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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I don't care if I kill a tree and spread chemicals

Usually, I am frugal when others are not. Usually, I care about how products use chemicals. Usually, I try not to be a consumer and am very parsimonious.  I am an old tree-hugger.

It is not that I quit caring. I have suspended my parsimonious ways when it comes to paper products and bottled water. My consumption of commercial paper goods and bottled water is up while my spending remains flat.

As some of you may know, I use no paper products in my home. Wash cloths take the place of toilet paper. Dish towels and dish cloths take the place of paper towels. Sewing scraps or cut up clothing are for nasty jobs where the rags can be thrown away.

I don't use bottled water. Not only is it expensive, more so, it wastes fossil fuel to make the bottles, ship the bottles, and recycle the bottles. Check out the article on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Okay, until this last week I did not use bottled water. Rarely did I buy a bottle when out and about.

The tornado changed everything. 

I put away the washcloths and used toilet paper. Yes, I keep it for company. I never looked back. There was talk of two weeks without power.

The day before the tornado I received two rolls of paper towels to test. I was reimbursed for the initial interview. I will test the paper towels and fill out another survey. For that I will receive another check. For six days, I have used only paper towels for the kitchen or whatever. I dry my hands on them, clean the iron skillet, wash counters, and do not touch cloth.

Still, I need to test the paper towels for a few more days. Then, they will be stashed so I will have them in another emergency and will not feel compelled to buy more.

For an emergency I had one gallon of water. Everywhere I go, volunteers push water. I feel like I am floating because I have drunk so much. A woman asked me if I wanted water. I thought she meant she would bring me a bottle to the car while I carried my lunch. She brought two 24-pack cases of water. The friend who wrote "everything" got two more cases in the trunk. When I saw Dasani, I caved and allowed 24 bottles to be put in my car. At this point, I am the owner of 10 dozen bottles of water. This will be my emergency stash for next time. Of course, I will probably have a bottle now and then.

The volunteers really push water. It is good that no one will be without. I observed six cases going with one family. I will not be going out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner like I did this past six days, so I won't be near water giveaways.

The messages on the potability of our water were mixed, so I drank only bottle water.

Your turn
Have you found that your consumption of commercial goods like paper products and bottled water increases during an emergency?


  1. you make a good point...if there's no electricity, there's no washing clothes. yikes! just today I read an article in the newspaper that suggested disposable plates/napkins/flatware to be kept on hand for emergencies. if I only had enough fuel for cooking and not enough for heating wash water, I'd be rethinking the dishwashing for sure. hmnn, your post and that article have definitely been thought provoking. Thanks, Practical!

  2. In an emergency, you might not have a choice. During the earthquake which shut things down for three days, we used what we could get our hands on. We were green before Al Gore told us to be. S.F. is just like that. Its how I grew up in other words.
    My kids had stomach flu these last few days. I didn't hesitate to buy them an electrolyte drink in plastic bottles.
    But being prepared means that we recycle plastic jugs for water which is stored for longterm use. We ask friends for them- only jugs that held water, not milk!
    We can only do our best.

  3. I just got around to checking in on you....and found out about your local tornadic problems.
    I'm glad that you are safe!
    But what a mess you've got to contend with in your community. The youtube videos of the cyclones I've seen are amazing and so depressing to think about the aftermath.

    About being eco-friendly. It's great to strive for being 'green' but if it comes down to self-preservation, that trumps your treading lightly on the earth.

  4. Slugmama, LindaM. and Dmarie,
    Thanks for the affirmation of my thoughts, and realization that a dilemma changes the rules AND temporarily shifts priorities. When it comes to iffy water, I go for bottled.


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