Condo Blues: One Small Green Change

Showing posts with label One Small Green Change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label One Small Green Change. Show all posts

Sunday, February 26, 2012

How to Deodorize a Smoky Cell Phone

For some crazy reason, as much as Husband and I love technology and gadgets, we are not quick to upgrade our cell phones. We were early adaptors when it came to being a cell phone only family. Our phone bill when down when we dumped our landline because we didn’t have to pay long distance charges to call our families. We waited for the free weekend calls instead. Best of all, no telemarketers!

My new to me phone!
We keep our phones until they are ready to gasp for air, but not for the greenest of green reason you think. Truthfully, we hang on to our phones for so long because comparison shopping cell phones and features are frustrating, almost impossible, and make me stabby. I wish I could research and buy the phone I want independent of the service, like they do in Europe

For many reasons, it’s time to replace my four year old Blackberry (or run over my Curve’s teeny tiny always full memory with my car in frustration.)

Husband and I trooped to the store to change our plan to their current special that gives us more features at the same cost as our current plan and to price new smart phones.  We left because the staff pushed what the carrier told them to sell, which wasn’t what we wanted – to change our service plan and buy a phone outright. The store staff tried to push into a “better” plan that cost more for the services we were already using and make small payments for the life of the plan on the phone plus pay extra for a warranty. Husband and I hate making interest payments unless we can’t help it like with our car. We left empty handed.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How to Make Reusable Cloth Gift Bags

I usually like wrapping Christmas gifts. I have all sorts of tips and tricks to upcycle just about anything into gift-wrap, ribbon, and bows to make Pinterest perfect gift-wrap. My gift wrap turned art projects reduce waste while the recipient  is none the wiser. All they see is a pretty package and that’s the way I like it.

I save paper gift bags like these in our stash stored in an under bed gift wrapping storage box similar to this onefor Husband because he claims he’s not as good at wrapping gifts as I am. This may or may not be a spousal management issue on his part because it means I end up wrapping almost everything. (I am including affiliate links in this post for your continence.)

As our extended family has grown so large that it takes me days to wrap all of their gifts. After last year’s four night wrap a thon left me less than holiday cheerful (to put it mildly), I promised myself I was going to make wrapping gifts easier this Christmas.

With reusable cloth gift bags!

how to make quick and easy cloth gift wrap bags
Pin this idea to your Pinterest Boards! Share it with your friends!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Does Your Dog Eat Natural Dog Food?

I am careful about the type of food I eat. I try to avoid high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, palm kernel oil, high sugar and high fat content in my food based upon the health issues I see developing in the older members of our family. I figure if we follow this kind of diet now, Husband and I won’t have those health problems until we’re 90.

I like it here.
 I am even more meticulous about Blitzkrieg’s food than my own. Dog food is not regulated like human food. Oh sure, there are pet food guidelines but those are merely suggestions.  There is nothing to stop a dog food company from using rancid people food to make dog food. In fact many, but not all, dog food companies do.

To avoid this, I buy the natural brands of dog food. The brands that are corn and wheat free and use human grade food ingredients even though they are more expensive. Blitzkrieg’s health improved dramatically once we educated ourselves about dog food production and made buying a whole food ingredient dog food a priority.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Make Popsicles!

Last summer in between racing from shop to shop tasting as much locally made ice cream as our stomachs could hold we snarfed down frozen fruit and juice Popsicles with abandon. A box of four lasted two days max.

What can I say? We’re fruit piranhas. 

Sure, I recycled the box and chucked the wood sticks into the compost bin if I didn’t find a reuse for them. The small mountain of unrecyclable plastic wrappers on the other hand, grew exponentially in the kitchen trash can. Not to mention to expense when I started buying Popsicles four boxes at a time to keep up with the demand.

Do you know how much waste that makes?


Friday, April 29, 2011

One Small Green Change: Use SLS Free Toothpaste

A Chinese friend mentioned that they have toothpaste back home that prevents you from getting canker sores. Soon after I had that conversation, Rembrandt introduced their canker sore preventing toothpaste and gave out coupons so often it was like feeding stray cats. We tried Rembrandt and it reduced Huband’s canker sore outbreaks.YAY!

Of course you know what happened next. We were hooked on the toothpaste and Rembrandt stopping issuing coupons and the price went up. It’s now $7.00 a tube at CVS. Rembrandt is smaller than a conventional (and cheaper) tube of toothpaste. Yikes!

Since I don’t get canker sores from toothpaste like Husband,  he used the spendy toothpaste. I switched to Colgate. It’s cheaper and rates a 3 on Environmental Working Group Skin Deep database. A three - Moderate Hazard rating and below is my guideline when using Skin Deep as my shopping guide.(Your mileage may vary.)

We’ve been going merrily along with the his and hers toothpaste for quite awhile. It sure would be nice to have a cheaper option or at least some coupons for the stuff Husband uses.

Tom's of Maine Simply White Toothpaste, Clean Mint , 4.7 Ounce(Pack of 6)I researched. I found that the Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) in our conventional toothpaste may be causing Husband’s canker sores, not the fluoride. As an experiment, Husband switched to Tom’s of Maine, a less expensive brand of SLS free toothpaste. He didn’t have an outbreak.

Monday, March 7, 2011

One Small Change: Buy a Bagless Vacuum Cleaner

March’s One Small Change is something I avoided forever – getting rid of my 14-year-old sweeper for a bagless HEPA filter model because the greenest and cheapest thing is to use what you already own, right?

My old Hoover upright uses bags. I can buy them for a dollar a package at Dollar Tree so the price of bags isn’t an issue. In a pinch, I can always open the top of the bag, dump the contents in the trash or compost bin, and staple the top of the bag closed so I can reuse it again. I learned this trick from the Tightwad Gazette. The Condo Blues whammy dictates that if I run out of vacuum cleaner bags it is going to be when I am in the middle of cleaning the house. 

With a Pekingese whose hobby is shedding, my trusty Roomba Red got the daily dog fur tumbleweeds and the upright came out every other day for the heavy cleaning. Roomba doesn’t use bags so I figure the waste thing was 50/50.

Not long ago, Roomba’s rechargeable battery heaved its last breath. Being one of the first Roombas, it is not as powerful as the current models but it did the job. (I like a clean house because I am my mother’s daughter. I like gadgets and tech because I am my father’s daughter. Super early adopter robot owner me.Yay robots who do your bidding!)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Do You Use Cloth Panty Liners?

I’m kicking off the New Year and my January One Small Green Change in an up close and personal kind of way. So if you are any of my male relatives or current or feature employers this post is probably not for you because I’m going to talk about lady bits.

Lately I’ve had the need to wear a daily panty liner. Strangely wearing a disposable panty liner has lead to a few bladder infections. Odd, since I haven’t had any issues with disposables until now.

Going without is doable but not very comfortable ifyouknowwhatImean.

I though making cloth panty liners would be a good use for my fabric stash. I searched Craftster for patterns and emailed Crunchy Chicken a few fabric and construction questions.

Epic craft FAIL.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Changed 303,736 Light Bulbs. What Did You Do Today?

Even though I’ve been living a green life for longer than the three years I’ve been blogging about it, I don’t consider myself a dark green blogger or even an expert most days.

Yes, I was on TV last winter but I think that was more of being a crazy freak who keeps her house too cold during winter than being a held up as Big Green Champion. Saving energy is very important to me and I blog about it a lot , but let’s face it, saving energy is not as sexy or unusual as some other areas of green living that get more press.

So I do my daily green thing and try to do my best with what life hands me. If I can make you laugh or make you think or offer you a new tool for your Greening Living Swiss Army Knife, make your home a little prettier or challenge you to personally change 303,736 incandescent light nulbs for CFLs in fourth months then it’s a good day here on Condo Blues. 

“What?! Are you nuts?!” you say, “Do you think I could actually change all of those light bulbs in a such a short amount of time?!”

I sure do. It's easy!

How I Planted 8,209 Trees in Four Months

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Green Bag Lady

I don’t support laws that ban plastic shopping bags because it ends up hurting people that cannot afford to buy reusable shopping bags. I’d rather a store or city offer incentives for using your own bag because I think you get more flies with honey than vinegar. That’s why I had to interview Teresa VanHatten-Granath when I heard about her Green Bag Lady Project.

In an attempt to make her corner of the world greener, Teresa makes and gives away free cloth shopping bags! The project started in her own college classroom. She now has people using her free cloth shopping bags around the world!

Green Bag Lady Bag Number 111170.

How long have you sewn? How did you get started making shopping tote bags?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

One Small Green Change: Silicone Ice Cube Trays

This month’s One Small Green Change is to switch from plastic ice cube trays to silicone ice cube trays.

Silicone is synthetic but it is considered safe because it does not contain BPA or phthalates. While the cold in my freezer makes the transfer of possible (and probable) BPA in my old plastic ice cube trays very low the silicone ice cube trays make it zero.

After seeing Dollar Store Crafts posted some killer silicone ice cube trays to use as sugar molds; I figured it was high time I made the switch to something I knew that was safer. I stalked my Dollar Tree for three weeks to get Blitzkrieg silicone skull ice cube trays because when you have a one eyed pirate dog like Blitzkrieg every day is Talk Like a Pirate Day! (It’s more of a lifestyle choice for us, really.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Using Recycled Toiled Paper Take One

July’s One Small Green Change is one place I thought I’d never go – switching to a toilet paper made from recycled fiber. Now before you get all grossed out let me clarify a common misconception about recycled toilet paper. They make recycled toilet paper from the type of paper and fiber you normally put into your household recycling bin. They do not make it from used toilet paper because:

  1. Ugh! Gross!
  2. Think about it, how would they reclaim the paper once you’ve flushed it and it broke down in your city’s sewer system?
  3. Ugh! Gross!

Moving on.

Why buy toilet paper with recycled content? According to Time magazine, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) “estimates that if every household in the U.S. replaced just one 500-sheet roll of virgin-fiber TP a year with a roll made from 100% recycled paper, nearly 425,000 trees would be saved annually.”

That’s a lot of trees!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How to Recycle Plastic Makeup Tubes and Containers

I’ve been making one small environmentally friendly change each month from January to Earth Day as part of the One Small Green Change Challenge. So far I have:

All of the changes were easy to implement and have stuck, with the exception of the humidifier because we aren’t running the furnace anymore. That’s a seasonal change.

I have to admit, after doing my 20% Energy Reduction Challenge and tackling some of the more common green changes like switching to reusable shopping bags and resuable water bottles  (well not really switching, more like trying to use them more often), and using cloth table cloths and napkins. I didn’t think there were a lot of changes I could make other than the big, expensive ones like buying a hybrid car.

The One Small Green Change Challenge changed my thinking because I started to look at those little things that I knew I should switch out like that flaking Teflon griddle but didn’t because it’s easier to not use it and stick in back into the cupboard.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Why Use Cast Iron Griddle?

Husband and I had a Teflon coated griddle an old roommate left behind after moving out. Of course using what you have, especially if it is second hand, is green and saves money. However, neither of us were too crazy about the nonstick coating on the griddle. Especially now that the coating is starting to flake off.

April’s One Small Green Change is replacing the last of our Teflon coated pans with a round cast iron griddle. I’m pretty happy with the shape because it fits on the stove burners better than the old square griddle – no cold spots on the cooking surface anymore. My cast iron griddle came preseasoned and started life with nonstick qualities, cast iron retains heat more evenly, and even though it's Calaphon, it wasn’t very expensive at all. In fact, I bought our new cast iron griddle at Target. The more I use it, the more I fall in love with cast iron.

The only drawback is that I can’t put the cast iron griddle in the dishwasher. Since the rest of our pots and pans are stainless steel and can go in the dishwasher, I can live with cleaning cast iron by hand  even though I hate hand washing dishes.

The thing makes a darn fine pumpkin pancake too.

Why Not Use Teflon?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Eat Healthy and Save Money: Make Granola Cereal

I am not a big cereal eater. As a kid I was more interested in the toy buried in the box of Technicolor surgery cereal than actually eating the cereal.

Later, I discovered the dried fruit and nut cluster colon blow type cereals. Those I liked. Especially when I topped them off with milk and popped them in microwave for a minute or so – just like warm oatmeal. Nom.

Since husband and I are trying to watch the sugar intake, it’s downright disappointing and almost impossible to find a cereal that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup in it. When we do the price is more than I want to pay for food that makes me hungry a couple of hours after I eat it.

And then there is the packaging. The box is easily recyclable but the wax paper bag that holds the cereal is not.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ditching the Disposables – Furnace Filters

When we talk of ditching disposables the most people talk about ditching plastic and paper shopping bags, take out coffee cups, and replacing tissues with handkerchiefs. Have you considered ditching your disposable furnace filter for a reusable electrostatic furnace filter?

This reusable furnace filter is similar to the filter we purchased.
You can learn about it here.

This choice and purchase was Husband’s idea and it was a good one. The reusable electrostatic filters are easy to clean by vacuuming them with the hose attachment of our upright vacuum cleaner. You can rinse them off with water but ours take about a day to dry. Since our furnace won't work without a filter and it's winter and I'd rather not chip ice off of the dog after a day with no heat we don't use the water method often.

Ditching my disposable furnace filter for a reusable filter means that I’m much more likely to change/clean the furnace filter each month and keep my furnace running at maximum efficiency in order to keep our energy bills - and use - as low as I can.