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This Adventure, Our Life: Going green, part one

Friday, March 12, 2010

Going green, part one

I have been compiling this post for a week or more now and will never be finished, so here it goes... 
Being Green in the Home, part one: What are you doing to be GREEN?

There are many things you can do in your own home to change the way you live and how you help the environment.  We are all guilty of being wasteful environmentally unfriendly.  Many times this is because we are lazy busy or just lack the motivation and idea.  I do really think that every little change we make can be a positive and helpful change in the long run.  We as a society are overrun with so many disposable, and unnecessary solutions.  Everything is packaged individually, we use all paper products, we have quick and throw away cleaning products, and not to mention paper plates, paper towels, and MORE packaging (did I mention packaging, all that individual packaging for just about everything)!!  

I want to compile a series of posts to gain awareness and also as a way to share ideas about how to be more resourceful and "green" may we say.  I will try to touch on all the topics that I am researching myself from being green in the home, to green building techniques, to being green in your office, to green cleaning, to my passion, cloth diapering and many other topics, I mean there are way too many!!  There be no guilt in these posts, they are just to get ideas flowing and help get everyone changing thinking, so if you are being wasteful "environmentally unfriendly" than start today and try to start changing the things you do and the way you do them.  I am pretty sure there is always room for improvement, I mean come on, I do not claim to be totally green, but I am trying to become aware and CHANGE!  Even if you just decide to change one thing, it is really well, better than what you are doing nothing.   

Please share any ideas you have, as there are so many things to do!!  It is VERY hard to touch on everything, I will try to leave out the very obvious.

Give up Plastic (and Paper) bags 
Twelve million barrels of oil were used to make the 88.5 billion plastic bags consumed in the United States last year. And it takes four times more energy to make paper bags.  Each Individual is said to use 500 bags a year, yuck!! 

The best choice is reusable shopping bags made of cotton, nylon or durable, mesh-like plastic. Put a few reusable shopping bags in your car so you have them handy on your next shopping trip (this is pretty much the ONLY way I can remember!). And if you must or happen to forget your reusable bag (as we all do!), choose paper if you will recycle it or plastic if you will reuse or recycle it.

Click here to see this product

Stop Buying Bottled Water
Did you know that it takes 26 bottles of water to produce the plastic container for a one-liter bottle of water, and that doing so pollutes 25 liters of groundwater?  Stop buying bottled water, for your main everyday use. Use reusable water bottles instead made from materials like stainless steel or aluminum that are not likely to degrade over time.  Also try a reusable water bottle for your children, and not disposables!  Even if you re-use your disposables, it is better to buy two of these than have a cabinet full of disposables, you will save space and well $$.
Click here to see this product

Stop Receiving Unwanted Catalogs and Dreaded Junk Mail 
Each year, 19 billion catalogs are mailed to American consumers. All those catalogs require more than 53 million trees and 56 billion gallons of waste water to produce -- and many of us don't even know how we got on so many mailing lists! So grab that stack of catalogs piling up on your coffee table and clear out the clutter.  Visit to put a stop to unwanted catalogs or call the company to get taken off their list. Within 10 weeks, your mailbox will be empty of unwanted catalogs.  A less cluttered mailbox means less pollution, less waste and less of the pollution that causes global warming. 

And  did you know you can stop 75% of unsolicited mail by registering on the Mail Preference Service on the Direct Marketing Association website (for a fee of $1). Within 90 days, most unsolicited mail will stop.

Give Up Conventional Detergents and Try Green Cleaning 
Many natural detergents today are made to clean clothes just as effectively in cooler water temperatures. Choose detergents and other laundry products that are plant-based, concentrated and biodegradable.  Not only is this better for the environment but it is also better for our family and their health to be free of the chemicals that come in contact with us all day.  There are soo many different choices out there but watch the ingredients!   

Click here or here to see some recipes for homemade detergent! 

Not only is green cleaning a refreshing alternative to toxic cleaning products, but it saves you money.  There are many recipes out there for homemade cleaners using vinegar, baking soda, etc. or  if this is not your thing at least try choosing green cleaners. You will be much happier knowing that you are not only saving the environment for harmful chemicals but also your family will by healthier for this. 

Click here to see an example of recipes for green cleaning!

Give Up Hot Water (At Least In the Clothes Washer) when you can 
Did you know that only 10 percent of the energy used by a typical washing machine powers the motor? About 90 percent of the energy is used to heat the water, and most clothes will come clean in cold water. So switch your washing machine's temperature setting. For heavily soiled clothing, change it from hot to warm, but otherwise try to wash and rinse most of your clothing in cold water.

Give Up the Clothes Dryer (when possible) 
The second biggest household energy user, after the refrigerator, is the clothes dryer. Overdrying your clothes can end up costing you money as well. (As much as $70,000 over your lifetime) An electric dryer operating an extra 15 minutes a load can cost you up to $34 a year in wasted energy; a gas dryer, $21 a year. When using the dryer, clear the lint filter after each load and dry only full loads of clothes. And remember that hanging clothing outside in the sun and air to dry is the most energy-efficient method -- or use a folding indoor rack all year long (I have a simple bar above my washer and a line outdoors, a bathroom shower also works great for hanging clothes).  Your clothes will last longer this way also!

Check for Leaks in Your Toilet 
Most of us would be surprised to find out that one in every five toilets leak, and since the leaks are usually hiding, you probably have no idea if your toilet is leaking. A leaking toilet can waste anywhere between 30 and 500 gallons of water every day, so any leak should be repaired. To see if your toilet is leaking, put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the dye shows up in the toilet bowl after 15 minutes or so, the toilet has a leak.(Genius, right?-Love it!)  Leaking is usually caused by an old or poorly fitting flapper valve, which can be replaced by any amateur DIY-er!  

Give Up Toilet Paper (OK, Just "Conventional" Toilet Paper) 
Believe it or not, switching to recycled toilet paper can change the world. If every household in the United States bought just one four-pack of 260-sheet recycled bath tissue, instead of the typical tissue made from virgin fiber, it would eliminate 60,600 pounds of chlorine pollution, preserve 356 million gallons (1.35 billion liters) of fresh water and save nearly 1 million trees. And the best news is that a four-pack of recycled toilet paper costs about the same as a four-pack of conventional toilet paper.  You can buy this just about anywhere!!

Give up Paper Towels (or try to use them far less Dependently!)
No matter how you look at it, paper towels create waste. Buy some reusable microfiber towels, which grip dirt and dust like a magnet, even when they get wet.  They work great for everyday use as well as cleaning!  When you are finished with them, toss the towels in the wash and reuse them again and again.  When you absolutely have to use disposable towels, look for recycled products. If every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber paper towels (70 sheets) with 100 percent recycled ones, we could save 544,000 trees.  

This applies also to napkins, use cloth ones they are nicer and better for the environment and can easily be thrown in the wash while you are washing clothes anyways. There are neat DIY projects to make napkins out of old clothes and fabric around the house!  If you are not the DIY type, check out these beauties in San Luis Obispo, CA from a local company known as Picking Daises!
Click here to see "how to"

Run a Fully Loaded Dishwasher 
If you have dishwasher, use it. Running a fully loaded dishwasher -- without prerinsing the dishes -- you can use a third less water than washing the dishes by hand, saving up to 10 to 20 gallons of water a day. Simply scrape large pieces of food off your dishes and let the dishwasher handle the rest. And by using the air-dry setting (instead of heat-dry), you will consume half the amount of electricity without spending a dime.

Lower the Temperature in your Fridge 
As one of the biggest appliances in your kitchen, the refrigerator is also one of the most power hungry, accounting for 10 to 15 percent of the average home energy bill each month. Get your fridge running in tip-top shape. First, set the refrigerator thermostat to maintain a temperature between 38 and 42 degrees (F). This temperature will protect your food from spoiling while saving electricity. 

Give Up 2 Degrees 
Electric power plants are the country's largest industrial source of the pollutants that cause global warming. By snuggling under a blanket on the couch or wearing more clothes on a snowy winter night instead of turning up the heat, or enjoying the breeze from a fan in the height of summer instead of turning up the air conditioning, you can save pounds of pollution, as well as some money off your utility bills. Set your thermostat in winter to 68 degrees F  or less during the daytime and 55 degrees F before going to sleep or when you are away for the day. And during the summer, set thermostats to 78 degrees F or more.  Every degree lower in the winter or higher in the summer you put it is a 10% decrease on your energy bill.

Stop Wasting Gas  (because we all hate paying for it!) 
Increase your gas mileage by checking your tire pressure. More than a quarter of all cars and nearly one-third of all SUVs, vans and pickups have underinflated tires, according to a survey by the Department of Transportation. If every American kept his or her tires properly inflated, we could save 2.8 billion gallons of gasoline a year -- and help curb global warming pollution -- so inflate the tires on your car or truck and continue to do so once a month or as necessary, it is really that easy, and make sure to do it while the tires are cold and of course on level ground (usually your required tire pressures are in your car manual or on a sticker on your drivers side interior door or on your tires there may be a PSI).

Also, try your best to condense your trips, I know this one is a tough one, cause many times you have no option.  Of course walking, biking, public transportation, and carpooling are excellent options when available!

Avoid Waste: Recycle 
For every trash can of waste you put outside for the trash collector, about 70 trash cans of waste are used in order to create that trash. To reduce the amount of waste you produce, buy products in returnable and recyclable containers and recycle as much as you can. The energy saved from recycling a single aluminum can will operate a television for three hours!  Recycle Glass, if you do not do this, it will take about a million years to decompose.  Have a separate garbage can for trash and recyclables.  You can even earn money off of all your aluminum, glass, and plastic.  Many things can be recycled and if you do not know where to recycle it or how, search the web, there are MANY options out there!! 
Pay Bills online, Go Paperless!
Do not buy disposables, go with reusable containers and avoid products with unnecessary packaging!
Use plastic reusable containers rather than plastic bags that just get tossed!
Donate instead of throwing away!
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, we all know!!
If every house in the United States changed all of the light bulbs in their house, that would be equivalent to taking one million cars off the streets.  Also many of these light bulbs will last longer, so less money in the long run!

What are you doing or what are you going to try to do to go GREEN in your life, in your home and in your family??  Please share I would love to hear (plus there may be incentive, a suprise)!! 

Fun Green Adventures on the web: by National Geographic

Tracking your Carbon Footprint:

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At March 12, 2010 at 10:30 AM , Blogger Jill said...

Great tips on going green! I have been slowly doing more and more to be green in our home.

At March 12, 2010 at 11:57 AM , Blogger Suzanne Jeanette said...

Lots of good ideas! I have learned it is a slow process, but I am trying to make one change at a time to get our family where we want to be. It feels good to do be doing something to take care of our planet.

At March 12, 2010 at 1:22 PM , Blogger With Out My Punkin said...

Thank you for the tips! I have been doing a lot more now since I am pregnant again.

At March 14, 2010 at 9:34 PM , Blogger Cindy said...

Everyone that posted above will be receiving a Flip & Tumbleā„¢ Reusable Shopping Bag, choose your color, and send me your address via email! Thank you for reading :)!

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