the other, more efficient, Subaru.

We've gotten rid of paper towels, compost as much as we can, and keep the lights off during the day...but we know there's always more that can be done.

What do you all do?

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Our biggest challenge was switching to cloth diapers with our 4th child. That has gone pretty well. We do have disposables for road trips or backup when I'm out. But so far we have only used 2 small bags of Nature Babycare Diapers in the last 5 months. That's including 4 days of road tripping when he was a newborn.

Recently we did the switch from paper towels and napkins to cloth. That has been a much easier transition than expected. The hardest thing to change for us would be toilet paper. My husband has a preference for Cottonelle (or similar brands) and really can't stand the recycled kind. So I go back and forth on that one.

We are stuck with our minivan for now since we have 4 kids (3 in car seats/boosters) and a dog and can't fit in a hybrid or smaller vehicle. We've been waiting for years for a hybrid minivan and the minute one appears we will be on that waiting list! We've decided when Madeline is old enough to sit in the front seat we will get a small hybrid that seats 5 for me to use around town. We'll still need the minivan for road trips.

Lately I've been looking at packaging and trying to get stuff that we can recycle. Yogurt is hardest. None of the containers are recyclable here in Charlotte. I buy the larger container since I figure it's less waste than a bunch of smaller ones, and I've been saving them. I keep hoping I'll find a place to recycle 5s and I can bring them all down. Of course if the smaller ones go on sale I can't resist so we have some of those too. A few weeks ago I bought a 3 pack of whipped cream spray cans at Costco, since this is pie season for us and my family loves whipped cream. I don't know what I was thinking. Not only are they not organic, but they can't be recycled. I was so aggravated with myself when I realized this.

I find most of my shopping trips are filled with choices between my pocketbook or the environment, or organic or local (or pocketbook!).

One thing I would like to change is laundry detergent. I have an HE washer so I'm not sure what I can use in it since it needs to make less suds. For now I'm using Tide Free HE, but I'm open to other options if they will wash my clothes (esp. diapers) and not hurt my washer. We us Bronner's soaps diluted in all our pump dipensers and to clean the bathrooms, etc.

Hey Cara,

I have a yogurt maker that I love. It is by Salton. Great to be able to make our own yogurt easily, no yogurt containers to worry about! I like to mix them with homemade jams (sweetened with agave) to give us every flavor of yogurt we want. Of course a yogurt maker is another "thing" made of plastic, but you can use a mason jar instead of the plastic insert. You can't win either way but if the yogurt container thing really bothers you this is an option. I enjoy making yogurt myself.
I have that yogurt maker too. It's great, super easy.

Just found these yogurt starters which don't require a yogurt maker!

Make Yogurt the Easy Way!
We have the easiest method for making yogurt!

No heating and cooling the milk. No maintaining the temperature for a period of time.

Most of our yogurt starters culture at room temperature. Just add the starter to the milk, stir and let it sit on the counter until yogurt forms. No milk to heat;* no special equipment. No yogurt maker required!


thanks for that link Pat! Dan and I were JUST talking about how our yogurt containers need to be added to our abundance of storage containers since they can't be "recycled" like the other plastics here. But if I make my own, then no more buying them!!
I use BioPac. I get it at Earthfare for about $17/gallon. However, it is concentrated and it uses only 2T for HE washers (bottles says it is safe for HE washers, too). That's 128 loads. And washing nappies takes even less - I use 1T. For me, it lasts about 2 months. You can order bulk online for less than $11/gallon, too.

Thanks for the recommendation. Tide isn't cheaper really, when you figure out price per load.
I'll have to check out BioPac next.


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