SKOY eco-friendly cloths instead of paper towels (giveaway)

In keeping with the spirit of the Ditch the Disposables Challenge, I have to tell you about one of my new favorite eco-friendly paper towel replacements – the SKOY cloth. SKOY cloths are reusable, very absorbent, bright and fun, machine washable and microwavable, and at the end of their life, biodegradable. They are non-toxic, chlorine-free and made using water-based colors and inks. According to SKOYcloth.com, “Using one SKOY cloth is the equivalent to using 15 rolls of paper towels in an average home.”

SKOY clothSKOY clothsI’ve been giving the SKOY cloths a try for the past several weeks and they really are great. I’ve mostly been using them in the kitchen or for cleaning up faces and grubby little hands, but they also work well in the bathroom both to clean the room and to clean body parts. 🙂

Another great feature of the SKOY cloth is that because it dries quickly, it’s not a breeding ground for bacteria. I don’t know how many times I’ve picked up a sponge out of the kitchen sink only to have it leave my hand wreaking from God knows what. If you toss your wet SKOY in the microwave for a minute or two, you will keep it germ-free. It can also go safely through your dishwasher or your washer and dryer (or outside to dry on a clothesline – hint, hint).

After many, many uses (perhaps even up to a year or more), when your SKOY has finished it’s cleaning life cycle, it can be composted, though it will also break down in a landfill.

In addition to cloth towels or microfiber cloths, SKOY cloths are another great way to kick the paper towel habit once and for all.

Win It!
SKOY clothsThanks to SKOY, I’m giving away SIX 4-packs of SKOY cloths. All you need to do for a chance to win is first sign up (if you haven’t already) for my Ditch the Disposables Challenge. Then leave a comment on this post and make sure you include a valid email address or a blog URL so I have a way to contact you. Deadline to enter is Tuesday, Sept. 23. The six winners will be chosen using Random.org on Sept. 24 and notified via email. Good luck!

If anyone else makes or sells reusable products that are in line with the Ditch the Disposables Challenge and you’d like me to review them and do a giveaway, shoot me an email : crunchydomesticgoddess AT gmail DOT com. 🙂

Ditch the Disposables Challenge – Sept. thru Oct. 2008

Ditch the Disposables ChallengeIt’s time for another green challenge here at Crunchy Domestic Goddess. I was thrilled with the participation in the 5-minute “Quickie” shower challenge over the summer and I hope we can do even better this time around!

For two months, September and October, I’m challenging you to Ditch the Disposables! We live in a society of convenience, where throw-away products are the norm rather than the exception. But all of the disposable products take resources and energy to produce and then, of course, get thrown away, filling up our landfills. All of this is bad news for the environment.

If you’d like to participate in this challenge, please select one or two (or more! – this can be as challenging as you want it to be) of your disposable products to ditch*, then leave a comment saying which disposable product(s) you will leave behind for two months in favor of an environmentally-friendly reusable product. Like in the last challenge, I will create a list in the sidebar linking to everyone’s blog. Of course, you don’t have to have a blog to participate. I realize that many of you probably are already living without some (many?) of these disposable products, but certainly nearly all of us can find at least one NEW thing we can give up in favor of something better for the earth. I’ll let ya know what I’m giving up in the comments soon.

Here are some ideas to get you started…

You can make the switch from:

  • Paper napkins to cloth napkins
  • Paper towels to cloth towels
  • Tissues to handkerchiefs
  • Paper, plastic or Styrofoam plates to your kitchen plates
  • Inexpensive plastic “Take & Toss” sippy cups to Sigg or Camelbak bottles or the Kleen Kanteen
  • Disposable water bottles to (again) reusable bottles like Sigg or Camelbak
  • Plastic sandwich bags or paper lunch bags to reusable containers/bags
  • Swiffers (or similar products) to a broom and dustpan or mop (or use reusable cloths like cloth diapers/terry inserts in your Swiffer)
  • Disposable dust rags to cloth rags
  • Disposable diapers to cloth diapers
  • Disposable wipes to cloth wipes (inexpensive plain washcloths work really well)
  • Disposable feminine products (tampons, pads) to reusables like DivaCup, MoonCup, Glad Rags, Luna Pads, Pretty Pads, or New Moon Pads, among others
  • Grocery store bags to reusable bags

Or, for the really adventurous:

  • Toilet paper to cloth wipes/washcloths (for #1 or #2 too if you are really, really adventurous)

Please feel free to spread the word about the challenge on your blog by adding the button linking back to this post. If you have other ideas for disposable products people can ditch, please let me know and I’ll add them to the list. Thanks and good luck!

I’ll host a few check in posts (every other Sunday if I can remember) throughout the two months so everyone can stop by and say how they are doing, and offer support and/or tips to others as well. Together we can Ditch the Disposables!

*When I say “ditch,” please know that I don’t mean throw them away. I want you to try making a lifestyle change from a disposable product you use regularly. If you want to save your disposables until the challenge is over, that’s your prerogative. You might also consider Freecycling them or donating them to a local charitable organization. I do suggest that whichever product(s) you choose to give up, you pack away until the challenge is over, lest you be tempted to use it/them.

Edited to add: For help kicking the paper towels habit, check out my post on SKOY cloths (with a giveaway).

The 5-Minute Shower Challenge comes to a close

After three hot summer months, we are nearing the end of the 5-Minute Shower Challenge (which was recently mentioned on Consumer Reports – woot!). I thought the turnout was great at over 110 participants. Thank you to everyone who gave it a go! You rawk!

As the challenge comes to a close, I have these questions for you:
A) How did you do? Was it easy? Hard? A pain in the ass?
B) After the challenge ends, will you continue to take shorter showers?

I recently started using a low-flow shower head (courtesy of USALandlord – it’s great BTW and I highly recommend you all replace your shower heads if you haven’t already) and have noticed that my shower times have gone up slightly. Overall, I’m sticking close to 5 minutes, though I do have the occasional day where I “need” to stand under the water for one or two minutes longer. (I know, for shame.) But there are also a couple of days every week where I go stinky au naturale and skip the shower all together so I feel like it all evens out. I plan to keep taking my quickies AKA 5-minute showers, even after the challenge ends.

I’ve got some ideas up my sleeves for future challenges. If you have any as well (especially ones that you think would kick ass), feel free to email me. 😉

Lastly, if you emailed me that you wanted to sign up for the challenge and I inadvertently never added you to the list (in the right sidebar), please drop me another email. I’d like to do one last blog about the challenge with links to all participants and don’t want to leave anyone out. Thanks. 🙂

Another Quickie shower challenge check-in

It’s time for another check-in on the Quickie 5-minute Shower Challenge. We’re up to 100 participants now! Woohoo! Thank you to everyone who is giving this challenge a try and to those of you who’ve linked to it on your blog. 🙂

So, how are you doing with it now that we are almost a month in? Those of you who were struggling to decrease your shower time, has turning off the water while you lather up or shampoo your hair helped? Or turning off the water while you shave? At the last check-in post, a couple people mentioned the “no ‘poo” (no shampoo) technique and, for those of you who are interested in learning more about it, I might have a guest blogger write about it while I’m on vacation.

I confess I was getting lazy and had been pushing the 5-minute limit (or going over) the last week so I started turning off the water while I shampoo my hair and lather up my body and that makes such a huge difference. Now I get done in under 5 minutes easily.

Two more months to go. You’re doing a great job so far! Hope you will hang in there with me. And if you haven’t signed up yet, but want to give it a go, leave me a comment and I’ll add you to the list. 🙂

If you are looking for more eco-challenges, check out Enviromom’s One Can A Month Challenge or Crunchy Chicken’s Keep Yer Cool Challenge.

Quickie Shower Challenge Check-in – “How YOU doin’?”

It’s the end of week 1 of the Quickie 5-minute Shower Challenge and I want to know, in the words of Joey from Friends, “How YOU doin’?”

But before we get to that, I first have to say I’m absolutely thrilled to have had 86 people sign up (plus spouses have often been recruited as well, and even some kids, and aren’t included in that number) for the challenge so far. That’s awesome and you all rock for signing up! Thank you. 🙂 I’m still hoping to get up to least 100 sign ups, so I hope you will spread the word about your commitment to take a quickie. 🙂

This week has actually been a little out of the ordinary for me. I usually shower about 4-5 times a week for 5 minutes or less each time, but this week, because we actually had somewhere to go every morning (Ava’s swimming lessons), I found myself showering every day. So I’ve been using more water this week than usual. I suspect once swimming lessons are done (end of next week), I can go back to being a scrub again, I mean I can go back to conserving more water. 😉 I’ve been showering in 5 minutes or less (usually around 4 minutes) all week with the exception of today, when I stopped looking at the timer and actually let it run out. I think I went about 15 seconds over.

How about you? How are you doing with the challenge so far? Have you found it harder or easier than you expected? Do you have any tips to share to help others?

Two tips I’ve shared with others who have been reluctant to sign up are:

  • Turn off the water when you lather up your hair. You can stop the timer whenever the water is off. That leaves you more time to rinse your hair, which is especially helpful if your hair is longer.
  • Turn off the water when you shave your legs. Again, you can stop the timer when the water is off.

We’ll have another check-in in two weeks on June 21. Until then, enjoy your quickies and thank you for conserving water! 🙂 Oh, and if you still want to sign up, just leave me a comment and let me know you want in and I’ll add you to the list in my sidebar. 🙂

I’m having a quickie – The Five-Minute Shower Challenge

showerchallenge.jpgIf you are new here, please consider subscribing to my RSS feed. Thanks!

Inspired by challenges put forth by Crunchy Chicken, and in hopes of motivating myself and others to treat our planet better, I’ve decided to do my very own green challenge. Aren’t you excited?! I am. 🙂 I hope that this will be the first of many challenges held here at Crunchy Domestic Goddess.

Now let’s talk water conservation. I saw a button on CafePress a few months ago that said, “If you think we have bad fights over oil, just wait until we start fighting over water!” And that, my friends, freaked my sh*t right out. I thought about my kids and their future and I knew I had to do something, anything right now.

Did you know that the average shower length is 8 minutes*? By reducing that to 5 minutes, you can reduce the amount of water you use by nearly one-third, or roughly 10 gallons per day. And that’s where this challenge comes in. I’m challenging all of my readers to reduce their shower time to 5 minutes. If you already take a 5 minute shower, perhaps you’ll consider cutting back a little bit more? Reducing the length of your shower by just one minute could save you up to 1,825 gallons** of water each year.

I honestly didn’t know how long my showers were lately. Some days I’m lucky to get one at all so it’s pretty darn short and sweet, other days I skip them on purpose (generally when I’m not leaving the house), and still other days (like when I have a migraine and the water beating on my neck feels good) I tend to linger in the shower a little longer than I should. I figured I spend on average about 5 minutes in the shower, but I got myself a handy Shower Coach timer (with a suction cup that sticks to the shower wall) to find out for sure.

My first timed shower, I rushed like a crazy woman to make sure I could do it in under 5 minutes. I got done in about 3 1/2. The next day I took a somewhat more leisurely approach and took the full 5 minutes. You definitely can’t dilly-dally, but 5 minutes is longer than I thought it would be and totally attainable.

So, what do you think? Can you commit to taking 5-minute showers (or shorter) for three months? Leave me a comment below to let me know you are participating in the challenge and I will add your name/link to a list of challenge participants in my sidebar. Feel free to join in the challenge any time over the summer. It’s never too late to sign up to make a difference.

I’m not going to be a total hard ass on this challenge. If you have a rough day and really need a longer shower (I’m talking like 8 minutes, not 15) every now and then to help you relax or whatever, you can still take part in the challenge. You just have to skip your shower the following day to make up for it. 😉 I kid, I kid. Seriously though, it’s up to you to police yourself on this challenge. I will have a check in post at the end of the first week of June (on June 8) so everyone can chime in on how they are doing with the challenge, post helpful tips, share stories, ask for advice, etc. Then I will try to have another check in post every two weeks (on Sundays) so we can encourage each other and maybe even inspire more people to sign up. 🙂

Oh, and if you are looking for some bloggy bling, I’ve got this fun goofy totally suggestive catchy button (above) for you to proudly post on your blog if you feel so inclined. 🙂 It will let others know about the challenge too. The more people join us, the better!

More Tips To Help You Conserve Water

In the shower:

  • Turn off the water while you are lathering up your body, washing your hair or shaving, then turn it back on when you need to rinse.
  • Replace your showerhead with a low-flow showerhead
  • While you are waiting for the water to warm up, catch it in a bucket and use it for watering your plants or garden or for flushing your toilet
  • Shower with a buddy 😉

Elsewhere in the bathroom:

While the challenge is officially only for the summer – June through August – it is my hope that you will keep up with the shorter showers and continue to conserve water year-round.

And now for the GIVEAWAY…

showercoach.jpegI’m giving away FIVE “Shower Coach” 5-minute sand timers, courtesy of USA Landlord. All you have to do to be eligible to win one is leave a comment committing to the challenge and your name will be entered into the drawing. Be sure to include a valid email address so I can contact you if you win.

While you can sign up to take part in the challenge all summer long, the deadline for entering the contest is Saturday, May 31, 2008. The winners selected by Random.org and will be notified via email on Sunday, June 1.

If you don’t win a Shower Coach, you can buy one for less than $3 (plus use the coupon code CDG for 15% off any purchase from USA Landlord through the end of June) or buy a dinging kitchen timer the next time you are at Target, set your watch timer for five minutes, etc. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

The earth, our children and I thank you for participating in the 5-minute shower challenge. 🙂

* GreenPrint Denver
** Utah.gov

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