Green Living Challenge: August 2007 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 08-02-2007, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We use this thread to post the things we are working on each month to live a greener lifestyle. Feel free to post what you're working on, what you've already mastered, or even the things you're just thinking about working on!

I'll try to keep our roll call in the next post up-to-date but please PM me if I mix something up or miss something entirely.

If you want more green living talk, check out the Green Living Tribe.

A special thanks to rainbowmoon for starting the first ever Green Living Challenge!

Challenge History:
January
February
March
April
May
June
July

Expecting #2 in May 2013!

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#2 of 30 Old 08-02-2007, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Note: I try to group similar goals, so just let me know if I misinterpret anything!

(a little behind on roll call but will try to update soon)

Expecting #2 in May 2013!

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#3 of 30 Old 08-02-2007, 11:50 AM
 
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I wanna join up again. The last GLC I was apart of was in January I believe. I'm not sure what I could change/improve as of yet but will stick around for inspiration from others.

Well, one thing I can think of is that I want to get rid of the plastic gallon jug we use to fill up our water (for filtering. it goes from being filled in jug into a glass unit). So I am looking for stainless steel, glass, etc. Maybe I should ask in the GLT.
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#4 of 30 Old 08-02-2007, 02:31 PM
 
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I want to join, too, but I'm not sure yet what I want to take on this month. I need some ideas, too, so post 'em, mamas!

Catherine, mama to Preschooler Girl 9/08, and Toddler Boy 3/11

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#5 of 30 Old 08-02-2007, 02:37 PM
 
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joining but still deciding goals

Kate, BioMama to Emma Lu, Elliana - Almost Mama to Martin, & Foster Mama to Baby T
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#6 of 30 Old 08-03-2007, 05:23 PM
 
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I'll join again. First, what I accomplished last month:

• Knitted 3 dish rags so I don't have to keep buying sponges
• Bought 10 cloth napkins at a thrift store and have been using them instead of the paper ones.
• Bought 2 packets of CFLs (20 bulbs total). I installed them in all the areas where our lights had burnt out. I think I replaced at least 6 in the kitchen.

What I am working on for this month:

• I am starting work on my frugal/green holiday gift items. I have found renewed interest in thrift store shopping and have found a bunch of creative craft ideas to make gifts.
• Put up the compost bin I got on Freecycle. I have two compost bins already, but they are full. I need to tend to them as well, I think they need some brown stuff to help them along.
• I would love to look into setting up a rain barrel, but I don't think I will have time for that this month.
• My big thing for this month is preparing a 1 hour presentation on Green Living that I will be giving at my company in September during our Health and Wellness Week. I am pretty excited about this. I am doing lots of reading and pulling facts together.

That might be all I get done considering I am out of town two weekends this month. Plus I am busy knitting away (organic cotton yarn of course!) for my little bundle of love due in Nov.

Mama to Kage (12/07) and Ember (6/09)
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#7 of 30 Old 08-03-2007, 10:30 PM
 
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We just purchased a rain barrel and a composter from a local family that sells them. I also just got a steam cleaner to start using on the floors and bathroom.

Me+DH (2006)
DS (2005)
DD (2008)
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#8 of 30 Old 08-03-2007, 11:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by VeganLove View Post
What I am working on for this month:

• I am starting work on my frugal/green holiday gift items. I have found renewed interest in thrift store shopping and have found a bunch of creative craft ideas to make gifts.
VeganLove (and anyone else), I would love to know some of your ideas. I'm Compacting for the next couple of months (at least), so I need to work on local, green, and homemade stuff for the holidays.

So I guess I've sort of decided on my plans for this month:
1. Stick with my Compact.
2. Start making/acquiring green holiday gifts and things.
3. Figure out how to make yogurt that my husband will eat--I'm tired of buying disposable yogurt cups. Thus far, my two attempts have been failures. (Any advice here would be helpful, too.)

Catherine, mama to Preschooler Girl 9/08, and Toddler Boy 3/11

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#9 of 30 Old 08-04-2007, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by VeganLove View Post
• My big thing for this month is preparing a 1 hour presentation on Green Living that I will be giving at my company in September during our Health and Wellness Week. I am pretty excited about this. I am doing lots of reading and pulling facts together.
That's so great! Let us know how it goes.

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Originally Posted by VeganCupcake View Post
3. Figure out how to make yogurt that my husband will eat--I'm tired of buying disposable yogurt cups. Thus far, my two attempts have been failures. (Any advice here would be helpful, too.)
My DH switched to yogurt in bigger glass containers...I forget the company's name but they call it "Bulgarian" yogurt style. Maybe you could look for that as a compromise to avoid all the smaller disposable containers until you get your yogurt-making worked out?

We're also planning to start keeping some of our glass containers like that so when we have our annual holiday party this year, we can put small votive candles in the containers and put them all around the house and outside on our deck for extra lighting.

Expecting #2 in May 2013!

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#10 of 30 Old 08-04-2007, 10:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by snozzberry View Post
We're also planning to start keeping some of our glass containers like that so when we have our annual holiday party this year, we can put small votive candles in the containers and put them all around the house and outside on our deck for extra lighting.
good idea. i should do that too.
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#11 of 30 Old 08-04-2007, 03:58 PM
 
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For Holiday Stuff, I'm thinking of using some of the frames I was going to give away to charity to use as gifts with DS photo in them.

Me+DH (2006)
DS (2005)
DD (2008)
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#12 of 30 Old 08-04-2007, 04:55 PM
 
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I would like to get a compost bin. Maybe I should look into that again for this month. I want a tumbler. And I think we'll make a bird feeder out of an empty milk carton this month too.
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#13 of 30 Old 08-04-2007, 10:58 PM
 
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Can I join too?

Things that we've done recently:
* When we moved into our new house, I switched to cloth napkins. To my surprise, dh didn't even bat an eye, and it only took about a day for dd#1 to pick her very favorite ones.
* Also when we moved, I found a HUGE supply of microfiber towels (bought to use with cd's, but didn't like 'em in that capacity) and kitchen towels. Pre-move, we were using a roll of paper towels every week or two. Now, a roll lasts a month or more.
* The first week we moved in, we replaced more than half the standard bulbs with cfl's.

Some things I'd like to focus on this month:
* Replace the rest of the standard bulbs with cfl's.
* We've been talking about setting up a compost bin. I'm tired of talking! LOL I'd like to keep it as frugal as possible, so I'm going to try to find 4 free wooden pallets to make a box. If that doesn't work, I like the idea of hammering 4 metal stakes/posts into the ground and forming a frame with chicken wire.
* Recycling is kind of a pain in the butt out here. No curbside pickup (no curbs!!!), and the closest place to drop off recycling is on the other side of the county (but fairly close to work). I'd like to set up a recycling station either in my pantry or on the back porch, with bins that will transport easily. That way, when they're full, I can toss 'em in the back and empty them on the way to work.
* I desperately miss my clothesline and am tired of carting my clothes to my mom's house any time I want to hang laundry. So, I'm going to nag the crap out of dh and see if I can get myself a new clothesline this month.

hippie.gif+reading.gif= Peanut (2004), Pumpkin (2007) and Butter Bean!! (2011)

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#14 of 30 Old 08-06-2007, 01:33 AM
 
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I would like to join too!

What we already done:

We use mostly clothesline to dry our cloths
I use vinegar for cleaning.
We have compost.

Need to do:
Don't forget to wash CD on time so I would not have to use dryer to dry them or use disposable ones.
Use wash clothes instead of paper towels.
Use up the rest of the chemicals we have in the house and get everybody in the habit of using vinegar and baking soda for cleaning.
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#15 of 30 Old 08-06-2007, 02:36 PM
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Ok im in - im always up for finding more ways for me to live green

oh and for those who asked i knitting little fruits and veggies for my kids for christmas as well as hats and sweaters also knitting socks for sister in law and mittens for my mom dad will get a back scrubber as well as my brother. Everyone will also get my homemade jam and salsa!

anyway back to green living- things we do already
cd
family cloth
cloth napkins
cloth grocery bags
hand wash and hang dry laundry
homemade soap
recyle
pick up trash outside
use natural cleaners
if its yellow let it mellow
turn off and unplug anythign not being used.
i knit all our washcloths and hand towels
knit all winter hats and mittens
knit socks
use cfl
keep old clothes and make them something else
cook homemade in masses and freeze
the list goes on and on so it takes me a bit to think of what else i can do


i sat here for 15 mins thinking

thing i want to work on this month

- figure out how to have a compost in my tiny appartment we have a big yar but are not allowed to leave things in it maybe at the inlaws and just bring stuff once a week to it.

-start my christmas gifts

-start using cloth wipes on the kids

-plant a tree
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#16 of 30 Old 08-07-2007, 11:24 AM
 
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- figure out how to have a compost in my tiny appartment we have a big yar but are not allowed to leave things in it maybe at the inlaws and just bring stuff once a week to it.
How about a worm bin in the kitchen? It could have a cutting board on top like in the book Worms eat my garbage. I think that's where I saw that.

DH made us some benches with storage underneath for our tiny kitchen. I keep empty containers and appliances in them but you could put a rubbermaid container in and put worms in that. Great way to recycle that junk mail with personal info on it too. I always shred the credit card applications and feed them to the worms.
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#17 of 30 Old 08-07-2007, 09:48 PM
 
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I'm going to go ahead and post my offers on Freecycle instead of waiting, waiting.... then throwing them away.

I'll post more later

~ Kim

mama to E (01-2007) and wife to C

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#18 of 30 Old 08-08-2007, 11:49 AM
 
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This looks like fun!

I do most of what's listed above, so won't reiterate!

Just bought more cloth grocery bags, but I use them to carry to food into the house, then never remember to bring them back out to the car! :

I want to get a rainbarrel but haven't looked into pricing...definitely can't spend a lot on it. I've just started using the dehumidifier water and bathtub water for the trees! It's a PITB to haul it out there, but I can't stand to see the water wasted.

School will be starting soon and I'm looking into getting the reusable lunch kits for Dh and DS- I need to start a new thread or look up old threads on that b/c I can't find any I like.

Would love to start family cloth, (well really I'm the only girl in the house so it's mainly me!) but dh would vomit, I think. He only grudgingly goes along with cloth diapers!
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#19 of 30 Old 08-09-2007, 07:44 AM
 
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have you guys heard about the mercury issue in CFL's? Like, there's only a tiny bit of mercury, like 5 whatevers (I forgot the tiny unit), but if we all switch to mercury bulbs the soil everywhere, and even the water supply, might be contaminated in a hurry.

However one statistic I do remember is that, according to the EPA's safe mercury concentration levels, it would take over 16,000 cubic feet of soil to safely contain the mercury from just ONE Compact fluorescent. And if one breaks in your home, you should not vacuum (spreads the mercury) but rather clean up with gloves, well ventilated, etc. so nobody gets mercury poisoning.

I'm stuck, LED lighting seems like the truly Greenest thing out there. But they are expensive on the front end.

How do you guys deal with this issue? I have just been letting the light bulbs slowly burn out, I just don't feel comfortable with any of the options.

Liora. Best way to reach me is FACEBOOK, search for "LioraP2". Jewish and Frum In Beijing, Mom of Three (mother of 3: #1 was vaccine injured at age 2m later dx with PDD-NOS, healed in 3 years with biomed. #2 unvaxed and healthy boy. #3 unvaxed amazing girl with Down syndrome using Targeted Nutritional Intervention (TNI) since infancy)
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#20 of 30 Old 08-09-2007, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I read recently that if you compare the amount of mercury that would be released into the environment from a CFL that is disposed of incorrectly to the amount of mercury that is released into the environment from a coal-powered plant that is providing the power for an incandescent bulb for its whole life...the amount of mercury with a CFL is still a better choice for the environment because the coal-powered plant releases so much more.

So if you can dispose of a CFL properly, that seems like the best choice. Most medium-to-big cities have a hazardous waste disposal. And I think IKEA takes their CFLs back to dispose of.

I also read a few months ago that some companies are starting to look into creating CFLs without mercury, but I forget if it mentioned the names of any of them. Does anyone know if there are any on the market?

Expecting #2 in May 2013!

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#21 of 30 Old 08-09-2007, 01:05 PM
 
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Great thread...I'm getting inspired

What we already do:

Use CDs
cloth grocery bags
cloth napkins
recycle just about everything (lucky to have curbside)
Joined a CSA

What I would like to do:
knit washcloths
Compost (last time we tried we created a rat problem , so we've got to figure out a better way to contain it)

Currently trying to purchase as many local products as possible.
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#22 of 30 Old 08-09-2007, 01:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lioralourie View Post
I'm stuck, LED lighting seems like the truly Greenest thing out there. But they are expensive on the front end.

How do you guys deal with this issue? I have just been letting the light bulbs slowly burn out, I just don't feel comfortable with any of the options.
I second what Snozzberry said; proper disposal is important, and CFLs do cut down on coal-related mercury emissions, at the source! I've found that CFLs are very unlikely to break, also, especially if they're in a covered fixture. I've actually never had one break in the 7 years I've been using them.

I totally agree that LEDs are the way to go. Unfortunately, they're not even widely available yet. I can't find any in my city. We might just have to wait a bit. And in the meantime, I think CFLs are the best choice for saving a lot of energy.

Catherine, mama to Preschooler Girl 9/08, and Toddler Boy 3/11

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#23 of 30 Old 08-13-2007, 05:44 AM
 
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Hi ladies ... I hope I can join this thread. I'm not a mama as yet (I'm a nanny, which brought me to MDC looking for tips on high-needs infants) but I hope to be one soon and I want the world to be a better place for me and my future family.

I live in a rented sharehouse of four boys my age and me, so it's hard to be green in all the ways I'd like to.
Sorry this list is so long... I want to use it to sort out my own mind as well.


At the moment I/we:

* Using clothesline/hanging clothes for drying
* Using a wood-burning furnace with trees that have been felled by natural forces
* Using natural light as much as possible
* Reuse/rewear linens/clothes that aren't dirty
* Taking fewer baths
* Handwashing dishes when possible
* If it's yellow, letting it mellow
* Not using the microwave - don't own one

* Using canvas bags when shopping
* Reusing produce bags
* Packing lunches with re-usable materials and water bottles
* Using diva cup/cloth mama pads
* Using the library more

* Recycling anything possible
* Using recycled paper goods

* Buying many clothes secondhand or sewing them
* Buying used/secondhand on almost everything (mainly because we're so poor)
* Using freecycle when possible
* Not buying too much
* Buying in bulk when possible
* Avoiding chain stores

* Use natural cleaning products as others are used up
* Replaced Teflon pots and pans with cast iron or stainless steel pots and pans
* Replaced mattress with natural latex mattress SOOOOO COMFY
* Switched to close to all natural body care products
* Reduced overall use of plastic
* Shampooing very infrequently (for the boys this is never! )
* Using homeopathics and prevention, no antibiotics if humanly possible!

* Built a worm bin
* Gardening in boxes & Getting herbs from garden
* Eating vegetarian (me only) or only free-range meat
* Eating as much organic as budget allows
* Eating lots raw
* Cooking from scratch nearly all the time
* Getting eggs/meat locally when possible
* Buying whole foods with minimal packaging
* Buying local produce at farmer's markets

* Don't own a car (or can't afford the petrol) walk, take the bus or carpool.



The things that we did last month were:
make the worm farm (my birthday present!),
got a rainwater tank installed, !!!
started changing light globes,
I threw out the last of the nasty kitchen chemicals (shhhhs, it's a secret!)
and planted lettuces and peas.

This month we are working on:
Turning off things as we go, unplugging
Smoke less everything (the boys, ew)
Don't use the heater/aircon at all
Rinse plates after use more strictly!
Change out all the light bulbs
Cut down on bleach use for yucky washing (me)
Get a couple of indoor plants!
Research fish food and buy it in bulk (me)
Eat from scratch every day, only get take-away once a week, and only from our local businesses. No fast foods!
Get my textbooks for this semester second-hand

ETA: I need to sew more cloth pads from my old pajama pants... mine are starting to tear from years of use! And my goal is to try sewing a skirt this month with second-hand fabric and see if it turns out well!

So.... can I join? I have so many questions to ask!

: Helen : Currently a veggie, dready, student, NFL nanny!:
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#24 of 30 Old 08-13-2007, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Welcome to all the new folks to this challenge! :

Expecting #2 in May 2013!

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#25 of 30 Old 08-14-2007, 04:19 PM
 
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: Just taking in wisdom

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#26 of 30 Old 08-14-2007, 09:24 PM
 
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I also just moved and this weekend I am putting up a clothesline YAY!! and getting a compost bin. I am very excited to be able to use my own compost again!

Laura WAHM to Mar 03/01/05 and Evie 05/14/08, partner to Craig
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#27 of 30 Old 08-18-2007, 08:56 PM
 
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Welcome to all the new folks to this challenge!
:

i have my empty milk carton. all set to cut it out tonight and i'll have my very own bird feeder. i'll be sure to post some pics.
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#28 of 30 Old 08-18-2007, 09:03 PM
 
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oh ya i could use some indoor plants as well. but i don't really have anywhere i could put them that my toddler won't get into.
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#29 of 30 Old 08-18-2007, 09:04 PM
 
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I'm doing so badly on my August goals. Stink-o! No progress on green holiday gifts AT ALL. I don't even have any decent ideas. And my attempts to make yogurt have not been working at all. DH is too attached to high fructose corn syrup! However, my Compact is going well--only one little slip.

But other things have been going well; the clothesline is a big hit. I've also been preserving a lot of in-season vegetables by dehydrating and freezing. I'd like to buy a small chest freezer to hold it all. I'm hoping to find a new-ish one on Craigslist!

Catherine, mama to Preschooler Girl 9/08, and Toddler Boy 3/11

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#30 of 30 Old 09-12-2007, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Please join us in the September thread!

Expecting #2 in May 2013!

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