How green is too green?

I was thinking about how to comment on this Post-Gazette article I read online this morning and Pitt Girl beat me to it. If you don’t know, Pitt Girl is an anonymous Pittsburgher who writes a VERY popular blog called The Burgh Blog. I read it for a laugh every now and then, though it’s not family fare; it’s often crude. But often really funny.

So, this wins my vote for TOO GREEN! (I would love to know the “x women out of 10” number that do not find this type of recycling repulsive. And, as one of Pitt Girl’s commenters wrote, can you imagine how her KIDS feel, with this publicity all over the paper?)

We are, however, trying to be more green. I compost my kitchen scraps — though have yet to yield any compost. I’ve been recycling paper (junk mail, the reams I generate in my office, magazines, newspaper) because giant paper recycling dumpsters have popped up everywhere, several that are convenient to me, and my sister put me onto them. I now keep seeing dumpsters (errr, drop-off containers) for shoes and clothes too. I wonder where these donations go? 

We also just purchased a rain barrel. Apparently these are one of the hottest products on the market — the decorative ones are astronomically expensive or already sold out. I’m told you can make your own for a few dollars, but we opted for a ready-made one (someone else’s DIY industriousness) from eBay.

And naturally, for the first time all year, we are not likely to get rain for the next 10 days. So much for saving water this summer. (Maybe we’ll actually get it installed before it rains again.)

I’m very intrigued by the idea of “gray water” systems that use relatively clean wastewater from showering, washing dishes, and laundry so that it can be reused to water the garden and such. Seems like a really worthwhile thing to look into if you build a new house, although I’m sure, like all these good ideas (solar, wind), actually doing it is prohibitively expensive.

Now, this brings to mind something I had totally forgotten. When I was little, I remember my mother actually saving the rinse water from the wash to reuse again to wash the next load. Not just from her wringer washer, but even after she got an automatic. I remember her bailing it out of the laundry tubs and back into the washer. I was appalled. Also appalled when she would rinse out the spaghetti sauce jar or the ketchup bottle or the soup can or whatever to get out every drop. Drove me crazy! Now I do the same thing (the jar rinsing, not the water bailing).

I tell ya, those Depression folks INVENTED reduce, reuse, recycle. (It was called being poor and not wasting anything.) I shudder to think how I (or any of us) would survive if we had to go back to those true DIY times. Kill a chicken, skin a rabbit, grow a garden from seed, “put up” fruits and vegetables, make soap — we likely wouldn’t survive. 

One of my favorite books I read over and over as a child was My Side of the Mountain, about a boy who goes off into the wilderness to live on his own. Between this book and endless readings of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lois Lenski (Strawberry Girl), Caddie Woodlawn, and many others, I was convinced I could be a pioneer girl (or maybe “Aimish”) and in fact probably was one in a previous life.

Now look at me. Grossed out by a little homespun Kotex and Charmin. Pioneer stock my a… (No pun intended, until I realized it.)

Waste not, want not.

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