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Thread: What are you doing to go "Green"?

  1. #1
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    Question What are you doing to go "Green"?

    I’ve always been environmentally conscious but lately DH and I have been trying to do more…I’m wondering what others are doing and/or planning to do to give us more ideas on how we can make our lives more “Green”…Here’s what we have done and what we’re planning to do when we restart our renovations in April…obviously realistically we wouldn’t have made these changes had we not been planning to do renovations but since we are we are, we're going to try as much as possible (and budget permitting) to choose materials that are better for the environment…

    Doing
    • Recycle, recycle, recycle
    • Wash our clothes in cold water only and wait for big loads before doing laundry
    • Using all-natural cleaning products
    • Use vinegar instead of fabric softener and to replace some cleaning products such as Windex and Hertel, etc.
    • Use washable cloths for dusting and cleaning (you’d be surprised how many paper towels we use!)
    • Bought Energy Star appliances
    • Replace all the lights in our house with energy efficient ones
    • Use reusable fabric bags for groceries
    • Turn down the heat when we aren’t home
    • Use public transportation to get to work


    Planning
    • Change our windows
    • Replace our thermostats for programmable electronic ones
    • Change our heaters for convection ones
    • Looking into a Hybrid car

  2. #2
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    Wow! I never thought of some of the things that you are doing!

    Doing:

    Recycle - cans, glass, newspapers, plastic
    Washing in cold water
    Use newspapers for cleaning windows (it really does work!)
    Ride my bike to work during the spring/summer/fall
    Always use the ethanol based gasoline

    Planning:

    We are going to replace both of our cars in the next two to three years with hybrid vehicles.
    Sherri

    Never look down on a person unless you are offering them a hand up.

  3. #3
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    we're pretty into not wasting electricity, gas, etc. and do recycle, but our most recent "investment" was buying reusable grocery bags. they're GREAT! the store we frequent the most had them, and they have huge handles so you can put them up over your shoulders and get everything in the house in one trip. i think it saves a LOT of waste!

    i wash almost everything in cold water, and only once per week, and technically our heat is saving energy because it doesn't work right and half the time it's freezing when it's all the way up! haha!

    we also want to get a hybrid after our current car goes caput (which i'm hoping isn't before our wedding, but small things keep going wrong...).

    ETA: i also FINALLY got the newspaper to stop coming to my house because it wasted SO much paper. we only wanted the weekend edition but they'd send free "bonus" issues that never got read. i had to get a little nasty on the phone to get them to quit.

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=SheRa;1169225]

    we also want to get a hybrid after our current car goes caput (which i'm hoping isn't before our wedding, but small things keep going wrong...).
    [QUOTE]

    I know it's hard but you have to try not to think about all the things that could/will go wrong...I had so many issues with this, being a perfectionist myself! It was only on the day of the wedding that I forced myself to just let go...I probably would have had a better time if I hadn't let my in-laws and own family get to me with their meddling...it took about a month to destress and I still have some resentment issues...one little piece of advice for the Big Day that was given to us and I totally appreciated - every 30 minutes or hour take a step back from whatever you are doing and absorb what's going on around you...alot of people who got married before us don't remember half their wedding and wished that they would have done just that...we're so glad we did it since, except for those moments, I barely remember anything!

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=erinlovesmarc;1169251]

    I know it's hard but you have to try not to think about all the things that could/will go wrong...I had so many issues with this, being a perfectionist myself! It was only on the day of the wedding that I forced myself to just let go...I probably would have had a better time if I hadn't let my in-laws and own family get to me with their meddling...it took about a month to destress and I still have some resentment issues...one little piece of advice for the Big Day that was given to us and I totally appreciated - every 30 minutes or hour take a step back from whatever you are doing and absorb what's going on around you...alot of people who got married before us don't remember half their wedding and wished that they would have done just that...we're so glad we did it since, except for those moments, I barely remember anything!
    i just meant that we don't have the money to get a new car before the wedding because we're paying for the whole thing. but thanks for the tips - we're pretty laid back and i think we'll enjoy it even if things do go wrong

  6. #6
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    I wouldn't consider myself an environmentalist by any stretch, but I do try to balance "green" living with economical practicality. A few things that come to mind:

    Carpool with DH most days, which is fairly significant because we have a 35 mile commute.

    Reuse plastic grocery bags, usually for carrying lunches to work.

    Use only natural fertilizers on our property. (This is easy, since we have eight horses! )

    Use washable cloths (from the dollar store) for housekeeping tasks, and keep chemicals to a minimum where practical.

    Grow/raise as much of our own food as possible. This one is actually in the planning stages right now -- we'll be getting a herd of sheep in a couple weeks, and putting in a huge garden and fruit trees, berry vines, etc.

    Also, our house is very energy efficient, as it is a geodesic dome with a Water Furnace for heating and cooling.
    Blogging about Barb horses at The Barb Wire and about the simple pleasures of less urban living at Nightlife. Saddle up and come along for the ride!

  7. #7
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    Everything Erin is doing AND planning to do except public transportation as it's not an option for us. (Plus, we only work 10 miles from work)

    We are also pursuing switching to green energy. Need to do some more research and find out what it entails.
    "Life is a cookie."
    Alan Arkin, Grosse Pointe Blank

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndreaU View Post
    Everything Erin is doing AND planning to do except public transportation as it's not an option for us. (Plus, we only work 10 miles from work)

    We are also pursuing switching to green energy. Need to do some more research and find out what it entails.
    We did some research on this too...we were looking at Geothermal but it's too $$$ for us right now...maybe our next house!

  9. #9
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    I keep my school bus at home, rather than drive it back to the compound only to drive it back to my neighborhood the next day.

    I purchased a weed burner torch kit for my friend who owns a small farm and doesn't prescribe to using pesticides.


    Use a lot of vinegar and water in household chores rather than buying commercial chemicals.

    I ask for paper instead of plastic.

    Hopefully, all of this equals the Suburban I hope to purchase next year.
    You may have had a lot of unfair things happen, but when you look back over your life, remember something good that has happened for you. Replay the good memories. Joel Osteen

  10. #10
    Own a hybrid car (but use public transportation)
    Own a relatively small house to minimize impact
    Use compact fluorescent bulbs
    Purchase carbon offsets

    Also obvious things like recycling, reducing consumption and using Earth-friendly products for cleaning and gardening

  11. #11
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    We're pretty much where you are Erin but I'd add that we compost and have a worm bin. Love the worm bin...so much faster than regular composting plus we keep it inside in the winter so we don't have to trek to the composter when it's totally aweful outside.
    Silly is you in a natural state, and serious is something you have to do until you can get silly again.
    Mike Myers

    Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color...choosing your socks by their character makes no sense and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable. anon

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmarie View Post
    I ask for paper instead of plastic.

    Hopefully, all of this equals the Suburban I hope to purchase next year.
    Ummm.....No.
    You think you're not ever going to be able to eat another thing, but alas, you will find yourself feeling strangely peckish around teatime. The more you eat, the more you want. That's the way it goes."

    Nigella Lawson

  13. #13
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    Nothing innovative here:

    Recycle everything possible
    Use cloth/reusable grocery bags
    Replaced all the windows
    Replaced refrigerator w/energy star
    Use natural laundry soap and personal care products
    Eat mostly "natural" foods and support local farmers/restaurateurs
    Getting estimates on having solar panels installed

    Oh, and as stated on another thread, hope to return to composting now that our garbage collectors have provided in-kitchen bins.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  14. #14
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    My suburb has started doing something I am really proud of. We can now recycle all magazines, junk mail and other paper in the newspaper recycle bin. I can't believe how much less my garbage can has now that all paper has been removed. They also hired a company to weekly pick up all yard waste including cut down trees ( they come around with a huge claw to pick stuff up) It is all chipped, composted and then given back to residents.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by erinlovesmarc View Post
    give us more ideas on how we can make our lives more “Green”
    You are on the right track w/ what you are doing & planning on doing. Here are a few additional things to ponder:

    Limit gagets that use batteries
    Limit products that use ubber packaging
    Limit buying clothing & household things that must be drycleaned
    Use 1 bag for all purchases when you visit multiple stores (think Mall)
    Limit trips & errands
    Use the library instead of buying new books & magazines
    Compost, compost, compost
    Use shredded leaves as mulch instead of buying bags of it
    Give up having a "perfect" lawn & go for more natural areas
    Learn how to conserve water for lawns & plantings
    Educate youself on how to control pests & diseases w/out chemicals
    Use a rain barrel

    Think about all the things you have plugged in all the time that drain energy constantly: IPods, recharging phones, computers, digital everythings, etc.... There have been studies done that prove that all these "things" use more energy than people are aware of. An energy efficient house isn't one if the lights are all on in empty rooms & gagets are always recharging or on.

    Does your area have an enviormental agency? They are a good resource for further ideas.
    "I can read and write if that's what you mean. I'm not thick or anything just don't ask me where the commas go."
    Incendiary by Chris Cleave

  16. #16
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    I forgot about the rain barrel thing...I so want one!
    Silly is you in a natural state, and serious is something you have to do until you can get silly again.
    Mike Myers

    Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color...choosing your socks by their character makes no sense and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable. anon

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by erinlovesmarc View Post
    Use vinegar instead of fabric softener and to replace some cleaning products such as Windex and Hertel, etc.
    I want to start using vinegar for cleaning too. I bought a big jug of vinegar and as I use up my current cleaning products I'm going to replace them with a vinegar solution.

    My question is what is the formula for specific cleaning products? The one I'm going to need very soon is the stuff I spray onto the shower when I'm done to delay mildew growth (like Clean Shower). My friend said she uses vinegar for this and I was wondering what the ratio of vinegar is to water.

    Also, what is the ratio for mirror/window cleaning?

  18. #18
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    This website has some info http://www.guvswd.org/recipes
    Silly is you in a natural state, and serious is something you have to do until you can get silly again.
    Mike Myers

    Choose your friends by their character and your socks by their color...choosing your socks by their character makes no sense and choosing your friends by their color is unthinkable. anon

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by stacy7272 View Post
    I want to start using vinegar for cleaning too. I bought a big jug of vinegar and as I use up my current cleaning products I'm going to replace them with a vinegar solution.

    My question is what is the formula for specific cleaning products? The one I'm going to need very soon is the stuff I spray onto the shower when I'm done to delay mildew growth (like Clean Shower). My friend said she uses vinegar for this and I was wondering what the ratio of vinegar is to water.

    Also, what is the ratio for mirror/window cleaning?
    What I usually do is fill up an empty Windex bottle with 1/5 vinegar and the rest water for window/mirrors...

    What I do in the bathroom is use undiluted vinegar and then rinse with water....same for the kitchen counters/sink etc...

  20. #20
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    Something I haven't seen mentioned yet:

    Don't drink bottled water
    Anne

    When you start to cook, as when you begin to live, you think that the point is to improve the technique until you end up with something perfect, and that the reason you haven’t been able to break the cycle of desire and disillusion is that you haven’t yet mastered the rules. Then you grow up, and you learn that that’s the game.

    Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by stacy7272 View Post
    I want to start using vinegar for cleaning too. I bought a big jug of vinegar and as I use up my current cleaning products I'm going to replace them with a vinegar solution.

    My question is what is the formula for specific cleaning products? The one I'm going to need very soon is the stuff I spray onto the shower when I'm done to delay mildew growth (like Clean Shower). My friend said she uses vinegar for this and I was wondering what the ratio of vinegar is to water.

    Also, what is the ratio for mirror/window cleaning?
    More uses for Vinegar...

    http://frugalliving.about.com/cs/tips/a/vinegar.htm

    What amazed me the most is how it works for laundry...after a tip I read somewhere, I started add vinegar directly in the wash when washing new dark jeans (and all the time now)...I've had the same pair for 6 months now and no fading yet...of course, I also turn them inside out, use dark soap, use the hand wash function, and air dry...It also works as a fabric softener in the wash...in the dryer I soak face clothes in vinegar and throw in (I also have one of those reusable anti-static cloths that I throw in too)...I was very skeptical at first but Vinegar rocks!

  22. #22
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    We do lots of the things mentioned, but one I haven't seen mentioned is our clothes dryer. We've started hanging clothes on a rack inside (instant humidifier). I would love tips on how to reduce the little things that drain energy (phone, computer, etc.) Our electricity bill is ridiculous.

    Pam

  23. #23
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    I'm not having good results with the vinegar for cleaning the mirrors so I'm going back to windex.

    Other than that I do a lot of what everyone else has mentioned. We installed a programable thermostat, we recycle, compost. I haven't yet forked over the $99 for a rain barrel but will. I do try to use cloth bags for grocery but if we do use plastic then we reuse and recycle.

    I do drink bottled water. We have a 5 gallon dispenser and they reuse them so I'm okay with this. We also get the 20 oz bottles. We can not drink our water even after it's filtered. Nasty well water.

    I try to drive as slow as I can on the freeway without getting mowed down. Driving 55 is better than 65-70. Sometimes it's not really an option. I won't risk getting killed for it but if traffic is light I try to go 55.
    You can't drink rum on the beach all day if you don't start in the morning.

  24. #24
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    Doing:

    • Recycling
    • Changing over to Seventh Generation products (non-petroleum based)
    • Don't have a hybrid, but bought a "regular" Civic (I could not justify the price for the hybrid to my DH, although I really really wanted a Prius!)
    • Requesting paper instead of plastic as I figure paper is recyclable and I haven't found a place that takes plastic bags to recycle in Michigan (Zehrs used to in Ontario)
    • Only get the Sunday paper, and recycle that
    • Have been requesting newsletters that publish in cyberspace not to send me hardcopies any more.
    • Have gone paperless on many bills, and pay via automatic deductions.


    Planning:

    • Composting more in the summer (DH kept filling up the composter with cr@p, and the bin is too far from the hose, so the whole thing has got to be emptied and re-started)
    • Look into worm composting - who knows
    • Change over to environmentally friendly kitty litter


    Unfortunately public transit is out of the question as I live in the Motor City where the car is glorified, and the transit system is the worst.
    Springtime is my time of year!

  25. #25
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    I was thinking about having one green "resolution" a month, but I haven't started it yet.

    Doing:
    Always use canvas bags
    Use cloths rather than paper towels
    trying to recycle
    don't take newspapers
    Use "green" cleaners
    wash in cold
    drive high mpg cars (not hybrids)

    thinking about:
    getting silverware for my lunchbox to stop using plastic at work
    using eco-friendly feminine hygiene monthly product
    going back to cloth napkins
    beating DH with a stick for leaving lights on (but then, I appear to be turning into my father )
    composting-it's hard *said in a whiny voice*
    replacing more of our light bulbs (cf seem to take so long to come on-grr)
    looking into that vinegar as a cleaner link
    be better at recycling
    accepting a friends offer of a solar panel to generate power for the pump in my pond (only if I can relocate pond)
    Grab the guns. I'll make pancakes. ~Sarah Conner

  26. #26
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    We do a lot of the things mentioned too but a big thing for me is disposing of plastics very carefully, in order to save animals from potential harm. We live in a very urban area now so there is less risk of wildlife getting into the trash, but it all eventually ends up somewhere.

    I rinse all containers very carefully before putting in the trash and cut all plastic rings from plastic milk/juice bottles and six-pack packaging. I'm also extra careful disposing of plastic wrappers and containers, especially when outdoors.

    When I was young, I would lecture my dad about disposing of fishing lines etc too. He was a big animal lover so was always careful but I'd seen documentaries on the harm it could do (and was a bossy-boots too)

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by colleency View Post
    I was thinking about having one green "resolution" a month, but I haven't started it yet.

    Doing:
    Always use canvas bags
    Use cloths rather than paper towels
    trying to recycle
    don't take newspapers
    Use "green" cleaners
    wash in cold
    drive high mpg cars (not hybrids)

    thinking about:
    getting silverware for my lunchbox to stop using plastic at work
    using eco-friendly feminine hygiene monthly product
    going back to cloth napkins
    beating DH with a stick for leaving lights on (but then, I appear to be turning into my father )
    composting-it's hard *said in a whiny voice*
    replacing more of our light bulbs (cf seem to take so long to come on-grr)
    looking into that vinegar as a cleaner link
    be better at recycling
    accepting a friends offer of a solar panel to generate power for the pump in my pond (only if I can relocate pond)
    Here's another link...

    http://www.angelfire.com/cantina/hom...g/vinegar.html

  28. #28
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  29. #29
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    Thanks hlao23 and Erin for the tips/links! Those are very helpful.

    I love the idea about the vinegar soaked wash cloth in the dryer. I use community washers/dryers in my condo complex so I don't use liquid fabric softner (treking out to the laundry 3 times per load is enough) but this gives me a way to not use the dryer sheets! I'll have to look into the reuseable static sheets because the static would be out of control otherwise.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by stacy7272 View Post
    Thanks hlao23 and Erin for the tips/links! Those are very helpful.

    I love the idea about the vinegar soaked wash cloth in the dryer. I use community washers/dryers in my condo complex so I don't use liquid fabric softner (treking out to the laundry 3 times per load is enough) but this gives me a way to not use the dryer sheets! I'll have to look into the reuseable static sheets because the static would be out of control otherwise.
    These are the static sheets I bought...I bought at an organic grocery store but I saw them recently at a local hardware store too...

    https://shop.sixwise.com/index.asp?P...ROD&ProdID=142

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