Green Tip of the Week #14 – If it’s yellow, let it mellow

More and more, droughts and the resulting water restrictions are becoming a part of everyday life. Check out this drought map showing the current drought conditions in the United States. It’s rather startling.

This week’s green tip may gross some people out, but it’s something we practice in our house at least part of the time and is a great (and easy) way to conserve water. “If it’s yellow, let it mellow – if it’s brown, flush it down.” In other words, if you go #1, don’t flush. If you go #2, flush.toilet

Waste Not, Want Less has done some calculations to determine how much water could be saved by employing this simple technique.

“…let’s assume that most toilets in the U.S. are newer, and that the “average toilet” uses roughly 2 gallons per flush.

From personal experience, I’d be willing to bet that the average person goes to the bathroom about six times per day; five times to go number one, and another time to go number two. Obviously, this is going to vary from person to person, but let’s just stick with this guesstimate.

So, if we followed the ‘if it’s yellow, let it mellow – if it’s brown, flush it down’ mantra, the ‘average’ person could save about 10 gallons of water per day. Multiply that by 300 million people in the United States, and that’s over 3 billion gallons of water saved each day. Over a year, that’s over 1 trillion gallons of water.”

Not too shabby for something so simple to do. I’m not advocating people do this at work or out in public because of health and cleanliness concerns, but it is something one could easily adopt at home whether it be all day, just in the evenings or just on the weekends. Every little bit helps.

So what about you? Do you let it mellow or would you consider it?

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂

Green Tip of the week #13 – The power of baking soda

Baking soda – it’s not just for baking!

If I could only have one type of cleaning product for my whole house, it would be baking soda – pure and simple. Non-toxic baking soda has so many practical uses without the worry of harsh chemicals. Here are just a few:

  • Safely clean baby or pet toys – Use 4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of warm water. Wash toys with a clean damp sponge or cloth, rinse and dry.
  • Clean baby equipment (stroller, high chair, changing table, exersaucer, swing, etc.) – Just sprinkle baking soda on a clean damp sponge and rub the item clean. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry.
  • Freshen and deodorize carpets – sprinkle baking soda on the carpet, let sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum it up
  • Cleaning bathroom tubs, tile and sinks – even shiny fiberglass and glossy tiles- sprinkle baking soda lightly on a clean damp sponge and scrub as usual. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.
  • Freshen sponges – Soak stale-smelling sponges in a strong baking soda solution to get rid of the mess and bring in the fresh (4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of warm water).
  • Clean your produce of dirt and other residue – Just sprinkle a little baking soda on a clean damp sponge, scrub and rinse.
  • Clean your counter tops – Sprinkle baking soda onto a clean damp sponge or cloth and wipe clean, rinse thoroughly, then dry.

What else do YOU use baking soda for?

Thanks to Arm & Hammer for many of these great tips.

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂

Last-minute Green Valentine’s Day Tips

green heartInspired by Crunchy Chicken’s recent funny posts – Planning a Green Valentine’s and Sex is Greeny, I assembled my own green list for last-minute Valentine’s day preparations.

  1. Chocolate – In my opinion you can never do wrong giving chocolate as a gift, just make sure it is the fair trade (slavery-free) variety. Here’s a list of companies known to sell fair trade cocoa products:
    • Clif Bar
    • Cloud Nine
    • Dagoba Organic Chocolate
    • Denman Island Chocolate
    • Gardners Candies
    • Green and Black’s
    • Kailua Candy Company
    • Koppers Chocolate
    • L.A. Burdick Chocolates
    • La Siembre
    • Montezuma’s Chocolates
    • Newman’s Own Organics
    • Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company
    • Rapunzel Pure Organics
    • The Endangered Species Chocolate Company

    — Slavery Free Chocolate?

  2. Candles – Candles are great for setting the mood for a relaxing, romantic dinner and evening, but there’s nothing sexy about the smoke and strong odors given off if they are petroleum based. Instead look to soy candles as a natural alternative to light up your life. Soy candles burn cleaner and last longer than petroleum wax. Soy is a renewable resource, is biodegradable and is non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. There’s a great local company here that makes wonderful soy candles called Naked.
  3. Cards/love letters – Save the trees and send a Valentine e-card or write a love email instead.
    • Care2 E-cards – For every eCard sent, Care2 makes a donation to an environmental nonprofit to save a square foot of rainforest. How cool is that?
  4. Charitable giving – Show your loved one that you care for them and others by giving to the charity of your loved one’s choice. Network for Good allows you to choose the amount to give, and your Valentine can select the charity of their choice.
  5. Sweet Treats – If you want to tint your cookies and treats shades of red, skip the artificial food coloring (Red No. 40) and unwanted side effects – hyperactive kids, anyone? – and go with a natural coloring instead. Check with your local health food/natural grocer.

However you celebrate this Valentine’s day, hope you have a good, green lovin’ one!

Photo credit: Tim Brown Photography

Support Beauty in Nature – park clean-up & recycling

Member Project Support Beauty in Nature

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. ~Edward Everett Hale

A few weeks ago, Sarcastic Mom put out a call to action to get others involved in a project to help clean up our neighborhoods, recycle or otherwise spread the word about green living. She called it Project Support Beauty in Nature.

This Saturday was a beautiful sunny (though super windy) day. It was nearly perfect for going outside and getting stuff done. While Jody cleaned out our garage and broke down all of the cardboard boxes we’ve collected over the past several months (we save them up for a while, then take them to our recycling center since our curbside recycling program doesn’t accept cardboard), the kids and I went for a walk to the park to pick up trash along the way.

A cursory glance around the park didn’t indicate there was very much garbage. However when we paid attention to it, we soon discovered a fair amount here and there and it didn’t take long at all for us to fill up the Target bag I brought along as a trash bag.

Julian fell asleep in the stroller, but Ava was a wonderful helper (like always). We found several soda and beer cans, fast food drink cups, plastic bags, and other miscellaneous trash, including 1 glove, a mini-highlighter (that Ava kept for herself), a piece of wood, candy wrappers, and straws.

Ava picking up trash at the park - 2/9/08 Ava picking up trash at the park - 2/9/08

There was a lot more trash down by the stream but I couldn’t maneuver the stroller down there so it will have to wait for another day when I can go back by myself or with just Ava.

Our full trash bag - 2/9/08 Ava and me with our bag full of trash from the park - 2/9/08

We took it home and I sorted through it to recycle the cans and plastic bottles. Then Ava helped daddy load up the last bit of cardboard and dog food bags full of paperboard (cereal and cracker boxes, egg cartons, etc.) into the car.

Ava helping daddy load the cardboard for recycling in the car - 2/9/08 Cardboard, plus two dog food bags full of paperboard, ready to go to the recycling center - 2/9/08

I need to remind myself to take a bag with me whenever we go for walks because invariably there is some trash that needs picking up along the way and I feel a lot better about stuffing it in a bag, than I do in my pockets. 🙂 There’s my green tip – take a trash bag to fill up on your walks. My guess is that you’ll always find at least one thing to pick up.

Here’s another green tip. Even if your community does not have a curbside recycling program (or if you do have one, but it doesn’t include all that you’d like to recycle – like our cardboard/paperboard), there’s a good chance there’s a recycling center somewhere nearby you with more options. Earth 911 is full of useful recycling information and more. You can use their Find a Recycling Center search box to find a center near you.

If you want to get involved in Project Support Beauty in Nature, there is still one more day! Sarcastic Mom is going to put up her big post where everyone can link back to their action posts on Monday, Feb. 11. So get to it and help make the world a little greener. 🙂

Green Tip of the Week #12 – Breastfeed for the environment

Breastfeed for a healthy baby, mama, worldThis week’s green tip is pretty basic, but something not everybody realizes. Not only is breastfeeding best for baby and mama, it’s also free (no need to buy anything to get started) and best for the environment.

“Breastfeeding is the most environmentally-friendly way to feed a baby. Breast milk is a renewable resource.” Consider all of the cans, bottles, plastic, etc. that you are keeping out of the landfills. Not to mention that there’s “no energy needed to produce plastic bottles and f*rmula milk, no inefficient land use and methane gas produced by cows, and the only energy used is your own.” — Embrace Green Motherhood: Breastfeed

Julian and mamaWhen you are breastfeeding the milk is always right with you, ready to go and at the perfect temperature for baby.

Breastfeeding – good for babies, good for moms and good for the world. It’s a great green thing to do. 🙂

The Breastfeed for a healthy baby, mama, world shirts are a new design and available at Attached At The Hip in the breastfeeding advocacy section.

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂

Green Tip of the Week #11 – Cleaning front loaders

Front-loading washing machineThanks to Julie from ChezArtz for this great tip regarding cleaning front-loading washing machines without using bleach.

The manufacturer’s instructions on many front loaders recommend periodically running a “Tub Clean” cycle (i.e. running the washer with no clothes in it) with bleach to keep the drum smelling fresh. Try substituting white vinegar instead and keep a little dioxin out of the environment. I’ve been doing this weekly for two months now (and I wash 2-3 loads of cloth diapers per week) and the tub is just as clean and fresh with vinegar as it was with the weekly wash down with bleach!

Julie says she fills the “bleach cup” in her front-loader all the way with vinegar, which is about half a cup. She also reminds folks to leave the door of their front-loader open or it will “get funky fast!!!”

Great suggestion, Julie! I’m all in favor of keeping bleach out of the environment. Thanks!

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂

Welcome to Lily’s Garden Herbals

I’d like to welcome a new advertiser to Crunchy Domestic Goddess – Lily’s Garden Herbals, maker of natural, herbal, non-toxic household cleaners. You may recall that I reviewed these natural cleaning products a few months ago and was very pleased with the results.

Lily’s Garden Herbals were formulated by Kim Falcone, a mother and herbalist with a deep appreciation for the natural world. All of Lily’s Garden Herbals natural household products are homemade, non-toxic, contain NO chemical ingredients or synthetic preservatives, are biodegradable and never tested on animals.

Her ad is located in my left sidebar. Welcome, Lily’s Garden Herbals!

Green Tip #10 – Trade in and recycle your old electronics with Costco

This week’s Green Tip was submitted by Melissa at Nature Deva

Costco (one of Melissa’s favorite stores) offers a Trade-In and Recycle Program*, conducted by third party Greensight, for electronic equipment like MP3 players, computers, digital cameras, monitors, printers, fax machines and more. You go to the Trade-In and Recycle Program, select what you’d like to trade in, answer some questions regarding the details and condition of the equipment and are offered a trade-in value, which will be sent to you in the form of a Costco gift card. Even items such as monitors, printers and fax machines that have no trade in value, are still accepted to be recycled for FREE.

This is a fabulous way to keep electronics out of the landfills AND get some cash back, or at the very least, recycle them free of charge.

*The Costco Trade-In and Recycle Program is available only to members of Costco who elect to trade in or recycle any qualifying consumer electronic product currently offered by the program.

Thanks, Melissa!

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂

Green Tip of the Week #9: Drying laundry – don’t overdo it

“Do not over-dry laundry. An electric dryer operating an extra 15 minutes a load can cost you up to $34 a year in wasted energy; a gas dryer, $21 a year. If your dryer has a moisture sensor that turns the machine off automatically when clothes are dry, use it.”*

We don’t have a moisture sensor on our gosh, nearly 10-year-old dryer, so I usually just set it on “very dry” and walk away. After reading about over-drying, however, I experimented with our dryer and put it on one line less than “very dry,” translating into using slightly less drying time. Guess what? The clothes came out just as dry. I plan to keep fiddling with it until I find the lowest amount of time it takes to dry the clothes.

Of course, even better than using a dryer is to air-dry your laundry – something I haven’t jumped on board with just yet. The Natural Mommy has a great post about hanging drying racks** right in your laundry area. I might have to see if the hubby will install one of those for me. If nothing else, it’d be great for the cloth diapers.

*This tip brought to you by: Women Co.’s Green Guide
**This tip brought to you by: The Natural Mommy

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂

Green Tip of the Week #8 – Styrofoam

This great green tip comes from Nature Deva (not to be confused with Nature Diva). 🙂

The UPS store (all locations, I believe) will accept any size Styrofoam – packing peanuts, small or large chunks, large sheets, etc. – and will reuse it for packaging. The next time find yourself with a box full of packing peanuts or buy something that has been packaged in Styrofoam, consider dropping if off at UPS where it can be reused and kept out of the landfills.

Thank you, Nature Deva!

And if you missed my post last week about a great new GREEN review site, head on over to Green Mom Finds to check it out.

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂