Moms on a Mission


Ecofreak Moms

Go ahead and play in the recycling bin, kids! Moms Heather Hawkins, (left) Renee LImon, and members of their broods.

HEATHER HAWKINS and Renee Limon hate corn-based plastic. “It’s a contaminant in the recycling process!” says Hawkins. “It’s not biodegradable!” Limon bristles. They should know. Last year, the pair of stay-at-home moms (and Southwest Portland neighbors) completed the Office of Sustainable Development’s nine-week Master Recycler Program—knowledge they’ve put to use on their blog, Launched in March 2007, the website receives some 25,000 visitors per month and hosts discussions on such varied topics like what to do with old toothbrushes (great for scrubbing fingernails and grout!), and heated debates on the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of dog poop. “It was a big controversy,” says Hawkins. (After a thorough investigation, Hawkins found that it’s best just to bag it and toss it in the garbage.) The duo even launched the One Can a Month Challenge this summer, in which they encouraged families to reduce their garbage to a single bin per month—though both admit this became much easier when the kids in their homes no longer needed diapers. “Diapers are like little bombs—you can’t compact them,” says Limon, whose most recent haul of garbage consisted of little more than dental floss and cotton balls. But Hawkins and Limon don’t just sit around chatting away in cyberspace. The pair also started GreenGroup, a sort of recycling support group for a few moms (and occasionally some dads) to get together to kick around ways to live more sustainably. Like the website, this too went viral, spawning chapters all over the city. Still, the pair isn’t out to browbeat people with their reduce-reuse-recycle mantra. “We don’t want to overwhelm anyone,” says Hawkins. “We’re big proponents of baby steps—just starting with one small change.”