So… what happens to your “other” plastic bags?

If you’re like me, you never shop without first being armed with your own reusable bags I never take plastic bags… yes, I mean never… well, almost never!

There abrd bg plasticre times when we’re forced to take plastic bags… not the kind that hold our purchases, but the kind that hold the food and products we buy.  I’m talking about bread bags, the plastic wrappers on our toilet paper and paper towels, the bags holding packaged produce, and even the plastic bags around the newspaper on our doorstep (I wish our newspaper-guy would stop doing that on sunny days!).

So, what do YOU do with those bags? While most curbside recycling doesn’t take them (ours doesn’t either), they ARE recyclable… and you don’t need curbside recycling to make it happen.

Now here’s the answer… you may have found yourself ignoring the plastic bag collection containers in your local grocery store or major retailers.  You might also assume that they’re only for the bags that come from the store… well, surprise!  THAT is the answer!plst bg bin

You can actually collect all of these extra bags and wraps at home and deposit them in this receptacle.  Most are made of the same materials as the grocery or retail bags – either high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or low-density polyethylene (LDPE) – so they can easily be added to this batch of recycle-bound bags!

The next time you have one of these bags or wrappers destine for the trash can, turn it into your collection bag…  stuff all the others inside and take them on a little trip to one of these bag bins.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly they accumulate and you’ll feel much better when they DON’T go into the trash!

Black Friday or “Buy Nothing Day”? (= free giveaway!)

(This giveaway is now closed for entries.)

Black Friday… I NEVER shop Black Friday! Instead, I celebrateBuy Nothing Day.  Every year.  Period.

Yesssss, I know… the bargains, the excitement, the tradition… I simply choose to spend the day NOT spending.  It’s a great reminder that we don’t need to spend obscene amounts of money, rise in the wee hours of the morning and push and shove our way to luxury items that aren’t even needed, if we really think about it.

So, if you would like to get a step up on a great green gift, I will help you… no purchase necessary… I’ll sponsor some giveaways in the coming weeks and I’m starting today with a 33 oz. EcoUsable stainless steel water bottle and “Green 4 Life” water wrap that will make a fabulous gift for someone on your list… or simply for yourself, for that matter!ecousa wht

You want it, don’t you?  Well, it’s a great one too!:  Stainless steel, no BPA, reusable and free.  You won’t even need to get your toes stomped either…

So leave a comment here saying you’d like to win and tell me who you’d like to “gift” it to (there is no penalty for saying you want it for yourself!), send a Twitter message that includes a reply to @momgoesgreen and a link to this blog, or leave a comment on Facebook to be entered. The winner will be selected two weeks from today’s post. (US entries only… sorry!)

grn 4 lifeSkip Black Friday… celebrate “Buy Nothing Day”… and take a chance to win something absolutely FREE instead!

Giving thanks as Thanksgiving goes green!

thanksgvg tblTo me, Thanksgiving has always felt like the holiday with the greatest “green potential”. There are no gifts, costumes, candy or extra, elaborate frills.  It’s simply about family gatherings, feasting on the bounty of the season and giving thanks for everything we have.  There are so many ways to avoid over-abundance… (well, with the exception of over-eating!)

Everything from the decorations, to the food, to the clean-up can be exceptionally green.

Here are the things to keep in mind:

  1. Invitations – forgo the paper invitations and send Evites instead.  You’ve probably already handled this task, but this rule goes for any gathering!  And if you do need to mail invitations, look for those made of recycled paper.
  2. Decorations – in many cases, you need only walk into your own backyard: leaves, acorns and twigs can be turned into amazing arrangements. Combine them with colorful gourds, indian corn, squash and apples and you’ve just captured the season!  Afterward, compost or add them back to nature.
  3. Food – visit your local farmer’s market for all of the most amazing produce.  Go organic.  Think acorn squash, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, apple and pumpkin pie! And seek out an organic, hormone-free, steroid-free turkey (if it will be a part of your feast).
  4. Drinks – serve organic drinks or consider a local brew… or, if you’re lucky (like me!) and surrounded by local wineries, a local wine!crncopia
  5. Tableware and serveware – stop saving “the good dishes” and silverware!  Use them!  Glasses, cups and stemware?  Get them out! Forget the disposable “anything”.  You can even score inexpensive cloth napkins and table coverings at any dollar store.
  6. Consider the temperature – ovens heat a house quite quickly… and so do lots of people… so turn down the thermostat or, in warmer climates, keep ceiling fans circulating or windows open to keep the indoors comfortable.
  7. Recycle – that should go without saying, but just remember to make it happen.  Cans, jars, containers, bottles, anything and everything possible.
  8. Don’t waste leftovers – keep only what you know your family will eat.  Send the rest home with your guests.  Start thinking about containers now (no styrofoam plates or plastic-wrap, please!).  You can even ask guests to bring their own glass or ceramic dishware… why not?! And if you compost, toss in those food scraps.
  9. Clean-up – use your dishwasher, but make sure you fill it first.  For the big jobs, you’ll need to use some elbow-grease, but be sure not to leave the tap running endlessly.  And get out your green cleaners.  You can get back to “shiny & clean” without harsh chemicals.
  10. Although it has nothing to do with being green… give thanks. Ask everyone at your table to share a thought. It will certainly put happiness in the air, and that’s absolutely free!

Now, if you need some of those ‘leaf, acorn and twig’ decorations I mentioned, email me… and then back up a truck… I have enough in my own backyard to supply your whole neighborhood!

Global warming: why “one degree” matters…

Global WarmingThere are so many naysayers when it comes to global warming.  I happen NOT to be one of them, obviously (although I did get quite a laugh when my local news weather forecaster made this little snafu!).

In all reality though, it’s sometimes hard to imagine how one simple degree matters.  Can it really change our world?  Can it really change the composition of something and create a calculable alteration? Can it really make a difference?

The next time you wonder, consider this:

At 32° F a popsicle stays solid enough to take a bite; at 33° degrees it melts and falls off the stick.grn pops

This is the perfect example to share with our children.  It certainly put it into perspective for me and the example left me wide-eyed and wondering.

Besides all of the most familiar effects of global warming (melting polar ice caps, weather extremes, changes in species and geography, and even our health) someone also compiled a rather extraordinary list of 600 ways global warming is changing our planet.

But the next time someone you know questions global warming, invite them over for a popsicle… serve it at 33 degrees and tell them you didn’t think it would matter.

Simple tip: What happens to YOUR used motor oil?

mtr oil2As more and more families try to cut costs, more and more families are handling car maintenance at home as opposed to dropping by a local maintenance shop.  The most common task is changing your car’s oil, but… what do YOU do with your used motor oil?

You may have tried to store it in a container and slip it into your trash, unnoticed, but did you know:

A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water!!!

A bit of a disturbing fact!  The next time that temptation strikes, think twice and instead store your used motor oil in a safely sealed container and drop it at a local facility.  Most auto stores and repair shops will accept it, free of charge. And if you need help in locating a facility, simply check out Earth911.com and enter “motor oil” and your zip code.

I assure you, you will have plenty of choices and our fresh water supply won’t take the harmful impact!