My 2010 Green Resolutions and Looking Back on ’09

I have a love-hate relationship with 2009.  Last year brought tremendous growth for Green Home Experts.  We expanded our product line to offer more green alternatives for everything in the home.  We assisted with the build-out of a green restaurant in Naperville.  We hosted free workshops on a wide variety of topics.  And we drew in almost twice as many customers as the previous year.

But 2009 was also difficult, for sure.  The credit crunch put a halt on commercial and residential building.  One of our cabinetmakers went under.  Other suppliers were bought and sold, all in an effort to stay afloat.  People were hesitant to spend money because we all felt like we didn’t know what would happen tomorrow.  Everyone was stressed by the terrible economy and we carried that burden with us all year.

Last year, I made 2 resolutions for a greener new year and I challenged readers to come up with their own.  My 2009 resolutions were:

“1) Grow more veggies. I already get much of my fresh produce from the Farmers Market, and I would like to eat even more locally by eating out of my backyard. I’ll be planting beans, tomatoes, squash, and herbs. Any suggestions for other full-sun veggies?

2) Eliminate baggies. Being the Costco junkie that I am, I bought sandwich bags 3, that’s THREE, years ago! And I still have them! Every once in a while, I have to use one. I successfully banned paper towels from my domain in 2008, which was a big challenge considering I have 2 puppies (and 2 men) in my house. I think if I could bar paper towels, sandwich bags should be a zip–haha, no pun intended.”

I’m happy to say that I was pretty successful with #1 and completely successful with #2!  Eliminating baggies was a cinch, especially with the Wrap-N-Mats and Snack Taxis sold at GHE.  So now the Onesto Moran household is completely void of paper towels, garbage bags, paper napkins and baggies!

#1 was also successful, although by no means do I eat a completely local diet.  My husband and I built an organic vegetable bed in April, so we enjoyed onions, tomatoes, eggplant, herbs, zucchini, hot & bell peppers, and spinach.

We also enjoyed more food from the OP Farmers Market and a variety of friends’ gardens.  My husband and I loved eating what we grew, and now I have to add eggplant to the list of veggies that I refuse to buy from grocery stores, because now store-bought ones taste terrible to me!

So this year, we’re going to expand the vegetable garden and hopefully learn more about preserving.  That will enable us to expand our local eating throughout more of the year.  There’s even word on the street that we might get a small deep freezer and buy a quarter of an organic cow!  That’s exciting even for me, the vegetarian.  More planning is needed in this area, but it’s definitely a resolution again for 2010.

Does anyone know of any classes in the area that teach preserving?

2010 Resolutions
#1) Eating more locally, as stated above.

#2) As a result of our recent energy audit, hubby and I are going to put some money into sealing up our house and insulating.  I’ll be writing soon on the energy audit, so stay tuned for that.  But for now, I resolve to work with some GHE partners to tighten up my 1914 home.

#3) Shop locally.  I could go on and on about the importance of shopping locally.  Did you know that when you shop at an independently owned store, 68% of that money stays in the community?  That’s compared to a measly 43% of dollars spent at big box and chain stores.

As a small business owner who’s committed to keeping it local, I think I already do a fair job at shopping locally.  The benefits are endless.  I only buy things for my dogs at Sirius Cooks because I trust their expertise, and I know that they have my dogs’ well-being as their best interest.  And now I have two great friends, Julie and Harriet, the owners!

And I love eating and shopping at Marion Street Cheese Market too.  Their sustainable practices are an inspiration to me.  Hubby and I go there for a glass of wine and a healthy portion of good morale whenever needed.  We’re lucky to have several friends at MSCM now as well.  Check out their new blog, too.  It’s an amazing source of info!

This new year, I pledge to remain loyal to my fave local shops as well as to shop at more local shops as much as possible.  This will be an easy one, because the benefits of shopping locally provide instant gratification.

Want to learn more about the importance of shopping locally?  Visit The 3/50 Project.

Ok readers, now that you know what my goals are for 2010, what are yours?  Please share your thoughts, observations, advice and resolutions in the comment section.  Happy New Year!


7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    No garbage bags??? I missed something, how do you do that?

    • 2

      ghexperts said,

      Step 1: Put husband in charge of throwing away garbage.
      Step 2: Compost so that your garbage doesn’t get gross.
      After that, it’s pretty easy! Just dump everything right from house garbage can into bin outside.

  2. 3

    laurars said,

    You already know this…but if you really do complete your #2 resolution in 2010 Uncle Sam will give you a nice rebate on the insulating foam for air sealing and the insulation! Good reason to really get it done! (Summary of how this works if anyone else is interested! Or join me at Green Home Experts in Feb to learn more in person…

  3. 4

    Inspiring stuff! Thanks for sharing…it’s given me some new targets.

  4. 5

    Hey Maria,

    How in the…did you eliminate the use of paper towels? I cook so much, and we have a puppy too. Please share with us the process of overcoming the obvious obstacles in doing this.

    I totally feel guilty about how much paper product we go through. I started using more actual towels to clean up in the kitchen, but I need help.



    • 6

      ghexperts said,

      Hi Marty,

      Glad to hear you’re thinking about reducing your paper use at home. It isn’t always easy, and I was reminded of that last night after my dog got into Tootsie Rolls. Ugly…let’s just leave it at that.

      I actually enjoy cleaning with rags more than paper towels. To me, it’s similar to eating with real dishes instead of paper plates. It just feels better. It can also save you some serious cash. Your rags and towels will last you years, so after you’ve built up a good supply, you won’t be spending any more money for a long time (same goes for cloth diapers and napkins, reusable plates, etc.)

      The key is to have plenty of rags and old towels on hand. Use old t-shirts, socks, whatever you need to supplement your supply. When you’re cooking, be sure to have rags under the sink or in a handy spot.

      When it comes to cleaning up after the pup, most #2 accidents can be taken care of with toilet paper. If it’s worse than that, use rags and a bucket of water with some non-toxic all purpose cleaner in it. There are cleaners with enzymes, such as Bac-Out, which break up proteins and get rid of ‘organic’ stains. I’ve found that paper towels are like junk food. If they’re in the house, they’ll be consumed. If they’re not there in the first place, then we find a better alternative.

      Good luck! And give that pup a treat for me.

  5. 7

    Nancy Gonzalez said,

    A friend of mine (and some of her friends) out in Seattle created this Canning Across America sensation, check out their blog, it’s sure to get you motivated with future canning adventures.

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