Wednesday, January 28, 2009

15 "Green" Tips, Hints and Interesting Facts

Here are some miscellaneous "green" tips, hints and interesting facts:
  1. According to the The Auto Channel, 147 million gallons of gas, each year, vaporize into the air due to loose, damaged or missing gas caps. Keep your fuel in the tank by making sure you screw the cap on tight.

  2. It's time to get out those cosmetics and personal care products such as deodorants, shampoos, toothpastes and mouthwashes and check the labels. 1,4-Dioxane is a known eye and respiratory tract irritant. It is suspected of causing damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys. The State of California, under proposition 65, listed 1,4-Dioxane as a chemical known to cause cancer on January 1, 1988. Like many solvents, it forms contamination plumes in groundwater when released to the environment. Groundwater supplies have been adversely impacted in several areas. But you won't find 1,4-Dioxane on the label ... instead look for names that include: myreth, oleth, laureth, ceteareth (and any other "eth"), PEG, polyethylene, polyoxyethylene or oxynol.

  3. Here's another good reason to look for products made out of recycled materials. According to the executive director of the Zero Waste Alliance, recycling aluminum uses 95% less energy than producing it from scratch. Recycling glass uses 31% less; newsprint, 45%; steel, 61%; and plastics, 57-71%.

  4. Thinking of a new TV? Those with the Energy Star label are up to 30% more energy efficient than others.

  5. Do you use flea collars on your pets? According to Pets for the Environment, they are a "source of constant toxic exposure for your pet and family. Instead, vacuum often and thoroughly, bathe your pet regularly, and ask your vet or local pet store about safer flea treatments and repellents." For more great Eco-friendly pet care tips, click HERE.

  6. Pat yourselves on the back. Accordingly to a 16-month survey conducted in 2007 by the research firm Mintel, 36% of adults regularly buy green products. That's an improvement of 12% over previous studies.

  7. Want to persuade your boss and co-workers to green up the office? Check out Ideal Bite's Top 10 Easiest Ways to Green your Office. They have a great list which can be printed out (on recycled paper, of course) and posted for all to see ... and hopefully act on.

  8. Here's a great idea ... help our bird friends stay warm all winter. Instead of tossing out dryer lint, put it in your yard. Birds will collect it and use it to cozy up their nests.

  9. Want to have a little fun? Host a green-cleaning party. Women's Voices for the Earth conceived the idea ... basically, people get together with glass jars and Eco-friendly ingredients and then ... they mix up everything from laundry detergent to furniture polish ... all environmentally safe. Check out their site for information and party kits (which are for sale) ... or ... click HERE for their favorite recipes and design your own party.

  10. Got the sniffles? Instead of using disposable tissues ... use a handkerchief.

  11. According to the EPA, Americans toss out 2 million tons of "e-waste" each year. That includes approximately 130,000 computers. Instead of sending them to a landfill, consider these ideas:

  • Donate computers and any peripherals to a nonprofit organization. Many will refurbish them for disadvantaged or disabled people.
  • Check with stores like Staples for recycling programs ... some offer credit towards another purchase.
  • Check with manufacturers ... some, like Dell and Apple, recycle their own brands for free. Others will take any brand when one of their own is purchased.
  • Another idea ... turn them in to a local Computer Recycling shop where usable components will be turned into new products.
  1. Each year, the average American throws away 68 pounds of clothing (from Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association). Think reduce, reuse and recycle instead.

  2. Replace one outside incandescent light ... yearly CO2 savings: 210 pounds. Lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit ... yearly CO2 savings: 214 pounds. Wash clothes in cold water ... yearly CO2 savings: 327 pounds. Source: Rocky Mountain Institute.

  3. Interested in watching a short "green film"? Click HERE to watch dozens of them ... for free.

  4. Here's a unique recycling idea ... put your used green tea bags in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Use them as cleansing pads in the morning. The bag helps exfoliate skin gently and tea has anti-inflammatory properties which will help to reduce puffy skin on the face.

As always ... I would love to hear from you!


  1. Those are good ideas!
    I also throw my hair out in the yard because birds use that to make a nest.
    I have 2 dogs and 5 cats and I do not have any fleas nd I do not use any flea stuff. I run the vac. all the time and about one a month I mix a little bit of garlic in the food. No fleas in this house!

  2. Regarding #2, my favorite green cosmetic product is the crystal rock deodorant. The stuff lasts forever, too, so it's a thrifty purchase.

  3. I just started drinking green tea this winter, and love the idea to use the teabags in exfoliating the skin - yet another health benefit of green tea!

  4. I love these tips! Once or twice a year the town I live in collects stuff you can't throw away for recycling (tv,computer, appliances, etc.).

    Unfortunately, that is the only recycling program here in this town. They do have large dumpsters at the local libraries for newspapers and magazines and elsewhere around town for metal and cardboard. They need more though.

  5. Are you writing a book? You should be. This site is just the kind of thing non-fiction houses are always looking for. Something like 365 Ways to Leave a Smaller Foot Print. I think you have plenty here for a query letter and outline of a book. Most non-fiction comes down to fact checking and research. You have it all here. Think about it!

  6. Great tippage, and I second what Beverly said.

  7. That's a lot of great green ideas! Will put each one to habit.

    Not sure about the last one... #15. How do you use a tea bag as a cleansing pad? Do you just rub the bags against the face or something? I'd never come across this kind of facial washing technique. Being a man, I am absolutely clueless when it comes to this topic.

    And thanks for sharing that Spanish saying with me... I couldn't agree more :)

    Life is full of surprises, and surprises is full of life!

  8. Thanks for this, Sf. There are lots of ideas there for our household and I'm glad to see that we're already following some of them.

    Having three dogs, we need to vacuum every day and we don't believe in flea collars or anything like that. When one of our dogs was younger, he contracted fleas; we got medication from the vet which turned out to be toxic and poor Bob's hair fell out at an alarming rate. It also burned his skin. We've never used anything like that since and I'm glad to say that none of them has had fleas again.

    One of our other dogs actually enjoys being vacuumed with the vacuum tool! So that keeps HIM flea-free. :)

    And from now on I'll check the labels of our toiletries very carefully.

  9. p.s. Like Quirky Mum, I also use the crystal rock deodrant and yes, it does seem to last forever! :D

  10. Where do you LEARN all that stuff???
    You are a treasure trove of information.

  11. You are a wealth of knowledge! These tips are great! I just started a new job, so have been extremely busy, but knew I had to get back to Reduce Footprints for the latest and greatest.

    Keep up the great work. Over 100 followers too! Awesome! The content speaks for itself.

  12. Use a hankerchief instead of disposable, it's amazing how some things are just common sense if we just take a moment to THINK. I can't help but to go back in time when tissues weren't invented yet...when men used to carry hankerchiefs as a formality.Wow.

    I find it very interesting to look at the lives of those less fortuante in third world they survive with so much less. We can learn a lot from them! Sheesh, 68lbs of clothing a year thrown out?

    Everytime I come here and read your blog I feel like I'm becoming a better person, just by learning from you.

    Thank you!

    1. My husband (as a joke) put all of my handkerchiefs in a tissue box. It's so handy that the "joke" has now turned into my go to box! I don't know why handkerchiefs aren't used more. I love reusable stuff!

  13. Using a smaller and thinner LCD television or computer monitor is not only easy on our eyes but also on electricity. Isn't that green? ;-)

    Nice tips RF. The planet needs articles like this Someway, somehow people will realize that we should all be together in making the world a better, greener place!

  14. Good idea to put up the ones imparting info and the like!

    Your story is up for the book give-a-way! Thankyou, SF

  15. Congrats on the Empty Easel publishing your story, furthering your good efforts to more readers!

  16. Have you tried the green tea bad idea?? I might give it a shot as I have a ton of them I no longer use:))

  17. Terri ... No, I haven't tried the tea bag idea but I've heard of people using them to reduce puffy eyes so ... I think it would work. If you try it ... let us know how it goes for you?

    Small Footprints

  18. Great ideas here! Another one to add to #11 is to check out I just found out about this service-- the either pay you for your used electronic item or if it's not worth anything, they will recycle it appropriately. Paid postage! It's a win-win!