Monday, August 6, 2012

CTWW - Looking around outside

This is the challenge that was given to us by Reduce Footprints last Wednesday:
This week take a look at your yard for toxic and/or non-environmentally-friendly materials. For example, does your garden hose contain lead? Is the pool, yard toys (slides, swings, doll houses, etc.) made of plastic? How about buckets, tools, garden pots .... or window netting for insects ... are they made of harmful plastic? Identify the materials used for the things you have in your yard and then, make plans to replace those items with Eco-friendly, safe versions. NOTE: we're not asking you to run out and replace everything in your yard ... but simply to evaluate items and replace as you can or deem fitting.

Or ...

Don't have a yard, patio, etc.? Then your challenge is to look indoors. Focus on one room and do the same ... identify any harmful, non-Eco-friendly materials and make plans to replace them. This might include paint with harmful ingredients or a plastic shower curtain. Other ideas include plastic decor, light bulbs, etc.

I thought about this one yesterday as I was outside doing some things around the yard.  I think Husband and I do pretty good.  It's not the best but it's ok.  Most of what we bought and have we did before I started to really focus on my impact on the environment.    We do have a couple things we've done since though.

We do have an inground pool.  Talk about NOT being very environmentally friendlly.  However a couple years ago we converted it to a salt water pool.  Yes you still put chemicals in it.  However of us that is just when we open the pool.  We have found with the salt water we are able to keep the water clean and clear without doing too much.  We don't have to add chlorine to it after the initial dump of chemicals in the beginning of the season.   The salt water is definitly healthier for us.   Pool chemicals are either going to be in a plastic container or a plastic bag.  Since we rarely buy these chemicals we are also able to reduce the amount of waste in that regard.  Sure we could recycle the containers (throw away the bag) but even that has to go through a process.  Now we can reduce the amount we throw away and recycle.

For some reason I don't have a pic of
them outside but this gives you an idea
 We also wanted new furniture for outside by the pool.  The table and chairs were left by the previous owner and we don't like it.  However we are too cheap to buy new stuff.  Last summer Husband actually made some lounge chairs for us.  Instead of having plastic chairs he made some out of wood.  It looks nice and it had a much lower impact on the environment.  Well, at least I believe it did.  I guess the wood could have gone through some kind of process before it got to us.

One thing that I have made an effort to change, however, involves cleaning up after the dog (and deer).  It's not exactly something that we use outside but since she goes outside and I had to clean it up I did think about it.  Instead of putting her waste in a plastic bag I actually put it in paper bags.  I know this will break down easier in the landfill and over time it's a better option than using a plastic bag.  Plus it's pretty cheap to buy the paper bags, I just use paper lunch bags. 

Blackberries from this year.
 Now the last thing I wanted to mention kinda goes with this and kinda doesn't.  I had wanted some kind of privacy cover/fence for around the pool.  I also wanted blackberry bushes.  We decided to put the blackberry bush on the pool fence.  This not only provides us with some cover for when we are in the pool but it also kept us from having to buy/build something for the blackberry bush to climb on.  Instead of just having some grasses or some other plants around the pool, we have a plant that provides us with fruit.  Win-win if you ask me.


  1. Oh, I like the blackberry bushes and the pool area!

  2. Hi Kris! Just wanted to let you know that this week's Change The World Wednesday is based on your suggestion! :-) Here's the direct link:
    Thanks for the idea ... and for participating in our challenges! Have a great day!

  3. Thanks Cat! The pool area is a work in progress but we're happy with what we have done so far.

    Small Footprints -ooooh! I'm excited!