The Cost of Conservation - Which way is best?

@coffeebreak (17824)
United States
August 3, 2008 1:42pm CST
I try really hard to conserve, not just for money but for the environment and all that. However, as I over analyze everything I ever do... I must ask opinions of y'all to see where I call it stops. For instance.... Paper or Cloth - as in paper napkins or cloth napkins. I buy the really cheap, thin paper napkins, and usually only use on per meal unless really messy meal and then I will go to paper towels and all works just fine. The other option is cloth napkins that I have to wash all the time. So do I use trees or the water supply? Paper uses the trees which can be replaced, albiet years. Cloth you have to wash so it uses the water supply that is getting sparse and often here in california we are on water conserve warning things about not using water during certain hours. Water is also something we can't replace. We get what the snow/ice drifts melt and we can't make any more. But with trees, at least we can replant what we use. So...is it better to use the trees or the water supply? Same question with Paper plates or wash dishes - I can use the paper plate and save the water or use the dishes and wash them using water, but and save a tree....so which do I do? At the moment I do paper - simply cause we can replant trees where we can't replace water. Either way, I do them sparingly like washing dishes by hand so as not to use the water - no way do I believe that a dishwasher uses less water - at least my brand new small load dishwasher doesn't - it doesn't even get the dishes clean even after I have pre washed them. Plus, for just me, a dishwasher is not practical. If you have lots to feed, then it would be. After 7pm and before 7am, electricity is a small bit cheaper so I do my water usage for dishes/laundry then. So what are your thoughts and ideas for saving conservation OR money? Which way do you go?
1 person likes this
5 responses
@ruby222 (4848)
3 Aug 08
We like you try to do our litle bit to help,we recycle the things that can be recycled and cut back on things that can be cut back on,we try to use small amounts of paper,and we dont waste much in the way of food.Im sure that most families all try to do the same,I also try hard not to use more water than is necessary,and to re use the water if at all possible.
@coffeebreak (17824)
• United States
3 Aug 08
And it isn't that hard to cut back on things. You don't realize that you don't really need all you think you need. I've moved twice and from a 4 bedroom house into a 2 bedroom apartment and got rid of so much due to space, but now, I see I didn't really need all that stuff anyway!
1 person likes this
@ruby222 (4848)
4 Aug 08
We have cut back on the clutter that we keep,and we had a major sort out a good few months ago ,all the things that we didnt use went to new homes,mainly the skips im afraid!!but it was a job that just had to be done.
• Philippines
4 Aug 08
Ok here goes. First SAVE WATER IN CONTAINERS, clean water in clean containers. DONT WATER PLANTS IN THE MORNING (THE PLANTS THAT GROWS FRUITS OR VEGETABLES THAT YOU EAT, WATER IT WITH CLEAN WATER), this will come in handy with your saving water idea. First the paper napkin or cloth napkin: 1. If you have any clothes that have holes or worn out, use it for cleaning mess, really dirty mess. You dont have to buy cloth napkins, you just save and reuse by doing this. If you need to wash it, get a basin, put water with soap and wash it. DONT THROW THE SOAP WITH WATER. Pour it on plants, not the plants with fruits/vegetables that you harvess and eat. Just the plants that grows with flowers or leaves only. 2. Cloth napkins for drying dishes, clean napkins which you can just dry out in the sun. Use it on drying dishes ONLY. 3. Paper napkins, still buy the cheap ones that you use and use it as how you use it. But dont throw it. Put it a plastic or better yet a container where you can put biodegradable stuffs, like leftover foods that wil be thrown away. Put it outside and put soil in it, but small amount of soil only. Do this everyday - BIODEGRADABLE STUFFS, SOIL then BIODEGRADABLE STUFFS, SOIL. If the container is full, dug a hole in your backyard and pour the stuffs inside the container. And do the same thing again. Paper napkins came from trees, together with other biodegradable stuffs with soil. This could be a source of soil full of nutrients that can help plants grow. Ohh dont forget to pour a cup of water (dirty or clean) into the container. 4. Your washing idea with plates, DONT USE PAPER PLATES. It could just add to pile of garbage that you will throw. Use plates which are ceramics. Wash it through the -basin, pour water that came from the container, pour dirty water on plants. Same idea with what is above.
@coffeebreak (17824)
• United States
4 Aug 08
You ideas are great. I can see where it would be a big help. But for me I live in an apartment so your composte idea, although good, I can't use. THey'd never allow me to dig holes on the property. I don't have but 2 indoor plants and they are small. indoor plants don't grow every well for me! I have only one sink in my kitchen (designer had to have been a man that never enters the kitchen area or there'd be double sinks!) so I do have a bucket thing, just so I can have soapy water to wash and then I wash, and fill the left over part of the sink with soapy dishes. When that is full I rinse all together so water from one dish rolls off onto another dish and by the time I am near the end of the stack, the last dishes are nearly washed off. I couldn't carry that bucket thing anywhere anyway - to heavy. But thanks for the suggestions!
• United States
4 Aug 08
The part you may be missing by using the paper is not that its killing trees the problem here is the carbon print to cut the tree mill the tree form the paper package the paper and ship the paper and then imagine that in the millions I use cloth not to save a tree but to save the carbon footprint that comes with products that have this much processing. This is also why it is better to buy anything you can that is made local and with as little packaging as possible. As far as water consumption goes there are ways to minimize your use such as a rain catching systems and High Effeciancy washers. Just some food for thought. As long as you are trying then your a part of the salution.
1 person likes this
@coffeebreak (17824)
• United States
4 Aug 08
Yes the manufacture and transportation of products is an issue, however not one that we can address on our level. That is why food has gotten so high lately, the transportation part of it cause of the high gas prices caused them to go up. But unless we stop eating, nothing we consumers can do about that. Once the gas crisis is over, or at least comes down, prices won't. THey stay up - just cause people are used to paying it and they figure, they'll buy at that price, why bring it down. I live in an apartment so I am not able to do many "other" options like the rain gutter. When I had a house I did collect that for inside plants but then we seldom get much rain anyway I ended up just leaving it for the plants outside. We can only do so much, and just the best we can I guess. Was just wondering what others thought- appreciate your comment, hope others will to!
@arkaf61 (10891)
• Canada
4 Aug 08
Well, it really comes about to more or less the same thing. Water is recyclable too, over and over again. THink about it this way, only a very minor part of the water diverted from nature to our uses is actually consumed. The most part is released back into the water cycle to be filtered, treated and used again and again.Whatever water goes down our drains finds its way to treatment plants and then it's released back again to join the cycle. A small - or not so small percentage depending on the point of view - that evaporates from lakes/rivers/oceans comes back to us trough rain. THe major problems with lack of water come from heavy populations in places where there are no current water - rivers, lakes , oceans etc and to make it worse have low precipitation rates. Now think about trees. Sure they can be replaced/replanted... and they will need water to grow, the same water you saved by using the paper plate instead of the one you can wash :) So in the end it really is about the same. That said, yes, we - as the people living on earth - and in the areas where we can, are using water indiscriminately, wasting water etc., but in regards to your question, about replacing a tree or water it's more or less the same. Sure it's a good idea to try and use water responsibly.The same as anything where we can make a difference. Using dishwashers and washing machines/dryers during the night away from the peak use of electricity , using them only when they are filled to capacity,recycling and reusing all that we can, whenever possible buy things that have less packaging, try to use proven homemade cleaning products instead of the more convenient but not so safe commercial ones - I do a lot of my cleaning with baking soda, vinegar etc -and most of all - which is something that people forget when they talk environment - not to succumb blindly to this consumerism that makes people buy things they don't need, buy things that are so convenient but are not reusable so they have to keep buying and throwing out and buying and throwing out.We are making more garbage nowadays not only because we're more but because we're throwing out things earlier than we did before - years back people would buy a tv and have it for almost a life time,they would keep their car for years and years and it would be in ship shape condition even after all those years... are the manufacturers trying to tell me that with all the advances we are going backwards and can't build things that last? No, what they're telling me is that they want to build things that don't last so we can keep buying them - and consequently throwing them out - over and over again.
@coffeebreak (17824)
• United States
4 Aug 08
"are the manufacturers trying to tell me that with all the advances we are going backwards and can't build things that last? No, what they're telling me is that they want to build things that don't last so we can keep buying them - and consequently throwing them out - over and over again. " YOu are so right. They make them with short life spans so we have to buy new regularly. MAke additions to them so we replace what we have even if it still works fine. Sad, isn't it! Yeah, what goes around comes around, I guess. I often find myself asking "why is it all of a sudden that recycling is popular? WHy haven't they been doing this all along/ Why wait till the last minute? But my answer is like you say - people used to keep things a life time. There wasn't much to recycle! NOw, they "trade-in" every other year and get new as often, that the recycling got so overwhelmed so quickly, no one saw it coming! Well, probably they did but since it wasn't their problem, they ignored it. I don't see any appliances like TV or microwaves things like that, that have a recycle program "buy a new one and we'll pick up your old one" or anything like that. But I guess all we can do is the best we can with what we have. Thanks for the comment. Another interesting thing to ponder and search for a solution!
1 person likes this
@skinnychick (6937)
• United States
4 Aug 08
I honestly would rather save money and I do things to do that! Sure I recycle and care about the environment but I don't go overboard. I use my dishwasher as I have 4 people to feed and use a bunch of dishes when I cook. I bought a car that was more fuel effecient and don't drive as much as I used to because of the cost of gas not really because of the fact that oil could run out and is running out. I guess I should probably be more concerned about the environment but I have bigger fish to fry in my life than that. Like being able to feed my kids with rising costs of everything, etc...I do like paper plates, less dishes and they are biodegradable anyway right? Have a great day!
@coffeebreak (17824)
• United States
4 Aug 08
You are speaking my language! I do the best I can with what I got too! I will buy recyled paper things when I can. I feel I have been doing the best possible. THat also makes me mention - - although organic and pure environment things is supposedly better and all - it is 2-3 times more expensive and often for less quantity so how can we afford it? Which makes me ask - if they are NOT putting all the chemicals in the product, which cost money, now that they are not putting those things in there, they are not spending the money anymore, so why is a product that does not contain them, cost more than one that does?
• United States
5 Aug 08
By the way- cool blog! :) Ok, I was wondering the same thing about eco-friendly stuff. It should cost less to make it so it should be cheaper. I would buy it if it was cheaper. But I'm not going to let my wallet suffer to be eco friendly. If I can do something for free or cheaper fine- if not then I guess I won't be that eco friendly. LOL