It's a tradition to make resolutions for improvement at the start of each new year, and to also take stock of our lives as the old year closes. I have been pretty happy with how the past year wound its course, but there is always room for improvement! Here's my list of "Sustainability Resolutions":
1. Return to regular Sustainable Sunday posts! I do have a lot more material to share with everyone. My Internet connection woes may improve; the service provider insisted that repairs would be in place by the end of 2010, and the tenant who was splitting bandwidth with us just moved... time will tell, but I will also try to plan and build posts throughout the week so that they are waiting each Sunday.
2. Attack that junk mail problem once again! I don't know about you, but this is a resolution that has been on my list several times in the past. I have diligently contacted the various people supposedly in charge of 'lists' and asked to be removed, only to find that by December of the following year, I am still getting way too much un-requested mail that adds to my household's waste stream. Here's the list of websites I am trying this time:
Direct Marketing Association: www.dmachoice.org
Credit card offers: www.optoutprescreen.org
Glossy catalogs: www.catalogchoice.org
I also intend to turn back around those offers and solicitations that come with first class, postage-paid envelopes and mail all the 'stuff' back along with my request to be dropped from their list.
3. Refuse, Refuse, Refuse! No more free samples for me, no free pens, extra calendars, etc. There has been a major uptick in giving freebies, using postcards, etc., to promote businesses and products in recent years. I can remember, 'back in the day', when my mama only had business cards to pass out as a real estate broker; now, everyone has gone to glossy postcards or brochures placed in plastic holders on counters. I am also weighing carefully which magazines to discontinue. DH and I are readers; we like to hold things in our hands and kick back in our chairs and luxuriate in reading. That said, I have some powerful resources to help me break the print habit - a great library system with online request service, and the fiber guild, which buys the latest books and subscribes to the most useful magazines then lets us all share them.
4. Extend my 'bring a bag' habit further! Some of you outside of California might not have heard, but San Francisco was the first US city to ban plastic shopping bags in March 2007, initially for large grocery and pharmacy stores only, though the ordinance may be expanded. Several other large CA metro areas were quick on their heels. Here's why:
Last week, I learned about one family's efforts to move towards a Zero Waste household in an article in January's Sunset magazine, and decided that I could easily add more containers and 'sub-bags' to my shopping collection, filling them with bulk items at my local stores and avoiding bringing home even more refuse. I realized I would have to work more closely on my impulse shopping habits, and write a list in advance that includes figuring out what container I need to bring as well. For example, when I shop for groceries later this week, I will be bringing a bottle with a cap for canola oil, and a jar for almond butter, both available in bulk at my local co-op. I will also need to cultivate cordial relations with the clerks at these stores, as each container needs to be checked for tare weight in advance of filling, and checking out may take a bit longer. I am guessing they would prefer that such customers come during the slower parts of the day.
5. Use What I Have! This isn't always easy in a culture that puts a heavy emphasis on 'consume, consume, consume'. Luckily, I am a maker at heart and already do a lot of re-purposing and thrifting. However, as an artist, it is often hard to resist items with 'potential'. Part of this weekend has been spent in either finishing up WIPs, such as hemming two skirts I found over a year ago (ugh! hate to admit to such procrastination), or getting real with myself and passing some of the supplies along to others. I have several pounds of such supplies bundled up and awaiting re-distribution, and feel much lighter! I also made a 'new' bathroom rug, loosely following a pattern in Soule Mama's Handmade Home book. The top portion, a flannel monkey print, is from a pillowcase I picked up at a thrift store, intending to use it for something for my grandbaby... she turned up in pjs with the same print shortly thereafter (yet another example of great minds thinking alike!), the backing is a bathmat found at another thrift shop, neutral in color, unstained and adding a cushion factor. The red stripes, which help absorb some of the moisture when you initially step out, are polarfleece left over from a sewing project.
Not to fear, dear grandchild still benefitted, with another small sewing project this weekend, which created a new dolly skirt from leftover quilting fabrics. I also benefitted from realizing that my creative urges don't always need to start at the yarn or fabric store!
Note: Thanks to Luci for letting me know that the video wasn't working, nor Soule Mama's link... I have fixed both!