The Greens just got greener

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Smile - an online bank with an ethical policyI have a few eco sins to my name. A few green indulgences that weigh heavy on my conscience and also on my Green Goddess credentials. Notably they are:

1- Excessive use of kitchen towel

2- I put the hot water on every day, which isn’t really necessary

3- We drive a 4×4

4- I drink bottled water

5- I’m still buying yogurt where I should really make my own.

6- I bank with an unethical bank

The good news is, I have changed two of them and I feel ready to change another – yipee!

For the past 2 years, we have been driving around in Gus. Gus is our beloved, gas guzzling 4×4. He is the business and just what we need to carry around piles of wood for the wood burner.

I have been justifying his use by the fact that we do less than 6000 miles per year as a family, plus Gus is a working vehicle. We looked into conversions, but he is too old for all of that. I figured I would soothe my conscience with the knowledge that we would drive him until he could be driven no longer and he would eventually be scrapped.

Green, hybrid or electric cars are great, but the greenest option is to keep the car you have and just, well, use it until it is no longer road worthy. Then find a responsible way to dispose of it. The carbon footprint of manufacturing a car in the first place is massive, despite any savings on fuel emissions you may make.

For the past couple of weeks, we have noticed how much fuel we are getting through. As I said, we don’t do a lot of mileage, but my bank balance was definitely starting to suffer.

Gus gives us about 23 miles to the gallon (sharp intake of breath).

Anyway, last week, after many tears from Little Miss Green, we made the collective decision as a family to buy a car from a friend of ours. We now have a Volkswagen Sharan called Charlotte, who is an amazing beast. She has seven seats, so trips out with LMG’s friends are no problem, but the fabulous thing is that all of the rear seats come out. Which means we can have have a proper boot, or even a van, which is the same size as Gus, for carting wood in.

The even better news is that we are averaging over 50 miles to the gallon.

In addition, I have changed my bank to Smile, so that I am no longer supporting unethical investing; I feel really good about that one! It’s not as handy as having a local branch, but I can do most transactions online or at my local Post Office, so that helps boost my local economy and keep my Post Office open.

As for the other green move, well I’ll announce it once I have actually carried out the deed.

What about you, what are your green sins? Is there anything you feel ready to change?


  1. Jennyta on October 19, 2008 at 4:11 am

    Ah, you’re lucky – you still have a post office, then. 🙂

  2. Mrs Green on October 26, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Hi Jenny, we are indeed one of the lucky ones. We had a recent worry about local PO’s, but ours remains and we are so thankful 🙂
    Is it not good in your area then?

  3. russell on October 27, 2008 at 3:58 am

    We love Smile. I am hoping you had the same seamless transfer from your old back to Smile. There is a misconception that it is really hard to change banks, but it really isn’t especially with The Cooperative and Smile. Ethical and award winning (Smile regularly wins Money magazine awards). We waved goodbye to our beloved Land Rover a few years ago….Well done on both accounts!

  4. Fr. Peter on October 27, 2008 at 6:08 am

    Green sins… OK… here goes…..

    I bought 2 PLASTIC bucketslast week!!! But before the Green family, Mrs. A et al ban me from their sites let me explain, because there was a good reason.

    For a while (5 years) we have made our own Blackberry wine from fruit gathered from the local hedgerows and have now decided to make wine from other fruits, including apples, grapes a friend grows, sloes and soon, Haws from the Hawthorn bushes.

    We needed to expand our brewing equipment and as apples and metal don’t mix when making wine so plastic it was.

    I will look after them and they should last for years and I like to think of the food (wine?) miles we have saved in picking and brewing local!

  5. Mrs Green on November 22, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Hi Russell, good to see you again – how is the training going? Or is that finished now? (I’ve lost track). Smile is going great and, as you said, it’s so easy to transfer as they do all the hard work for you.

    Peter, I think you are well justified in your plastic bucket. There are some instances where plastic is the man for the job and I agree – the air miles you will save are more than going to make up for this. Plus the smile on your face after a glass of home made wine is going to make the Universe smile with you 🙂

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