Converting back to a green life, one week (and nap time) at a time

Weeks # 8 and 9 – Paper-back

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March 1, 2014

I’ve been religiously following the website and Facebook page of one of my favourite authors, Diana Gabaldon, ever since a  television series based on her Outlander novels was announced.  While devouring the very latest on the shade of red of (novel character) Jamie’s hair, I came across a blog post from a few years ago, addressing the existence, or lack there of, of “butt cooties”. Indeed, many of us ladies were educated from a very young age on the various critters invisible to the naked eye that  we could catch from sitting on a public toilet seat. We learned that the appropriate way of avoiding said critters was to squat, or blanket the seat in toilet paper.

It struck me during the course of this eco-challenge that, considering I work all day in a building with a public washroom, I am likely using as much paper every time I use the washroom as I am using tissues to blow my nose (Week # 2). So, this week’s challenge was to stop using toilet paper on public toilet seats and instead favour the development of my thigh muscles (which could also use some attention).

So far I’ve been trying – and failing. I just can’t let go of the habit/need of that security tissue between me and the invisible germs (even if they are really imaginary, non-existent invisible germs) on the seat. I’ll keep trying, but for greeness sake I’m doing some additional challenges:

1) Set up paperless billing on all of my bills that have this feature available;

2) Put a “No Flyers Please” sticker on our mailbox (the original was mistakenly painted over last summer);

3) Set-up double-sided printing on our printer at work (which luckily did not require 10 minutes on hold with our IT Help Desk);

4) Stop getting receipts at the library and ATM.

Believe it or not, #3 has been the most contentious so far – a couple of my coworkers are not only not in favour of double-siding, but are actually opposed to it. Sure it has its time and place, and some documents just don’t lend themselves well to double-siding, but other circumstances- such as long reference documents being placed on a file, or drafts- are a good opportunity . To each their own I guess – I can’t be the eco-police in this situation.

#1 has also been more of a challenge than I thought. My bank documents and most of my bills were no problem. But surprisingly Halifax Water does not yet have a paperless billing option. I sent them an e-mail to see what was up with that, and they responded that they are working on it and it should be “available in the very near future”.

#4 has also been a learning curve for myself and the librarians. The new self-service check-out kiosks print receipts automatically, with no opt-out button (which I suggested via their suggestion box – ironically, on a piece of paper). When I visit a check-out desk with an actual person, I have to remember to ask them not to print a receipt. Even when I ask they often forget – indicating to me that it is a habit for them too. At least these receipts are a good size to be reused as grocery lists :-)

Speaking of which, if my husband and daughter want supper tonight we better get going. It’s a beautiful, almost spring day and I just have a few things to pick up,  so I think we’ll walk instead of driving.


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