Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Your Choice

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

I am on an unexpected trip to the Pacific Northwest so there won't be a new challenge until October 8th. At that time, we'll recap and get back on track. Until then, please continue with last week's challenge, choose a challenge from THIS PAGE, create your own challenge, or ... take a break!

I appreciate your patience and I'll see you on October 8th!

Until next time ...

WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!


Monday, September 22, 2014

Eco-Friendly Tips For Autumn 2014

Welcome to the first day of Autumn and our annual Eco-friendly tips and ideas.

Planning ahead, for the cold winter months, is smart! Let's face it, taking a little action now, rather than waiting for disaster to hit, just makes sense. It means less hassle, less money, and could possibly save a life. At the very least, it's nice to head into winter knowing that things are in good working order.

So let's prepare ...

Eco-Friendly Tips For Autumn 2014
Autumn is the perfect time to prepare for winter!

Food

    Eco-Friendly Tips For Autumn 2014
    Preserving food now means healthy
    local food this winter.
  • Preserve summer produce for use in the winter.
  • Even though fresh, local produce isn't as abundant during this season, there are still many options available. Visit local farms or farmer's markets and find out what's available and then, eat locally and in season.
  • Plan to do your cooking and baking on a cold day. Any heat escaping the oven will warm your home. This might be a good time to cook several meals for use later.

Clothing

    Eco-Friendly Tips For Autumn 2014
    Sort thru summer outfits
    before packing them away
  • Before packing away those summer clothes, go through them and determine which items to keep, which items to repurpose into something else (cleaning rags, craft projects, etc.) and which to donate.
  • Keep a few light items out for use under heavier clothing. Heat is trapped between layers of material which, in turn, keeps us warm. Trust me ... this works amazingly well!
  • Bring out all those warm sweaters, socks, slippers and blankets so that when the temperature falls you'll be ready to bundle up instead of raising the thermostat.

Outdoors

  • Check your roof for any missing or damaged tiles or shingles.
  • If you make any roof repairs, consider painting your roof white or installing light colored roofing.
  • Eco-Friendly Tips For Autumn 2014
    Keep winter weather out
    by repairing your roof now
  • Clean the roof gutters and make sure downspouts are pointed away from the house. Now would also be a good time to install a rain barrel ... rather than allow water to drain into one spot, a rain barrel would allow you to direct the water to where it's most needed. One tip, a 50 gal barrel fills with just 1/2" of rain from the roof, so drain the overflow from the barrel far away from the house so that it won't flood the basement (if you have one).
  • Keep weeds and shrubs trimmed. Keep them away from outside heating/cooling units for best airflow.
  • Install foam covers over outside water spigots to prevent freezing.
  • Check for water leaks both inside and outside.
  • Bring in any houseplants that have spent the summer outdoors. They'll help clean the air. Hint ... for about a week, bring them in at night and then put them out during the day. This will ensure that they aren't "shocked".
  • Do a little outdoor landscaping. Trees and bushes, planted in the fall, have ample time to develop strong, deep root systems before the heat of the next summer. This increases their chances of surviving and typically means less watering during hot months. 
  • As the autumn leaves begin to fall, consider raking them up rather than using a "blower" (it's great exercise). Once raked up, use them as mulch to protect plants throughout the winter or add them to a compost pile.

Indoors

  • Consider installing a humidifier. This reduces static and makes you feel warmer on cold, dry days.
  • Clean and test the furnace. Did you know that your furnace needs cleaning? Yep ... it collects all kinds of dust and debris which not only affects it's performance but could cause a fire. Before you really need the heat, get out your owner's manual for instructions on how to clean it or call a furnace maintenance company.  If you have a gas furnace, have it professionally inspected once a year.
  • Install a programmable thermostat and set it for 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 Celsius) ... it'll save money and use less fuel/electricity.
  • Eco-Friendly Tips For Autumn 2014
    Be sure nothing obstructs air movement
  • Move furniture or any obstructions from vents, baseboard heaters, registers on the floor or radiators so that air moves freely. This is also a good time to vacuum these areas to remove any dust or debris. And here's a tip if you have a radiator ... place a reflecting panel behind it ... you can purchase one at a home center or make one yourself with a plywood panel and aluminum foil.
  • Remove window air conditioners for the winter. If they can't be removed, seal them with caulking or tape and cover them with an airtight, insulated jacket.
  • Open blinds during the day to attract warmth. Close them at night to retain the warmth. If you're making a change, opt for honeycomb blinds which are especially insulating.
  • If you have a ceiling fan, reverse the direction ... the fan should be run in a clockwise direction (stand under the fan and if you feel a breeze, reverse the direction so that air is being drawn upwards). This pushes the air up against the ceiling and down the walls, to gently re-circulate the warm air without creating a cooling "wind chill effect."
  • Do you have a fireplace? This is a good time to have the chimney cleaned and get vent systems checked.
  • Check windows for proper caulking. If you have single-pane windows, add storm windows. Even a plastic film over windows will reduce heat loss.
  • Consider installing new, efficient windows.
  • Check doors for weather stripping and replace as necessary. If drafts sneak in under exterior doors, replace the threshold or block the drafts with a rolled-up towel or blanket.
  • Hang a thick curtain in front of the door to block cold air from entering the house. Use a shower curtain rod and loop hangers so that the curtain can be easily pushed to the side to open the door.
  • Electrical outlets, especially on outside walls, and light fixtures are prime places for cold air to leak into your home. Add foam gaskets behind covers and switch plates, and use safety plugs in unused outlets. Be sure to shut off the power at the fuse box or circuit panel before doing this.
  • If your home has no sidewall insulation, place heavy furniture like bookshelves, armoires and sofas along exterior walls, and use decorative quilts as wall hangings. This will help block cold air.
  • Perhaps it's time to get new insulation ... if so, consider getting blown-in recycled cotton/denim insulation.

Kitchen

  • Clean your range hood and ensure that it works properly. It should vent to the outside rather than recirculating air into the attic or back into your home.
  • Vacuum the refrigerator coils to keep the compressor running efficiently. It's also a good time to check that the refrigerator is level ... the door should automatically swing shut instead of staying open.
  • Eco-Friendly Tips For Autumn 2014
    Proper maintenance ensures
    efficient energy use
  • Check the seal on the refrigerator door ... try closing it on a piece of paper. If you can pull the paper out easily, it's time to replace the gaskets. Repeat this process at several spots along the door to ensure that the entire seal is working.
  • Here's another tip for running the refrigerator efficiently ... don't over fill it. Allowing room for cool air to circulate will keep everything at the right temperature.
  • And how about another refrigerator tip ... plan ahead and defrost frozen items in the refrigerator instead of on the counter top ... the frozen items will help keep your refrigerator cool thus making it run less.

Laundry Room

    Eco-Friendly Tips For Autumn 2014
    Using a drying rack in the
    winter saves energy
  • On nice days, even in winter, consider line drying. Or, use a drying rack in your laundry room.
  • Clean the ducts and area behind the dryer.
  • Clean the filter after every use and every once in awhile, give it a good wash.

School

  • Are your kids returning to school? Consider buying clothes, backpacks, etc. from second hand stores and/or thrift shops. If you're buying new items at a store, opt for earth-friendly products and don't forget to pay attention to packaging. 
  • Eco-Friendly Tips For Autumn 2014
    Make this an Eco-friendly
    school year
  • Invest in reusable lunch items (lunch boxes, beverage bottles, utensils, napkins, etc.).
  • Prepare lunches made from whole foods and avoid any processed items, especially items which come in single-use packages.
  • Have a "Swap" party ... invite guests to bring children's clothing and useable school supplies to trade.
  • Do your kids ride the bus to school? Often buses sit in front of a school, idling while they wait for kids to climb aboard. Suggest, to your school or the bus company, that bus drivers turn off the engine when waiting for their passengers. And, of course, if it's possible for your kids to walk to school ... all the better (for them and the earth).
  • Speaking of school buses, as the weather gets cooler, there's a tendency to drive kids to the bus stop. To save that fuel, bundle up and walk your kids to the bus stop instead.

Entertaining

    Eco-Friendly Tips For Autumn 2014
    Reusable plates and utensils
    add to an elegant table
  • In the fall, entertaining moves indoors. There are football parties, cozy dinner parties and later events like Halloween and Thanksgiving. When planning your event, consider reusable plates, napkins and utensils, decorations from nature, clean burning soy candles and plenty of plant-based foods on your menu.


Eco-Friendly Tips For Autumn 2014


A little action now means that you can relax with the assurance that your world is cozy and safe ... no matter what the weather!



What are your favorite tips for an Eco-friendly autumn?



If you're moving into spring instead of autumn, check out our post entitled "17 Tips For Spring"






Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - ChloroFluoroCarbons

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:


Last week we joined forces against climate change. We all know the problems associated with climate change but I'm guessing that not everyone knows that we can battle it by living green. So, we "took to the streets" and tried to encourage others to join our fight. It's not always easy. I spoke to a grocery store employee about wrapping food in plastic. While he acknowledged that it is good to be environmental, he also said that if we took every warning to heart, we'd do nothing and eat nothing. He went on to suggest that we not hate those who love plastic. Wow! While that particular conversation wasn't exactly optimistic, I still hope that it plants a seed in his mind which may, one day, blossom into positive action.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

I tweeted about several of your articles and my tweets were picked up in this edition of the Shopping Charity. Was your article included?

Argentum Vulgaris is banging his head against a brick wall in Change the World Wednesday – 10 Sep. Even so, he's reaching out to non-greenies in an attempt to encourage them to join the fight. Did you know that he writes several blogs? Yep, and he's using them all to spread the word. He also discusses another way to elicit change ... the political system (could Brazil become the greenest country on the planet?). It's an informative post! Check it out!

Lois stopped by and left this comment: "If I had to give one piece of advice to someone just starting to consider climate change I would tell them to start with things that save them the most money, switch out cleaning products for vinegar and baking soda, unplug appliances, switch light bulbs to LED and as they see savings invest it into the bigger items such as insulation on their homes." Great advice, Lois!

Laurel shared a couple of fabulous articles with us: 100 Things You Can Do Every Day to Help the Earth: The First 10: Water and Water Conservation and 100 Things You Can Do to Help the Earth: Ten More In The Home. Great tips! Thanks, Laurel!

La Alicia posted Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) and encouraged her readers to join us. Thanks, Alicia!

Deborah accepted our challenge. She said, "Hi Cyndi, Thank you for sharing this week's CTWW Challenge with us at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop. I appreciate it! Re: this week's CTWW Challenge:The earth is warming. The evidence is clear. Climate change is the most catastrophic issue impacting our lives and the future of our planet. I am sharing three blog posts related to climate change and simple green actions we can take to help reduce our environmental impact. Climate Change 2104: Impacts, Adaptation, Vulnerability: Findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC) Report, Global Warming, Climate Change and Sea Level Rise: 8 YouTube Videos You Should Watch Now, and The Green 18: Quick and Easy Tips for Living Green Every Day." Wonderful posts, Deborah!

Nicki Woo heard our battle cry and shared this, "What a great post! I always love hearing how people take their own particular talents and make the world a better place. Sometimes I think people dont get involved because they think its not their thing. But truly, we all have a special way in which we can give back and help conserve our earth. I'm going to try and use my pulp from my juicer in casseroles like one of your readers suggested. Right now, I often add it to applesauce and my kids gobble it up, but I'm sure I could get more inventive:) Thanks so much for all you do! I appreciate you!!! And Oh! I almost forgot. . . .this week to live a greener life. . . .I transformed a ruined rug into a "new" rug with dye paint, rather than buying a new one and chucking out the old:) REUSE: How to spray paint your rug." Very clever reuse, Nicki!

Alica dropped by. She shared this, "The first thing I would tell someone who is concerned about climate change is to reduce or cut out meat completely in their diet. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported that meat causes more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than either transportation or industry!! They stated that producing a half pound hamburger for someones lunch releases as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as driving a 3,000 pound car 10 miles! The billions of chicken, turkeys, pigs and cows who are crammed into factory farms each year in the U.S. produce enormous amounts of methane gas. Scientist report that every pound of methane is more than 20 times as effective as carbon dioxide is at trapping heat in our atmosphere.The EPA has shown that animal agriculture is the single largest source of methane emissions in the U.S. The World Watch Institute said that going Vegan is one of the most effective ways to fight global warming. A staggering 51% or more of global- greenhouse gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture! So just think how eating one non meat meal once a week could make a tremendous difference. I think most people find that it is easier to do than they thought. Peta even offers a FREE Vegan starter kit. that has recipes tips and videos. http://www.peta.org/living/food/free-vegan-starter-kit/. I challenge everyone who eats meat and dairy to give it up for just one day this week, It will be a small but very effective way to help combat global warming." Fabulous challenge, Alicia!

CelloMom joined our army. She shared this, " Wow, great suggestions so far! There are a lot of places where we can cut our carbon footprint; it doesn't matter where you start, it's more important *that* you start cutting. I have a post with a "menu" of options on where to reduce your household carbon emissions. Apart from your individual efforts at home, I think it's also important to let your voice be heard. Despite the money swirling around politics, at the end of the day politicians still need your vote. So let them know where you want them to stand on climate change. Citizens Climate Lobby can help you write letters. And of course, you can participate in a Climate March near you! Coming up, 20-21 September."

Mary came by and shared this, "Good idea! It's often forgotten that it makes a big difference to have other people join too since our changes add up! Great ideas are to encourage schools or neighborhoods to do community recycling! Once that's started, more and more will change!" Love the idea of community recycling, Mary!

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @GiveTreeGifts
- What is climate change? ow.ly/BkxIY #CTWW
- A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change ow.ly/BkxUS #CTWW
- Climate Change Connection ow.ly/Bkyed #CTWW
- WWF Canada - Climate & Energy ow.ly/BkyyI #CTWW

From @smallftprints
- What can small cities do to fight climate change? grist.org/climate-energy… via @grist #CTWW
- 8 Easy Ways to Teach Kids About Saving Energy http://www.greenworld365.com/easy-ways-to-teach-kids-about-saving-energy-at-home/ #CTWW

From @SuppressThis
- Watering Lawns in the Desert: What Las Vegas Can Tell Us About Climate Change (and Ourselves) wp.me/p2llp1-pW

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@2kidsandacoupon @89linz @_topstories_
@allcollegeplan @allnaturalkatie @artbysandra
@biggreenpen @blackfriarsgdns @bstoneblog
@bsustainable2da @cannyhighlander @cellomomoncars
@cereusart @chuecaguia @cjrthemamiblog
@cochranesustain @collegegogreen @debsmikdav1
@factorydpromos @foggybottomgal @forloveofadog
@freshcleanersaz @generaccion_dtt @ginavalley
@givetreegifts @greenglobaltrvl @groovygreenlivi
@gyicc @herbgir1972 @kaitlingarder
@kayelleallen @kirklander61 @kkallen_author
@laalicia @ladyjcmuses @laurelhounslow
@lisadliguori @marbaird @marjoriemcatee
@merlyn43 @mimibarbour @mlkstudios
@mutti1963 @nosco23 @organicrugs
@p2pnyc @paschamo @rckweddings
@realityarts @respiro @robinjfarr
@romerojewelers @ruralmoms @sfcouncil
@shoppingcharity @spafloating @suppressthis
@theworld4realz @treesgroup @turningclockbac
@urban_mining @voiceboksmedia @wasteeguru
@wastejobs @whopaysthepiper

My Final Thoughts:

Some people, even experts on the subject, suggest that there is no "cure" for climate change. Even if it's true, we've got to try. After all, the alternative isn't pretty. We'll have a better chance at success if everyone joins the effort. So I ask each of you to continue the battle and to encourage others to join the fight to save our planet!

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - ChloroFluoroCarbons
Old aerosol cans may
contain ChloroFluoroCarbons
I found some good news this week. According to a U.N. study, the damaged ozone layer is showing its first sign of recovery after years of dangerous depletion. WhooHoo!

ChloroFluoroCarbons (CFCs), responsible for damage to the ozone layer, have been banned (for the most part). They were most commonly used in refrigerants, blowing agents, propellants in medicinal applications (like asthma inhalers), and degreasing solvents. Other names for CFCs are Puron, Freon, and Halon. Older refrigerators, A/C units, cars, and fire extinguishers probably contain them. They may still be used in mold release agents and foam products.

Here's your challenge ...


This week, let's deal with any ozone-depleting chemicals in our lives. Here are some steps to take:
  • Check labels and avoid any solvents, cleaning supplies, foams, etc. which contain CFCs (in addition to the common names mentioned above, they might be found on the label as methane, ethane, Trichlorotrifluoroethane).
  • Check storage areas for old aerosol cans, fire extinguishers, or air conditioning units and dispose of them properly (call your hazardous waste disposal department for information on the best way to dispose of them).
  • Does your refrigerator or air conditioner need repair? Ensure that technicians recover and recycle the old CFCs so they are not released into the atmosphere.
  • Have your vehicle's air conditioning unit checked regularly for leaks.
  • Replace halon fire extinguishers with alternatives (e.g. carbon dioxide or foam).
  • If you use an inhaler for asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), check with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure that it does not contain CFCs. Inhalers with CFCs are being phased out but they are still around so ask.

Are you prepared to help the ozone recover? I know that you are!

Until next time ...

WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!





Monday, September 15, 2014

Scott Naturals® Tube-Free - Review and #Giveaway

Scott Naturals® Tube-Free - Review and Giveaway
An estimated 17 billion cardboard
tubes are thrown away each year
What do you do with toilet paper tubes?

Search the Internet and you'll find a host of creative uses for them. I, myself, have reused them as seed starters, composted them, and recycled them.

Keeping them out of a landfill is great but that's just one half of the equation. The other half involves the manufacturing process. As with any product, tubes require resources and energy. If a company doesn't make their own tubes, then packaging and transportation are also added to the environmental cost. And, of course, not everyone finds a use for them ... billions end up in landfills each year.

Toilet paper has been married to the cardboard tube for more than 100 years. What if we eliminated the tube? Radical thought, right? Well, guess what ... Scott Naturals® has done exactly that!

Scott Naturals® Tube-Free - Review and Giveaway
Scott Naturals® Tube-Free
I was invited to try Scott Naturals® Tube-Free toilet paper.

As with all the products that I review, I asked questions. I wanted to know if the toilet paper is made with recycled content and how the product is packaged. I also wanted to know about the company's environmental policies.

I learned that Scott Naturals® Tube-Free toilet paper is the only major brand that is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. The FSC has confirmed that this product has been sourced in an environmentally-friendly, socially responsible and economically viable manner.

The company tried adding recycled content to the product but found that the quality and softness was compromised. They are currently researching alternative fibers for potential use in the future.

According to my company contact, "The Scott Naturals® Tube-Free bath tissue packaging contains 40% recycled fibers and 20% recycled content in packaging."

She further stated, "As a company, Kimberly Clark is focused on sustainability. 100 percent of its fiber is sourced from certified suppliers and the total amount of fiber used has been reduced by 24 percent through implementing progressive fiber policies and goals. Kimberly Clark also achieved a 26 percent reduction in manufacturing water use since 2010 and managed to divert 80 percent of manufacturing waste from landfills, both by helping users of its products identify alternative solutions and by finding opportunities to reduce waste in our manufacturing process."

I wanted to know more because paper involves trees which are vital to our environment. So I dug a little deeper.

At one time, Kimberly Clark's environmental track record wasn't great. A grassroots student activist campaign against the company opened their eyes and they made some serious changes in the way they conducted their business. They looked for ways to promote forest conservation and responsible forest management. One of their goals was to purchase 100% of wood fiber from suppliers that gain independent sustainability certification from the FSC. Today, they have completely achieved that goal and continue to search for ways to protect the planet and natural resources. They have won several sustainability awards (find the list HERE).

They took the public's concerns about the environment seriously and created what is, today, an environmentally responsible company.

Did I like the product? Read on ...

Scott Naturals® Tube-Free - Review and Giveaway
No cardboard tube in this tissue!
The roll holds 400 unscented one-ply sheets. Typically, one-ply sheets are thin and flimsy. Not so with this paper! In fact, before reading the package, I was sure that it was two-ply ... it is thick and sturdy.

My toilet-paper rod slips easily through the roll's opening. And at the end of the roll, the final sheet slips easily off the holder.

The paper is appropriate for use in septic tanks.

Truthfully, there's nothing "not to love" about this paper! And, there's everything to love about reducing waste!

Would you like to try some for yourself? How about a giveaway?

Scott Naturals® Tube-Free Giveaway


The generous folks at Scott have graciously agreed to sponsor a worldwide giveaway. What's up for grabs? One Eco-friendly bathroom makeover kit, including Scott Naturals Tube-Free toilet paper, natural bathroom cleaner, natural bar soap and CFL light bulbs. WhooHoo!!

Please Note ... while the giveaway is open worldwide, Scott Naturals® Tube-Free is currently only available for purchase in the US.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



I received Scott Naturals® Tube-Free Toilet Paper in order to write this review. I received no other compensation. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and reflect my honest opinion of the product reviewed.


Images courtesy of Scott Naturals® Tube-Free, SOMMAI at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, and ... me!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Climate Change

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:


Last week we joined Mrs. Green in her annual Zero Waste Week event. The theme, this year, was "one more thing". The idea was that if we generate any waste at all, then there has to be one more thing (at the very least) which we can do to improve. I discovered something interesting during the event. Time helps us reduce waste. Let me explain. When we decide that we need an item, we can run out to the store and make a purchase. On the other hand, if we give ourselves some time before making a purchase, we can often find something in our homes which will meet our needs. By doing so, we've used an item which might otherwise be tossed out, and we've reduced the need for a new item (and all the energy and natural resources required by manufacturing processes).

By the way, Mrs. Green has begun a Zero Hero Facebook page and everyone is invited to join. The page will be a forum, of sorts, where the waste reduction conversation can continue. Have a difficult waste challenge? Post it on the page and see what solutions are offered. Have a great tip? Share it with others. This page promises to be a terrific resource. Here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/377509552402840/

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

Alica not only reduces waste at home, she takes action at work as well. She says, " There is always room to improve in this area! We try to have very little waste not only at home but in our business also. We are going to be trying some new things for Eco Natural in the next few months and I am working on my grocery trips having less waste. Always looking for great ideas and tips concerning this."

Katie focused her efforts at the grocery store. In addition to shopping in the bulk-bin isle, she's going to speak to an employee about a possible change. Can you guess what it is? Find out in Zero Waste at the Grocery Store [#CTWW].

Mary shared a great idea: "Great idea - there is always something more we can do, and this is a great reminder! One idea is if you use a juicer, instead of throwing away the pulp, you could save it and add it to a casserole! There's a lot of food wasted, and it's possible to use it all!"

Lady JC decided to go paperless this week. In Zero Waste Week - Going Paperless - Change the World Wednesday she shares her beautiful cloth tissues, napkins, and (un)paper towels. Yep, paperless towels! Brilliant!

Aimee (aka EcoGrrl) reduced waste in a big way! Check out her comment: "Always good to have these reminders every few months! I'm proud to say that since my husband arrived on the scene, we have not seen any noticeable difference in the amount of trash that goes out once a month - still only about 1/2 a bin that's picked up every 4 weeks. I'd still like to improve upon that, of course! On a larger scale, we'd started talking about replacing our sofa because we didn't know it was possible to re-stuff a sofa whose cushions were sewn to the frame. Well it is! I posted the link to an article showing how on my EcoGrrl-icious column this Friday. What a relief - I mean we'd have gotten a vintage or eco-friendly sofa and this one would have been donated, but I adore this sofa and am so happy we get to save it - and learn a new skill!" If you'd like the link, check out her EcoGrrl-icious post.

Lois has recently purchased a home and has some unique waste challenges. In Change the World Wednesday: My biggest Challenge she explains. And be sure to scroll down to see a photo of her new house. Congrats, Lois!

Susan joined us. Welcome, Susan! She says, "Thank you for your tips! It is great to come together in accountability and save the planet!" By the way, check out Susan's site for some great cloth produce bags ... great for eliminating plastic and waste!

Change The World Wednesday got a nice mention in Hottest Writers on the Web. Thanks to Kayelle Allen for including us!

Welcome to Taylor Made Ranch. They shared this brilliant tip: "Keep a reusable canvas bag rolled neatly into a plastic sleeve and tuck it next to your car's seat. That way if you make an unscheduled stop by the store you can just reach down & grab your reusable bag. The plastic sleeve keeps everything clean & you don't have to bring home a plastic shopping bag."

(La) Alicia has been reducing paper waste for a long time. In fact, it's her business. Check out what she does with rescued paper: Layered Necklace on Cobalt Blue Cord - Eco Chic. Beautiful!

Welcome back to Cinella. She's been away from CTWW for awhile but she has returned, this week, in grand style. Zero Waste Week 2014: Can it be Easy? offers a place to start ... shopping. She goes on to offer links to giveaways of reusable items and invites everyone to her YouTube channel where she's sharing her waste-reduction efforts. So nice to see you, Cinella!

The kitchen is a great place to focus our efforts. In Zero Waste: Waste Not, Want Not, Laurel offers some fabulous ideas. She suggests soups, stews, and even breads as methods to eliminate waste. Thanks, Laurel ... so glad you joined us!

Lisa offered us some great ways to meet this challenge: "The list could go on for a long time. Buy products with less packaging, buy products that can be used for more than one thing, make a big batch of cleaner and pour it into reusable spray bottles."

Argentum Vulgaris (AV) celebrated a birthday recently and hosted his annual birthday BBQ Bash. Happy "Belated" Birthday, AV! In previous years, he's said that he didn't have enough plates and utensils for all of his guests, so had to resort to disposables. How did he do this year? Find out in Change the World Wednesday – 3rd Sep. Be sure to read the entire post because AV talks about how bringing trash home actually reduces waste.

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @GiveTreeGifts
- Reduce waste created by packaging. Buy produce at your local farmer's market & take your own cloth bags. #BuyLocal #CTWW
- 15 Ways to Reduce Food Packaging ow.ly/B28Pt #CTWW
- WWF - Waste Management: Evaluate How You Can Reduce Packaging Waste in Your Home ow.ly/B28W9 #CTWW
- Reducing wasted food & packaging ow.ly/B292t #CTWW

From @GreenQueenofMod
- #CTWW Eliminate single-use drip filters with a mesh insert. Save money. Save the planet. #reduce #zerowaste pic.twitter.com/xrAFHRAnnm
- #CTWW Say NO to single-use #diapers—use cloth instead. Better for #baby! 20 years later I have terrific dust cloths too! #zerowaste #reduce
- #CTWW Use a #Swifter when cleaning? Don't buy disposable cloths—use cut to fit rags from old Tshirts instead. #zerowasteweek #repurpose

From @AMCConsolidated
- we develop our product lines with ways to reuse products and thus reducing waste.

From @ConservationM
- Creative ways to use your overripe bananas #zerowasteweek #ctww squishablebaby.com/zero-waste-wee… … fb.me/IJasDBPn via @Squishablebaby

From @eitsart_design
- Wasting less food is definitely something I need to work on. Eat more leftovers!

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@2kidsandacoupon @89linz @a_kiasi
@ahthesimplelife @allcollegeplan @artbysandra
@attiqueboutique @bettydharma @biggreenpen
@bsustainable2da @burp_blog @cellomomoncars
@cereusart @collegegogreen @conservationm
@de_kesha @ecofiber @foggybottomgal
@forloveofadog @freshcleanersaz @ginavalley
@givetreegifts @grandmasdiaries @greenglobaltrvl
@greenwithrenvy @groovygreenlivi @herbgir1972
@jnjgogreen @kaitlingarder @kayelleallen
@kirklander61 @laalicia @ladyjcmuses
@larlegal @laurelhounslow @leslieveg
@lisadliguori @marbaird @marjoriemcatee
@momgamerwriter @msmoreau_guid @myzerowaste
@nolafusion @organicrugs @p2pnyc
@rainyofthedark @rckweddings @realityarts
@romerojewelers @ruralmoms @samnyc5
@sfcouncil @spafloating @theworld4realz
@tiffanywashko @treadmyownpath @turningclockbac
@wencdj @whopaysthepiper

My Final Thoughts:

The price of waste is high. It costs natural resources to produce new items. It costs space for landfills, contaminated soil and water, and polluted air. It costs us money, time, and energy. In my view, the cost is too dear.

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Climate Change
Pest populations are increasing
due to Climate Change
Here's a consequence of Climate Change which you might not have considered: populations of pests, like mosquitoes and ticks, are on the rise. Since both of these pests carry disease, it's a concern.

Here's your challenge ...


All of the green-living activities which we, as Eco-conscious people, adopt help control climate change. But we need more people to climb on board. So, this week, encourage others to take action against climate change. Need some ideas? Write a post about the situation and ask your readers to take on an Eco-friendly activity. Open a conversation with friends and family. Write to officials with your concerns and suggest actions which they can take. The idea, this week, is to get other people thinking about climate change and acting against this threat.

Are you ready to reach out to the world? I know that you are!

Until next time ...

WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!




Monday, September 8, 2014

Meet & Greet (#MtaGt) - September - Green Global Travel

Welcome to Meet & Greet, a regular series designed to grow our green community.

A monthly link-up party for green blogs on Reduce Footprints

Grab our banner for your site:

The rules:

1. Use the link-up tool below to share your green-living blog or collection of environmental posts.
2. Visit at least one other blog and/or the featured site and leave a pertinent comment.
3. The link-up will remain open for a month.
4. Random.org determines the featured site each month.

Our featured blog, this month, is Green Global Travel. Co-Founders, Bret & Mary, love to travel. Unlike many tourists, however, they are passionate about trips designed to protect nature and wildlife. They travel in ways which encourage sustainable practices and benefit local indigenous cultures. Readers will find fabulous photos and accounts of their trips to places such as Jordan, Brazil, Tonga, and Nepal. Closer to home they have explored the John Muir Trail in California, nature attractions in Kauai, and (one of my favorites) green restaurants in Asheville. They discuss Eco-friendly accommodations, activities, and even offer their thoughts on so-called environmental tours like swimming with the Dolphins (which, by the way, are bad for these amazing animals). Each post is well-written and offers readers information about how travel can be an important tool in protecting the environment. Green Global Travel is a terrific resource for those planning a trip, thrilling for those who wish to take a virtual vacation, and educational for those who want to preserve nature. I hope you'll stop by and visit ... I think you'll enjoy your stay!

For previous features & blogs, check out the Meet & Greet Page: http://reducefootprints.blogspot.com/p/meet-greet.html.

Our link-up is live. Please list your blog, visit and have fun!

BLOGS ONLY PLEASE. If you have a blog associated with your brand, please link to the blog, not the sales page. Thank you!






Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Zero Waste Week 2014

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:


Last week we took 15 minutes to listen to the sounds around us, with particular emphasis on nature. I've spent most of my life living in a city. It's amazing how one gets used to the sounds of cars, air conditioning units, and planes overhead. At the time, I missed quiet and would actively search out areas without human noise. It was virtually impossible! Now I live in the country. It's still pretty tough to go a full 15 minutes without any man-made noise. Here's the interesting thing ... I still don't hear quiet. I hear nature's noise. At night, there's a bird (still haven't identified it) that sounds like a baby crying. During the day, the cicadas sing for rain. We have toads that croak out their message, turkeys that softly murmur to each other, and song birds singing with joy at our feeders. We still hear human sounds but they are in the distance and infrequent. Man-made noises aren't comforting ... the sounds of nature are calming and peaceful.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

Argentum Vulgaris went out to the "praça" to sit and listen. He lives in a busy city in Brazil. So what did he hear? Find out in Change the World Wednesday – 27th Aug.

Alicia loves to spend time outdoors. Here's why: "We live out in the country which makes this an easy challenge for us. We can sit out in the mornings and hear our neighbors horses and cows. We hear so many different species of birds singing and the breeze blowing through the trees is always such a peaceful sound! I love hearing the squirrels going through the trees and then watching them gather acorns on the ground. I also love hearing the Hummingbirds as they come to the feeder and the sound of the bees as they pollinate the flowers in the garden.We always look forward to sitting outside and enjoying all the wonderful nature around us!!"

Katie is excited about this activity. She says, "Ooh! I love the challenge. Noise pollution is something that I care about and I look forward to doing the challenge."

What does La Alicia hear? "lately, the cicadas! ;) "

Andie accomplished this challenge without even knowing it was a challenge. Here's what she had to say, "I've been camping at Ocean Shores since Tuesday, so I got lots of quiet time (spotty internet at best). I participated in your challenge without even knowing :) I heard lovely bird sounds (bush tits and finches I believe). But often these were drowned out by the sound of vehicles in the campground, people's televisions (really!), and shrieking children (a joyous sound at times). The ocean sounds were lovely—a mixture of wind and gull calls. I took a trash bag with me every time we went to the beach. I collected more than I wanted of beer cans/bottles, plastic bottles, miscellaneous plastic trash—the worst was an intact six-pack ring set. I thought we'd outlawed those things! Just glad I kept it from snaring some poor sea creature when he tide rolled in."

Mary stopped by and shared her thoughts: "Excellent challenge! We rarely stop to just listen and think what's around us or even to just take a moment in our busy lives. Hope everyone hears sounds of nature!"

Ann joined us and wrote a post about waste: save the world/Alphabe-Thursday letter P for paper bags encourages us to recycle.

Clare stopped by and said this: "I've often reflected how wonderful it is to live where I do (for as long as it lasts, anyway). We live out in the country (well, there's not really a lot of city on this island) and I wake to the sound of birds outside. Inside the geckos might be having a territorial fight on my walls and it's quiet enough to hear their little clicking noises. I do hear a car go past occasionally, and once a week we get the rubbish, water and electricity guys (well, sometimes, anyway), and that's about all.
Except it's a bit noisier than normal right now because it's mating season for the doves and the males are fighting and courting the females, so there's quite a bit flapping around! There's always a quiet beach to choose where you can hear the water lapping gently inside the coral reefs, and the occasional 'plop' of some creature emerging from its hole in the sand. I'm really thankful I'm so much more in tune with the seasons and the tides, it's lovely. To return to last week's challenge on population - I had a most interesting conversation via Comments on my blog that population control / reduction was almost a taboo subject - do you think it is?"
To answer your question, Clare ... unfortunately, population control does seem to be a taboo topic. But, as it does affect the environment, I think we need to have the conversation and bring the topic out of the dark.

The upcycle DZINE mentioned one of your tweets ... was it yours?

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @GreenQueenofMod
- THANKS! I was camping w/ no internet, so missed this week :( I did my part picking up trash on the Pacific beach for 3 days.

From @GiveTreeGifts
- The surprising uses for birdsong http://t.co/rQG3k57E0g #CTWW
- Scientists to study psychological benefits of birdsong http://t.co/cJF3nN6mOz #CTWW
- What Is Sound Energy? Healing with Sound Energy http://t.co/vf9O6rIiDa #CTWW

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@2kidsandacoupon @a_kiasi @allcollegeplan
@artbysandra @bike2power @bluemountainbb
@bstoneblog @cellomomoncars @collegegogreen
@ecoexpert1 @ecofiber @fairytraps
@foggybottomgal @freshcleanersaz @garry_rogers
@ginavalley @givetreegifts @grandmasdiaries
@greenglobaltrvl @groovygreenlivi @halliegrace2
@herbgir1972 @jadekerrion @kaitlingarder
@kayelleallen @laalicia @ladyreaderstuff
@laurelhounslow @marjoriemcatee @momfindsout
@momgamerwriter @nikidanforth @nolafusion
@organicrugs @pedalgadgets @rckweddings
@realityarts @reelocoaster @romerojewelers
@ruralmoms @sdcdm320 @sfcouncil
@shannongrissom @shionnomusumeta @spafloating
@teamfootprint @terenceflyntz @theworld4realz
@treadmyownpath @treesgroup @turningclockbac
@untiltherobin @upcycledzine @wencdj
@whopaysthepiper

My Final Thoughts:

In humans, noise pollution causes stress related illnesses, sleep disruption, headaches, irritability, fatigue, nervousness, and loss of productivity. Animals also suffer from noise pollution. They experience increased heart rates and respiration, stress, the inability to reproduce, and even hearing loss. Man-made noise prevents animals from hearing important environmental cues and animal signals which, in turn, threatens their safety. It also causes some species to abandon their territory, adversely affecting biodiversity. The sounds we hear in our daily lives may not seem like a big deal, but they have serious consequences. It's something to think about before firing up that generator, turning on the air conditioner, or going out for a drive. Noise pollution is man made ... it's our responsibility to eliminate it!

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Change The World Wednesday - Zero Waste Week 2014
Zero Waste Week has begun!
The theme of this year's Zero Waste Week event is "One More Thing". Mrs. Green believes that we can all do just one more thing to reduce waste. I agree!

Here's your challenge ...

This week, look for one more way to reduce the amount of waste you generate. Need some inspiration? Check out the Zero Waste Week Facebook Page and scroll through the posts for tips and ideas. Perhaps buy "naked" produce (items without any kind of packaging), carry a reusable bag at the market, or find creative uses for leftover food. If you have a baby in the house, try cloth diapers (nappies) and reusable wipes rather than the disposable varieties. Consider reusable menstrual products instead of single-use items. Find creative ways to upcycle "trash" or donate used items to charity. The idea, this week, is to find one more way to reduce waste.

Are you up for this challenge? I know that you are!

If you have a challenge idea, please send it to me HERE.

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copying the code & pasting it into your site!

Change The World Wednesday on Reduce Footprints

Until next time ...

WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!