Sunday, August 29, 2010

When going green is a pain in the *@%&

Let's face it--one of the challenges to going green is that some of the things you must do are a pain in the *@%&. It seems selfish to admit this; after all, compared to many of the daily living tasks our grandparents did all the time, or that many people in less developed nations still do, the stuff I want to complain about is nothing. However, I don't think much good will come from not admitting my annoyance, and maybe by talking about it, I will be able to think of ways to overcome the frustration. So here goes:

Green living takes forethought and preparation. Unfortunately, I'm not always as prepared as I would like. On Saturday, we went to Puyallup to get some work done on our car. Originally my husband was going to go alone, while I remained with my daughter taking care of our various Saturday tasks. For a variety of reasons we realized on Saturday morning that we all needed to go (the money to fix the car was in my account, but I needed the card, so I couldn't just give it to hubby; and we still needed some form of transportation once the car was in the shop).

Thus, we set off on Saturday morning rather quickly, without having prepared for the day. Normally, I'd make breakfast for the family in the morning, and we'd carry lunch with us. Yesterday, however, we dropped off the car and hadn't had breakfast, so we went to a nearby McDonalds. Then we decided to visit the Puyallup farmer's market, one of the biggest in Pierce County, while we waited.

In many ways, that was great--we bought lots of fresh produce, at much cheaper prices than at the farmer's markets in Tacoma. I also bought some natural fragrances--gardenia in jojoba oil--at a great price from a vendor, who discounted her products because this is the last farmer's market booth she plans to do for the year.

However, we then needed lunch, which we bought from food vendors at the market, and it was all packed in styrofoam. And we were there so long waiting for our car to be ready that we had to rush to a birthday party that afternoon, for two sisters who are friends of our daughter's. There was no time to carefully shop for presents, so we hurried into Walmart for heavily plastic-wrapped dolls. (There were some really cute handmade items at the market, such as tie-dyed sundresses for little girls, but they were too pricey for our budget, especially since we had to buy for two children).

Thus, we generated a lot more garbage than we might otherwise have done had we been more prepared. (Although I tried to make up for it by collecting the bottles and cans to recycle at both the birthday party and a church picnic today!).

Green living sometimes just takes more work. The watermelon rinds and corn cobs and husks collected at my birthday party two weeks ago have been decomposing in a plastic bag on the deck. I started to add them to the compost pile today. Before I could do that, I had to chop up the rinds and cobs and cut up the husks. And yeah, it got tiring after a while, which is why I started thinking it would be easier to just throw it all away (I didn't).

While I love all my handmade personal care products (hair conditioner and detangler, facial moisturizer, deodorant, toothpaste), it can be a pain in the *@%& to make them. Not that any of them are complicated to make, but the fact that I have to make them, instead of just buying a pre-made product at the store, can sometimes be annoying, especially if I'm tired or I'm in a hurry when I suddenly discover that I'm out of what I need.

And my reusable menstrual pads? Yes, I love them, as I wrote about a few days ago. But I'll admit, there is a bit of an "ick" factor when I'm rinsing out the pads that have been soaking.

So what to do? Well, sometimes you just gotta vent. After that, I think it's like anything that's a pain in the *@%& to do (taxes, say)--remember why it's important. And remember the benefits. It's easier with things for which the benefit is immediate and obvious, such as my personal care products. But "saving the planet" is a long way off from my small efforts. But perhaps I can focus more on the intermediate term. With my compost, for example, I can remember that next spring, my plants will love me!


  1. Thank you for being so honest because sometimes I think I'm the only person who finds drying corn husks for "browns" for my compost bin, etc. a royal pain when there's a trash can at the end of my driveway. I don't toss them but sometimes I think it would be easier if I wasn't so environmentally aware!

  2. Thanks for commenting. I'm glad I'm not alone!

  3. I can totally relate. I KNOW using my cloth pads is better for the environment, saves me money & is better for my over all health, but like you at times having to deal with the rinsing & washing is just something I don't want to do. Not all the time 99% of the time I'm on board, but sometimes that 1% sneaks