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A little more Green


Last week while I was visiting my parents Gary called me with the news that our washing machine had stopped spinning and was making an awful noise. Yep, it was inevitable our washing machine had pooped out. So, we took a deep breath and went shopping. With hardly any arm twisting I managed to talk Gary into a front loading washer. Actually, all that had to be said was “it will reduce our water use by more than half”. That’s right, front loading washers use about 18 gallons of water compared to the old school top loader that uses up to 45 gallons of water and they reduce the amount of time clothes spend in the dryer because they spin the clothes at higher rpms. Plus it reduces the wear and tear on clothes from a conventional dryer therefore helping your clothes last longer. It took my first batch of laundry 40 minutes to dry. The oldy moldy dryer took about hour. I’ve never been so excited to do the laundry before! We sat in the hall this morning as a family and watched the first load of laundry get clean.

This made me think what are we doing to reduce our “footprint” and what could we be doing better? I often feel that for every one thing we do right there are 5 things we could be doing better.

So here’s a few things the Marcoccia’s are doing right.

  • We recycle. This is a big chore for us as we don’t have any curbside garbage or recycle removal. We haul our garbage two miles down to the community dumpsters and we take our recycling 30 miles to Park City. This has made us very aware of our trash and how much we throw away. Heber has a recycling center but they don’t take glass, we have to go to PC for that so we just do it all in one trip. Recycling has not been an easy task for us as we have a small space to work with and the plastics and paper get out of control very fast, but we try to be diligent and call each other out when we spy something recyclable in the garbage. By the way PC has an awesome recycling center.
  • We don’t buy garbage bags. We use the bags from the grocery store for our trash and recycle the rest of course.
  • We try to use cloth napkins at meals. I’m working on phasing out the paper towel habit. We have some friends who gave us napkin rings with our initials engraved in them so we can use the same napkin for a couple of meals rather than washing them after every meal.
  • We pay our bills online. In an effort to reduce the paper trail.
  • We use natural or biodegradable cleaning and grooming products. We have septic so my theory is the more natural things that go in there the better. Not a fan of chemicals seeping into the ground water and such.
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs are in the lights we use the most throughout the house and we are in the process of changing every light bulb to a more efficient one as they die out. We bought these light bulbs for family members for Christmas gifts one year not very exciting for the recipients but it meant a lot to us to encourage some green living.

And, here are a few things we could be doing better…

  1. Start taking my own bags to the grocery store. I’ve been thinking about this one a lot lately but not acting on it because I keep forgetting to take the darn bags with me. So from now on I’m going to have a stash of bags in the truck that stay in the truck.
  2. Use less water. IE, wash the dishes more efficiently and take shorter showers.
  3. Use the gDiapers I bought for Ellie. I’m so guilty. While I was pregnant we talked about using cloth diapers. We found gDiapers which have flushable inserts. Its been so much more convenient to use Pampers and Huggies. I hate myself for not being more diligent on this matter, but man poop sucks!
  4. Buy local when possible and join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this summer I want to get to know my food.
  5. Turn the heat down and put on another layer.
  6. Be more efficient on our trips into town to cut back on driving.
  7. Bake my own bread. Not sure if this is really “green living” but I’m looking for a way to reduce the amount of high fructose corn syrup in our diet. Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately due to a chapter in the book An Omnivore’s Dilemma and I have been inspired by these blogs here and here. It will be one less plastic bag to recycle.
  8. Make smarter choices when shopping.
  9. Use the compost much more!
  10. Be more creative by finding new uses for old things.


  1. grandma mckenney

    Very inspiring blogg! But is Ellie dizzy yet! Love the machines hope the install was bearable.

  2. Some days I am very green… and others I am not.

    We do recycle. But then again we have curbside.

  3. Yeah we do work hard to be low impact, but the one thing that matters most we can’t control and that’s the time spent in the car driving from here to there, and back. I’m sick of driving, but I hate living in town. What to do? How about a sustainable spread on about 1-3 acres close enough to town to walk/bike? Big gardens, chickens oh and Ellie said she wants a horse…but not until she’s 10. Phew, that gives us 9 years, 5 months to save up! 🙂 Basically, a home in the heart of the country, yet closer than 10 miles to a grocery store (like we are now). -G

  4. Charie

    I loved this post! It has been really hard for us coming from Oregon where I would say they really try and get people to look at the things they are throwing away to here were they do absolutely nothing to try to get people to recycle.

    In OR they had small garbage cans on purpose so people would recycle more and if your lid was up at all they charged you a horrendous fee. When we moved here we realized that most houses had two and sometimes three huge garbage cans. There is one house on our street that recycles things and everyone else has all their garbage cans out on the road every week.

    There is a lot more I could do as well…thanks for the inspiration to be better. I really need to take shorter showers. I am terrible about that.

    Love the washer and dryer…we first got ours in Oregon and LOVE IT!!!

  5. HI there

    Don’t feel guilty about not using gDiapers. I am the CEO and I know how convenient disposables are! My wife ( and co founder) is here if you want to take the next step with “g’! Her cell is 971 235 0628.



  6. Charie

    ps. I still remember your aunt washing out her ziplock bags and recycling them. That has had a big impact on me. Jonathan is great at doing that too!

  7. Leslie

    Great post Danette! We have learned a great deal about being green here in Europe. Here it is a way of life and it is so much easier than it is in the states. We recycle and get curbside service! You actually get in trouble if you don’t! I do take my own bags to the grocery store BUT I have to take them right back to the car when I unload or I forget them! Cost of energy and gas is outrageous over here. We DO NOT turn on lights until the sun goes down. I try to only drive into town twice a week and those days are super duper errand days. Which gives me more home time to do more enjoyable projects. We too have a front load washer but everyone in Germany does. And by the way, LOVE THAT PICTURE!!!

  8. Leslie

    Oh and by the way, we even compost!!! Our German neighbor asked us to contribute what we can. This alone has decreased our regular trash tons. Plus we donate our dry bread to the chickens next door. Love those chickens, well feed, means less baaaawwwkkking!

  9. Okay, here is our dilemma…We have made a huge effort to drive cars that are lower impact and use less gas. In fact we owned a Trooper and sold it for a Subaru because we felt guilty for driving an SUV when we didn’t need to. So now Ryan really wants to get a truck for hauling stuff from the yard, moving furniture, pulling a camper…and other things that come up (we have to barrow his dads all the time). We have had a hard time actually buying one because of our feelings of guilt. The requirements for trucks will be changing over the next ten years but we are not sure it will happen soon enough for us to wait. Any thoughts?

  10. Rox,
    I totally feel your pain. Gary and I have faced the same dilemma. I think we both agree that our vehicle “habits” are our greatest challenge when trying to live a more “green” life. We have been big subi fans for a while having 4-wheel drive with out the SUV is a bonus. We came to the same conclusions though we need something to haul stuff, something a little more practical for the way we live and a big part of our decision was separation from the dogs. Breathing in dog hair when the windows are down was getting old. So we bit the bullet and bought a Toyota Tacoma. It’s tough we were rocked with guilt but relieved to finally have a truck at the same time. I heard somewhere that they are makings diesel trucks that are kinder and more environmentally friendly you could always attempt to turn it into a bio-diesel hog but this is a daunting task for the average person. Anyway, I justify our truck by saying it’s not an over sized gas guzzler like the Chevys (sorry Dad), Fords, Dodges, and those ridiculous Hummers roaming the streets of Heber and beyond. I like to be so bold as to hope that we do more than the average citizen to lessen our “footprint” as I’m sure you and your family does and that we in some way break even . This helps lessen the guilty twinge of owning a truck. Good luck with sorting it out…

  11. jen

    I have a Ford truck but I justify it by not having a snowmobile.
    I think its best not to judge people by the car they drive, diapers they use, the number of garbage cans on the street or the place they choose to live.
    To each their own.

  12. I didn’t think I was being judgmental with my words. You’re right to each their own…

  13. I just read this post and comment thread again and it doesn’t seem like anyone is being judgmental. It’s just a discussion. As far as the snowmobile comment Danette doesn’t even own the snowmobile, I do. And I’ve put about 80 miles on it this entire winter. Considering it’s very possible to get snowed in where we live, that’s all the justification I need to have it…especially with a baby here. Like Danette said everything we do otherwise (like composting, recycling everything from junk mail to bread bags, etc.) offsets our impact a bit on this world from driving a lot, having a Tacoma pick-up and (for me) owning a snowmobile. There is always room for improvement though and we’re working on that 🙂

  14. jen

    you are missing my point. when you say that at least you don’t have an oversized gas guzzler and that your doing better then the average citizen i think it comes off as those that do drive an oversized gas guzzler aren’t as “green”. when in fact it may be the best option depending on the persons situation. for example: if i did not know my neighbors situation, which i do, i could assume she is driving a gas guzzling suv and has 2 over flowing garbage cans out every week.
    but the fact is, the family has added 6 unwanted children, some with health problems to their family of 3. basically saving these children from a life of disappointments and failures. if they didn’t have that huge suburban, they would probably have to take 3 cars when they went anywhere. so the suburban in this situation is the “greener” option in my opinion.

    i know the snowmobile isn’t Danette’s and i don’t think you need any justification for having it. i just mentioned that to emphasize my point that everyone has a unique situation and just because they have a gas guzzler (or snowmobile) doesn’t mean they aren’t doing other things that are environmentally friendly.

  15. Jen, sorry we did miss your point. Now that you’ve explained we get it. But you should have said all that before. We really didn’t know where your first comment was coming from. At any rate thanks for clarifying. Your point is a good one.


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