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Project Green Foot: The beginnings

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“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes…the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ~Steve Jobs

Over the last two years or so, we (me and my husband, JP) have been looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible. We thought we were doing a pretty good job by recycling, composting, using reusable bags, mugs, cups and water bottles, buying organic/local foods, but we never put too much thought into our waste, where it ended up and what our actual carbon footprint was.

I was continuously wondering if there was more we could do? And of course, the answer was  yes!

We watched No Impact Man, where a family from New York City over one year gradually decreased their carbon footprint to zero. JP turned to me and said “I hope you aren’t getting any ideas. I am not giving up electricity.” We had a good laugh, but little did he know, I was coming up with all sorts of plans! <Insert mischievous laugh here.>

I later stumbled upon, The Clean Bin Project, where fellow Canadians from Vancouver, BC- Jen and Grant and their roommate (Rhyannon) went one full year trying to create zero waste by not purchasing material goods; just food and necessities.

My first though was: I could totally do this. My second thought was: how could I present this to JP in a fun manner to get him on board?

To my surprise, JP was really intrigued by the concept. He became so passionate about our potential project that we have decided to add many more facets than just zero waste.

JP would like this to be a competition to see who creates the least amount of waste in one year. Who is he kidding? Does he really think he will beat me?

This is how Project Green Foot was born!

Project Green Foot will be us attempting to calculate our carbon footprint over the next year by:

  • Keeping a record of the amount of gas we consume in one year.
  • Keeping a record of our electricity consumption at home in one year.
  • Keeping a record of what we purchase (food and necessities) on a weekly basis.
  • Trying to create zero waste by consuming less; actually zero material objects, composting all food scraps at home and outside of the home and recycling everything we possibly can. We will weigh all our trash (if we have any), compost and recycling weekly.

We are well aware there are many other things to consider when calculating our carbon footprint such as the resources and materials used while we are at work, the impact of eating at restaurants, etc, but we will do the best we can with the information we have access to.

In an effort to minimize our carbon footprint, we will also:

  • Use everything we already have in the house. We don’t want to waste anything.
  • Purchase only food and necessities-toothpaste, laundry detergent, deodorant., medication etc. However, we will attempt to make as many of our own products.
  • Not purchase material goods. This means no clothing or fancy shoes, no electronics or the latest DVD’s, no disposable containers or disposable cutlery,  no hair elastics or brushes and most definitely no styrofoam…I am pretty sure you get the picture.
  • Only make purchases with recyclable packaging and avoid excess packaging.
  • Look for alternatives to plastic packaging when making purchases.
  • Compost all waste scraps plus other materials that are compostable at home.
  • Bring home compostable materials to place in our compost bin.
  • Recycle all glass, metal, aluminum, plastic and look for ways to recycle other miscellaneous objects that do not ordinarily go into the recycling bin.
  • Use glassware, if we decide to get take-out from a restaurant.
  • Use cloth towels/napkins’ and  glass straw opposed to disposables.
  • Buy waste-less gifts for others i.e. donate money etc.
  • Encourage others to give waste-less gifts to us.
  • Spend money on transportation, entertainment and experiences (accommodations).

Exceptions:

  • We have a 10 month old daughter. Therefore, within the next year there will most definitely be some things that we will need to purchase for her. We will, however, purchase items only that are necessary, eco-friendly/non-toxic and in minimal packaging.
  • We will not buy unnecessary toys or an overabundance of them.

With all this said, we are kicking off Zero Waste week 2011 in style, by pledging to attempt to create zero waste for one full year while trying to calculate our carbon footprint along the way!

Every Monday I will update you all on our progress!

Disclaimer: This project is for our own entertainment and we are not asking or expecting anyone else to go a full year without purchasing any material products or advocating that we all should never purchase anything again. Eventually my daughter will need some clothing; she is growing like a weed.

We will still spend money on food and necessities, as well as transportation, and the occasional movie or restaurant outing. We will be supporting the local economy by making responsible purchases.

We are not against buying. We simply want to reduce our unnecessary consumerism.

All we want to do is challenge ourselves. We believe that we can all make a difference one green-foot at a time. Some of you might think we are some crazy hippies. And if you do- that’s ok.

It is usually the crazy ones that think change is possible and do, in turn, make a difference. I love knowing we are playing a role in decreasing our impact on the environment, however small it may be.

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66 Responses to Project Green Foot: The beginnings

  1. Clumsy Coquette September 5, 2011 at 3:35 am #

    Good luck girl!

    I work to decrease my carbon footprint, but man I’m not sure I could do that!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    ~your newest follower

    http://www.theclumsycoquette.com

  2. Michelle September 5, 2011 at 8:23 am #

    Wooo hooo!!! Good luck, looking forward to reading all about it. Please though, do be honest with us, those amazing wonder women who do it all without so much as a grumble make me suspicious! (though, from looking at your blog you are a wonder women!)

    Wonder what Steve Jobs would make of this & you using his quote?! Don´t think he´d be so minted if we were all thinking – and acting – like this! Ha ha, good on ya for turning it on it´s head.

    Can´t wait to start reading & sharing your progress.

    • Good Girl Gone Green September 5, 2011 at 9:17 am #

      Oh, I will be honest!, Michelle-promise! I am not wonder women, but thanks! I just do what I can because I am so passionate about the environment! It comes as second nature for me to do things green! Not sure what Steve Jobs would say! But I never thought about it until now….that is pretty funny, once you think about it!

  3. Tanya September 5, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    Loving it and wishing you the best, I know you can do it. I love JP’s competition idea:-). You sound just like me, coming up with plans while watching No Impact Man, lol. I can’t wait to read your progress and join you on the challenge:-)!!
    T

    • Good Girl Gone Green September 5, 2011 at 9:19 am #

      Thanks T for rooting for us! JP loves competitions, but when it comes to living green, who is he kidding.-he cant beat me…lol! I hope you will at some point join me on the journey! :)

  4. Fadra September 5, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    I love it! And I don’t think you’re doing anything too drastic or unreasonable. The most important thing you’re doing is creating your own awareness of your impact. And the great thing is that you aren’t limiting the MONEY you spend. There are electronic books and movies and everything else available for download.

    I’ve gotten so much better at recycling and have made steps to make it easier for everyone in my family. The trick is really to get into the habit. I know you can do it!

    • Good Girl Gone Green September 5, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      Thanks, Fadra; that means a lot! We are not necessarily limited our spending but we will most definitely be more aware of where our money is going. We still want to experience things and believe experiences are better then material objects!

      Every little but helps. Do the best you can! Some recycling is better then no recycling!

  5. Beth September 5, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    Can’t wait to read about your journey. I am curious though. Why no hair brushes?

    • Good Girl Gone Green September 5, 2011 at 9:59 am #

      thanks Beth~ I already have 2 hair brushes and do not need more. Also, I was just writing a list of random things I won’t be purchasing because I wouldn’t need them, but LOL, you are thorough in your reading-love it!

  6. Dean J. Baker September 5, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    enjoying your blog, and joined – hope you’ll join mine
    you can find my blog at http://deanjbaker.blogspot.com

  7. Sara September 5, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    Yay! Just popping in to wish you guys luck! I look forward to reading about the journey. Also, very clever “Encourage others to give waste-less gifts to us.” ie. donate money.. to you ;) Just teasin’!

  8. BellaVidaLetty September 5, 2011 at 1:07 pm #

    I really love that quote and commend you for your effort in making the world a better place.

    I try to be conscientious but have a way to go.

    Bella Vida by Letty
    Have a great day.

    • Good Girl Gone Green September 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

      Thanks. I know, it really is a great quote. Not sure if this is what he had in mind…..

  9. Mrs Green @ littlegreenblog.com September 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    I’m So excited about this; I can hear your enthusiasm bouncing off the page. Can’t wait to see what you get up to and thanks for all the zero waste week support!

    • Good Girl Gone Green September 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

      Thanks! I am pretty excited about this! We have been talking about it for a while now and decided to put it into action!! And I love the zero waste week…brillant idea!! :)

  10. Momfever September 5, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    Good luck! I think you’re very brave!

  11. LoveFitnessLaugh September 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    wow…i am just amazed at what you and your family are able to do. definitely a lifestyle change! good for you!

    • Good Girl Gone Green September 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

      Thank you so much! We just want to make a difference as much as we can! :)

  12. Athletes4life September 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    Way to add to our world in a positive way!

  13. Sarah September 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    I love a good challenge! This is a great one! I’m trying to work on several things you mentioned, doing them all is surely going to be difficult, but very meaningful and worthwhile. I can’t wait to read all of your updates along the way!

    • Good Girl Gone Green September 5, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

      Thanks Sarah! I am looking forward to sharing the good and the bad with everyone!

  14. Lisa @Granola Catholic September 5, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    This sounds like a fantastic project. I wish you luck. For your daughter who is growing like a weed. What kid is not you might check out buying her clothes second hand, thrift or consignment, Even setting up a clothing exchange with other parents. I always joke that my kids don’t own clothes so much as they rent them. It seems we are lucky to have some things last a year around here. If you want more info on a clothing exchange drop me a line. I organized one last year. It really is not that hard.

    • Good Girl Gone Green September 6, 2011 at 8:43 am #

      Thanks Lisa! I think buying second hand is great for the environment but I am a stickler for toxins, and I know most people think I am crazy. I really like to buy my daughter organic/sustainable clothing. I only buy what I need though. She always wears the same thing because I do the laundry every 3-4 days for her diapers. The clothing exchange is a great idea though, I will look into it for sure. I will be in touch!

  15. Clairity September 5, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    Everything you were saying was doable until the part where you said, no new clothing. Waa-aah, I wonder if I can. I usually make it a compromise – if we’re going shopping for new clothes, we give away the old wearable clothes.

    • Good Girl Gone Green September 6, 2011 at 8:38 am #

      LOL!!! Its great that when you go shopping for new clothing you have to give away old clothing! Great idea.

  16. Rose September 5, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    Love your site! I’m always looking for new ways to be more green! I’m a new follower from the blog hop. Please stop by and follow me at Tips for Saving: http://ourtipsforsaving.blogspot.com

    Thanks and Keep in Touch!

  17. Melisa - Mommy This and That September 6, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Good luck! I hope you and JP are able to do what you set out and even more! I think it is quite a challenge and I know my husband would put his foot down if I suggested it! Plus…I don’t think I could go a full year w/o buying at least ONE pair of cute shoes! ;-)

  18. Jessica @FoundtheMarbles September 8, 2011 at 6:45 am #

    What an amazing thing you are doing. I can’t wait to reas about it. This sounds like The beginning of a great book idea…. Printed on recycled paper of course!

  19. Tara R. September 8, 2011 at 8:12 am #

    I really like this idea. Our family has become more conscious of how much we can better recycle. We had enough that we asked for a second collection bin. Many weeks we have more to be recycled that in our trash can. We do compost and I’m working toward buying more local, fresh produce than canned and frozen. I keep reusable bags in the car, and map out my errands to cut down on driving. Once you get started it becomes habit.

  20. Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama September 8, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    You are amazing and such an inspiration!

    Thanks for linking up at Green & Natural Mamas Thursday again!

  21. Free Range Mama September 8, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    This is fabulous! Thanks for sharing!
    Another thing you can do if you really need something is to buy it secondhand. That’s reusing, which is is second in the recycling mantra! Love your ideas!
    My family took part in a No Spend Month last Spring.
    If you are interested here is the blog post:
    http://myhealthygreenfamily.blogspot.com/2011/04/my-no-spend-month.html

    Congrats! I love it when people take challenges like this!

  22. Parga's Junkyard September 8, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    Found you via Thoughtful Thursdays! Great Post btw! I am interested in watching you over the next year to see how your project works out! Follow back at http://www.pargasjunkyard.wordpress.com and/or on facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pargas-Junkyard/259287017434763

  23. A Girl Goes Green September 9, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    Good luck! I am slowly moving towards that lifestyle…hope it goes well for you and will be eager to see your progress!

  24. aquariann September 10, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Great goals! My Ogre is, at this very moment, training to sell wind and solar systems.

    Btw, I stumbled this! My post: Zombie Costumes

  25. Rachel R. September 10, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    Wow, what an endeavor! Good luck with your challenge, and let us know how it goes. I’m stumbling this from the Stop and Stumble hop.

  26. Jayne @ Green Country Girl September 10, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    Wow! I admire you taking on such an ambitious challenge. I’ll be keeping watch to see how it goes for a year.

    I gladly gave your post a Stumble.

  27. Elle September 10, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    Sounds like an interesting year coming up.

    Stumbled this from the Stop and Stumble hop.

  28. Diane h September 10, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    If I could just apply 2-3 of these things immediately it would really help. I am more and more convicted that I need to change.

    Stopping by from the Stumble hop

  29. Vicky September 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    That is very noble. While I don’t think we could ever do anything like that. I totally support you in your efforts! You rock!

    I am visiting from the Stop and Stumble Hop. I have stumbled this post. If you have a chance please stumble mine too. http://www.messforless.net/2011/09/foam-window-clings.html
    Thanks!

    • Good Girl Gone Green September 12, 2011 at 12:30 am #

      Thanks! I havent always been this “green”. It has been a process!

  30. The Green House October 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    You seriously rock! We do everything we can to be green, but I may have to give it a long and hard thought to trying out your project in the coming year. I have three young children, so it may not be as easy when it comes to toys and stuff like that, but at least I started cloth diapering with our newborn. I just have convince my husband about using cloth wipes. That may take some major getting used to. Thank you for all your great posts. Love them! BTW, we live in Dallas. How are you liking DFW so far?

    • Good Girl Gone Green October 28, 2011 at 2:06 am #

      Thanks! Every bit helps! Just do what you can, that’s all anyone can ask for! You are in Dallas? I am loving Fort Worth; we need to meet up!

      • The Green House October 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

        Yes, we most certainly do need to meet up. You need to give me pointers on how you can find the time to write as much as you do on your blog. BTW, would you like to be a guest blogger for my “Save Our Planet Saturday” series? Email me at thegreenhouseboutique(at)gmail(dot)com.

        • Good Girl Gone Green October 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

          Night time, night time, night time and early in the morning! Did I mention I am tired and have a 12 month at home with me…..*sigh* Will email you :)

          • The Green House November 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

            That’s what I mean? I am homeschooling my 5-year-old and 3-year-old, and I have a 3-month-old who seems to be going through a “Mommy, hold me, hold me” stage. I can’t seem to find any time for anything else, let alone keep up with my blog. How do all these other mommy bloggers do it?

  31. Emily @ Random Recycling January 31, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Such a wonderful project to tackle as a family. With the 10 month old, there are so many ways to buy gear/clothes/etc from consignment shops or sales which is also a nice way to maintain the theme of “less.”

    You reminded me that I should write down everything we spend, especially on food. I make the majority of our food and I know there are ways I can trim our budget. Thanks!

  32. Rebecca Watkins February 2, 2012 at 6:48 am #

    Thank you very much for placing this post on Natural Mothers Network’s linky: Seasonal Celebration! You helped make Seasonal Celebration a wealth of intelligent, creative and resourceful information and it’s been such a pleasure for me and many others to read through each post. I am really looking forward to seeing you again Sunday evening or Monday! Rebecca x

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I'm Stephanie, the Good Girl Gone Green, and I'm excited to share my own experiences with learning to live a greener, healthier life!

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