Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Challenge Accepted!

I caught this bit on the Today show the other day about buying green. This guy has actually written a book about replacing the products you use everyday with more green items. He's talking everything from using reusable containers for packed lunches instead of plastic bags, up to buying more Earth-friendly cleaners instead of your usual brands. Now I have to say, I am a creature of habit. Doing the same things I've been doing for years is easy. Not only that but I love to get a bargain and aren't all these "green" products more expensive? Now throw in the bizarre loyalty I have for certain brands and this is not an easy pill for me to swallow. Yet I listened, rather intently. I was beginning to sway. Then Matt asked the question, "Won't buying all this stuff be expensive?" To that came the reply, "You don't have to do it all at once. You're going to run out of stuff. When you replace it, choose a green product." Well this was like a huge light on the dark future that awaits us all if we don't jump on this bandwagon. It's that simple. Baby steps. No huge outlay of funds.

As Fate would have it, this week I ran out of a product that I use often, try to buy on sale, and have been loyal to since...well, forever. Bounce. It's one of those products I use without thinking about it. Kind of like zipping your pants. You do it so often you don't remember doing it at all. Anyway, Monday was laundry day. I used my last Bounce sheet on my second load. For my third load, I was scrounging the couch cushions where I sometimes put a sheet to freshen the room. I found one, only one. But there were loads and loads awaiting Maytag submersion. The fourth load dried Bounce-free. Yuck. I now know why I use a dryer sheet. But must it be Bounce? Just because it's what my mother used and I began using when I first starting doing my own laundry, must it be the brand I continue to buy? Today, I worked on discovering an answer to that question. With grocery list in hand (one that explicitly listed Bounce), I almost grabbed that orange box. But, wait! There was a green alternative a few boxes down. Sun & Earth. It was orange too. So I started the comparison. It was actually less expensive than my old stand-by. So I bought it. And when I got home, I used it. Upon opening the box I can tell you there was a dramatic difference. The sheets have a brownish tint to them. (Must be the lack of dyes.) They are also not as easy to remove from the box. And once you do, you have to separate them into two. There is actually a perforation. This is to keep them from clogging your dryer vent. (Remember those emails that went around about someone's friend who's dryer caught on fire from a dryer sheet clogging her dryer vent? I always thought it was a hoax. Maybe not!) My clothes came out static-free and soft. Not as soft as with Bounce but that's OK, these puppies will bio-degrade in just 21 days. Now, I must know, if I cannot use all 80 sheets in 21 days, will the left-overs disappear?

So I have thoughtfully joined the coalition. Don't know where it will take me exactly. But I do know it's gotta be much better than where I'd be if I didn't jump aboard.

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