Monday, May 31, 2010
Today is Memorial Day in the United States ... a day to remember those who have gone on before us. I had the opportunity, over the weekend, to visit a Historic Cemetery. It was a fascinating place, the inscriptions on headstones telling a story and offering us a brief glimpse into times past.
In one section, there were markers telling of the passing of a family ... two adults (presumably the parents) and a number of children under the age of 5. They lived in the late 1700's and their short lives were a reminder of how hard life was in those days.
The military section contained a row of civil war soldiers ... a confederate flag stood next to each marker. As I stood next to their graves, I thought how they actually lived something which was only real to me through school books.
This cemetery held some famous people ... Thomas Wolfe and "O. Henry" (William Sydney Porter). It was a reminder that death is the one thing we have in common.
As with most cemeteries, this one was situated on a beautiful piece of property ... complete with a view. It was peaceful as soft breezes danced through the trees.
Looking around this cemetery, I thought about the environmental impact of what I was seeing. Concrete headstones and mausoleums ... and out of view, caskets and urns. The truth is that most cemeteries and burials aren't kind to the earth.
So ... today ... in thinking about what the day means, I'm also thinking about our final choice ... how to be buried. Will we choose a green burial or a traditional one? What are your thoughts?
As always, I would love to hear from you!
Friday, May 28, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Last week we attacked single-serving foods. As I went through the week, and paid attention to what is offered on grocery store shelves, I was really surprised at the volume of single-serve items available. There are individually wrapped packages of almost everything ... coffee, sugar, cereal, desert, candy, snacks ... even little packages of pre-washed, pre-sliced fruit. Whoa! As you've probably heard me say before (countless times), if a product is considered convenient and a "time saver" ... it's probably not Eco-friendly. Let's see how our Honor Society did:
Squirrel Queen joined in this week (always so nice to see you SQ). She brought up an excellent point ... single-serve foods usually cost more per unit of weight than a larger container/package so, not buying them will actually save us money. Great tip, SQ!
EcoGrrl took the challenge. Her "biggie" this year was buying yogurt in the large containers rather than the single-serve ones. Doing so has gotten her back to basics where she adds her own fruit, granola, etc. And, as she also points out, it's a lot cheaper (hm ... I'm starting to see a theme here). By the way, EcoGrrl played our Truth vs. Lie game (you can read it HERE ... and then for her reveal, read THIS).
Argentum Vulgaris stopped by. In this POST, he talks about a law in Rio de Janeiro which bans bulk food items (salt, sugar, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise ... even toothpicks) from restaurants. Consequently, all restaurants, even the 5 Star variety, serve these items in small packets on the table. Scandalous! AV also played our Truth vs. Lie game. Read his list HERE and the reveal HERE.
Our friend, Ann, buys in bulk and she makes her own yogurt reusing the same container each week. Brilliant, Ann! In this POST she offers us another way to save the world ... it's an important article and touches on a subject which is often overlooked.
Two Vegan Boys joined the challenge. They never buy single-serving anything. In addition, they make their own applesauce, buy mostly in bulk, and always bring their own containers and bags to the grocery store. Krys and the guys have started a new feature on their blog ... Frugal Friday. Click HERE for her first, wonderful tip.
On our challenge about disposable wipes and cloths, I totally missed Heather's post. It's a wonderful article so ... please help me make it up to Heather by rushing over to her site (by clicking HERE), reading her post and leaving a comment. Come on, everyone ... let's show her a little bloggy love. :) My apologies, Heather!
Our friend, Ange, stopped by. She buys everything in bulk but says that, in France, it's hard to get yogurt in large containers. About the only way she can find it is in a bulk pack of 16 single servings. Ugh! Ange is going to try to change that, though! Good luck, Ange ... can't wait to hear how it goes.
My Inspiration Avenue friend, Robin, joined our challenge. She's going to be more mindful when shopping. She says, however, that her little one seems to enjoy eating while they are out instead of when a meal is cooked so ... a few single servings creep into their routine.
Great job, everyone! I have Stumbled and Tweeted your articles.
If you are a member of Twitter, check out these great folks who spread the word about our challenge this week using the hashtag #ctww:
Wow ... thanks, so much, Tweets for passing the word!
Okay ... ready for more?
Our challenge, today, comes from my friend, Connie Mishali, who has taken a break from blogging but still drops in, occasionally, to check things out. This week we're going back to plastic bags ... specifically plastic produce bags. We've learned to say "no" at the checkout stand ... now we're going to say "no" in the produce department. Here it is:
This week refuse to use plastic produce bags. Instead, opt for reusable bags such as cotton mesh bags available at many stores, small canvas totes which you may have around ... or no bag at all (not all produce needs to be bagged).
If you never use plastic produce bags, please tell us what you use instead.
What do you think? Can you do it?
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!
Monday, May 24, 2010
- Pour left-over wine into an ice cube tray and store in the freezer. When you next need wine to cook with, grab some "wine-cubes". That way, not a drop of wine is ever wasted.
- Bumblebees often nest in compost piles. So, when one is spotted emerging, try not to disturb them ... they pollinate a wide variety of plants, they won't sting unless provoked, and they naturally die off in the fall.
- In 1995 over 200 of the world landfills were full.
- Even though approximately one-half of beverage containers are recycled annually, Americans trash more than 270 million beer and soft drink bottles every day.
- Looking for an environmentally conscious spouse or friend? Try joining local "green" groups to meet people of like mind.
- Rather than give cut flowers, give potted plants (organic, of course).
- Cleaning your dryer's lint filter can slash its energy usage by as much as 30%.
- Every week about 20 species of plants and animals become extinct.
- Rain Forests are being cut down at the rate of 100 acres per minute.
- Staying within the speed limit and smoothly accelerating can save up to 25% of a vehicle's typical gasoline use.
- Bamboo, which now can be found in many products (even clothing), is a sustainable material which has natural antibacterial and odor prevention properties ... and, because of it's porous texture, can keep one cool on a hot day and warm in the winter.
- Open a box/package of bar soap on one end and let it dry out for a few weeks before using it. This removes the excess moisture content from the soap and makes the bar last longer.
- Going on vacation? Remember to turn off the water heater ... and save energy!
- According to NOAA, an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil (5,000 barrels) a day is still leaking into the Gulf of Mexico (that after the initial "fix").
Do you have any tips and/or facts to share?
As always, I would love to hear from you!
Friday, May 21, 2010
My friend, Brian, from The New Author recently won the Creative Writer Blogger Award. The rules of the award state that he is to nominate others for this award and ... yep ... he nominated me.
So ... I'd like to thank Brain for passing it on to me.
Okay ... here are the rules:
- Thank the person who gave this to you.
- Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
- Link to the person who nominated you.
- Tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself, and at least one outrageous truth – or – switch it around and tell six outrageous truths and one outrageous lie.
- Nominate seven “Creative Writers” who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies.
- Post links to the seven blogs you nominate.
- Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.
Ready for my lies & truths? See if you can figure out if I've told 6 lies and 1 truth or 6 truths and 1 lie:
- I love wolves and when I was 21 I had a tattoo of a wolf placed on my lower back.
- I hold a Masters Degree from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
- I am 6'2" tall and grew to 5'0" by the time I was 10 years old.
- We recently had dinner with Steve Martin who now has a home in Brevard, NC.
- I worked, for many years, in a building with no windows (not one single window).
- I once spent a summer panning for gold in Alaska.
- I have hiked the entire 2,650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Now to the nominations. There are so many people I'd like to
- EcoGrrl at http://ecogrrlnetwork.blogspot.com/
- Angela at http://www.angelabarrow.co.uk/Blog/
- Argentum Vulgaris at http://tomusarcanum.blogspot.com/ (I had to do it AV)
- Theresa at http://www.faeriemooncreations.blogspot.com/
- ReWinn at http://rewinn.blogspot.com/
- Brenda at http://brendasjewelrybox.blogspot.com/
- Waylandcook at http://waylandcook.blogspot.com/
Here's one more truth for you: I am notoriously bad about fulfilling awards so ... if any of my seven nominees aren't up for it, I totally understand. But ... I hope you'll have some fun and play along.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Let's jump right into this week's challenge. Here it is:
This week, give up single-serving foods. No single-serving containers of yogurt, pudding or jello. No single-serving snacks or drinks. Eliminate individually wrapped slices of cheese and fruit cups. Basically, if a container holds only one serving ... don't buy it.
If you never buy single-serve foods, please share other ways in which one can reduce packaging waste at the grocery store.
What do you think? Will you take this challenge?
Last week we took on single-use wipes and disposable cloths. In my house, we don't use any of these things ... in fact, we have also given up paper towels, dryer sheets, paper napkins and tissues (Kleenex type). The only single-use item in our house is toilet paper. Let's see how our Honor Society did with this challenge:
EcoGrrl doesn't use single-use products ... in fact, she's not sure what a single-use dusting cloth is. She took this challenge one step further and included paper towels and napkins in her list of things to do without. EcoGrrl published a wonderful post (read it HERE) which speaks to many of the concepts discussed on Reduce Footprints. So, I'm giving it an honorable mention this week.
Ann rarely uses single-use items ... just an occasional paper towel for soaking up grease. She typically uses a cloth for wiping spills and cleaning the table, and uses vinegar and crunched up newspaper to clean glass. She offers another way to save the world which you can read HERE.
Our friend Argentum Vulgaris found this challenge easy. You'll have to click HERE to read his post about arsewipes, Eco-crap, and window cleaners. And good news ... AV says that no furry animals were hurt in the process of writing that piece. Yay!
Two Vegan Boys stopped in. Always nice to see you! By the way ... who were those two bearded boys in your home on Friday? :)
Inspector Clouseau dropped in. So nice to see you, Inspector ... it's been awhile!
Our friend, Ange, who suggested this challenge, followed EcoGrrl's lead and gave up paper towels (except for greasy cleanups where she used non-bleached paper towels and then composted them). Let me tell you a little secret about our Ange ... she sings while she cleans. Curious what song she was singing recently? Here's a hint ... she's seeing clearly now.
Julie joined in the fun. She has a drawer in the kitchen full of old cloth baby diapers, threadbare wash cloths, and even dish towels that were cut in half after being too stained. She uses these rags for cleaning spills, wiping surfaces and even for blowing noses in. Julie is a fellow Ashevillian and if you're curious about what the Asheville area looks like, as well as some great shots of the recent "Leaf" festival ... be sure to stop in and visit Julie's blog.
Mrs. Green doesn't use disposable wipes. In fact, to meet this challenge she had to do some research to find out exactly what they are. If you haven't been too sure about eliminating them from your shopping list, be sure to check out her article HERE. She not only lists the various "wipes" she found in her local store, she exposed what goes into them. It's shocking ... and scary! Mrs. Green also, very kindly, offers us a recipe for homemade baby wipes. Be sure to check it out!
Please join me in offering ReWinn condolences as his favorite T-Shirt finally lost it's battle with "wear" (see the obituary HERE). Honoring the "T's" last wishes, ReWinn has converted the "T" to useful rags. Please accept our deepest sympathy, ReWinn ... I'm sure that "T" would be proud to know that his life, and death, had purpose!
As usual, our Honor Society did a great job! Thanks to all of you!
We also had some Tweeters who passed the word about our challenge using the hashtag #ctww. If you are a member of Twitter, be sure to check out these folks:
Twitter wasn't cooperating with me this week so if you Tweeted and I missed it, please let me know and I'll add you to next week's post.
As always, I have Stumbled and Tweeted your posts.
Okay ... stand up, take a deep breath and say it with me:
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!
Monday, May 17, 2010
If you were having a house built or remodeling your current home, would you feel you were getting your money's worth if the contractor used salvaged building materials to construct your project?
Unfortunately, many people would answer that question with "NO". In our society, we seem to believe that the only quality products are brand new and that something salvaged, used, pre-owned or repurposed isn't the "best". I suspect that we can thank advertisers for that thinking ... after all, they are in the business of keeping companies afloat and that means making consumers believe that they need the newest items on the market.
In truth, "New" isn't always better. For example, salvaged construction materials, like lumber, are often sturdier and less expensive than new items purchased from a lumber yard. Pre-owned vehicles are often a much better value than brand new cars (if the brakes give out on your new car, it isn't good).
And what about the environment? When one considers the impact of new items ... the natural resources required and energy used to fabricate them ... new isn't really better. When we see landfills being swamped with last year's "New" items ... well, that isn't better either.
Imagine what would happen if our collective thinking changed ... if we viewed "New" as bad and "Used" as best. Imagine a world where landfills weren't filled with usable items. It could happen ... after all ... it's all in our heads.
As always ... I would love to hear from you!
Friday, May 14, 2010
The fact is that washing machines are subject to soap scum and dirt build-up, especially if one washes clothes in cold water (the Eco-friendly way). Who knew! So ... do we have to live with the smell? Not at all ... and we don't have to use harsh chemicals or toxic cleaners to fix the problem.
Removing the odor depends on the cause:
If wet clothing was left in the washer too long (ever started the washer and then totally forgot about it ... for a week), it could become "stale" and cause a smell. Re-wash the clothes to remove any mold, mildew and smell.
If there is standing water in the tub, it may signal a problem with the drain. This may require calling for repair.
If there are no wet clothes and no standing water, then it's probably build-up. To remove the build-up and clear up any odors, try this:
- Remove any visible dirt, lint, etc.
- Mix together 1/2 cup baking soda with 2 cups vinegar. Careful ... use a large container because this mixture bubbles up.
- Begin filling your washer with HOT water (I know ... we "greenies" hate wasting the energy required to fill a tub with hot water but, in this case, it's really necessary).
- As the tub fills, pour in the baking soda/vinegar mixture.
- Let the washer run through the entire cycle, including rinse.
- Using a sponge, wipe down the inside of the tub and any visible surfaces.
Your washer should now be sparkling clean and odor free!
As always ... I would love to hear from you!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Last week we banned frozen dinners from our kitchens. While I don't buy frozen dinners, I do buy frozen vegetables on occasion, especially when the only fresh produce available is the hot-house variety which, in my opinion, lacks taste and nutrition. But this challenge made me think about all commercial frozen foods ... after all, most of the conditions which apply to frozen dinners also apply to frozen fruits and veggies. So ... what to do! My compromise is to only buy frozen foods when fresh, local & seasonal food is unavailable. Sometimes living "green" means minimizing our impact on the earth ... not actually eliminating it. Let's see how our Honor Society did:
EcoGrrl joined the challenge. She prefers homemade foods but brings up a good point ... planning is important. She tries to prepare foods on Sunday which will cover lunches throughout the week. She does have one frozen indulgence ... a pizza made by the local pacific natural foods company.
Argentum Vulgaris says that frozen food is his pet peeve. He talks about it in this POST and gives us an example of a typical meal in his house ... prepared in less than 15 minutes. Wow!
OLLIE MCKAY'S ~ A Chic Boutique dropped in ... always nice to "see" you Ollie!
Two Vegan Boys joined in the fun. They never buy frozen dinners. Krys, TVB's mom, shares that making a double batch of any meal and freezing it is a great way to have quick, nutritious meals at another time. As I wandered around TVB, I began to see a common theme in posts: check your pantry, refrigerator, garden and/or CSA box for ingredients before shopping ... more than likely, you have what you need for a recipe or an acceptable substitute. Great tip ... thanks, Krys!
Katsui Jewelry came by and thanked us for challenging their thinking. By the way, if you've never been to Katsui Jewelry Blog, please go ... the posts a great. Recently, they wrote about homelessness in America and how small actions can make a huge difference (oh I love that sentiment).
Mrs. Green admits defeat on this challenge. But after reading her post HERE, I don't really agree. 90% of her meals are homemade and as she says, "everything in moderation". I think Mrs. Green does a fabulous job!
ReWinn keeps an emergency pizza in his freezer but other than that, he doesn't buy frozen dinners. He offers us a wonderful post with his recipe for Bone Soup. In his words it will "please your palate, your pocketbook, and your ancestors!" Nicely done, ReWinn!
Great job everyone! As always, I have Stumbled and Tweeted your articles!
We also had some Twitter members who talked about our challenge using the hashtag #ctww. If you're a twitter member, please visit these folks and, perhaps, follow them:
Okay ... ready for a new challenge? This week's challenge was suggested by our friend Ange of Signed by Ange. It's something that many people don't think twice about but ... it generates a lot of waste. Here it is:
This week, stop using throw away wipes and cloths (baby wipes, single use window cleaner sheets, duster sheets, etc.).
If you never use these kinds of products, please write a post about what you use instead.
Great challenge, Ange! I'm definitely up for it!
That's it for this week ...
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!
Monday, May 10, 2010
When a space is disorganized, it's hard to know what's there. For example, think about a "junk" drawer ... all manner of odds and ends get thrown into this space ... things which we don't want to toss out because we know we'll eventually need them. Typically, that drawer becomes a "black hole" ... what goes in is never seen again. We forget what's in there and the next time we need that battery or paper clip, etc., we head off to the store to make a purchase. The result is that we use unnecessary time and resources to accumulate more stuff ... stuff which is probably in that drawer.
For many people, it's not just a junk drawer ... it's a closet, a room, or a garage. It can even be a refrigerator. It's any place where stuff gets stashed and disorganized. It's a place which makes us feel overwhelmed and like we'd rather just look the other way. Unfortunately, these repositories continue to use resources (heating, cooling, lights, etc.). Frankly, when one thinks about the use of a space versus the cost to maintain it, a disorganized space isn't a good value.
Consider this ... the average size of homes in America is twice as large as it was 30 years ago. However, the average number of occupants in those homes has decreased. Could it be that we are buying larger homes to accommodate the amount of stuff we buy? And could getting organized help us reduce the amount of stuff we have? I believe so!
There are other ways in which being organized is Eco-friendly. For example:
- Organizing our errands and planning our travel route will optimize vehicle use and help us to minimize fuel consumption.
- Planning a week's menu helps us reduce energy. Perhaps we use the oven once to cook more than one dish (example, cook a casserole, desert and a loaf of bread at the same time). We can prepare a double batch of a food, using the same amount of energy it takes to cook one batch (example - cook double the amount of pasta which can be used in tonight's dinner and in tomorrow's salad).
- Organizing the way laundry is done helps to minimize water consumption when we wash only full loads and reduces energy use when we don't allow the dryer to cool between loads.
- Arranging our daily routine to open windows when the air is cool and close the curtains when the sun shines through helps us minimize our summer cooling expense.
Getting organized is just one more easy way to walk a little gentler on the earth!
As always, I would love to hear from you!
Friday, May 7, 2010
This month's recipe is from the folks at ChooseVeg.Com who graciously gave me permission to share it with you. It meets my personal criteria for recipes ... it's delicious and it's easy to make. I hope you and your family will enjoy it as much as we do.
Seitan and Mushroom Stroganoff
* 2 tablespoons corn starch
* 3 tablespoons soy sauce
* 1-1/3 cups vegetable broth or water
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
* 2 tablespoons tahini
* 2 teaspoons canola oil or olive oil
* 2 cups thinly sliced onions
* 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
* 4 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
* 2 cups thinly sliced seitan strips
* ground black pepper, to taste
* egg-free noodles
Gravy: Stir cornstarch and soy sauce together in a 2-quart saucepan and make a thin, smooth, paste. Whisk in the vegetable broth or water and garlic granules. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until it thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in the tahini. Cover the saucepan and set aside.
Place oil in a large skillet and heat over medium-high. When the oil is hot, saute the onion and garlic for 10 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir the seitan strips and the reserved gravy into the onions and mushrooms. Reduce heat to low and stir often, about 5 to 10 minutes, until the seitan is heated through.
Season the stroganoff with ground pepper. Serve at once over egg-free noodles.
My Personal Notes:
- The Stroganoff is wonderful over brown rice or vegan mashed potatoes as an alternative to the noodles.
- Substitute Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) for the seitan for a "hamburger" texture. Just be sure to soak it in water/broth first to rehydrate.
- If you don't have fresh mushrooms, try using dried mushrooms (we tried Shitake). Dried mushrooms will also need to be rehydrated before cooking.
- Try adding thinly sliced peppers with the onions for a slightly different flavor.
As always ... I would love to hear from you!
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Let's jump right into a new challenge, shall we? Here you go:
This week, eliminate prepared, frozen dinners from your grocery list. Why? Prepared, frozen dinners are energy intensive. They must be prepared (we're talking processed food here), frozen, shipped cold, displayed in a freezer at the store and then, kept frozen in our homes. So this week ... eliminate them.
If you never buy frozen dinners, please write a post about how easy and convenient it is to cook from scratch.
So what do you think ... can you do it?
Last week we began the process of eliminating antibacterial products from our homes. Let's see how our Honor Society did with the challenge:
Two Vegan Boys took the challenge. They make their own laundry soap and buy natural body and dish soaps. Speaking of challenges, be sure to check out TVB for their own, personal challenge (hint: meals from Vegan on the Cheap).
Sam dropped in. He writes a blog about all the different ways to help the environment and says his motto is Reuse and Recycle.
Brian joined in. He reminds us that "if we don't allow our bodies to generated the immunity we need to combat colds and viruses then we will only see stronger strains of the flu and viruses that will cause a great deal of problems." Thanks for that, Brian!
REWinn stopped in and offered these two posts for our previous challenge on reducing the number of showers we take: Shower Power: Why You Should Share and Shower With Your Garden. These two articles, as with most of REWinn's writing, are fun and entertaining. For this week's challenge, REWinn writes a post that isn't entertaining at all ... in fact, he shows us just how dangerous antibacterial products can be. His article called "Debugging The House" is his own, frightening experience and serves as a reminder that while we have fun with these challenges, there's a serious side to them. We're glad you're okay, REWinn!
Argentum Vulgaris accomplished this challenge easily ... he simply doesn't have antibacterial anything in his home. Check out this POST for an update on a previous challenge (hint: kids, passion fruit and pepper juice). Thanks, AV!
Ange came by and says that she doesn't like anything that wipes out every bacteria around. She keeps things clean by simply using "elbow grease". By the way, Ange suggested a marvelous challenge for us so ... stay tuned because next week we're going to give it a try! Thanks, Ange!
Kate subscribes to the "eat dirt" form of parenting (don't you just love that)! Even though she is diligent about not allowing hormone disruptors, like Triclosan, into her home, she reminds us that it shows up in the most unlikely places ... like toothpaste. In her words "... a challenged immune system is a healthy immune system!" Thanks, Kate!
Marcy has given up antibacterial soaps. She had a great point ... "It's the friction of the soap and water that gets rid of the germs and dirt." Thanks, Marcy!
Mrs. Green wrote a wonderful article called "Why you should get rid of Triclosan in your home". I learned something new from that post ... some antibacterial cutting boards are impregnated with Triclosan. Wow - who knew! Mrs. Green also shares a cleanser recipe with us. Thanks, Mrs. Green!
TRusk4u has never used antibacterial products. Yay! She cleans with baking soda, organic hemp peppermint castile soap, Eco-friendly laundry and dish washing soaps, vinegar and lemon juice. And for stubborn water stains in the toilet, she uses a pumice stone. Fabulous!
OLLIE MCKAY'S ~ A Chic Boutique stopped in. So glad to have you with us, Ollie! Be sure to check out Ollie's blog ... lots of interesting things over there (love the Wordless Wednesday pictures).
Ann linked to our challenge. In this POST, she talked about a very serious matter ... Mining in preserved lands. Be sure to check it out!
And finally, we had a bunch of Twitter members who passed the word about our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you are a Twitter member, be sure to check them out:
I've Stumbled and Tweeted your posts. If you've promoted our challenges in any way, please be sure to let me know so that I can add you to our Honor Society.
That's it for this week!
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!
Monday, May 3, 2010
Here it is ... the post you've been waiting for. This is the final post in our three part series on the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle). If you missed the first two "episodes" ... or if you'd just like to revisit these articles ... click on the following links:
OK ... so ... now that we have reduced our consumption of everything and have reused what we do have, what's next? Recycle! This is the part of the process that we're probably the most familiar with. Since I've talked a lot, in other articles, about the "why" of our efforts ... I'm not going to discuss it this time ... I'm mostly going to talk about just doing it.
Many communities in our country encourage recycling and have made it relatively easy for us to do so. Some cities offer curb side pickup ... homeowners, or those living in homes, can set out their sorted recyclables and they are hauled away to become new products. Some areas don't even ask that the recyclables be sorted ... they do it for you. For those that don't have curb side pickup, there may be a recycling center close by. Check with your City Hall or waste management company to find out what your recycling options are ... as well as information on what can be recycled.
As I've mentioned before, I live in an apartment. We have a recycle bin for cardboard but nothing else. Our recyclables must be hauled to one of the centers in our city. While I've wanted to recycle and do my part, the truth is that I've found it difficult to accomplish in a small space. There's the space required for containers ... there's the potential smell ... there's driving to a center ... simply put, there's the EFFORT. But how can I write a blog about being kinder to the environment and not do everything that I can possibly do to reduce my footprint? Good question! So, I made up my mind to find a way to accomplish this task without making myself crazy. You know the old saying ... "where there's a will, there's a way". We began to look around for a space that would be convenient and ... out of sight (one of my personal criteria). With a little rearranging, we were able to put recycle containers in our laundry room. We have room for two containers ... not enough to sort out everything but we can toss everything into those two containers and do the sorting at the recycle center. We've also converted the garbage can in our office to a paper-only can. When our containers are full, we load them into the car and head out to the center. Once there, we each grab a container and start sorting and tossing. We have fun with it ... seeing who is the best "tosser" ... who is the fastest. And in the end ... we've not only had fun with the task, we leave feeling pretty good about our efforts.
Here are a few helpful hints to make recycling successful:
- Rinse out plastic, glass and metal containers so that there is no smell (nothing will end your recycling efforts faster than smelly containers in your home).
- Place your containers somewhere convenient ... usually close to the kitchen. Make it as easy as possible to toss things into them.
- Remove paper labels from containers ... this helps companies use the materials.
So give it a try. I suggest starting out with the easy stuff ... paper, plastic, metal and glass. If you're not sure about what can be recycled, just check the Internet ... there are all kinds of sites with helpful information.
I can now proudly say that I reduce, reuse ... and recycle.
As always, I'd love to hear from you. Let me know what you think of this site ... what suggestions you might have for improving it ... and any ideas that you have for reducing our footprint on the earth.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
I'm so happy you could attend our blog party.
My name is Small Footprints and I'll be your hostess for this segment of the festivities.
If this is your first blog party, let me explain a bit about it. I am privileged to be a member of a global Etsy team called Inspiration Avenue. Awhile back we held an art auction for charity and, because of our generous readers, were able to raise over $500.00 for a wonderful organization called Angel Faces. So, in celebration, we decided to have a party.
Each member of the team, and some of our friends, has prepared something special for you ... a "lesson". It might be a recipe, a tutorial or simply some wise words from someone who has lived well. One thing is for sure ... when the party is over you'll go home with a bag full of goodies.
Once you've spent a little time with me, please click on the badge at the beginning of this post to head over to the main party room. There you'll find links to other lessons. Oh ... and I see that some of you have brought treats of your own ... please leave a link to your lesson in the comments section at Inspiration Avenue.
So ... ready to begin? My gifts to you are Eco-friendly, frugal cleanser recipes. Now ... you might not think that these recipes are anything special but, let me tell you ... they work great and they are non-toxic. That means ... no possibility of accidental poisoning ... no harmful fumes to breathe in (ever wonder what causes those headaches that seem to appear when cleaning?) ... and no harm to the earth. And oh yeah ... these recipes are made from stuff you probably already have in your pantry so ... they are easy on the wallet.
First up ... my favorite all-around cleaning/scrubbing compound:
In a wide-mouthed jar with lid, mix equal parts vinegar and baking soda. Add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil, place the lid on the jar and gently shake to mix all the ingredients. Use this to scrub the bathroom, kitchen or even pots and pans. The baking soda is slightly abrasive but won't hurt surfaces. The vinegar, in addition to cleaning well, kills germs and bacteria.
Next ... a real easy, effective window cleaner:
In a spray bottle, mix equal parts water and vinegar. Spray on windows and wipe clean. We're talking brilliantly clean windows here!
One of my favorites ... the best drain cleaner in the world (okay, that's my opinion):
Pour about 1/4 cup baking soda into the drain. Follow with 1/4 cup vinegar. Let it work for awhile then flush with water. For really clogged drains, you might need a couple of applications.
Finally, how about this substitute for bleach in your laundry:
When the washer has filled with water, add 1-2 cups of hydrogen peroxide. Agitate for a minute to mix. Then, let it soak for at least one hour (overnight is even better). Add detergent and wash as normal.
Now that you've scrubbed and cleaned ... I think it's time for a treat! So ... how about a little Strawberry Shortcake? Here you go:
Vegan Strawberry Shortcake
2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup oil or shortening
1 egg substitute (Ener-G), prepared and beaten
2/3 cup soy milk
3 pints fresh strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups whipped topping of your choice (Hip Whip, etc.) or Vegan Ice Cream
- Slice the strawberries and sprinkle them with 1/2 cup of sugar. Let stand.
- Preheat oven to 425 F
- Grease and flour one 8" cake pan.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, 2 Tbs. sugar, and salt.
- With a pastry blender (or two knives), cut in the oil or shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg sub. and soy milk. Stir until just combined.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Let cool partially in the pan on wire rack.
- Slice partially-cooled cake in half, making two layers.
- Arrange the strawberries on one layer, and the top with the other layer.
- Top with remaining strawberries, and cover with the whipped topping or ice cream.
By the way, if you're curious about why a vegan/vegetarian diet is good for the planet, please click HERE.
So there you are ... I hope you have enjoyed your time with me. Leave me a link so I can get to know you better ... and have a great time with the rest of the party hosts and guests!