Confessions of a Guilty Greenie

Mama’s self-portrait after a long, long day

I truly hope that this article doesn’t rip the fabric of space-time or anything, since it’s not about gardening, vegetables, or recipes. But after reading my friend’s article in which she mentions eco-guilt,  I wanted to share my personal “issues” with going green.

I try hard, and possibly do more than most. When’s the last time you darned a sock? But the nagging feeling always persists that I could do more. This could be because I’m a recovering Catholic…we seem to have guilt steeped into our every pore.

While I don’t wish guilt on anyone, I’m sharing these thoughts to see if any of you have the same mental arguments.

For example:
Jackjack rips holes in the knees of his jeans. I cut them off and make shorts (which is good!) but I don’t do anything with the leftover pieces. There are a million things I could do with them (sew cat/dog toys, quilt them into a pillow, etc) but instead they sit in my fabric box until I get irritated and throw them out.

After a discussion with advanced-eco friends, I’ve decided to replace our current dishes with Fiesta Ware. It’s made in the U.S. without lead and is microwave and dishwasher safe. Now—what do I do with the old plates?  Since I feel they’re unsafe for my family, I shouldn’t donate them. There’s certainly a special ring of hell for those who poison the less fortunate. But I don’t want to add them to a landfill either.

There are four boxes of books in the garage that need to go. But I can’t bear to bring them to a used bookstore, because there ought to be somplace that I can donate them.

We’re replacing the carpet in the living room and office with wood floors. I don’t want to dump the used carpet, but how on earth do you recycle it? I can use a few strips between the raised beds in the garden…

So am I the only crazy one here? (I realize that is a distinct possibility.)
What would you do? Share with us in the comments!

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  1. Anonymous says

    We’re disposing of our used carpet (still sitting in rolls on the side of our house…) at an eco-friendly carpet recycler somewhere down in the Bay Area. Maybe we can rent a uhaul together (or call in the services of the Mongo & his wondertruck) to haul it away. I’m unsure if there’s a recycling fee, but you know it’ll go to good use and not some landfill.

    Like I tell my wife, there’s only so much greenery and eco-consciousness in which you can engage, or it’ll drive you nuts. The ‘nuts’ just manifests itself in your case as Catholic guilt. :-)

    Just wait til you’re digging a continual trench in the backyard for composting.


  2. Corrie says

    We might be able to use some of your carpet to recarpet our cat trees! LOL They go through the carpet on those things terribly and Orrie’s recovered them at least 2x now. So just think of it as a donation to the Save Our Furniture From Kitty Claws Fund. 😀

  3. Anonymous says

    Agree with previous post. SPCA has booksale twice a year. You can donate your books there (you can even actually bring the books to the book sale itself) I believe the next one is mid-Nov at the Birdcage shopping center on Sunrise. (also check around here at work, there’s were a few people that volunteered at the event and you could bring your books in here!) As far as left over legs of pants, turn them into patches for future pairs of pants! Don’t know what to say about the plates – sometimes you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t….

  4. Anonymous says

    You are not alone. I have that same pile of fabric-perhaps to strip and crochet into a rug….

    I also received a big can of formula after the baby was born. After reading the ingredients, I didn’t know which was the greater evil, the food bank or the landfill. The guilt continues…


  5. says

    Take pride in your eco-guilt; but don’t let the negative overwhelm you. What you’re talking about are all very positive things. Concentration on the positive, on what you are doing. Know your boundaries. (Like the line where “saving to repurpose” becomes “packrat”) And most importantly, realize that we’re like salmon swimming upstream. For decades our society has essentially been devoted to being as anti-earth-friendly as possible so that we could prove that we’re better. Ultimately these actions *shouldn’t* take so much effort but they do right now because they are not the norm.

    Oh, and the general recommendation for getting rid of dishes, lotions, whatever that you wouldn’t consider using on yourself/your kids, is to just give it away. There’s nothing wrong with letting someone have something that is “conventional” if they want it. They could pay for the same thing in a store, and probably do, so there is no reason to feel guilty for giving it to them for free.

  6. says

    Besides using carpet to keep weeds down, I use 12″x18″ rectangles of old carpeting as garden kneeling pads. Fasten one on top of another to give your knees true garden comfort!

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