Posts filed under ‘eco-friendly’
A few weeks ago I received our rate renewal form from our electric supply company. I read over the documentation and noticed that there were two options available.
Here are the original rates in the renewal notice I received:
- .0929 per kWH for 5% wind
- .097 per kWH for 50% wind
As you can see if I want to receive 50% of my electricity from a renewable source, (in this case wind), I have to pay more per kWH hour. Here is some information on wind power from the company who provides my electricity.
Wind power, the world’s fastest growing energy resource, displaces conventional power, reduces carbon dioxide and your carbon footprint, and helps eliminate air pollution problems such as smog and acid rain. Plus, wind is an unlimited resource with an unlimited supply!
I googled wind powered energy and after reading some very interesting details about wind farms I decided that I was willing to pay a higher premium for clean, renewable energy. Of course, before sending in the renewal form I called the electric supply company to inquire about rates. I also researched comparable rates for other companies offering clean energy alternatives.
Over the phone I was provided with the following rates:
- .088 per kWH for 5% wind
- .092 per kWH for 50% wind
I had already decided to select the 50% wind option, but hearing the new rate sealed the deal. I received the environmentally friendly choice at less than I would have paid for only 5% wind power, (.092 versus .0929), if I had sent in the original renewal form.
I certainly could have saved more money by choosing traditional energy sources, but from an environmental perspective I feel good about my decision.
So what about you? Would you be willing to spend more money for clean, renewable energy?
Last year my husband and I had new windows and doors installed in our home. In fact, we had every exterior door and window replaced. We did this for two reasons. First, our old windows were absolutely abysmal. Many of the windows couldn’t be opened, a few of the panes were cracked and the screens in just about every one had holes that allowed bugs of all types to fly in. On nice warm days I was unable to open most of the windows and I couldn’t stand the fact that we couldn’t let in the fresh air.
I don’t typically participate in Black Friday. In fact, rather than buying lots of new stuff I typically spend the day cleaning out the house and gathering items for charity, but today I couldn’t resist a few collective buying bargains.
- Plum District: $15 for $50 Worth of All-Natural, Organic Products at Ecomom[.com] (I used coupon code enjoy10 to save $10 and plan to give it as a gift.)
- Plum District: $2 for the I Like Book (I bought this yesterday with a different code, but you can use enjoy10 on it today)
- Living Social: $20 for a ShopRunner membership which includes One-Year Membership for Free Two-Day Shipping, Free Returns, and Member Deals from Great Stores (I used $10 worth of deal bucks.)
- Groupon: $10 for $20 Worth of Apparel and Accessories (This one was a gift.)
Over the last year or two I started searching for alternative products that contain less harsh chemicals and ingredients. I’ve started looking more diligently for sales on organic cleaners and started searching the grocery store for organic fruits, veggies and meats.
Most of the time the organic/healthier alternative is quite a bit more expensive, so if I find a great deal I really stock up. When Harris Teeter ran a special on Seventh Generation products last year I printed out a bunch of dollar off coupons and loaded up. I filled my cart with five bottles of laundry detergent, six bottles of dish washing soap, four bottles of dish washing liquid, four bottles of cleaners and a few boxes of dryer sheets. After coupons some items were free and the rest cost just a dollar or two.
While I’m not a fanatic I do try to buy the organic version of products that I think really make a difference.
Of course now that I’m pregnant I’m even more careful about how I clean and consume. I always paint my nails when springtime arrives, but after reading about all of the chemicals in nail polish I’ve been hesitant to buy any.
While $8 certainly won’t break me, I find myself torn between the ‘price conscious’ part of me and the ‘environmentally conscious’ part of me. After all I can typically purchase a bottle of nail polish at the drug store on sale and with coupons for less than $1. Of course, in this case, one alternative is to do nothing at all. If I don’t want to paint my nails with toxic chemicals I can simply leave them unpainted, but I’m conflicted between leaving them unpainted or paying for the pricier alternative.
Nail polish is just one example. In fact, I find myself faced with this dilemma quite often. When presented with two items on the store shelf, I’m not always certain which to choose. Sometimes I pick the eco-friendly option and sometimes I opt for the cheaper price, but I almost always find myself hesitating before making my selection.
Am I the only one faced with this dilemma? How do you decide which product to choose and how often do you choose the healthier, more eco-friendly option?
Is it just me or does a simple purchase seem much more complex these days? I head to the store in search of eggs, but I can’t figure out which carton to place in my basket. There’s store brand, regular, cage-free, all-natural and organic. What’s the difference between cage-free, all-natural and organic anyway?
As if that isn’t complex enough I’m not sure if I should bypass all of these offerings for a local carton at the farmer’s market. After all, I have no idea where any of these eggs came from or how much fuel it took them to get from there to here.
As I fill my cart with groceries I find myself repeating this same series of questions over and over. It starts in the produce section at the front of the store and continues all the way around to dairy.
Not so long ago I based all of my food purchases solely on price. I compared the prices of each carton of eggs, searched around for a coupon and picked up the one that cost the least. These days price is just one factor in the larger decision.
Now I’m forced to consider the overall health of the product and impact to the environment. After all I don’t want to contribute to polluting the earth or my body with pesticides and toxins. Is it better to buy local or organic? It’s a question that plagues me as I stare at the strawberries.
I started a box garden last year and added a few boxes this spring in hopes of growing produce in my own backyard. I purchased organic seeds and vowed not to spray anything on the tiny seedlings that are beginning to emerge, but those tiny gardens won’t exactly feed me for an entire summer, let alone all year.
So when did the simple act of buying eggs and strawberries become so difficult and what’s a girl to do in light of all of these options?
This afternoon I dropped off an old pair of shoes with a local shoe cobbler. I’m not positive, but I think I’ve owned this same pair of shoes since college. They aren’t special. They aren’t extraordinary. They are simply the most comfortable, black leather loafers I’ve ever worn. When I lived in the city I logged miles on these shoes. I walked back and forth from the metro to graduate school and from home to work and back again. Since that time those shoes have been through three different offices and a host of special occasions.
As I was cleaning out the clutter in my closet I pulled them aside and thought about getting rid of them. The trouble is that I’ve never found a pair quite like them. I’ve bought my fair share of black loafers since that time and believe me none have been as comfortable. In fact, right beside my old shoes sit two relatively new pairs that almost never see the light of day, because they just aren’t as comfy.
As part of my goal to get rid of 50 things I put the old shoes in a pile to be tossed, but as I boxed up the trash and bundled the items for goodwill I just couldn’t bear to get rid of them. Over the years the leather has faded and the tips have scuffed, but still I cannot let them go. Rather than discarding them I decided to take them to the shoe cobbler for repair. For twenty dollars he’ll replace the soles and polish the leather. I’m not sure how they’ll turn out, but I’m excited to see what he can do with them.
While I was in the store I noticed bags of shoes stocked to the ceiling. It seems the shoe cobbler’s business is booming as a result of the recent recession. He’s seeing more and more new customers and repairing more and more shoes. He said it costs a lot less to repair an old pair of shoes then it does to purchase new ones. He also said that the green movement is causing people to reconsider throwing items away just because they’ve gotten older.
I felt a strange sense of satisfaction dropping off those shoes this afternoon. I’m happy that my favorite pair of shoes will be repaired, I’m happy that I didn’t fill the landfill with another unwanted item and I’m happy that I brought business to the shoe cobbler who works in a disappearing industry. In fact, according to the Shoe Service Institute of America, there are just 7,000 shoe-repair shops left in the U.S., down from more than 120,000 during the Great Depression.
As a kid I can remember my father pulling out his brown and black polish kits and shining his shoes every other weekend. I remember him taking shoes to the cobbler for new soles on a number of occasions. In fact, I bet he had the same pair of shoes for over twenty years. I hope I can get my favorite pair to last another five or ten.
I’ve been eyeing new Christmas lights for the last few years. I love the energy efficiency of LEDs, but I couldn’t bear the idea of throwing away perfectly good incandescent ones. I tried to donate our old lights but I couldn’t find a donation center willing to take them. It turns out that Christmas lights are synonymous with household fires and the centers didn’t want to take on the risk of selling them to anyone. So every time my husband and I passed by Christmas displays I’d point out the LED version and say “one day we need to make the switch.”
Well that time has finally come. It turns out that Home Depot is holding a Christmas Light Trade-In now through November 15th. If you take in your old, incandescent strands they’ll take $3 off your next purchase of LED lights (up to five strands).
At my local Home Depot the customer service representative told me to take the old Christmas lights up to the register along with the new lights I wanted to purchase. The cashier counted each incandescent strand, (five in total), and deducted $3 from each of the five boxes I purchased. Just like that I walked out of Home Depot with brand new LED Christmas lights and managed to send my old ones off to be recycled. Each box was less than $3.
I know some people are skeptical of whether or not companies actually recycle, but here are the details according to the Home Depot ad:
How Lights Are Recycled:
The light bulb coupler and the socket plug are manually clipped. Three byproducts result and four categories of raw materials. Each byproduct is independently shredded for separation, returning glass HDPE plastics, and non-ferrous copper as well as ferrous steel. The prepared separated raw materials are then sent to licensed smelters for re-casting or re-molding, all in accordance with local, state and Federal statutes.
I’m really happy my husband and I made the switch.
I’m constantly on the search for products that benefit both the earth and my wallet. While searching for an alternative to laundry detergent and dryer sheets I came across the Complete Laundry System. The system includes one round laundry ball and two pointy shaped dryer balls.
The laundry ball is placed into your washing machine without any laundry detergent. I wondered how this tiny little laundry ball could clean my clothes without any soap. According to the manufacturer the tiny ball creates an energy field when agitated in the machine, which thins the water and helps it move through the fibers of your clothing.
I will admit that I was skeptical at first. I stuck the ball in a dirty load of laundry with some of my husband’s stinkiest t-shirts. I thought for sure that they would still smell when I pulled them from the washer, but as unbelievable as it may seem the clothes came out smelling fresh and clean.
Then I tried the dryer balls. My husband and I actually hang all of our laundry to dry on a pipe in the basement, but we do run the clothes through the dryer on ‘air’, with a dryer sheet, just to fluff them and get the wrinkles out. My husband was very skeptical of the balls and claimed they wouldn’t soften the clothes the way he likes. We tossed the dry laundry into the dryer and added the two pointy shaped balls. Fifteen minutes later we pulled out soft, wrinkle-free shirts. Admittedly the clothes weren’t quite as soft as they are when using dryer sheets, but they were plenty soft and wrinkle free.
The best part about the Complete Laundry System is that the dryer balls are designed to last a lifetime and even more importantly they replace those awful dryer sheets! The laundry ball is designed to last at least three years or 2,000 washes, whichever comes first.
Mystic Wonders has kindly offered a Complete Laundry System to one reader of One Frugal Girl. For an opportunity to win please leave a comment below telling me why you’d like to try this product. This giveaway will end Monday, May 18th.
** This giveaway is now closed. The winner has been contacted and has 48 hours to respond to my email. If I do not receive a response within 48 hours another winner will be chosen.
Late last night I finally got around to watching Oprah’s Earth Day episode. The show began with a conversation between Oprah and Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of Jacques Cousteau. Fabien Cousteau talked in great detail about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a heap of garbage swirling in the Pacific Ocean between the coast of California and the coast of Japan. A heap of garbage that is estimated to be twice the size of Texas.
According to the show, “in some places, the floating debris—estimated to be about 90 percent plastic—goes 90 feet deep. Elsewhere, there are six times more pieces of plastic than plankton, the main food source for many sea animals. Marine biologists estimate that about 80 percent of the litter is from land, either dumped directly into waterways or blown into rivers and streams from states as far away as Iowa.”
The show depicted deep sea turtles mistaking plastic bags for food and birds wrapped in plastic debris. I must admit that I had never heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch before, but I was appalled by the site of mounds of garbage floating in the deep blue sea.
In general my husband and I actually generate very little true garbage. We do fill up the recycle bin at least half way each week, but on average we throw out only one large bag full of trash. We primarily eat food found around the perimeter of the grocery store, items like fruits, vegetables, cheese, milk, yogurt and meats that don’t contain a lot of packaging. We don’t eat frozen dinners and we almost never bring home takeout, so in general we keep the garbage in our house to a minimum. We do have staples on hand like pasta and canned tomatoes, but we don’t purchase a lot of individual packaged items or snack items like cookies and crackers.
I keep reusable grocery bags in my car and use them whenever we go to the grocery store. In fact, the few times that I have forgotten to bring them inside, I’ve actually left my cart full of groceries and gone back out to the car to retrieve them.
I don’t shop particularly often, but when I do I try my best to remember to bring my reusable bags with me. For some reason, it’s a bit harder to remember to bring them into Target or Marshalls, but I’m trying my best not to forget.
Here are a few facts about plastic bags from a website called 1 Bag at a Time:
- The petroleum used to make 14 plastic bags could drive a car 1 mile.
- An estimated 100,000 marine animals are killed annually by plastic bags.
- Cities spend up to 17 cents per bag in disposal costs wasting millions of tax dollars.
- In some parts of the ocean there are 6 pounds of plastic for every pound of fish.
- Americans use 380 billion plastic bags each year.
This Mother’s Day I have decided to purchase reusable shopping bags for my all of my family members. It’s not exactly a glamorous gift, but it’s the least I can do to help my family and the earth. My husband has become a complete convert. Not necessarily, because he wants to save the earth, but more so because the reusable bags can hold so much more and are so much easier to carry.
According to 1 Bag at a Time: The use of reusable shopping bags twice a week for two years would save the need for 832 plastic bags. It would conserve enough petroleum to drive 60 miles and save 11 pounds of garbage from reaching the landfill.
This year I’m going green for Mother’s Day… Here’s to hoping my mother and mother-in-law like their gifts!
If you’re interested in spending less, saving more and living a greener life watch this video. It’ll definitely make you think twice about filling your life with unnecessary purchases. I find more and more often that my husband and I can make do with whatever it is we already own. I can’t remember the last time I really needed to buy something other than food or toilet paper. I did buy a couple of books recently, but at least they were all purchased second-hand.