Energy Diet

14 Ways We’re Cutting Back

The kids help with recycling

The kids help with recycling.

As an individual who lives on this planet and cares about protecting the environment for the sake of current and future generations, I do believe that my contributions, on whatever scale, are of paramount importance to the safety of the Earth.

Instead of continuing to harm our vulnerable ecosystem, either out of a belief that our acts have a very limited impact, or because we lack of ethical self-constraint, I personally think that it is high time we saved our planet through responsible and thoughtful actions.

What to buy: It’s an endless subject, as we make purchases on a daily basis.

With a bit of information, we can alter the little things we do every day – things that make a big difference when it comes to protecting our planet. And these are few things I want to share with you.

• We use a lot of baby wipes for the kids, now it has been changed to flushable baby wipes, found it, got it, love it. I remember a long time ago, when I was in school it was a must to have cloth handkerchiefs, and so will be with my kids.
• Lunch boxes instead of sandwich plastic bags, foil and wax paper.
• Stainless steel water bottle instead of disposable plastic bottles.
• Reusable ice-pop molds: The kids love it. They make their own ice cream.
• Reusable coffee mugs instead of disposable cups.
• I got rechargeable batteries, but still will be using electricity. I came up with an even better idea: I purchased a new solar bag, where I can charge batteries, PSP games, phones and cameras. Thank god we are a country blessed with the sun — why don’t I take advantage of it?
• Elimination of seven chemical housecleaning products: We got natural versions of kitchen, bath and glass cleaner ; a lemon cream cleaner for stains; toilet cleaner; and anti-bacterial cleaner for all surfaces.
• Switching to organic food made me really happy: lettuce, cherry tomatoes and red pepper make for a nice, healthy salad.

'Look mummy, I found it!' Ali locates our new shopping totes.

'Look mummy, I found it!' Ali locates our new shopping totes.

• Purchasing reusable bags for grocery. There is a funny story about this. I went with my 6-year-old, Ali, to shop for some groceries. We managed to get some organic food — luckily UAE product. I really enjoyed his clever questions about what chemicals are used in soil, and he came up with the idea of making a greenhouse at home to grow things like tomato, cucumber and onion, as we use them a lot on a daily basis. After we finished shopping, we replaced his plastic bag with reusable bags, which he loved. The next day, my husband went for grocery shopping and came back home with a lot of plastic bags (which, by the way, we used to reuse as liners for small garbage bins). When Ali saw him, he came running to me with a funny expression on his face telling me that Baba should go to the naughty chair for getting more plastic bags and not using the ones we have. Baba had to apologize a lot with a promise not to do it again. I have also been using my big LV bag instead of paper or plastic bags while shopping; I know it holds up to15 kilograms (33 pounds).
• Since I have been blessed with two boys, most often I have been using the same clothes for both of them. Before, I felt bad for Hasan for not having as many new clothes as Ali, but now I know what I am doing is right. And why not, since they are in good shape. Most of the clothes are name brands, so it’s actually a very good way to invest my money (LOL). So why don’t I reuse them as much as I can.
• I was so pleased to purchase a compost bin. It is a simple way of turning my kitchen waste into an organic compost soil conditioner. Amazing, can’t wait. I am sure my kids will love it.
Solar decorative stone

Solar decorative stone

• We rely on sunlight as much as possible for lighting the house. Bought some nice solar LED lanterns and decorative solar LED stone, which I was thinking would make a lovely gift.
• Giving up disposable plastic bottles is not an easy thing to do. It’s been our source of drinking and cooking water for a long time. I managed to get a refillable water dispenser at home. We are actually planning to have another solution, as we need to have a big filter to be able to use a clear tap water. I know that paying for single use water bottles costs us up to five times as much as drinking from the tap.
• Best of all, I got the kids to use their three garbage containers for recycling paper, cardboard and plastic, plus the food compost bin, which I am sure they will go crazy about it.


  1. Christina
    February 7, 2011, 6:25 pm

    This is a great list, Boudour. Your story about Ali is very entertaining — amazing how quickly kids can get the idea!

  2. boudour
    Abu Dhabi,UAE
    February 8, 2011, 12:38 am

    its a double effort what i am doing here, me my kids and the family, and hoping to reach for more

    Abu Dhabi
    February 8, 2011, 2:32 am

    Great. your progress is very nice.
    AbuDhabi government make a lot of efforts to ensure continuous safe and clean water supply to all premises and houses . if you stay in villa you have to make sure your storage tank is clean and maintained regularly. In Abu Dhabi you will not need for filter because water supplied by Abu Dhabi Distribution Company is free of sediments. I have experience to drink tap water and use tap water for cooking etc.
    to be more confident please visit following website and read about Water Quality Resulation in emirates of Abu Dhabi

  4. clipton
    February 9, 2011, 11:28 am

    Great initiative, Boudour. Removing water bottle consumption would make a nice dent in your environmental impact. Every country has different water quality challenges and even within a country, water quality can significantly differ. This government report provides some good information. You might find it meets your standards.

  5. Dave Chameides
    February 10, 2011, 2:05 pm

    Great stuff Boudour. Very impressive indeed and having two young kids of my own, I recognize the imporatance of training them young. Make it “normal” and they’ll never consider otherwise! As to the water, have you crunched the numbers of buying and maintaining a filter versus buying bottled? This is what usually puts it over the edge for most people I know.

  6. boudour
    Abu dhabi, uae
    February 11, 2011, 12:52 am

    u r right Dave i strongly agree with u, i belive that education in younger age is like Sculpture on stone. but i was really upset when i knew how much plastic i was consuming in only one week,u wont belive it,48 water bottle 1.4L,48 water bottle 300 ML,96 plastic cup water 125 ML. and god knows if its really recycled or maybe shipped to a poor country and stay for a decade or so.

  7. lolowa
    February 19, 2011, 8:43 am

    i love you ali and hassan, you are really doing well by helping mamy and dad
    we are all proud of you
    good luck.