by guest @ 7:40 am post a comment »
Although it may seem like a menial chore, weekly laundry greatly affects our environment. The average washing machine uses vast amounts of energy to heat water and run the dry cycle. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to reduce your personal energy and water use and ultimately reduce your environmental footprint.
All of this is possible by simply greening your laundry habits.
Cut the dryer out of the equation
It’s getting a little too cold and wet to hang the clothes outside and for many, this means putting them into the dryer. Unless you need a certain item of clothing right at that minute, your clothes will dry just as well inside as they will outside. They may take slightly longer but if you time it right, your favourite outfits can be ready for when you need them.
The dryer is the second most energy-guzzling appliance in the household – using it only when necessary will reduce your environmental footprint, whilst saving you money on household bills.
Wear it more than once
Not everything requires washing after just one wear. The likes of thick knits and jeans can take up a great deal of room in our washing machines, which is when wearing them more than once is the greener option.
Use green laundry detergent
A number of supermarkets and health food stores sell eco-friendly detergents. These products do the same job using fewer ingredients. The likes of phosphates (which are found in all conventional laundry soaps) can cause algal blooms that have a negative affect on marine life and ecosystems. Plant-based products are therefore a much better option. Another option is to buy eco-balls – a product that claims to wash clothes without the use of a detergent.
Choose a concentrated detergent
Concentrated detergents boast a smaller carbon footprint and reduced packaging. When investing in concentrated products, make sure you pick up the one that’s right for your machine.
Wash by hand
If you only have a few items to wash, save on electricity and wash them by hand. This is not only a much quicker process; it’s one way to dramatically reduce your carbon footprint.
Organization is the key
Instead of several little washes, aim for just the one big wash every week. This may require organization from all family members but it will be worth it if you wish to green-up your laundry.
Use a cleaning service
Commercial washers and dryers tend to use less energy than home appliances. When you have a rather large load to contend to, take your washing to a laundry service instead.
Only iron items when you need to. Aside from using a great deal of energy, ironing has a tendency to deteriorate fabric. A better option is to iron the item prior to it being worn, chances are it will only become creased hanging in your wardrobe over long periods of time anyway!
Monday, October 20, 2014
by Sheila Thomas @ 8:08 am post a comment »
DIY … A spooky way to light your sidewalks this Halloween …
Many times when you’re trying to create crafts around the home inspiration often comes from an everyday item. A neat craft option this Halloween season is to create light-up ghosts, or lights that will invite trick-or-treaters to your door. If the average American drinks about 20 gallons of milk a year odds are a family can save a few jugs for craft purposes. If you’re not a family of milk drinkers or you just don’t have enough gallon milk jugs around the house, fear not. Since 1976 plastic has been the most used material in the United States so odds are pretty good that you have other plastic jugs around the home that you can use instead. And if not maybe your neighbors or friends can pitch-in.
When I was younger I used transformed milk jugs to cover the lantern lights in our front yard, to turn them from everyday white to Halloween appropriate orange. All I used was craft paint and scissors. Ghost jugs make a more impressive statement but are still easy enough to make to be kid friendly.
What you will need is: (more…)
Friday, October 17, 2014
by Maureen O'Connor @ 8:56 am post a comment »
Fashionista alert … Add a heap of pizzazz to your fall wardrobe with this dramatic, chunky Roccoco knit shawl in ultra-warm and renewable Merino wool. This striking, pumpkin-colored shawl is a must-have fall and winter accessory. Meticulously hand-knitted in luxurious and very soft 100% Merino wool, the shawl is generously sized and allows for many styling variations. The intricate geometric pattern is augmented by soft ruffles all around. Created with chunky weight yarn and intended to make a statement. $380 from Elena Roseberg
The tie dyed Down Pour tee (above) features a hand-dyed rain pattern that just screams Halloween! Designed with a low hip length and a round neck, the tee has extra long, slim sleeves with raw hem cuffs you can custom cut to your desired length. The tee’s super soft 100% organic cotton is treated with a stunning tie dye technique which mirrors heavy rain on a train window. Handmade with low impact dyes in Los Angeles by Raw Earth & Wild Sky – a sustainable style company founded by Karen Kananen and Samantha Robinson. On sale for $111.16 @ btc elements
Style is timeless and these vintage pumpkin go-go boots are loaded with it. Knee length, orange suede – the height of 19080′s urban chic. Hipster, boho, hippie, orange, retro – these boots (more…)
Thursday, October 16, 2014
by Ross Dulmaine @ 9:11 am post a comment »
As the first cold fronts of the season, armed with their accompanying storms and winds shake the brightly colored orange and fall foliage from many northern yards and forests, it’s time to take stock and prep for winter.
Here are five simple tips for making your seasonal transition a smoother, greener, and more economical endeavor:
- Gather all ye leaves and compost. Don’t bag the piles of fall leaves that are covering your lawn and haul them to your already-overloaded local landfill. All that organic material is valuable stuff. Invest the time, energy or funds in building or purchasing a composter (you may need more than one). There are online plans for building a designer composter, or you can just go DIY and create one out of heavy duty fencing wire, or cut the bottom off an old trash barrels. The nutrient rich soil that will be created in just a few months of composting can be used to revitalize your lawn, gardens or planters. (more…)
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
by Sheila Thomas @ 8:45 am post a comment »
With Halloween right around the corner, it’s time to think about what you’d like to dress up as. Most people buy from places like Party City where they pay high prices for a one-time-use costume. And most of these outfits are usually tossed after Halloween, finding their way into landfills. So instead of choosing a store bought costume this year, a smarter, greener option would be to make one yourself.
I flew around the ‘net and found lots of inspiration, like this: In just 6 easy steps you can make a pair of simple wings for a fairy, lady bug, butterfly or winged creature costume. The main components of these wings are items you can find around the home: old wire hangers and nylons. Add face paint, some appropriate body wear, and you’re ready to take flight.
Supplies: nylons or pantyhose you no longer need, paint, elastic, ribbon, a hot glue gun and metal wire. If you don’t have old wire hangers hanging around the house, you can pick up some wire at a craft store like Michael’s. (more…)
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
by Maureen O'Connor @ 9:42 am post a comment »
Does your little lover of nature need some woodland creatures or rustic art to adorn their room? These handmade artworks will add rustic charm to any kid’s room or nursery. These sweet pieces of wall art have been designed and made by the husband and wife team of Denise and Robert Devenie of Devenie Designs.
Woodland creatures, trees and messages are featured on weathered reclaimed planks that have been hand painted, refinished and sealed. A cool way to add inspiration to any 2-legged creatures shelter.
Why purchase a piece of mass produced art from virgin wood, when you can decorate your home with art that is OOAK, handmade and loaded with rustic character – while also saving living trees? Surround your wee ones with nature and they’ll hopefully learn to appreciate and value it. A great way to bring the spirit of the outdoors inside. The pieces featured above range in price from $45 to $135.
related: more eco-friendly home decor items featured on The Alternative Consumer
Monday, October 13, 2014
by Jordan Stauder @ 11:15 am 2 comments »
Where does your food come from? Who is producing it and what goes into it? These previously questions are being uttered from a growing number of people in the United States, as tales of inefficient water use, polluting fertilizer runoff, or our consumption of mysterious genetically modified crops commonly sweep across our news feeds and regularly grace our dinner tables. We are blessed with a wealth of arable lands and favorable climates in the United States which have historically secured the availability of affordable foods in our society, so why must we overuse artificial fertilizers, poisonous herbicides and pesticides or implant genes from fish into our tomato plants? The answer: the American farmer is ultimately limited by the amount and distribution of flatland available for cultivation. (more…)
Sunday, October 12, 2014
by Sheila Thomas @ 1:11 pm post a comment »
For most fans of Halloween, myself included, a favorite tradition is not the piles of candy or dressing up, but the carving of the pumpkin. Every year, each one in family gets to pick out a pumpkin to carve and display the night of Halloween. Sadly, when the spooky fest is over, our masterpieces end up in the trash … which got me to thinking about all the other families doing just that. In the US over 1 billion pounds of pumpkin are grown every year, if most of us are just chucking our pumpkins in the trash when we’re done that’s is a lot of bio-matter going to the dump. The situation leaves me with two questions: Why are we carving pumpkins? And how can we make having a Jack O’Lantern more eco-friendly?
The tradition of carving pumpkins started back in Ireland as part of an Irish myth involving a man named Stingy Jack. Stingy Jack got in trouble with the Devil and after his death was banished to wander the land with only a coal in a lantern as his source of light. As a result of this myth people began the tradition of carving turnips or potatoes with evil faces then lighting and displaying them in doorways and windows to ward off Stingy Jack and other evil spirits. When Irish immigrants brought their tradition of carving over to the states they improvised by adopting the use of pumpkins instead.
And thus the tradition was born. Now to answer the meatier question – here are four easy ways to make a Jack O’Lantern more eco-friendly.
- Choose Your Pumpkin Wisely: Buy local and buy organic. Buying from local farmers reduces emissions due to transportation, reduces fuel consumption and supports local business. Also most local farmers tend to use less pesticides and fertilizers. Which blends into buying organic, even if you’re not going to eat your pumpkin buying organic cuts back on the pesticides and fertilizers that go into pumpkin production. Pesticides and fertilizers run off into the environment where they are detrimental to natural systems.
- Save Your Pumpkin Meat: Pumpkin is edible and can be eaten as is or cooked. Instead of buying the big monster pumpkins, opt for the smaller ones who’s tasty flesh can be carved out to make cookies, bread, soup and cake. Nutritional note: fresh pumpkin is cholesterol free and high in vitamin C. There are dozens and dozens of pumpkin recipes online to choose from.
- Save The Pumpkin Seeds: The seeds that you harvest from your pumpkin can be separated (more…)