Magazines and magazines and magazines… oh my!

nwsstndRecently I approached a few local drugstores and asked them what they do with their outdated magazines. (I was hoping to set up a program where I could pick-up those magazines or have them delivered to the paper recycling dumpster behind my kids’ school so they could earn money from the recycling company.)  Unfortunately I was told that they remove the covers, return them to the publisher for credit and are told they MUST discard them in the trash dumpster….OUCH!  TRASH dumpster, not recycling dumpster.

Sadly, this is the fate of many magazines.  In fact, about 60% of magazines remain unsold and are destine for this same misfortune!

I’ve also recently taken inventory of how many magazines make their way into my own household and, let me tell you… it’s time to make a change! We not only receive magazine subscriptions, but also print publications for every local organization we’ve joined… from the Zoo, to the Natural History Museum, to the Science Center!iPd mag2

There are definitely better options.  More and more magazines are becoming available in e-formats, digitally delivered right to your computer, iPhone or iPad.  Check Zinio.com or emagazines.com to see if your “favorite reads” are available.  For all those other publications, a quick glance inside (typically around the publisher’s information) will often turn up an option to actually receive the publication digitally… all you need to do is digitally subscribe!  And if you don’t want it, UNsubscribe or opt out!

I assure you, once you take a look at all those un-read magazines piling up, you’ll realize you can make a change too!

Simple energy tip: voicemail vs. answering machine

ans mchineWhile year after year the use of landline telephones is decreasing, over 70% of American households still have dedicated home phones (yes, I happen to be one of them… it’s a “comfort necessity” for me because of having little kids and the need to know I have a ringing phone available even if I forget to charge my cell and knowing I can call “home” if I’m away!).

If you have a landline chances are you also have an answering machine or voicemail associated with that phone (how could you not?).  Well did you also know that choosing the latter is incredibly green? Answering machines consume energy 365 days a year and when they stop working, they become hazardous electronic waste that gets added to your local landfill.vmail

If every U.S. household switched to voicemail instead, the annual energy savings would be approximately TWO BILLION kilowatt-hours.  The reduced pollution resulting from this reduced energy consumption would be the equivalent of removing 250,000 cars from the road!

See…  just another little testimonial for the “little daily life things”! Simple.

FREE Giveaway: “The Green Book”

join greenThere are so many ways to go green, it can sometimes boggle the mind… but Mom Goes Green has always been committed to all the little things that, when combined together, make a “great, big green difference!”

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again… I’ve always felt that going green isn’t just about installing solar panels on your rooftop or buying a hybrid car… it’s about doing those little things in our daily life that can make a bigger and better impact.

One of my sources for all of these “daily life tidbits” is a fantastic little book called “The Green Book”.  It has shown me countless and simple ways to put conservation to work.  It includes tips for everything from home, to work, to school, to shopping, to travel…. all neatly and clearly organized.

And if you think the “little things” can’t possibly amount to much, read this excerpt from the book:the grn book

“You create 4.5 pounds of trash every day.  Over the course of your life, that will total six hundred times your average adult weight… in garbage.  Broken down, your torso would be paper.  One leg would be yard trimmings, the other food scraps.  One arm would be plastic with a rubber hand.  The other would be metal with a wood hand.  Your head would be glass, and your neck would be all the other stuff.  In the end, we will each leave a ninety-thousand-pound legacy of trash for our grandchildren.”

If you think you’ve heard this before, it’s because I did a giveaway of this book a few months ago, but it just so happens I have another copy I’d like to share with a reader… interested?  Well, just leave a comment here saying you’d like to win, or send a Twitter message that includes a reply to @momgoesgreen and a link to this blog.  Facebook friends can also leave a comment to be entered. The winner will be randomly selected on October 8! (U.S. entries only… sorry!)

Good luck!… and cheers to all the little green things!

Simple tip: ONE way to make your dryer more efficient!

landry bsktAhh… laundry day.  It’s looming in the MGG household and it happens to be one of my least favorite of mom-duties. (I’m fine with the washing/drying part but I deeply dislike the putting-away part!)

Anyhow, I digress… so, today I just want to share one little tidbit about how to be a bit more energy efficient with the duty, aside from the long list of ways to green your laundry that I’ve shared in the past.

  • Fact:  The average American household spends $150 in energy consumption each year to simply dry their laundry.
  • Fact: ONE SIMPLE way to avoid 30% excess usage of energy – CLEAN YOUR LINT TRAP!

Yes, that’s it! That pesky, yet necessary, lint trap can actually dramatically increase the energy usage of your dryer.  The screen should be checked and cleaned after every load.

lnt trpYou should also occasionally “deep clean” the screen, the trap and the tubing.  Scrub the screen with a soft brush, mild soap and water (because there is build-up, I assure you, even if you’ve removed the fuzzy!).  Use your vacuum cleaner extension tool or long skinny brush to give a good cleaning inside the trap area.  And don’t forget the vent tube… remove it from the back of the dryer and clean out any lint or obstruction.  After you’ve done this, run the dryer on air fluff for about 10 minutes to clear out anything that remains.

You’ll be amazed at the decrease in drying time after you’ve done this simple task… and you will use less energy as a result.  Now, I’ll make you a deal… I’ll do the “task” if you do my laundry!

Keep your home green while you vacation!

lampSometimes it’s easy to get so consumed with planning and preparing for a vacation that we forget about the home we’re leaving behind.

Before you leave, your house needs some special attention so it doesn’t continue to over-consume in your absence.  When you think about everything that’s drawing energy on a daily basis (and the things that an empty house doesn’t need), it’s time for a checklist.

Here are a few simple (and possibly overlooked) ideas to keep your home green while you vacation:

  • Turn off your air conditioning or, in the winter months, turn the heat to 55 degrees.
  • Make sure ceiling fans are turned off.fridge
  • Unplug nearly everything… computers, TVs, appliances, microwaves, lamps, coffee makers, all of it!  Look at every outlet in your house and most things can be unplugged in your absence.  They WILL still consume “phantom power” even when not in use!
  • Install timers on a few lights so your home still appears lived-in but they won’t glow 24-hours-a-day.
  • Dial down the temperature or switch off the breaker on your water heater.
  • If you clear out an overload of perishables in your refrigerator make sure it’s not too empty… you actually need some content to make it efficient.  If it’s looking a bit empty, just fill and cover a few large pitchers of water.

That’s all it takes.  A checklist and a little extra time and you can keep it green while you play away!