Today was our first day of green bin pickup — we are the last neighbourhood in Ottawa to take their turn. I drove around a bit this morning and it looks like we’re getting a 40-50% participation rate. At first I was disappointed, but the more I think about it, the more I think, not that bad. It’s the first week, and maybe people are just getting used to the idea, wanting to check out what their neighbours are doing first. Considering the trepidation I felt when we got our own green bin, I can understand people taking a little time to warm up to the idea. I hope by next green bin pickup day, I see a lot more houses taking part.
Our own green bin process is going fine so far. We have these super giant green bins here, like those big recycling bins with lids that you see in apartment buildings, and ours was pretty much full to the top. So I’m happy about that.
However, we still put out just as much garbage as we usually do, or at least it seemed so, and I can’t figure out what that means. Did we produce a lot of extra garbage this week? Was it just not packed as densely without the food waste to weigh it down? I’m not sure. I thought my goal for this year — to get our family down to one bag of garbage a week — would be snap, given the green bins and the impending toilet training of Gal Smiley. However, it seems like so far composting isn’t making a huge difference to our output. I’ll have to give it a few months to see if I can figure out what’s up.
In other environmental news, we’ve been experimenting with lowering the thermostat this year. I used to read a blog called Crunchy Chicken but I had to give it up. Her ideas on reducing her footprint on this Earth are awesome and amazing, but I am just not ready for things like grey water recycling and it was freaking me out and making me feel guilty all the time. Anyway, every winter on her blog she has “Freeze Yer Buns Off” challenge, in which she turns her thermostat down to something ridiculous like 16 degrees, and dares her readers to do the same. I KNOW.
Still, it was inspiring, so this year we went down to 20 degrees during the day, and 19 at night (I’m not willing to go colder at night right now as Gal Smiley still sleeps with no blankets and no socks, and LORDY, those are some cold toes that come crying at 4 a.m. when the heat is not on. We’re working on that for this year.)
I have to say, 20 degrees feels a LOT colder than 21. I know it’s only one degree, but for some reason, my body says, 21 happy, 20 NOT HAPPY. And then I read on the gas company’s site that lowering your thermostat by 1 degree means you’ll save 2% on your heating bill, which for us is like, $30 over the course of the whole winter. So for the sake of $30, I was freezing my ass off in my own home all the time? Why?
But MyFriendJen thought that it was worth it and talked me into trying it for a few months, so I dug out some really ugly fleece sweaters and my slippers and sucked it up.
The kids, by the way, are totally fine, they are all running around in shorts right now. FREAKS.
I do have a point here! I really do!
So my point is that…we saved a bundle. Our bill for December, which arrived in the second week of January, is about half of our bill from last year. HALF. That is like, $150 in savings.
SO WORTH IT.
And, I’m saving the planet, too! Bonus.