Scott’s Rant Part 1

Posted in Livin' Green, Random Rants with tags , , , , on June 30, 2009 by scottski74

Is it really that hard for some people to understand that we need to change our thinking on the way we do things.  I know there are pessimists out there that think all this going green stuff doesn’t matter.  I know that there are people that don’t believe in global warming…. I have my own questions myself.  But to think that the way things are is just fine, I can’t understand.  To think the little things I’m trying to do won’t make a difference, I won’t believe.

Sorry, but I just had a conversation (if you can call it that) with a friend that thinks I’m stupid for not wanting to use paper plates any more.  He said, “How can a little thing like that change anything?”  I was so upset that he couldn’t see the value in using and washing old plates for when we go camping or even when company comes over.  Now I admit that I hate to wash them (I use cold water for all my washing now) and it can be a pain,  and I concede that it is a job for someone to make those paper plates.  But paper plates are  a part of our wasteful, lazy, not-thinking-about-what-we-throw-away style.  According to most statistic sites that I have seen, we throw away enough paper to fuel 50 million homes for 20 years.  Who recycles those paper plates?  Most of the time we just through them in the garbage.

Really people, the little things we chose to do can make a difference!  Make a stand.  If people think you are a green freak, let them!  We can make a difference, it just takes people to see we care about how we live and things will change.  And to those people that think nothing we are doing will make a difference, I feel sorry for you (cause we save money this way).

Why I Buy Used

Posted in Livin' Green, Saving Dough with tags , , , on June 24, 2009 by Kate

I am a regular thrift store shopper and rummage sale-er, and have been since I was in high school.  Back then it was “cool” to buy old clothes, the weirder the better, now it just makes sense.  It makes sense for my two favorite reasons:  It costs less money, and it’s “green.”  I buy almost all of my clothes at thrift shops for a fraction of the cost of buying new.  I also donate clothes that I no longer wear or need.  I do a lot of shopping at thrift stores that support our local social services agencies, two birds – one stone.  When people ask wear I got some article of clothing and I respond that I got it used there is sometimes a strange reaction.  Like buying used clothes is somehow dirty. . . come on people, they’re clothes. . . its not like I’ll be eating them.  Everything I am wearing today is used, except for my sandals, however I do buy used shoes on occasion.  Not buying everything new saves on production costs ($$ and precious resources), saves me money, and keeps things out of landfills.  There really is no downside to it.  In fact you can find things free from sites like Freecycle and Craigslist.  It is such an easy thing to do, an easy step to take on my path to a greener, cleaner, and cheaper lifestyle.  I am committing myself to taking my buying used up a level and do my best to not buy anything new.  I’ll keep you all posted on how this goes.

Kate’s Take on the Plastic Bottle Situation

Posted in Livin' Green, Repurposing, Saving Dough with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2009 by Kate

After reading Scott’s post on soda and water in plastic bottles I just had to put my own two cents in.  First of all Scott is absolutely right.  Buying individual bottles of soda, water, or juice is ridiculously expensive.  HUGE waste of money.  For example, at the local convenience store near me a 20 oz bottle of Diet Pepsi (yes, I’m a soda drinker too, baby steps people) cost $1.39 and a 2 Liter bottle of Diet Pepsi cost $1.17.  So as in most situations, buying in bulk saves you money.  I was under the impression that it was better for us and the environment if we drank out of aluminum.  However now I’ve been hearing that the plastic lining in aluminum cans and aluminum bottles may also contain the evil BPA that can leach into our beverages.  SIGG‘s plastic lining in their popular aluminum bottles appears to be safe.  I have a plastic water bottle that claims to be BPA free made by Thermos. I love it, it is the most functional water bottle I have ever owned.  No unscrewing, or pulling up anything, I simply push the little white button with my thumb.  One handed water bottle!!  Unfortunately it is made from plastic, which we all know takes more resources to create, but I already have it so it would be incredibly wasteful to throw it away.  I wish I would have heard about Kleen Kanteen before I purchased my mean green water bottle.  Kleen Kanteen is made from stainless steel, and has no plastic lining.   (Don’t tell him, but my little one is getting a Kleen Kanteen as part of his birthday present.) So far drinking out of stainless steel has yet to be discovered as something that  gives us cancer, or Alzheimer’s, or any other horrible disease. . .but hey, its early.  So what will I drink my water out of?  Instead of throwing away this perfectly good and supposedly BPA free.  I will continue to use this bottle until it wears out, then I will find a more Eco-friendly option.  Know what the best thing to drink out of is??? Glass.  You can even find cute glass bottles to carry around with you.  Honestly I don’t think I would trust my self with glass, but those of you who aren’t complete clutzes go for it.  As for drinking soda, I am trying to stop completely, but until I can actually quit completely, I will buy it in cans.  They are easier to recycle, better for the earth, and only possibly giving me Alzheimer’s.  One of my future changes to make will be to eliminate soda from my life, I just need to cut down before I take the plunge.  Today I am committing to no longer buying water, soda, or juice in plastic bottles! I can buy juice in glass, and until I can completely kick the habit, I will drink soda from aluminum cans.  As for all the Nalgene bottle I have collected over the years, you know. . . the BPA ones (I have 6), I have filled most of them most of the way up with water and froze them.  They are now reusable ice for my cooler.  Another is going to become a waterproof first aid kit for camping.  There are lots of other ideas to repurpose these old bottles, I really want to make one of those lanterns. . .   What did you do with all of your BPA bottles?

Update: My little one is now getting a Green Bottle for his birthday, as I couldn’t find a Kleen Kanteen in any of the little shops around here (I didn’t really want to order it online and pay shipping).  It is also all stainless steel and of course BPA free.

The Plastic Bottle Problem

Posted in Livin' Green, Saving Dough with tags , , , , , , , on June 20, 2009 by scottski74

I drink a lot of soda!  It’s probably something that I should cut from my lifestyle, but first things first.  If you buy sodas or water or even juice in those individual bottles and recycle, there is more you need to look at.  As Americans we throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles per day.  Even if you recycle, it takes oil and other chemicals to make a new bottle; they can’t make new bottles from recycled plastic.  Also, the cost of buying refreshments that way is not economical.  Like most things the smaller the package, the more you pay.

So what can we do?  Well, for soda I have a couple suggestions to limit the amount of plastic we go through.  Aluminum cans would be my first choice.  They recycle well, plus you can get some money back if you go to the right places.  Otherwise go with a two liter bottle and you can cut the waste in half.  If you are industrious, you can build yourself a soda fountain.  With a tank of CO2, a compressor, and a soda gun that you could get from any bar supplies store, you can have your own mini-bar! I’m sure you will make your money back in a year or two, buying in bulk instead of individual bottle.

I hate to say it but the water drinkers are the worst in this department.  I’m not sure on the numbers (I’m sure there are more soda bottles than water), but there is really no need for bottled water.  Water from the tap has fluorides that are good for teeth and bones, and it’s free!  If you don’t think your water is safe to drink you can always get a filter.  I will try to get some info soon on how to make your own filter (I know charcoal has something to do with it).  Get an Eco-Friendly container and you are ready to go straight from the tap.

My goal is to stay away from those individual bottles.  I plan to buy two-liters for home from now on and when I’m at school I will stick to the fountain drinks.  I never really got into the bottle water gig, but I do want to try to drink more water (I think my teeth could use a break).  I have an old milk jug in my fridge for water and I will try to start filling up on of my portable containers in the morning and taking that with me.

So please take a look at what you can do to help reduce this problem!  Read Kate’s take on the situation here.

Goodbye Fast Food, My Old Friend. . .

Posted in Livin' Green, Saving Dough with tags , , , , on June 17, 2009 by Kate

Millions of people every day eat fast food, sometimes for more than one meal. . .sometimes for all three meals.  Throwing hard earned money away for an expensive “combo” that is clogging our arteries, making us fatter, and pumping us full with only God knows what kinds of chemicals and hormones.  Seriously, really think about it, its pretty gross.  No more fast food for me. . .not even fast food salads (which aren’t really that tasty anyway).  We all know how bad fast food is for us. . .really, by now there is no excuse  not to.  It also creates a ton of unnecessary waste that just ends up in the landfills.  I am committing myself to eating no more fast food for these reasons, but also because it is a HUGE waste of money.  Seriously for the cost of buying a fast food meal for Scott, the kiddo, and I, we could go to the grocery store and buy food for several meals that would all be more nutritious and taste a million times better.  Like the kiddo really needs one more crappy happy meal toy.  No more throwing away money at a mediocre-at-best meal, and a silly plastic toy.  I mean it.  Its not going to be the easiest thing ever to give up, it is convenient, easy, and fast in a pinch. . . but it will be well worth it in the end.  With a little planning ahead and being prepared for long days not at home I know I can do it.

One more little step to a cleaner, greener, and less costly life.

Official Update

Posted in DIY, Updates with tags , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2009 by Kate

I just wanted to say that today Scott and I tended bar for the Flag Day Parade (busy busy day) and it was a million degrees behind the bar and we were sweaty people. My baking soda as deodorant really held out. I’m not stinky at all. . .I can’t say the same for Scott. I’m never buying a stick of deodorant again!

Also used the baking soda and vinegar method to wash my hair today and followed up with my homemade hairspray (from yesterday’s post,) I have to say that my hair looks and feels great.

The back of my head

The back of my head

Clean and Green. . .Makin’ my own product

Posted in DIY, Livin' Green, Saving Dough with tags , , , , , , , on June 13, 2009 by Kate

Ok. . . so I’ve been reading a lot about homemade cleaning and hygene products.  Today I decided I would give it a try.  The first thing I decided to day was prepare my own hairspray.  Hairspray and other styling products (salon or otherwise) are very expensive and add up.  They also build up on your hair, are generally bad for the environment, and a chuck full of nasty chemicals.  I browsed lots and lots of recipes on-line and kind of just did my own thing anyway.  This is my combination of everything I read

Ingredients:

  • 1 navel orange
  • filtered water
  • a couple of spoon fulls of sugar (I know. . .not very exact)

First I washed the orange thoroughly, as though I was going to eat it, than I sliced it up in little chunks (rind and all).  I then placed the orange chunks into a sauce pan.  Next I poured in filtered water about 2-3 inches above the oranges (once again. . .not exact.  You recipe followers can go here for a real recipe. . .or just google homemade hairspray and have lots to choose from).  Next I turned the burner on high and brought the water with the oranges in it to a boil.  I continued letting the water boil and reduce while I watched an episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” on Hulu (really this is an important part of the recipe, if you skip this who knows what you will end up with).  I let the water reduce until it was about an inch above the oranges.  At this point I pulled out the orange chunks with a slotted spoon let them cool a minute (trust me there is a better way to do this) and squeezed them into the boiling concoction, only kind of burning myself.  I then put the squeezed orange back into the boiling concoction.  I then proceeded to fold laundry while the water boiled some more.  I pulled out some of the liquid here and decided it wasn’t sticky enough, so then I added about 2 spoon fulls (I don’t know what kind of spoon full, I used a kitchen spoon) of sugar in the raw and stirred.  I continued to stir occasionally and reduced until the water was right at the top of the oranges.  At this point I poured the entire thing into a plastic colander placed in a bowl with a flour sack towel in it and strained the pulp and orange chunks out (I put the orange chunks and pulp in my “green waste bucket” to be composted).  The liquid I then poured into a plastic bottle that previously held some expensive product (I of course washed this out before I reused it) and tested a few sprays on my hair that I knew I would be washing it soon anyway).  It was waaaaaay to sticky.  So I diluted it with some water, tested it again. . .perfect.  I then refrigerated the spray bottle (it should be good for a week or so in the fridge, apparently if you add rubbing alcohol you don’t need to refrigerate.)

My next step was to shower.  Instead of chemical laden shampoo and conditioner, I decided to go a cleaner, greener, and cheaper route.  Baking soda and Vinegar.  Now, I’ve been using baking soda for about 3 years as toothpaste (sometimes I mix it in with commercial toothpaste, but not today), exfoliate, and on occasionally to get all the gunked up product out of my hair.  By this point I am totally committed to not using any chemical-y (yes, I made this word up) or commercial products.  I brushed my hair out  before I got into the shower, mainly to be able to get through my first test of homemade hairspray (before I diluted it,) it was pretty sticky before I diluted it.  I proceeded to get my hair wet, and make a paste with baking soda and water and used it as shampoo.  I used the same paste as body wash and exfoliate .  I then rinsed my hair with a mixture of about a 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and 2 cups hot shower water.

When I got out of the shower, instead of putting on commercial deoderant I used a damp wash cloth and applied plain old baking soda to my pitts. . .I have to tell you all this was about 5 hours ago and I’ve been sweating my buns off in a hooded sweatshirt the whole 5 hours.  If I was wearing regular deodorant/anti-persperant I would by now smell a little stinky mixed with whatever scent of “Degree” I am wearing.  Scott was a little weary of my comment, “Ha ha, I’m not wearing deodorant,” but now, 5 hours later. . .I think I may have a convert.   Anyway, after the baking soda and vinegar shower and homemade hairspray, my hair looked great. . .other than the fact that I need a hair cut… and Scott refuses to cut it. . .seriously come on, think of how much I could save on a haircut. . .Ok, people you need to try this and let me know. . .and  I will update, despite Scott’s skepticism.