10 Ways to be Greener and Save Money

Wanted to give everyone a refresher of last years post on this day – August 19, 2008.

1. Decorate your home with houseplants. They remove volatile organic compounds(VOC) from the air.

2. Always clean out the lint filter of the dryer. A dirty lint filter causes your dryer to use 30% more energy.

3. Switch from paper towels to sponges. One sponge can last the equivalent of 17 rolls of paper towels. Zap the sponge in the microwave for 2 minutes each week to get rid of germs.

4. Say no to catalogs. Check out the statistics at Bird on a Wire.

5. Save energy and set your wash cycle to cold. You can save up to $63 a year.

6. Try to shave 2 minutes off your shower. Even a 5 minute shower uses 10-25 gallons of water.

7. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs. They use about 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs.

8. Plug all your appliances into a power strips and turn off the power strip at nights to save energy.

9. Invest in a programmable thermostat. This can save $150 a year on energy costs.

10. Change the air filter in your car once a year. This will help you get better gas mileage, making your travels cheaper in the long run.

Back to School the Green Way

854122_61842130Its that time of year when all the students are out trying to find the school supplies they need, the strongest back packs, and a new wardrobe so they can look their best when they show up to school that first day. Well its not hard to be green when your back to school shopping. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while making your way through the stores.

School Supplies:

  • First off, check through what you already have, if you have left over paper, pencils or any other supplies – don’t buy any more, use what you have.
  • Don’t buy just because its a good sale, if you don’t need it then its just a waste of money and resources.
  • For the supplies you do need to buy try to stick to recycled, eco-friendly school supplies.

Backpacks:

  • The best thing to do is see if your student can get by with the back pack they have from last year. Reusing is the greenest, most eco-friendly thing you can do for the environment.
  • For college bound students a Solar Backpack is very handy and green.
  • Another brand thats built to last and has a recycle program is TimBuk2.
  • Owl 100% Recycled Deluxe Compu-Backpack.

Wardrobe:

  • Have your student go through their clothes and pull out what still fits and what they can still wear and then make a list of what they need.
  • Check out your local Goodwill or Thrift Store for some great eco-friendly deals.
  • Recycle your old clothes into something new. How to Make a Whole New Wardrobe by Recycling Your Clothes from wikiHow.
  • For some of your have-to-buy-new needs, try and find items that are Eco-friendly either by the material they are made from (such as hemp or bamboo) or how there company take steps to make the environment better.

Before Going Green Was Cool

080430_sa_planetI realized after reminiscing with some friends the other day about our favorite cartoons growing up that ‘Captain Planet’ was a leader in the environmental concerns of our day. Back in the 80-90s, Captain Planet got kids excited about taking care of the environment, tackling the bad guys in battles for the earth.

Captain Planet was summoned whenever the five Planeteers combined the forces of their elemental rings. This emphasized the show’s premise that only by working together could people protect the planet and provide solutions to environmental problems. Likewise, Captain Planet’s appearance did not identify him with any one culture or ethnicity, as his hair was Forest Green and his skin was Sky Blue.

Within the fictional universe of the show, the Earth possesses a literal living spirit named Gaia. Unable to take more than a certain level of direct action herself, Gaia is forced to appoint “champions”, a group of which form the basis of the show’s titular “Planeteers”. Each “champion” is gifted with a ring of elemental power by Gaia. When the team members combine the energies of these rings, they summon a being who is an amalgam of the elements each ring is attuned to. This being takes on a different appearance and persona based on the minds of the team members who summon him, allowing him to have human mannerisms in keeping with the era. Because he is connected to the minds of the team members when they summon him, the elemental being is also often aware of certain events that occur while he is not active on screen.

Its interesting to wonder how much Captain Planet might have influenced this new generation that is showing concern for our environment? Perhaps the Planeteers from all corners of the world can unite to bring protection to planet Earth?

Just for fun, check out this video of the Captain Planet outro and enjoy a trip down memory lane…
Captain Planet Outro

San Francisco on Composting

img_6629_2

While visiting San Francisco I found that it was much cleaner than I had originally thought. It had been almost 14 years since the last time I visited but the city on this visit overwhelmed me with its beauty.

72% – The amount of waste San Francisco doesn’t put in a landfill.

From the Earth911.com – Cities of Change

There is always environmental news about the city of San Francisco, and it is well deserved. Not only has the city pledged to be zero waste by 2020, but San Francisco also boasts the highest recycling rate in the nation – a whopping 72 percent.

This is partly due to San Francisco’s stringent recycling and composting law. The new law will make recycling and composting mandatory. If recyclable or compostable items are found in the garbage bins, the resident will be warned on the first offense. Repeat offenders will be issued fines of $100 for small businesses and single-family homes and up to $1,000 for large businesses and multi-unit buildings.

“Clearly, mandatory recycling measures pay off,” says San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. “If we’re going to reach a recycling rate of 75 percent in 2010 and zero waste in 2020, we need to make sure that residents and businesses are taking full advantage of our composting and recycling programs.”

But recycling initiatives are just part of San Francisco’s environmental efforts. The city has also made laws to further clean energy and reduce its carbon footprint. These initiatives include:

  • Clean Technology
  • Biodiesel Access Task Force
  • Resource Efficient Building Task Force
  • Urban Environmental Accords
  • Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force

The 1 Year Rewind

Last year today I put up this post on How to Remove Stains from Clothes without Harsh Chemicals. I thought I would remind you all of these great tips and tricks that are well worth repeating.

downloadedfilecleanI read the list of ingredients on the back of the stain remover spray and thought, I shouldn’t be reading this because I know this will cause me to want to change and that leads to finding new products and spending more money. The non-harmful, non-chemical, organic, natural products have a much higher price tag then the bad for you, chemical filled products. So I decided to figure out how to remove stains with items most people have around their house.

Here is a list of stains and how to get them out:

Oil or Grease – Oil or Grease stained clothing washes out better with baking soda added to the washing water. You can also pretreat any stain with a paste made from Baking soda and water, rub the paste into the stain and let sit for 1-2 hours.

Under Arm Stains – Spray some white vinegar onto the under arm stains, wait 10 minutes, then wash in hot water with detergent.

Grass Stains – Soak your grass stained clothes in Vinegar for an hour, then wash and dry as usual.

Blood Stain – Using only COLD water dampen the stain, then rub salt into the area and when the blood is nearly gone just throw the garment in the wash.

Ink Stains – Lay the stained garment on a clean white towel, apply rubbing alcohol to the stain and blot with another clean white towel, removing the stain as you blot.

Baby Spit-up Stains – Cover the stain with baking soda then pour club soda directly onto the baking soda. The combination will fizz a bit. Using a scrub brush, gently scrub the stain. Immediately put in the washer and launder as usual.

Berry Stains – Soak berry stains in straight white distilled vinegar. First rinse the stain well then rest the part of the fabric that is stained in a bowl of straight vinegar. Rinse. Launder as usual.

Dirt/Mud Stains – Slice a potato, rub the freshly cut side on the mud stain; let dry and wash as usual. Or if you’ve just boiled some potatoes, wash the stained whites in the water from the boiled potatoes, then launder as usual.

Red Wine Stain – Pour some white wine on the stain immediately, it neutralizes the red wine and will make the stain vanish. If white wine isn’t available, try blotting the stain with vinegar until the stain is completely removed.

I have tried many of these methods and they really do work. Try them and let me know your experience. How did they work for you? Do you have other tried and true, natural ways to remove stains from clothing? Share your tips.

If the easy way sounds better and money is not an object then check out the great organic cleaning products at Seventh Generation.

The No Plastic LunchBots

02If you are concerned about the toxins in plastic and are looking for an alternative to the regular lunch box, check out LunchBots.

Packing a healthy lunch shouldn’t stop at the food. If you are going to take the time to be concerned about the food that your kids ingest, you should be concerned also about the toxins that they ingest when their food is packed in items like plastic lunch boxes and plastic juice containers.

LunchBots are manufactured from high-quality, food grade Type 304 stainless steel. Stainless steel has great resistance to stain or rust due to its chromium content, making it the material of choice for food processing, dairy and brewing. Stainless steel is easy to clean, durable, and sanitary.

LunchBots are a healthy alternative to plastic containers for packing lunch to go. Made from the highest quality 18/8 stainless steel, LunchBots do not leach chemicals like plastic does. Eco-friendly and reusable means saving money and the environment.

So when you are on the look out for lunch boxes for your kids or yourself, check out LunchBots, the safer alternative.

PDX (Portland) – The Greenest City in The States

portlandLast night I was was enjoying a dinner on Alberta St in NE Portland with my family, sitting outside watching all the people walking and riding their bikes by us and enjoying the fact that I live near the greenest city in the USA.

Portland, Oregon has 92,000 acres of green space and more than 74 miles of hiking, running, and biking trails.

Portland bike trails – Five Great Rides

Portland hiking trails –  Best Easy Day Hikes

The City of Portland is committed to clean air and water, livable neighborhoods, parks and open spaces for all, economic development that is sustainable for our environment, transportation that makes sense and much more. Learn more here about how you can be involved. Make Portland your sustainable city.

On the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability website they have a Sustainable Food Resource section to help you find the local farms, how to grow food, opportunities for donation, composting and so much more.

Portland has a ton of solutions for reducing water usage, for greening your yard and home, using energy more efficiently, reducing and recycling and finding alternative transportation options.

So if you live in Portland, take pride in your city and see what you can do to help make Portland your sustainable city.

Alpha Ecological – Green Pest Control

home_header

Ants seem to be running rampant in my house right now along with outside the house. Summer seems to be one of those times of year when pests are more prevalent, due to the warmer weather and less harsh conditions. We all look for ways to help us cope and a less toxic more green way is always a plus.

Alpha Ecological is just that, an effective green pest control. They work on educating clients in the ways of pest prevention. By identifying and eliminating conducive conditions which can attract pests before they arrive, you truly are getting the most natural pest control available!

Alpha Ecological tailor a pest removal plan to suit each individuals needs.

Methods, products and frequency programs all depend on factors such as the pest type, degree of infestation and surrounding environment. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to smarter, more responsible pest control. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies are great for schools, hospitals, day-cares, restaurants and other companies that are looking for a cleaner, less toxic way to eradicate pests.

Some of their other services include; bird control, air duct & dryer duct cleaning, crawl space restoration, and services for commercial clients.

Brilliant Earth – Conflict-Free Diamonds

ad01Do you know where your diamonds have come from? Has the money it took to purchase the diamonds in your wedding band or anniversary necklace been used to fund devestating civil wars in Africa?

What is a conflict diamond? Conflict diamonds are those sold in order to fund armed conflict and civil war. Wars that have cost an estimated 3.7 million lives. That’s why purchasing conflict-free diamonds is so important.

Brilliant Earth is among the few businesses that are helping make a change. They believe that luxury goods need not come at great human or environmental cost. They also support underdeveloped communities ravaged by the jewelry industry by donating a share of our profits.

Brilliant earth not only donates 5% of their profits to Africa but they use recycled gold too. How brilliant is that? They are determined to promote sustainable practices by using environmentally responsible gold and platinum. Their precious metals come from secondary sources and are re-refined in order to ensure that they are identical quality to newly mined metals.

Brilliant earth gives you the choice to Creat Your Own Conflict-Free Diamond Ring, by choosing your Diamond and Setting. They have 10 shapes of diamonds to choose from and then you get to choose the carats, color, clarity and cut and of course price range. A perfect way to make the perfect ring for that special love.

So the next time you are looking for conflict-free diamonds, check out Brilliant Earth. Their commitment to clarity, sustainability, quality and community makes choosing Brillian Earth easy.

Tropical Salvage

front_solidarityAs I was looking through the ReDirect Guide, sustainable living business directory & resource guide, I found an ad for ECOpdx and it reminded me of the beautiful table and chairs my friends had bought from them a while back.

ECOpdx, a small business founded on the belief that quality craftsmanship and personal attention are the cornerstones for a successful company, sell Tropical Salvage furniture.

Tropical Salvage, a Portland, Oregon based company, recycles salvaged timber from several different islands of the Indonesian archipelago, and produces the most beautiful household furnishings.

None of the wood comes from standing trees. The wood they use is old, some a thousand years old. It beautifully expresses its history as wild-growth grain figure, mineral accumulation, and the effects of nails, seasoning cracks & bore holes are evident in many pieces. They are a wonderful testament to the wood’s historical richness and new life.

Tropical Salvage believes in Creating job opportunities in areas of economic hardship, promoting environmental health and education and raising consumer awareness. Old-growth tropical forests are disappearing at an alarming pace—averaging 13 million hectares per year, equivalent to about 50 football fields a minute. Tropical Salvage is a working model of positive change. By creating a responsible and sustainable business model through which to bring popular products to market, Tropical Salvage enables consumer choice to become a tool of activism. If a consumer is given a choice between similar and similarly-priced products, one deriving from a responsible business model, the other from an irresponsible business model, the consumer will choose responsibly.

Tropical Salvage, collaborating with The Institute for Culture and Ecology, is helping to fund and implement a conservation, education and reforestation project in Jepara. To date, about five-hundred trees have been planted, representing thirty-five species. For more information on the Jepara Forest Conservancy click here.