down the drain

Over the years – and especially when we were sailing – our family has done a LOT to curb our local impact on Mother Earth’s water supply. In Connecticut the storm drains all run into the Connecticut River and that runs into Long Island Sound – which will be a dead body of water of we don’t wake up soon and start changing some little habits!

Here is a quick list of a few of the things we have done:

We stopped using our disposal almost completely (and yes I have stuck my hand down there to pull out food that has slipped by) and started composting. The high nitrogen levels produced when decaying food mixes with the sewer is very harmful for the rivers and waterways.  The overgrowth of algae will starve a body of water of sunlight and oxygen.  Our sewers and storm drains wash into the river then right into Long Island Sound.

We certainly DO NOT “treat” our lawn to any chemicals – all of this washes into the river and the same result happens. We have beautiful green grass in May and part of June and then it turns tannish green – LIKE IT IS SUPPOSED TO! This is our lawn in November but this is pretty much what it looks like in July August September October – then it gets covered in snow.


We stopped using paper towels completely and now use cloth towels to clean up spills and wipe counters. And we have traditional cloth napkins at the table. They are such a waste of paper – and the paper processing plants use so much water and chemicals.  It is really harmful to those local areas. Instead we use wet towels like these Handi Wipes


We don’t use dryer sheets – they take a VERY long time to biodegrade, we use dryer balls instead. And we have the occasional static cling but nothing major.  Certainly nothing I would want a dryer sheet in a landfill for thirty years for!!!

dryer balls

I am hoping my cousin  Laura can make me some of these felted wool dryer balls


So one of the last places where I just thought I couldn’t find a solution for was my clogged shower drains…

My husband and I both use Dr. Bronner’s Soap.  Which if you are a fan you know is very thick and can cause a little build-up in the pipes.  Well after two or three days of standing in scummy shower water I reach for the (flinching here folks)…Drano… I KNOW! I KNOW!!! I am embarrassed to even write it! But what kind of person would I be if I did not confess my home-making sins and share the VICTORY I found it two very simple ingredients:


Baking soda and white vinegar. Now to my husbands defense – he has been saying for years – “Try baking soda and vinegar” But have I done that? No.

It’s OK – enough beating myself up. Because yesterday I put a cup of baking soda on top of the little drain cover, then poured over about a half gallon of vinegar and ten bubbly fizzy minutes later I had a clear drain and a clear conscience!!!


So don’t overwhelm yourself with having to do ten things differently! Take it easy! One thing at a time!  Some of the changes we have made in our life have taken years to become habits. Just start living small with one little change. Maybe you are ready to switch to cloth Handi-wipes and ditch the paper towels? Or maybe add a small compost bucket to your countertop?  Every little change makes a difference.


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