Saturday, December 31, 2011

Extreme or Practical?

The other night I watched the show Extreme Cheapskates. I do many of the things the people on the show do. But the premise on the show is that these people are crazy, and the producers will find those who are not the norm. But is it really extreme to do some of these things?

Before WWII most of the things I do (homemade cleaners and laundry soap, no paper products, etc.) were the norm. You would be extreme if you bought paper towels or store bought window cleaner.

Somewhere along the way we became a wasteful society. We waste so much. We waste our natural resources (trees to make paper, oil to make plastic, etc.) We waste our time. We waste our money.

We have to realize that these things are not limitless. Eventually we will run out of trees, and oil, and money. Actually we already have run out of money as our country is in extreme debt.

Nothing I say will make people start conserving, however I can live my life trying to do all I can.

I need to make good use of the time, money, and resources God has given to me.

In 2008 I decided to stop buying paper products (except toilet paper for Jason and guests.) It has been 4 years since I bought paper towels, napkins, tissues, or sanitary products. I have not missed them (except when my dog was sick, so I admit I used some of the paper towels my mom left here to clean that mess up.) I prefer hand towels and rags to paper towels. I prefer washcloths to napkins. I prefer soft fabric to paper tissues. I am so happy with cloth menstrual pads over the disposables.

In addition to that I like them better I have kept approximately:
200 rolls paper towels out of landfills (at 1 roll per week)
6,000 napkins out of landfills (at about 5 a day)
2,000 tissues out of landfills (at about 2 per day)
2,000 sanitary pads out of landfills (6 a day X 7 days X 12 months x 4 years)
200 rolls of toilet paper out of landfills (at 1 roll a week)
all the plastic these items would have been wrapped in

Also before these would have made it to landfill, and made into disposable products, they were trees and other resources. So not sure how many trees were saved, but even one makes it worth it.

In addition to saving trees and space in landfills, I also have saved money
$200 on paper towels (at $1 a roll)
$ 25 on napkins (at $2 a package of 500)
$ 60 on tissues (at $3 a box)
$300 on sanitary products (after spending about $300 on cloth pads)
$100 on toilet paper (at .50 cents a roll.)

About $700 saved, if you subtract extra loads of laundry, I probably have saved about $500 or $125 a year. Not a huge savings, but since I feel the cloth products are superior and I also am saving trees, other resources, and space in landfills I think it is so worth it.

I don't necessarily think we all have to give up paper products (but please buy 100% recycled, so you are not cutting down another tree.) But we do all have to do something. We all have to live within our means with all our resources. Dare I even say we live below our means. Maybe if we can do so we will influence others to do so, and so on right up to those in positions of authority, especially within the government.

As 2012 is approaching in just a few hours I ask you to commit one resource in your control, be it time, or money, or anything, and set a goal to reduce it.