Archive for eco friendly

The cost of “Green”

Posted in Livin' Green, Random Rants, Saving Dough with tags , , , on July 13, 2009 by Kate

Two instances this week people have made comments to me about the cost of green products.  Instant one was when I was with my good friend as she was showing me her garden and we were talking about soap nuts.  I was of course complaining that no local business sold them.  At this point I feel I should let you all know that we live in Wisconsin, and not Madison, so we don’t have many places to buy this type of product (we’re a little slow on the whole green thing here.)  I then told her about a new local boutique that was geared towards “going green” (which does not carry soap nuts by the way, and the guy just looked at me funny when I asked) and how everything cost so much.  Natural deodorant for $8.99 , really? My baking soda works just beautifully thanks.  Anyway, she then made the comment that it was a “rich hippie” store.  Yeah, it kinda is.

The next comment was made during my son’s 5th birthday party by my mother.  Amongst his presents from me were two books made out of recycled paper and paper from sustainable forests and printed with vegetable inks, she managed to catch a glimpse at the price on the back of one of them and said, “slap a ‘green’ label on something and you can charge twice as much.”  Well yeah, sometimes.

Part of the point of this blog Scott and I started was to show that you don’t need to break the bank to go green.  There are plenty of things you can do to help the Earth (and yourself) without spending a ton of money on new green products. . .in fact, we save money.   If you can afford all of that stuff, buying organic/sustainable clothing, cleaning products, toothbrushes, deodorant, and so on, well good for you.  Unfortunately not all of us have that kind of money.  Fortunately there are many alternatives to buying these products that are also better for the Earth.  That is what we hope to bring to you, and ourselves, and that is all I have to say.  Thank you, thank you very much. . . I think I may be just a little too tired.

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

Under Your Sink

Posted in Livin' Green with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2009 by scottski74

My final speech in oral com was on going green. The thing that stood out to me the most was the chemicals that we keep under our kitchen sink. Most of these products are toxic and we keep them in our house, close to our food. In my research, I have found some simple “recipes” that are nontoxic and you might already have them in your kitchen. Give one a try, you might be surprised.

Drain De-Clogger: Drano and other de-cloggers can be among the most harmful products under your sink, and are also some of the most expensive. Go green by de-clogging your sink with old-fashioned baking soda and vinegar. Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain and add vinegar; you’ll get the same drain clearing results without all the harmful toxins.

Glass cleaners: Most glass cleaners contain ammonia and surfactants that contribute to asthma. Do what your grandma did and mix vinegar and water. You can even add some lemon juice to give it a better smell.

Air fresheners: There are more eco- friendly of these products out there now, but some still contain toxic phthalates. I haven’t tried this myself (I like a good candle!), but I heard if you mix essential oils with charcoal (not the Matchlite kind!) and distilled water and put that in a spray bottle you will get the desired result. If anyone tries this please let me know how it works.