Reuse, recycle or…. just GIVE IT BACK!

hangrzHow often are you given something you want to give back or never even asked for? (Well, I can think of about a dozen things when I think back to my wedding gifts.  Of course, my thoughts then were something like “my god, WHAT were they thinking!” ) But now I’m thinking more about the things that come our way from purchases or services.

Think about wire hangers from the dry cleaner, packing peanuts from shipments we receive, plastic bags that always seem to slip by us when we aren’t paying attention and burned out CFLs.

Well, they don’t need to become needless trash. Consider this the next time one of these things slip your way:

  • Wire hangers – (hopefully you’re using an eco-friendly dry cleaner!… but) take them BACK to your dry cleaner the next time you make a drop-off.  Most will accept them and reuse them.
  • Packing peanuts – even if they didn’t come from a UPS shipment, they will accept them with a smile and reuse them too.  Check here to find a location.packn peanutz
  • Plastic bags – if I’m not vigilant and paying attention, a cashier always seems to manage to slip one in on me.  Save them at home and many stores have collection bins at their entrance if your curbside recycling does not accept them.  And don’t forget about all of those “other bags” too (like bread bags, plastic wrappers, etc.)
  • CFLs – so many people get hung up on the mercury content in CFLs, but keep in mind that most still contain only enough mercury to fit on the head of a pin and each new generation of CFLs has even less.  However, when they finally do burn out, remember to dispose of them properly at your local Home Depot through their CFL Recycling Program.  They’ll take them off your hands for proper disposal, free of charge.

Now, as for those hideous items I received for wedding gifts, well those were “given” too… in the way of donation. They do say “one (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure!”

For Father’s Day… help him “go green”!

dad super wordSunday is the day to celebrate fantastic fathers! Our Sunday will be spent celebrating my amazing husband…”fab dad” to our kids!!!  As always, he’s literally asked for “nothing” and just wants to spend time with me and the kids… likely fishing, picnicking and enjoying what’s slated to be a wonderful “weather day” (Phew!).  Every year he just wants to enjoy the pleasures of the great outdoors and, of course, his family! 🙂

Hopefully you already have some terrific plans in the works, but if you are pressed for that last minute gift idea, here is my list of “great green ones” that are easy to find (or “do”) and he’s sure to love:

  • Plant a tree – it’s amazing to watch them grow over time, so add a special one to the yard. (We have one in its ninth year… it’s just incredible and we have loved watching it grow and bloom!)
  • Make a gift – recycle, upcycle and reuse!  Your own home is the perfect place to find supplies to create something that says “I cared enough” to make this for you!fshing
  • Electronic solar charger – free power from the sun!  And dads love their electronics.
  • Bamboo knives or grilling set incredible bamboo is sustainable and this is perfect for the grill master!
  • Organic brew – ideal for accompanying him at the grill!
  • Organic coffee – for his morning (or all day) pick-me-up!
  • Reusable water bottle – to keep him hydrated while he’s working hard or working out!
  • iTunes – no more CDs to eventually end up in the trash.
  • Solar powered landscaping lights or a solar flashlight – (are you seeing the trend?) again, free energy!
  • Adopt nature and animals in his name or give a membership to a nature center or arboretum – my list of favorites is in a previous post here.
  • “Give your time” and get outdoors – make him king for the day and hike, bike, picnic, fish… whatever makes him happy, your time will make him the happiest!

Jim kuk picWith that I simply want to wish my amazing husband another wonderful Father’s Day! He is the best husband, the greatest dad ever, a dedicated son, and works so hard so that I can be home with our kids.  He single-handedly supports our family AND he’s a published author (with more on the way!) and I am so very, very proud of him!  Add to that the fact that he tolerates ME, goes along with my green ways and encourages me (always!)… I couldn’t ask for more.  We love you, honey!

Happy Father’s Day to every amazing dad out there!  We celebrate you! And for every dad that is joining this mom in her journey to going green… THANK YOU!

Mom Goes Green is THREE YEARS OLD!!!

3rd BDYes, MGG is THREE YEARS OLD! Three years. 430 posts.

I always knew I was long-winded but I never realized  that I would have sooo much to say… or at least not enough to keep me going for three years.

It might come easy for some but, for me… nope, not always!  I’m an over-thinker and oh, for pete’s sake, sometimes I really make myself a little crazy!  (In fact, I think I’m over-thinking this post RIGHT NOW!). 🙂

So… let’s see.  What has been part of the Mom Goes Green journey this year? (time to insert that dizzying dream visual here!)

In my journey as Mom Goes Green I’ve:

Yes… it’s my journey.  And I love it.

And I have appreciated absolutely everyone who’s taken time out of their life to read Mom Goes Green and give some consideration to all the things I’ve shared.

Thank you for joining the journey.  With love and appreciation – Mom Goes Green

How to clean laundry without detergent (yes, it’s possible!)

SmrtKlean Laund BallSounds crazy, I know… but I’m not kidding.  You can actually skip the detergent in every load of laundry and STILL get your laundry clean.  Imagine what that means… okay, it means a whole bunch of things, but I’ll get to the point…

I’ve been using the SmartKlean Laundry Ball and it’s really amazing! The ball is made of recyclable thermoplastic and filled with little ceramic beads, each comprising a combination of earth minerals.  When they come in contact with water, they form oxygenated water that goes to work cleaning and deodorizing your laundry! I’m literally amazed at how well it works…

Imagine… NO detergent! So, there is (1) NO environmental impact, (2) NO potential health impact or skin sensitivity, (3) NO soaps or chemicals to shorten the life of your clothing & laundry, (4) NO need for a rinse cycle (water & energy savings!), (5) NO need for hot or even warm water (choose cold!), (6) NO extra packaging & bottles to recycle or (gasp!) throw away… impressive list of qualities, right?

I was really skeptical, but it’s really worked for me.  Sure, some of the tougher stains still require a little extra attention but that goes without saying, no matter what method of laundry cleaning you choose.  It still has plenty of use left in it tSmrtKlean logooo… in fact, one SmartKlean Laundry Ball = 365 loads of laundry! I think I might need to get a second one though… it works best on medium-sized loads (limited to about 18 lbs.) and I am notorious for overloading the washer!

I just think it’s an impressive product that literally eliminates some of the chemical and environmental concerns we have about the massive amounts of laundry we do every year. (If I could only teach the SmartKlean Laundry Ball to also dry, fold and hang my laundry, I’d probably buy seven of them!)

Check them out… maybe you’ll be willing to ditch your detergent too!

Air conditioning vs. fresh air: 10 ways to “keep our cool”

therm risingAt the start of every summer, as the temperature rises, my husband and I seem to have the same discussion… when to turn on the air conditioning!

This is never an easy discussion (okay! read: argument!) as this is the man who wears shorts and t-shirts around the house when it’s 19 degrees outside in the dead of winter.

I prefer the open windows and doors, and want to breathe the fresh air.  To this my husband responds “Babe, it ceases to be fresh as soon as it’s 85 degrees with 70% humidity!”  Well, it’s still fresh but I guess it does cease to be RE-freshing!

Just like heating your house in the winter and whether you do or don’t choose to crank the AC, there are ways to keep your house cooler, stop some of the cool air loss and use less energy in the process:

  • Close blinds or curtains in various windows throughout the day to prevent the sun shining in.  If it’s coming in, so is the heat.
  • Use ceiling fans. They circulate the cool air and don’t use a lot of energy.
  • Program your thermostat.  No need to keep it blasting in the evening or when you aren’t even home.
  • When it’s cool outside at night, shut off the air, open the windows and take advantage.
  • 74 degrees is all you need.  This is a bearable temperature, and if you can tolerate it higher, do it!  Each degree saves 3-4% on your cooling/energy expenses.
  • Don’t worry about unused rooms.  Close the windows, doors and vents in these rooms, and block the bottom of the door if they aren’t frequently occupied.ceil fan
  • Run appliances at night.  This includes dryers & dishwashers that give off heat. Avoid using your oven… give it a rest and grill instead!  And if you do use the stovetop, be sure to use the exhaust fan to take away the heat.
  • Turn off unneeded lights, TVs, computers, etc. when you aren’t using them.  They all generate heat too.
  • Keep heat generating appliances away from the thermostat (TVs, lamps, etc.).  They’ll make the thermostat think it’s hotter than it really is.
  • Don’t chop down trees that shade your house.  They simply keep a house cooler.  And even plant strategically.  Shaded AC units run more efficiently, but just be sure not to block the airflow.

I do try to take my own advice.  It’s not always easy (living with my husband who compensates by turning up the ceiling fans to “jet speed”) but it’s a compromise we always seem to manage when it all “boils down”!