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!

Simple tip: aluminum blinds are wise window treatments!

alum blindzSo lately I’ve been hitting some serious topics… toxic mattresses and destructive palm oil (yikes!).

Today, we’re going to keep it nice and simple… as simple as this…

Did you know that purchasing aluminum mini blinds for your home is a wise environmental choice? The fact of the matter is that many manufacturers like Levolor and Hunter Douglas are using recycled aluminum to make their mini blinds… about 90-95% recycled content actually!

And the beauty of it all is when you need to replace them… they can be recycled too! A few snips of the strings and you’ll be loading slat after slat into your recycling can instead of your trash can.

See… nice and simple.  Aluminum blinds ARE wise window treatments!

Simple tip: Choose low- or no-VOC paint… always!

The easiespain't cnst way to visually freshen-up the inside of a house is paint.  Add a new color and, instantly, the place looks lively again.  In fact, every year approximately 630 MILLION gallons of paint are sold in the U.S. alone.

After recently having new windows installed in our home, I found myself in this exact situation and needed to purchase paint to cover all of the new trim.  While some of us might get caught up in the color palette, I found myself laboring over the SAFEST paint.

The concern?  VOCs – volatile organic compounds.  These off-gassing, toxic chemical emissions contribute to ozone and smog formation and are linked to respiratory illnesses and memory impairment, so they put both our health and our environment at risk. In fact, the concentration of indoor VOCs is often higher than outdoors (by about four-to-six times as much) as a result of paints, stains, and varnishes used in our home, and these emissions can continue for multiple years after the finish is applied.pain't roll

You can avoid this health and environmental hazard by choosing low- or no-VOC finishes… always.  Simple as that.

If you think a little bit of paint can’t possibly matter, consider this:

The amount of VOC toxic emissions saved by purchasing just a few gallons of low-VOC paint each year is equivalent to the VOC that would be saved if you didn’t drive your car for an entire year.

So, pick your palette, go crazy with the colors but just remember to say “hold the VOCs, please!”

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.

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!