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View Full Version : OT - Goin' Greener and looking for ideas


brendajos
04-20-2007, 11:59 AM
Okay Earth Day is this weekend and I thought I would pick your brains. What ways have you found to make the footprint you leave on the earth a little smaller? The easy stuff and the hard stuff as well. It may not be feasible for all of us to start driving a hybrid or take mass transit, but there may be small stuff that you are doing too that we haven't thought of!

I just bought this (http://www.reusablebags.com/store/acme-workhorse-reusable-shopping-p-42.html) set from ReusableBags.com. The black bags have a little pouch attached to the inside and the bag stuffs into it so it gets down to about a 2x3 pouch. perfect for throwing into my purse for when i am out shopping. The cotton bags are perfect for produce so you can stop using so many of those produce bags at the store. I am also going to write to all the local stores about offering discounts for people bringing in their own bags and another one for using paper instead of plastic. of course the kicker is that they have to advertise it. There are cheaper ways to get reusable bags of course... even reusing the plastic bags you already have or bringing back the paper ones! These are washable thoguh and i like that about them.

I am also slowly replacing all of my bulbs with CFL bulbs. They save a good little bit of money each year and they last as much as 5 years! I felt like i was replacing blown bulbs nearly every month in my joint. Haven't had to replace one of the CFL bulbs since i started switching :cheering:

So... what are you doing? I am lookin' for ideas peoples! ;)

marykz
04-20-2007, 12:27 PM
we are switching dishwasher detergents to ones with less phosphates... we re-use those plastic water bottles a few times before recycling, we don't use fertilizers on our lawn nor do we water it.....

BostonBecca
04-20-2007, 12:40 PM
I reuse the plastic bags I get at the grocery store and recycle them there as well. I use earth friendly soaps and detergents. I just don't take plastic bags at the grocery store for my fruit, I put them loose into the cart. I make sure I don't buy products with tons of packaging. I also refuse plastic bags at my CVS(drugstore) and just put stuff into my backpack. I have the reusable bags for my grocery store. I recycle.

A good idea for homeowners is to find stores in your area that sell (for cheap) recycled home building materials. You can find great stuff there that people have donated, or you can donate yourself if you are doing a remodel. My parents remodeled and they did a lot of it with materials from those type stores. Buying furniture secondhand actually really helps because hte manufcaturing processes produce a lot of waste. Composting helps a lot and they have a lot of systems that do not smell up your yarn because they are very enclosed. It's also a good way to get compost and fertilizer that does not have harmful effects on the environment. The soil you get is incredibly good for your lawn.

I think the best thing people can do is to educate their children about these issues and being a good example, that way you are doing better for hte environment, yourself, and raising future environmentally conscious consumers.

Way to go on decicing to make changes.

figaro
04-20-2007, 12:44 PM
I tend to do a bunch of little things, recycle as much as possible, try to do as many errands in my Suburban (older model, NOT new) as I can, turn off lights and now I am unplugging things like the toaster, stereo, lights, etc. when not in use, and I have bought big reusable bags for groceries. They do pay when you use them but it is .02 per bag, the last grocery store gave .25 cents per bag. I am not doing it for the the money, but it seems kinda small to me. :?? What bags I do have, I use again, dirty diapers, small can liners, etc. so they are not being thrown away after one use. We have cold water that goes from the well to the refrigerator so I don't buy water bottles, the one I do have I have used countless times. And of course there are all the clothes that the girls outgrow, they are all donated to a charity so they get a second life. I am sure that there is more but I can't think of them right now.

I wish that grocery stores here would charge for each bag you use, they do in Europe so when my MIL (in Holland) goes grocery shopping, she grabs as many of her own bags as possible (and she walks!). Unfortunatly I think that would probably outrage people for a while and then they would understand.

Stiney
04-20-2007, 01:05 PM
I'm happy about moving back to Boston for a number of reasons, one of which is that even if I keep my car and bring it with me, I'll only be driving it once a month on the outside, and will be walking or taking public transit the rest of the time. I try to limit the number of bags I take, and I will look into getting some reusable ones. (Trader Joe's has some, but they don't look terribly sturdy.)

I hope more cities go the way of San Francisco, who recently banned stores from using plastic bags.

We also recycle--our town has curbside recyling, it alternates every week. Newspapers and cardboard, or "Co-mingled" which is cans and plastics. I also want to cut down on using plastic cups. My mom buys the red party cups, and I want to use fewer while I'm home. Once I'm on my own, I'll be using glasses, so that will be less of a problem.

If possible, it would be nice to line-dry my clothes, but I don't think it will be.

Jan in CA
04-20-2007, 01:07 PM
Great ideas so far everyone! Here's another site I've bought from.

Green Home Environmental products (http://www.greenhome.com/)

ETA: Look at these beautiful bottles (http://www.reusablebags.com/store/sigg-lifestyle-2007-maha-series-reusable-bottles-p-865.html#)!!

BostonBecca
04-20-2007, 01:10 PM
Just an FYI-My boyfriend has the Trader Joe's bags and they are dfinately sturdy enough for transporting stuff from TJ's if you make a car trip, and I think they are sturdy enough for a trip on the T. He really likes them.

brendajos
04-20-2007, 01:14 PM
Please, those of you reusing plastic bottles, make sure you are giving them a good cleaning at least once a day. (I know you know that but it is a good way to get sick if you don't!)

(someone remember what else i was gonna say? It was going to go here but it has slipped my mind for the moment!) :doh:

marykz
04-20-2007, 01:23 PM
Please, those of you reusing plastic bottles, make sure you are giving them a good cleaning at least once a day. (I know you know that but it is a good way to get sick if you don't!)

(someone remember what else i was gonna say? It was going to go here but it has slipped my mind for the moment!) :doh:

definitely- and we don't freeze them or heat them.

and I try to bring my own cups/ mugs to my favorite coffee place.

Stiney
04-20-2007, 01:28 PM
Just an FYI-My boyfriend has the Trader Joe's bags and they are dfinately sturdy enough for transporting stuff from TJ's if you make a car trip, and I think they are sturdy enough for a trip on the T. He really likes them.

Awesome! Depending where I live, I'll be walking or taking the T.

I went to the Coolidge Corner TJ's once, and the dude packed the bag too heavy and the bag broke before I got to the curb. :roll: I'm just lucky none of my jars broke.

Back on-topic, weren't there several threads earlier about making your own cleaning fluids instead of using harmful chemicals?

Alice's Restaurant
04-20-2007, 01:39 PM
I've been doing most of my cleaning with baking soda and vinegar--it works well, it's cheap, and non-toxic.

nadja la claire
04-20-2007, 02:06 PM
We use TJ's and WF's canvas shopping bags and TJ's thermal bags for frozen foods. When I do forget to bring bags with me I recycle the plastic bags at the dog park. We also reuse plastic take-out food containers.

We use environmentally friendly cleaning products, like Sun and Earth's line of products and because we have an ant problem every year, we make a boric acid mixture and we also use Orange Guard pest control products.

And I think one of the most important things you can do is support sustainable agriculture. So we support a local CSA for produce and farmers markets for organic poultry and cheeses, not only because it helps to keep family farms going therefore those farms are not being sold to developers which contributes to sprawl, but it also saves on fuel because if you're buying local your salad or blueberries are not coming from across the country or half-way around the world and you're also eating in season which means you're getting the freshest produce. I know it's hard at first to give up strawberries or asparagus in December but when you think about the amount of gas saved and also you get to know the farmers and what's going or not going on or in your food. So don't just buy organic, buy local.

:muah: :hug:

Nadja xxx

brendajos
04-20-2007, 02:17 PM
As part of its Eco Options launch, The Home Depot will give away 1 million CFL bulbs at its stores on Earth Day, April 22, and will launch an interactive Web site dedicated to the program. The CFL bulb has become an icon of energy efficiency, and replacing 1 million incandescent bulbs with CFLs will result in savings of $12 million in annual energy costs and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 147 million pounds.


:cheering: :happydance: :cheering:

HamburgKnitter
04-20-2007, 02:40 PM
- No plastic bags from the grocery store - I use canvas bags and I always have a folded up cloth bag in my purse for spontaneous shopping
- I recycle all glass and paper
- I don't wrap my lunch in plastic wrap, I put my sandwich in a little sandwich-sized tupperware container (still plastic, but I've been using the same one for years)
- We buy all our "drinkables" in deposit bottles so that we're forced to bring them back so they can be used again
- I use biodegradable dish and laundry detergent

I'm also not too big on pre-packaged food. I enjoy cooking and I'm vegetarian and I cook alot of fresh, organic foods and make alot of things from scratch. We have a compost heap and don't produce alot of garbage through food packaging, cans, etc.

Kirochka
04-20-2007, 03:50 PM
We use CFC bulbs, we use canvas bags for our grocery shopping, we use biodegradable detergents and cleansers, we recycle, we compost, we use no chemicals in our yard, I use washable and reusable Lunapads and a Diva Cup (http://www.lunapads.com/)... but living in suburbia (not my choice...) means we have no good public transportation options, which I hate. When the current car dies, with any luck not soon, unfortunately, we'll get a hybrid. We also have IRAs in socially/environmentally responsible funds. Last year we belonged to a CSA (but aren't doing it this year). We try to eat organic when possible (but it's often expensive...). We're always on the lookout for what's possible...

There's a huge Green Festival (http://www.greenfestivals.org/) in Chicago this weekend... not sure if we'll make it there, but it looks cool.

Susan P.
04-21-2007, 07:03 AM
1. Use toilet systems that have half flush capability and if living alone there is no need to flush each and every time you go (I can hear people howling but when you live alone you don't offend anyone and truly, it's an option as good as having the water levels reduced!) Obviously you flush each time you..you know.. :-)

2. Use bicarb and lemon juice as a cleaner etc and reduce use of bleach based products that wind up in the waterways.

3. Reduce water flow in showers by changing shower heads and/or put a time limit on showering.

4. Use grey water from washing machine etc (depends on detergents you use also) on gardens. People can have grey water piping installed.

5. Have small rain water tanks fitted to side of house that allow roof gutters etc to run into. If the tank is set up high gravity feed alone will alone you to use this for watering the garden and washing your hair in rain water is divine.

6. Ensure when you recycle you thoroughly wash out milk containers and so on before you put into bins as sometimes they will be rejected if dirty. Grey water is adequate for this purpose.

7. Turn lights off!

8. Better designed homes can reduce airconditioner usage and so on. We need to put more pressure on design of 'affordable' housing (including public housing) that has key environmentally appropriate features like solar power and so on. Use gardens and shrubs to 'cool' down areas in summer and deciduous plants that will then allow sun in winter.

9. Use newspapers and so on as mulch but look to online news services to minimise paper based purchases.

10. If wanting to get rid of old mobiles, computers and so on look for companies that take these apart and work to recycle components, metals, plastics etc.

11. Don't wash your car with phosphate based detergents and allow the water runoff to go down the drain into the waterways. Always use non phosphate based products and wash on the lawn if possible.

12. Don't use dishwashers etc unless you have close to a full load.

There is a community near where I live that doesn't have power. But one family has a system of building energy to run a generator. If the children want to watch TV that evening they must sit on a bicycle and cycle away and create enough energy to be able to watch the show! :-)

Kirochka
04-21-2007, 09:42 AM
I forgot about the shower head and toilet - we have low-flow versions of both, too!

We also use rechargeable batteries - another small thing that adds up. And when we need to buy paper products, we try to make sure they're as close to 100% post-consumer recycled as we can.

debb
04-21-2007, 11:07 AM
If possible, it would be nice to line-dry my clothes, but I don't think it will be.

I wash most of my clothes in cold water and line dry - I put an extra shower curtain rod over the middle of the tub and hang them there on hangers - no mess if something is dripping. And I love these for sweaters
Sweater Dryer (http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?CATID=77008&PRODID=69615&searchId=8487494&itemIndex=1)

I replaced all my lightbulbs with Costco's CF bulbs and the savings were incredible.

Don't forget to knit your own bags. I've made this one
http://magknits.com/June06/patterns/market.htm
and plan to felt a few also

auburnchick
04-21-2007, 11:24 AM
I've taken us off junk mail lists (click here (http://www.fightidentitytheft.com/junkmail.html) to see how)

Jane, thanks for this link. Phone solicitation and junk mail are two of my biggest pet peeves. I just saw it this morning and took myself off of all of those on the site. I've got letters waiting to go out too!

DoulaLyndsey
04-21-2007, 12:26 PM
I would love to do more, such as buying a hybrid or electric car but $$ prevents that :verysad: . DH and I are also looking into building a geodesic home in the future.

For now we cloth diaper (and use G diapers), I use a Diva cup and have sewn my own cloth pads, we recycle quite a bit, I'm going to start using reusable shopping bags, and we buy as much organic as we can afford.

I'm also trying to get active in environment conservation, especially since we live less than a mile from the Everglades. I sickens me to hear about all the environmental problems that are going on out there :pout: .

Julie
04-21-2007, 12:39 PM
Earth Day is my wedding anniversary :mrgreen:

I :heart: the Trader Joes reusable bags -- very sturdy IMHO. We also use these (http://www.reusablebags.com/store/packntote-grocery-cart-helper-bags-p-737.html), which I love because they clip right into your shopping cart.

I'm planting my first vegetable garden this year -- my lettuce and cucumbers sprouted today! :cheering: I'll be composting as soon as my compost pail arrives in the mail. :D

Of course we recycle -- we're very lucky to live in a community that has an awesome curbside recycling program. We only have to take out trash every 2 or 3 weeks...and once I'm composting I think that will improve ttoo.

In the fall I started using waxed paper bags instead of ziplock bags in my daughter's lunch...but as time went on I still felt like I could be doing more. So I bought her one of these!

The company was started by two moms who were alarmed by the amount of waste they saw in their kids' lunchrooms. This week is "no-waste lunch week" at my daughter's school, so I will be running a fundraiser to try to get as many people as possible to buy and use them. (They have a very generous fundraiser program -- a total win-win in my opinion!)

Carol_OH
04-21-2007, 12:56 PM
I've been doing most of my cleaning with baking soda and vinegar--it works well, it's cheap, and non-toxic.

:cheering: and I make all my own laundry detergent!

Here's the recipe!

http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/laundrysoap.htm

An added bonus is that your whole house smells clean when you're cooking it up!

CarmenIbanez
04-21-2007, 12:59 PM
. DH and I are also looking into building a geodesic home in the future.



We want to build one too!

We have switched all of our bulbs to CF bulbs. A little reminder if no one mentioned it already, you cannot throw away the compact flourescent bulbs in the regular trash! They have mercury in them and will contaminate soil and water in and around dump sites. Most cities have a special place to take them for disposal. They last so long, in 4 years since we've been using them, I haven't had to get rid of one yet. :-)

We do take the plastic bags from the store, but we use and re-use them a lot. We don't buy any plastic bags, so taking the ones from the store and re-using them as trash bags/travel bags etc, saves the use of further plastic.

We have an electric golf car as our second vehicle. It's a chrysler gem and seats four. It is street legal and where we live you can drive them on the street or in the golf cart lane. Yes it using electricity, but it takes electricity directly from our house. I can't tell you for sure how much it uses, but we've never noticed a significant difference in our electric bill. We can't say the same for bills at the gas station. :shrug:

We have two Hondas that get good mileage and qualify as ULEVs (Ultra Low Emmision Vehicle).

Last but not least, my three fifth grade classes are making Environmental Public Service Announcements on the computers in my lab. They are not only learning the whole process of film production, but they had to do all the research for their environmental topic. They included: alternative energy, water conservation, water pollution, green construction and energy conservation. The purpose of the ads is for the kids to come up with something that any 5th grader can do to help the environment, create a slogan, and film a commercial that will be available online. (We're even going to have a fancy premiere night at the school!) :happydance:

Carol_OH
04-21-2007, 01:01 PM
oh and another thing - RAIN BARRELS! EDIT: Oops, I see that Susan P mentioned these already! :oops:

We found four huge plastic sturdy barrels being thrown out at the college nearby - we cleaned them up, and are fitting them with the spigot, over-flow tube, etc.

Here's a nice link to making your own:

http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/gardening/article/0,1785,HGTV_3546_2165903,00.html

brendajos
04-21-2007, 01:02 PM
I've taken us off junk mail lists (click here (http://www.fightidentitytheft.com/junkmail.html) to see how)

Jane, thanks for this link. Phone solicitation and junk mail are two of my biggest pet peeves. I just saw it this morning and took myself off of all of those on the site. I've got letters waiting to go out too!

Just so you know, It won't take you off all mailing lists, of course. There are a LOT of list brokers out there and most are pretty unscrupulous... and one of the biggest list compilers in the country isn't listed there. :oops: :teehee:

RiverDaughter
04-21-2007, 01:07 PM
I walk everywhere, literally, or carpool to the few places that I can't walk to. And, as the people I carpool with are all college students, they have very nice cars that get more miles to the gallon.

Instead of cup 'o' noodles, I eat another brand of instant noodles that makes their bowl out of pressed corn starch, which breaks down naturally and is harmless to the environment.

Umm... that's about it. I can't think of anything else, really, as I mainly spend my life at work. My work does recycle plastic bottles, but there's no glass recycling in the area, and no one in the state accepts blue glass (we carry a popular caffeine drink called Bawls that comes in pretty blue glass bottles), but a bunch of nerds keep taking our empty bottles to decorate their apartment, or put christmas lights in to use as outdoor lighting. :cheering:

CarmenIbanez
04-21-2007, 01:09 PM
I forgot to mention recycling. We are fortunate that our trash service has a program and they provide a separate container where we can put all paper/plastic/glass and aluminum. It's so easy to do now, I almost forget I'm doing something good! We used to separate and take ours to the recycling center every week. That was a pain!

Jan in CA
04-21-2007, 01:11 PM
Re: air drying instead of dryers... I air dry most of my clothes even in winter. DH attached a long chain across the patio which enables us to hang clothing outside in our small yard.

I bought a set of these for underwear and small items. I LOVE them!
Clip and Drip hangers (http://www.organizeeverything.com/clipdrip.html)
They have other things to that should make it easier for anyone to find something.
http://www.organizeeverything.com/hadrra.html
I have the "clamp type" hangers from Target (can't find a pic) that I use for my jeans.

We recycle way more than we have trash every week and occasionally we only have to put out the recycle bin on trash days.

Kirochka
04-21-2007, 01:53 PM
We're about to cancel our home trash/recycling pick-up - it's hugely expensive (and as a sidebar, let me rant for a second that two of our 8 lots are in the town proper, while 6 are in the township, and people in the town pay MUCH less for trash pick-up than we do - by the bag, as opposed to quarterly, which we're forced to... and we put out the trash maybe once every two or three weeks... :!!!: End of rant). Anyway, we're going to start taking our trash and recycling to the shop and have it picked up there, or taking it to the recycling center.

We use these (http://www.ecobags.com/)for our grocery shopping, except at Trader Joe's - we get their paper bags to bundle our recycling in. And we use the occasional plastic bag we do get at the grocery store in those :doh: moments when we forget to bring in the canvas bags as trash bags.

Oh, and I launder all our clothes in cold water only - we have front-loading washer - using Trader Joe's biodegradable detergent. I sometimes miss not using bleach (especially on our cotton shower curtain liner - which I got from a place Jan recommended, thank you , Jan!), but I can't bring myself to use it.

Am I the only one who sometimes despairs, though, at how measly all this can feel compared to what we're facing as a planet? I hate feeling pessimistic (albeit it's my nature...), but I can't help feeling we're such a small minority in a sea of people who really don't care, for so many reasons. :pout:

Julie
04-21-2007, 02:05 PM
My compost pail just came :cheering:

Karen, I totally get what you're saying...but you know, I feel like all we can do is do a little more than what we were doing before, and encourage others to do the same.

I was hesitant to bring up the reusable-lunchbox thing at my daughter's school because honestly, I'm new to the school and didn't want to be pegged as the crazy crunchy mom, and I wasn't sure how it would be received. But you know what? My DH was so enthusiastic about it and told me if I didn't do it, he would. :D So I did, and it was really well-received. :D And the school is doing a boatload of stuff all week to raise awareness about recycling and caring for the earth. I just wasn't sure how on-board they were :shrug: but I've been pleasantly surprised. :mrgreen:

My kindergartener took a spring walk at school yesterday and they all wore little gloves and picked up trash -- she said it was so fun, and begged me to go on a picking-up-litter walk this morning. :D Baby steps....

RiverDaughter
04-21-2007, 03:38 PM
I was hesitant to bring up the reusable-lunchbox thing at my daughter's school because honestly, I'm new to the school and didn't want to be pegged as the crazy crunchy mom, and I wasn't sure how it would be received.

Isn't usng re-usable lunch boxes normal? All of my friends back in elementary school used them, though I finally had the coolest cme high school. A japanese bento box with a little dolphin and some badly translated English. :roflhard:

marykz
04-21-2007, 03:53 PM
check out laptoplunches.com for adorable bento-style lunchboxes for kids and grown ups. I have one for me! when K is a little older I'll get one for her too. she just uses a regular kids reusable lunchbox and plastic containters. (that I don't care if a lid gets lost sometimes).

http://www.laptoplunches.com/

my laptop lunchbox is great- some cover containers, some not. then the shell closes tightly over (no spillage) room for an icepak and a water bottle in the container. reusable silverware too.

the site has great ideas for lunches and for being a little greener in life...

jdee
04-21-2007, 04:11 PM
I don't know if this counts, but I reused some cat litter buckets to plant my tomatoes. I've also used them for mixing and storing potting soil. Storing dry cat food, and we once used them to mix paint. We also refill them with cat litter from boxes. I reuse pudding and yogert cups for starting seedlings, or rooting cuttings. I reuse grocery bags when I can, and we recycle cans.

I know it's nothing big, but every little bit helps.

RiverDaughter
04-21-2007, 04:36 PM
check out laptoplunches.com for adorable bento-style lunchboxes for kids and grown ups. I have one for me! when K is a little older I'll get one for her too. she just uses a regular kids reusable lunchbox and plastic containters. (that I don't care if a lid gets lost sometimes).

http://www.laptoplunches.com/

my laptop lunchbox is great- some cover containers, some not. then the shell closes tightly over (no spillage) room for an icepak and a water bottle in the container. reusable silverware too.

the site has great ideas for lunches and for being a little greener in life...

I'd lov to get one, but te price tag would hurt me big time. Especiallya s I can get my bento boxes online for $10-15 dollars. :shrug:

syndactylus
04-21-2007, 05:12 PM
we got rid of our tv, stereo, vcr, and dvd player.
try to get any necessary clothes (except for knitted!) used or at least old as often as possible.
got my office to switch to the thinnest paper available, make only one printer per dept. network to the color printers, & switch to routing pdfs mostly instead of paper proofs (it's a publishing gig).
only buy used hardcover books, or take them out of the library.

click here every day :teehee: - click here! (http://www.therainforestsite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=4)

Knitting_Guy
04-21-2007, 06:36 PM
I think the little things add up.

I carry my own coffee mug with me so I don't have to use disposable cups. I reuse the plastic bags most stores use these days. I often will simply not get bags at all and just put the stuff in my backpack.

When I am home from the road I ride a recumbent bicycle everywhere I go, or walk. I don't even own a car now (but will admit that lately I've been seriously thinking about buying another Harley).

I buy a lot of stuff in reusable containers, or buy the bulk packages and store the stuff in glass jars. I do my best to minimize the amount of trash I am adding to the landfills.

I use compact florescent bulbs in my lights at home and am going to be installing a tankless water heater in the near future.

I buy the paper towels and toilet paper made from recycled paper.

When showering I turn off the water while washing to conserve water. Fresh water is in short supply in Florida.

When on the road I try to stay in hotels as often as is practical (and I can afford) so that I don't have to keep my truck idling to be comfortable. I'm in one tonight in fact.

When I leave home and go back on the road I shut off all of the water and power to my house so that none is wasted while I am away. Besides, it saves me a lot of money too. My electric bill is usually only around $12 a month.

I recycle my old clothing. Old tee shirts and such become cleaning rags, old jeans are great for scrubbing rags.

I do what little things I can to reduce waste.

Susan P.
04-21-2007, 07:15 PM
Jan in CA. Glad you bought up air drying. Quite a debate in Sydney recently about the fact we should be using less power to cut down greenhouse emissions and yet most apartments won't let you put things on the balcony to dry. Thus, this comes down again to design. If its a matter of visual pollution then create either a fixed or 'bring down' open lattice screen that largely cuts the visuals and still allows air flow. I find any item always dried in a dryer goes grey in time. Tho people love fluffy towels! So partly we need to get used to differences in the way natural items are.

Knitting_guy. Great idea re taking your own mug and avoiding polystyrene.

Good to see people talking about re-usable lunch boxes etc.

Susan P.
04-21-2007, 07:22 PM
Carol_OH. Great idea to use what you find and to use for such a great purpose.

Re junk mail. If you buy a sticker from a hardware store and stick it to your mailbox that says "NO, junk mail" here they're not allowed to leave you any.

There was quite a case some years back in Australia where a resident kept returning junk mail found in his mail box to businesses saying to please stop sending them to him. But they kept doing it so he invoiced them and charged them for 'handling' the mail and so on. It went to Court and believe it or not he won!!

I dare say companies now have covered themselves and thus tell postal workers or walkers not to leave the same if you have a sticker.

It's always worked for me.

My disappointment is still receiving mail from a charity group a year after previous tenants left. I have written on envelopes 3 times and returned it to the charity pointing out they need to save their postal fees and yet their approaches keep coming.

MoniDew
04-21-2007, 08:48 PM
WOW!! You guys are OUTSTANDING!!!

Would anybody mind if I compile some of these ideas for my work (healthfood store)?

BTW, I compost kitchen trash and paper, recycle water bottles, use CFL, turn off computer when not in use, turn off lights, TV, VCR etc, unplug appliance that I can, use natural laundry, dishwashing, and personal grooming soaps and supplies, and LOVE fellow greenies!! YEAH US!!!!

(I want to live on a wind farm with an organic garden and orchard!!)
________
Ford Com?te (http://www.ford-wiki.com/wiki/Ford_Com?te)

Susan P.
04-21-2007, 09:05 PM
MoniDew. You're welcome to copy my list if you like and think it's useful.

Knitting_Guy. A practical question. I've heard just turning off the water to the hot water system can be a danger if done wrongly. I know nothing about this. Do you know what the issue is? Perhaps it's simply that if the electricity is also on then the system is trying to heat water that is not really there or something. (I guess this may only affect older systems).

The cost and energy savings you mention are significant. I was away for almost two months and the only thing running here was the fridge and the hot water system and I was floored at the bill during that period. The electricity company told me its the hot water system that can be the high user.

I guess whilst on this topic buying electrical goods that have a good rating in terms of energy usage. Products for sale here have stars on them to indicate just how energy efficient they are.

One other thing, if you use nice natural PH non chemical shampoos (like I do) putting a bucket in the shower while you are there is a great way to grab water for indoor plants and even outside. Even if you don't want any sort of detergents in the water..pull the bucket in after your hair wash and you'll get enough in a couple of minutes to water plants. Obviously just let it cool.

Susan P.
04-21-2007, 09:11 PM
I just thought..MoniDew mentioned health food stores. Here and I'm sure there we just carry back washed out glass jars and can fill with honey and peanut butter you can grind yourself. You can set the machine to smooth or crunchy. No additive oils and no salt. Obviously you can add that at home if you want. People can also bring in containers and fill with a generic cleaner, shampoo and conditioner. This is one way to save packaging over and over if you like a product. It can't contravene health laws because the product is encased and you just open a valve to 'pour' into your own container. They also make a large muesli mix for the same purpose. So, there are 6/7 products you don't have to buy packaging for all the time if you like them. I use the honey and peanut butter products regularly and it's fun making your own peanut butter. You can also ask for times you can come in and make your own macadamia butter and so on.

Knitting_Guy
04-21-2007, 09:17 PM
You should never have an empty water tank powered as it will burn out the heating elements and could potentially start a fire.

If you are going to shut off the water and leave the power on, kill the breaker to the water tank.

And yeah, the water tank was likely the cause of the high power bill. Tanked water heaters waste a huge amount of energy just keeping water hot in the tank. That's why I am switching to a tankless system. It only uses power when you actually need hot water.

brendajos
04-21-2007, 09:28 PM
This thread delights me more every time I come back to it! There are such awesome ideas here... Some easy, some harder but definitely AWESOME!

I am kinda psyched to try to make the homemade laundry detergent. I still have a bunch left in my current bottle because i have an HE machine so it doesn't take much (it took me nearly 3 years to go through one bottle! woo hoo!) but once it is gone i can't wait to try making my own.

I am so giddy!

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y200/brendajos/Siggies/whirlyname.gif <~~~ That's me excited :teehee:

Susan P.
04-21-2007, 09:47 PM
jdee I agree every little bit counts. I think it's good to try and add one 'extra' saving say per month. 12 per year is pretty good. When Sydney turned it's lights off for an hour a couple of week ago the energy saving across the city was phenomenal. I can't recall the exact figures of how much power was saved but I was taken aback. I have a knee injury and so can't get up and change light globes. I admit when some blow its an absolute nuisance. At the same time I've found when others blow it actually makes very little difference and I often leave them.

Knitting-Guy. I have to say this. You could be my ex husband's brother. You look so like him it's almost uncanny!! Heh. :-)

By the way, have you tried a fan in your truck of a night - one running off the battery or its own battery power? The 'tax' on a battery as large as your truck has is pretty minimal and I've seen drivers here with them set up in cabs.

ctmax
04-21-2007, 09:48 PM
Carol_OH just a question. What kind of washing machine do you have? I would love to make my own soap, and I read on her wepsite saying other people have used it in front loaders with no problem. I would just be scared I would wreck the sencors or something.

Knitting_Guy
04-21-2007, 10:17 PM
I do use a fan at times, but the inside of a truck can get pretty stuffy and uncomfortable when trying to sleep and often a fan isn't enough, especially when it's humid.

Susan P.
04-21-2007, 10:25 PM
Carol_Oh. I admit I've gone back to a Planet Ark powder for my top loader. It's expensive but it lasts and lasts. I used to use a liquid that I liked on the clothes a lot BUT on that previous machine the liquid clogged some of the operating parts. The mechanic told me I should have done a clothes free wash every few weeks with just hot water and vinegar to sluice. I did that on that machine and was amazed at the gunk that came out. Obviously if you do this you save the water if possible and water it down further and use in on lawns etc where very mild vinegar won't be a problem.

Knitting_guy. I understand. I live in a humid climate and actually the noise of a fan at night drives me mad so I do without aircon or that and just slowly bake. I make sure I turn at least once a night to cook evenly on all sides :-)

BostonBecca
04-21-2007, 10:29 PM
Do any of you know about making your life carbon neutral?

You can purchase basically carbon credits equal to the amount you probably use in a year and a company will make sure that the amount of carbon your contribute each year gets removed, either through the preservation of forest or the creation of new forest. It's another option for people who want to be environmentally friendly and might not be able to drive a hybrid or take public transportation.

Is anyone here a member of any environmental advocacy groups?

I worked for Conservation Law Foundation as an intern one summer in law school. I also a member of a few different groups. I just wonder which ones people prefer.

Susan P.
04-21-2007, 10:58 PM
BostonBecca. I applaud you for your motivation. The only problem I have with those schemes is a) material evidence of what is being saved that would not have been saved anyway via other conservation practices and b) plants put into the ground now will take some years before they start to make a significant impact on greenhouse and pollution. However, we need these longer term schema as well as personal contributions so, while you cannot change your car, and either can I and I cannot walk readily because of a significant knee problem, you can turn off lights, not use undue packaging and so on.

I'm interested to know what evidence these schema provide you on exactly where your trees have been planted and so on (as I also indicate previously).

I have tried to interest companies in carbon trading on large well established orchard areas and I encountered a lot of problems with that and the companies explained why it was not easy for them and I understood. In part it's govt policy and in part it's calculation. Not sure if I still have the link but I had a great carbon calculator at one point that you could use to establish how much carbon is in a tree (hardwoods and softwoods differ also).

I've completed applications for people (all successful) to obtain govt grants for riparian work (fencing to keep cattle out, edge planting and so on), regeneration and revegetation work but don't belong to any conservation groups as such. I have found many (see Hale and Pace for this) really don't know their 'stuff' and talk more in myth than critical analysis). That said I think it good to be involved in a community project or group and those that do fight for saving of say the Amazonian and Asian forests which are disappearing at an awfully rapid rate. Football field per day I believe. If I was absolutely assured my money was going to save those I would contribute - but I'm a cynic unless I have direct evidence.

Susan P.
04-21-2007, 10:59 PM
ONE way to save forests of course is NOT to buy furniture products made from exotic timbers. Cut off the commercial viability and they will stop looking for species and felling them.

madametj
04-21-2007, 11:43 PM
[Don't forget to knit your own bags. I've made this one
http://magknits.com/June06/patterns/market.htm
and plan to felt a few also

i dont know if anyone has already posted this, but lionbrand has a bag as well: http://cache.lionbrand.com/patterns/BK4K-0702003.html

brendajos
04-22-2007, 02:23 AM
I was just perusing around on www.reusablebags.com when I came across this letter that you can use as a sample for writing to your local stores to encourage them to start offering credit for people who bring in their own bags! :happydance:


Dear [name of store manager or CEO],

As a concerned regular customer of [store name here], I am writing to ask you to join in with other leading retailers including Ikea, Costco and Whole Foods by either 1) offering a $.05 or $.10 credit per bag for customer that chose to bring their own and/or 2) introducing a small fee of .15 cents per disposable, single-use plastic bag. This will both save you money and help establish your business as a responsible retailer that cares about our environment.

Introduced 25 years ago, single use plastic bags are now consumed at an astounding rate of approximately 500 billion per year globally, or 1 million per minute. It is estimated that 1% or 5 billion of these bags end up as wind blow litter each year. These bags that take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade, often wind up in waterways or the landscape, becoming eyesores and eventually degrading water and soil as they break down into tiny toxic bits.

Their manufacture and disposal also uses large quantities of non-renewable resources, especially petroleum, a key ingredient in plastic. Large amounts of global warming gases are released during their production, transportation, and disposal. Environmentally, disposable plastic bags are a serious problem. Hundreds of thousands of marine animals, including endangered sea turtles, die every year when they eat plastic bags mistaken for food. Paper bags are not the answer, since independent studies show they have roughly as many negative impacts as plastic ones.

The negative impacts of disposable bags could be reduced easily and significantly by charging for their usage at the point of purchase. In cooperation with retailers, the Irish government introduced a plastic bag tax (PlasTax) last year that has slashed consumption over 90% and raised $9.6 million for environmental and waste management projects. Another benefit is that stores save money on bag purchases and improve their public image. For example, Superquinn, one of the largest Irish grocery chains, says the number of bags it distributes for free has dropped by 97.5%.

Charging for disposable bags and rewarding the use of reusable bags is a win-win solution to the disposable bag problem. It helps create the foundation for public-private partnership consumer in solving environmental problems, and saves retailers money.

Thank you for your careful thought on this matter, and I hope, the introduction of a store policy to charge for disposable bags and give credit for reusable ones. Corporate responsibility like this can make the difference between keeping and losing customers.

Sincerely,

[your name, city, state, and zip code]

humblestumble
04-22-2007, 04:36 AM
I've been recycling jars for my painting and I plan on knitting a bag instead of using those plastic grocery bags. Eventually, I want to make a compost pile - I'm learning how to garden, so that will come later rather than sooner.

And I've been getting and tending to plants and seeds. Hurray for the Earth.

One biodiesel finds its way to our city, my BF wants to convert to that for his Dodge.

Carol_OH
04-22-2007, 04:53 AM
Carol_OH just a question. What kind of washing machine do you have? I would love to make my own soap, and I read on her wepsite saying other people have used it in front loaders with no problem. I would just be scared I would wreck the sencors or something.

Hey CT, I just have an top loader :( I have been using this recipe for two months now, and love it.

When I told my mom about it, and esp since I never heard of washing soda (btw, you can use PH increaser - the stuff folks use for the swimming pools - it's sodium carbonate, too, though oddly more expensive than if you can find Arm and Hammer Washing Soda!) she grinned and nodded - 'back in the day' folks used this kinda thing all the time.

Carol_OH
04-22-2007, 04:58 AM
Carol_Oh. I admit I've gone back to a Planet Ark powder for my top loader. It's expensive but it lasts and lasts. I used to use a liquid that I liked on the clothes a lot BUT on that previous machine the liquid clogged some of the operating parts. The mechanic told me I should have done a clothes free wash every few weeks with just hot water and vinegar to sluice. I did that on that machine and was amazed at the gunk that came out. Obviously if you do this you save the water if possible and water it down further and use in on lawns etc where very mild vinegar won't be a problem.

I think that the 'clothes free' wash idea is a terrific idea - I haven't YET worked it out that I can use the grey water for watering my garden/yard, but that's in the works.

And I agree, this thread is TERRIFIC!!! :cheering: :cheering: :cheering:

Oh and is anyone reading "No Impact Man"'s blog?

http://noimpactman.typepad.com/blog/

Susan P.
04-22-2007, 08:23 AM
Good for you Carol_OH. I rent so plumbing/hose systems that can be inbuilt to a home are out for me (I think if you do searches you'll find simple diagram systems to show you what to do - often they are on gardening sites), but I used to just put a plug into my laundry tub (not when I had a full load) and let the rinse water drain into that and then I would bucket it out. I'd usually get two/three decent bucket fulls while was great.

I noticed Knitting_Guy said that scarce water is becoming in Florida. We are certainly having a lot of problems in Australia with that and Brisbane is down to 4min showers and people being liable to further cuts if their water meter readings are too high.

Anyway of you have swimming pools but DON'T have gutter draining into the pool? That is such a simple thing to arrange and can be a good water saving.

Carol_OH
04-22-2007, 11:26 AM
one more thing - our own Wynnie was the one who turned me onto that laundry recipe! :hug:

ctmax
04-22-2007, 12:41 PM
I really want to start making my own fabric softner as well. I am just wondering if using vinigar in your washing machine everytime could damage the seal over time?

debb
04-22-2007, 12:55 PM
I really want to start making my own fabric softner as well. I am just wondering if using vinigar in your washing machine everytime could damage the seal over time?

I just run an empty cycle once a month and pour some into the water. The vinegar is supposed to dissolve any soap buildup and keep things flowing. Be sure to use the white vinegar

ctmax
04-22-2007, 01:15 PM
I do the once a month thing as well. I am just wondering if you use it with every wash if it could damage the washer. This is the recipe I was going to use

* Recipe for Home-Made Fabric Softener A strong plastic container
* 1 cup baking soda
* 6 cups distilled white vinegar
* 8 cups water
* (Optional) 10-15 drops orange or lemon essential oil (available at health food stores)

First, add the baking soda to the plastic container. Add 1 cup of the water to start with, then SLOWLY add the vinegar to the bottle. The vinegar and baking soda will fizz. Then add the rest of the water. Slowly swirl and cover you will need to vent the lid a few times.

Use 1 cup in your final rinse cycle for each load.

Susan P.
04-22-2007, 09:47 PM
The ratio of vinegar to water is fairly high there so I would tend not to use it every wash but if you are meaning pouring a little in which your final rinse?? Wouldn't you be concerned about the clothes you had in the washer if some were delicates? Jeans and towels would be fine and of course adding a couple of cap fulls to last rinse would mean your mix would be diluted. Once a month should be ok and that mix would make a good general cleaner for shower and toilet etc.

Susan P.
04-22-2007, 09:49 PM
Sorry, I failed to see your last line. If you are say doing 2 loads that day, unless you felt this mix really added freshness and sparkle to your clothes, I would tend not to add each load I did. I doubt a cup diluted in a full washing machine load of water could do any harm but I have a sensor and don't always full wash.

ctmax
04-22-2007, 09:57 PM
Thanks for your replys I guess I will just stick with my fabric softner. My washing machine isn't even a year old yet, I would be really mad if I did something to harm it.

madametj
04-22-2007, 10:01 PM
Hmm, i guess i haven't really been doing much for the environment lately. I know our house is powered by mostly Energystar things, we're slowly converting to CFLs. We always reuse the grocery bags, and i never take a plastic bag when i'm only buying one thing.

Oh, you should definetly check out Ecoist.com (http://www.ecoist.com/index.asp). They make these gorgeous handbags from unused candy wrappers (misprints, etc.) that would have otherwise been thrown away. PLUS they plant a tree for every bag that is bought!

ETA: (i've never bought from them b4, though, cuz they're really pricey! :pout: )

Susan P.
04-22-2007, 10:51 PM
Shame about those prices as they are actually attractive!

msoebel
04-23-2007, 10:46 AM
Well, I think there is more we could be doing for our environment.

Right now we:
-Use reusable plastic containers (like tupperware) instead of reclosable storage bags
-I always recycle plastic bottles (pop and water)...I use them myself a few times, then toss them in the recycling tub at work
-We have one car, and my dh drops me off at work on his way to his office and dd's preschool (conveniently in the same building) and he picks me up on the way home. When he can't take me to work, I ride my bike or walk (it just means leaving much, much earlier!). When we bought our car, even though we couldn't afford to buy a hybrid, we looked for a car that great mileage per gallon of gas. No SUVs for us.
-We make a point of only leaving on lights in the room we are in...and we unplug all small appliances when not in use
-We each carry our own coffee mug
-We keep our thermostat set at 78 in the summer, and 60 in the winter. We make sure our landlord cleans our furnace filter each fall...and that they turn off the air conditioning unit in the fall, and the heater in the spring
-We take short showers
-When dd takes baths, we fill the tub only as high as her legs (she's 3...she doesn't care! :wink: )
-We line dry about half of our clothes (some things, like jeans, just don't feel good when they have been line dried).
-We only wash clothes or dishes when the washer is FULL
-We don't get a fresh towel every single day...more like every 3rd or 4th day
-We turn the engine off when we are waiting in the car. We keep blankets in the car in the winter so we don't get too cold...but leaving an engine idling is really bad.

Things we are in the process of implementing:
-With our next child, we will be using cloth diapers
-We are collecting canvas bags now to use at the store, instead of plastic bags
-As soon as I use the last of our cleaning supplies, I am going to start making my own...

Honestly, my list of things that we will be doing in the future just keeps getting longer. I want my dd to have a beautiful planet to live on, for my grandkids to have a nice world. If we don't start changing things now, that isn't going to happen.

Misty

auburnchick
04-23-2007, 01:03 PM
And yeah, the water tank was likely the cause of the high power bill. Tanked water heaters waste a huge amount of energy just keeping water hot in the tank. That's why I am switching to a tankless system. It only uses power when you actually need hot water.

I've never heard of this before. It's very, very interesting!

I just took the little timer things off of my water heater because we never seemed to have hot water when we wanted it. Boy, did my bill jump by at least $30. I will venture to guess it's the water heater. So, the timer things are going back on.

But I really like the tankless water heater thing. Hmmm...

Stiney
04-23-2007, 02:21 PM
we got rid of our tv, stereo, vcr, and dvd player.
try to get any necessary clothes (except for knitted!) used or at least old as often as possible.
got my office to switch to the thinnest paper available, make only one printer per dept. network to the color printers, & switch to routing pdfs mostly instead of paper proofs (it's a publishing gig).
only buy used hardcover books, or take them out of the library.

click here every day :teehee: - click here! (http://www.therainforestsite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=4)

We route PDFs once they've been comped, but I really, really, really wish that we'd switch to routing the paperwork electronically. We already have a system in place, and it would save SO. MUCH. TIME. AND. PAPER.

I wind up with so many wasted pieces of paper from forms, and everything needs a copy of this, a copy of that, a copy of blahblahblah. :wall:

Anyway, I work for Prentice Hall! :)

We use shower towels for a week...hand towels longer...dish towels until they start feeling skanky. We use the dishwasher, though, so it's a sponge (we use sponges until they fall apart) and the dish towels are mostly used for mopping up water from the sink/drying hands. G-pa does hand-wash his dishes, and those go on another dish towel while they dry.

I need to be better about turning off lights/computers. :oops:

brendajos
04-23-2007, 02:36 PM
switch to cfl bulbs for the lights you tend to forget. it will at least lessen the impact of forgetting! ;)

janelanespaintbrush
04-23-2007, 02:53 PM
So there are people who use fresh bath towels every day? My goodness. They must have other people do their laundry. I doubt we change towels more than once a week most of the time!

chiricahuagal
04-23-2007, 09:34 PM
We're off the grid on solar power and soon wind power. We learned a lot of tips on how to lower energy usage, which translates to needing less solar power equipment.

(1) all appliances except the refrigerator are on switchable power strips, and every strip is off unless the appliance is being used. That includes computers, modems/routers, printers, tv, dvd, stereo, lamps, stove, microwave, everything. The stove is gas, but it has a clock, so it's off unless we are cooking in the oven. We just use a match to light the burners instead of the electronic ignition. OK, I finally gave in and have one electric clock so we can see the time in the middle of the night. Many of these appliances use "phantom power" to make them turn on faster, so switching them off at the power strip means no power is being used at all. I use a desktop computer during the day in my job, but have a laptop for "fun" - it uses quite a lot less power than the desktop.

It's important to understand that with a solar power system, when the sun is shining, you can use a LOT of electricity - it just keeps coming! It's when you are using the batteries (night or cloudy days) that you need to be conservative. When we first moved here, I figured I had to get rid of my electric appliances, but as long as you use them during the middle of the day, it's no problem to use bread machines, irons, and other energy hogs.

(2) cfl light bulbs in every single light fixture. Ok, I take that back - some cfls do not work with dimmers/timers/motion detectors. So we have one outside electric light (and only one) on a motion detector and it uses a regular bulb, and is set to go off after 3 minutes of no activity. When we go out at night, we use headlamps if we have to go further than the back door. (we're out in the country - no neighbors or other lights) We have one fixture with a dimmer, but we bought special cfl bulbs that do work with dimmers.

(3) we have a special low energy refrigerator meant for solar energy systems, and also a low energy swamp cooler also meant for solar energy systems, no air conditioning. Sigh, that's hard in the desert.

(4) I have a solar oven I use infrequently for cooking - saves on propane, which is much more expensive than natural gas around here.

Mostly because we are so remote, I work at home, so I have no commute, which saves a lot of gas. We go to town once a week for groceries. However, we do drive a 4wd vehicle that doesn't get that great mileage, but is needed on our remote dirt road. DH carpools to his job with 2 other coworkers, so he only has to drive 2x/week - 3 people sharing a 40 mile round trip commute saves a lot!

We recycle only aluminum - but we have to be pretty resourceful in our gargage treatment since we do not have garbage pickup and must drive with garbage to the dump (45 miles away). So we compost; burn paper; and generally try to not have much garbage. Even the recyclables have to be driven to town - so we crush cans and wait til we have a full bag to take them in.

Rainwater harvesting is on the list of things to do.

Susan P.
04-24-2007, 06:22 AM
chiricahuagal (Melinda) May I say an informative, inspiring and fascinating post! Wind post should be so useful where you live. Go the rainwater conservation! And do put it up high to utilise gravity feed as much as possible.

Susan P.
04-24-2007, 06:33 AM
ctmax. I have a machine about the same age as yours. It's the liquids that can clog the system so if you're using both liquid wash and then of course the liquid softener you could have long term problems. There is nothing wrong with adding a dash of vinegar to a hot or warm clothes free half wash once a month (just collect the water to use in the garden). It honestly won't harm the machine BUT if in doubt talk to the machine manufacturer or, what I prefer, the folk who do appliance repairs. I've found repairmen who've done the job for years can really offer great advice. I don't have a dishwasher but was visiting my son who does and a repairman came to fix it and told me why that particular machine was not a good buy and so on. I like to ask a local repair shop - just before I'm about to make a large purchase - which brand or model is most often sent in for repairs. I then avoid! :-)

But I'd like to see the whole culture of manufacture go back to my grandparents days when you could just buy a part and repair an electrical item. Nowdays the manufacturer speaks like you should be buying new every ten years and I've found if something goes wrong you wind up needing to buy a whole section not just the small part that's broken. In this sense I think our consumer (both govt based and non) services need to pressure manufacturers to come up with better designs.

My last machine was in it's 28th year I think (it was given to me) and every two years had to have a part replaced but movers unfortunately cracked the top of it and made it unsafe so I had to get a new one. But the old one worked fine.

And although the pressure was poor on my mothers vacuum it still worked after 50 years of life. A testament to the way things were made at one point. We have such a disposable society and it's great to see so many here saying "no" to many aspects of that.

Susan P.
04-24-2007, 06:34 AM
Knitting_Guy..how does non tank hot water work?

msoebel
04-24-2007, 10:00 AM
So there are people who use fresh bath towels every day? My goodness. They must have other people do their laundry. I doubt we change towels more than once a week most of the time!

I know! But it totally grosses out my mom and dad and my little brother...they all use a fresh towel every single day...because they don't want to wipe their faces on the same towel they wiped their feet on. :?? I don't get it...they're as clean as they are ever going to get when you get out of the shower.

As long as our towels don't smell funky or feel grody, we use them.

Misty

janelanespaintbrush
04-24-2007, 10:21 AM
[quote=janelanespaintbrush]I know! But it totally grosses out my mom and dad and my little brother...they all use a fresh towel every single day...because they don't want to wipe their faces on the same towel they wiped their feet on. :?? I don't get it...they're as clean as they are ever going to get when you get out of the shower.

I don't like the idea of my feet touching my bath towel either, so I dry off the soles on the bathmat and just let the rest air dry. :shrug:

Kirochka
04-24-2007, 10:45 AM
My parents are replacing their toaster oven - it's finally stopped working.

I guess I'll give them a pass - they got it before I was born... and I'll be 45 in August... :teehee:

Kirochka
04-24-2007, 10:47 AM
Oh, and I have to say, I had no idea there are people who change their towels every day... I'm floored. :shrug:

marykz
04-24-2007, 11:02 AM
We route PDFs once they've been comped, but I really, really, really wish that we'd switch to routing the paperwork electronically. We already have a system in place, and it would save SO. MUCH. TIME. AND. PAPER.

I wind up with so many wasted pieces of paper from forms, and everything needs a copy of this, a copy of that, a copy of blahblahblah. :wall:

Our gov't office has officially gone paperless, however, we do so much reading and editing that most people end up printing out just as much stuff. There's only so much stuff you can read online before the eyes cross... it does save time in getting paers to the right people. I do my best not to print unnecessary stuff, and use the front and back of all paper, then give papers to kid to play with.

Any interesting ideas for using shredded paper? I use it for packing boxes, but now that I'm working at home I have a lot more to shred.

auburnchick
04-24-2007, 11:04 AM
So there are people who use fresh bath towels every day? My goodness. They must have other people do their laundry. I doubt we change towels more than once a week most of the time!

Sorry...just reading through this whole thread.

I remember one time when my sister's family spent a week at our house. I was washing towels every day and couldn't figure out why. Then she told me that no one in her family reuses towels. :wall:

We use our's until they smell bad. :teehee:

But I do change out the washcloth every day.

Susan P.
04-24-2007, 11:16 AM
Uses for shredded paper:

As marykz suggested - for packing but also think gift boxes too especially if some of the paper is coloured and interesting. You can also get the kinds to use a hole puncher and make confetti for a wedding...but..the following are further ideas:

1. Mulch

2. Offer to local animal shelter in bags. They often love to receive this regularly. Pet shops too perhaps.

3. Tightly packed can fill kids bean bags etc.

4. Papier mache

5. Use to stuff cotton/linen bags etc that can be pushed into shoes or in bags to help them keep their shape when not in use. For shoes you can sprinkle lavender or similar in with the paper.

6. Make 'bricks' by say pushing paper into loaf tin (sprinkle with water so that it starts to get sticky and will adhere) with a brick on top. These are great for fire starters. Give bags of these to elderly people come winter who have a fireplace of some sort and they will love you for it!
I've never seen this idea talked about before but I used to do it and it was quite worthwhile to help get a decent use out of waste office paper. You put some plain shredded strips down, then a couple of these 'shred bricks' and then your timber and voila!

Anyone have any other ideas?

caviar
04-24-2007, 12:45 PM
I just decided today to see if I can go for a year without buying any new clothes. I'll make exceptions for my husband's work clothes (he usually wears them for a decade or so, so I guess it's "low-impact"), shoes (because new really is usually better on the feet), and socks/underwear. Today I put on a T-shirt I bought at Wal Mart two weeks ago (for $5, so I know the worker probably wasn't paid enough), and the stitching is all falling out, so what's the point anyway. Not to mention dyes and chemicals, etc. I went to Goodwill to get playclothes for my son, and had an epiphany. I dont' HAVE to buy new. Seriously, it will take more effort, and I may have to go to pricier consignment stores for professional clothes, etc., but I think I can do it.

Regarding shreded paper: our recycling center takes it along with other mixed paper.

Thanks so much for all your great ideas, guys! It's such a shame that both the problems and solutions related to the environment have been politicized for decades. I think that put a real damper on the average Jane and Joe getting behind daily life-choice solutions. Now that people are paying attention to their choices, I think businesses and politicians will have to respond. I must say, this is one issue that will be addressed despite Big Brother and Big Business, not because of them.

Kirstin

Julie
04-24-2007, 04:58 PM
Knitting_Guy..how does non tank hot water work?

"Tankless water heaters have an electric, gas, or propane heating device that is activated by the flow of water. Once activated, the heater provides a constant supply of hot water."

Tons if info here:

http://homerepair.about.com/od/plumbingrepair/ss/tankless_hwh.htm

Susan P.
04-24-2007, 07:57 PM
Thanks Julie. Reminds me of the older gas heaters my parents had as children. It would be great to move away from fossil fuels but at least this would not use anywhere near as much I guess as the offpeak tank systems etc. Those gas heaters would run out of water and of course the consumer society didn't much like that and wanted hot water - and loads of it - whenever it liked.

caviar. Good to hear. Some young girls in my town go nuts over retro clothing found in 'op' shops and so on. Sometimes clothing quality can be excellent for small children in these shops. But I've seen 'second' clothes (i.e. clothes given to charity shops by a manufacturer because of flaws) and some have had the most minor issue and fixable.

brendajos
04-27-2007, 12:19 AM
I got my bags in the mail today and the veggie bags had the Eco Bags website on it.

They had these cool lunch bags (http://www.ecobags.com/s.nl/it.A/id.71/.f) on them that could be great for kits parties to decorate and put their party favors into!

rissa
04-27-2007, 02:49 PM
Thank you for this post, it has been inspiring. My family hasn't been very environmentally friendly, and more and more I really want to make a change so this is definately a post I needed to read. Change can be difficult, but it is so necessary. Anyone know of any good websites on this topic I can go to?

Carol_OH
04-27-2007, 08:43 PM
this place gives you simple daily green tips:

http://idealbite.com/

auburnchick
04-27-2007, 08:46 PM
There is an interesting article in this week's People magazine. It's about a family that has been making eco-friendly changes in their home. An interesting read, considering this thread...

Jessica Cobb
04-28-2007, 02:28 AM
I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet, but I just saw the coolest thing on Craftster. It's a reusable knit swiffer cover! Much more earth friendly than buying all those refills for the swiffer. It can be used wet or dry if you use cotton. Plus these are way more cute! :teehee:

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=165049.0

brokenblossoms
04-28-2007, 11:57 AM
Cloth pads:

http://www.moonhutnaturals.com/
http://www.thekeeper.com/
http://www.lunapads.com/
http://www.saucytots.com/catalog.php?category=31
http://www.gladrags.com/

They are SOOO comfy! Or there's also the cup that you can get at thekeeper.com or moonhutnaturals.com. I haven't tried it, but a lot of women love it.

Stiney
04-28-2007, 12:08 PM
For those who can't/won't use reusable pads, make sure they are 100% biodegradable!

brokenblossoms
04-28-2007, 12:49 PM
There's no reason why anyone couldn't use them. They really aren't as gross as you may think. There's no odor or harsh chemicals. They don't clog up landfills or cause TSS. They save you a ton of money and are so easy to take care of. It's very easy to wash them out and it doesn't make a mess. They come in all different lengths, thicknesses, and widths so they're comfy and you won't leak.

brendajos
04-29-2007, 10:47 AM
Homemade cleaning supplies (http://www.freedompondmoonworks.com/pb/wp_82882629.html)