Ummm…not terribly, I’m afraid.
I try. I finally started a compost pile about a month ago. The delay was in deciding where it should go. I finally put it way in the far corner of my lot, 200′ from my back door. So it’s inconvenient, but it will get me out in the woods every day, where I can say hi to the deer that don’t come right up to the house to say hi to me.
I would never dream of mixing newspaper with cardboard when I go to the town dump. They have separate containers for each, with stern posted warnings not to even think about throwing plastic bags in any of them, but to put those in the Non-Recyclable Materials dumpster. We separate glass, metal, and plastic here in East Hampton, whereas New York City is happy just to get it all in one bag.
I got the last remnants of the previous owner’s oil-based paints and boat engine fluids and pesticides to the dump on toxic-waste disposal day last month.
I remember to carry a cloth shopping bag most of the time. Even so, I amass far too many plastic bags under the kitchen sink. Plastic bags are a scourge, along with unwanted catalogues. At my last address, I managed to staunch the flow of catalogues eventually, but that was a) time-consuming (they want your customer # for each retailer), b) took ages to take effect, c) never fully worked anyway, and d) resumed in force when companies caught wind of my new address. I haven’t ordered from Neiman Marcus in 10 years, but somehow I’m back in their good graces. I get several catalogues a week from them, along with Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Victoria’s Secret, etc., and I don’t think I can be bothered to go through it all again.
I hand-painted, painstakingly, a rattan sofa, which took three days, but I just couldn’t see using a dozen cans of spray paint, knowing that much of it would be released into the empty spaces between the sticks of rattan, and thereupon into the atmosphere (and my lungs).
Still, and I’ve been researching this question for months, there doesn’t seem to be any way to get a handle on thirty years of rampant wisteria growth without Round Up, and even then, only time will tell if my finicky ministrations with a sponge brush to the cut ends of the vines have made much difference.
And although I use compact flourescent bulbs outside, I haven’t found any as warm as incandescent bulbs for indoor use. Soft, warm light is very important to me. I’m exquisitely sensitive to glarey, harsh, cold lighting. It depresses the hell out of me. I’ve tried numerous CF bulbs but found none I’m happy with.
In general, moving house increases one’s carbon footprint to Sasquatch proportions. All those packing materials. All the stuff that’s left behind or thrown away. The mountains of garbage I found in this house and basement and had to discard. The old appliances that went into landfills somewhere. The quantity of cleaning supplies you go through (I rarely spring for the very expensive ‘green’ ones).
Green guilt: it’s even worse than garden guilt (for not deadheading the rhododendrons, not washing out the clay pots before putting them away for winter, etc.)
Do you have green guilt, too? About what? Please tell me I’m not the only one.