What Are You Doing To 'go Green'

Lounge By snowshoe1 Updated 4 Jul 2008 , 1:21pm by -K8memphis

snowshoe1 Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 12:27pm
post #1 of 23

I thought it would be nice to share some tips on what we are all doing to 'go green.' Over the past few years my family has been trying to change some of our habits (mostly the obvious things - turning off lights, checking fridge tempatures, etc...), but I'm sure there is much more we can be doing. Would love to hear some of your tips. Here is what we are up to:

- drive a Honda Civic hybrid (yes - DH still has a small SUV but we try to use that only when we need the space)
- I live near the metro NYC area so we try to use public transportation when possible
- my company gave me a solar-powered packpack (charges laptop, I-Pod, cell phone, etc...). I'm not sure if these are on the market yet as I know ours were tests.
- try to use organic products as often as possible to avoid chemicals in water, ground, etc... This includes not only food but personal care and household products.
- no bottled water (unless on the road and desperate!)
- use our own shopping bags whenever possible
- we don't use the CF lightbulbs; I'm not sure if we should be as there seems to be much controversy over these so I'd be interested in hearing what others think
- when remodeling our bathroom tried to go with eco-friendly products (e.g. bamboo, concrete, etc...)

Again, love to hear your tips so I can start incorporating much more into our lifestyle.

22 replies
mkolmar Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 1:57pm
post #2 of 23

I'm all for growing green, I just don't believe all of the hype the media shoves on us. However, I have always been cautious of what I do because not only does it help the future Earth my kids will live in but also my pocket book.

I make sure to recycle every week plastics, metal and paper. I check fridge temps and freezer temps. I did buy a better vehicle on gas that can take ethanol if need be (but don't get me started on why I refuse to buy it--I refuse to support anything that is using food for fuel and hurting people in the process and businesses.) I do watch how much I drive and make sure all my errands are done at the same time so I'm not making a ton of little trips. I've always been careful about wasting electricity and water usage. I bought energy star equipment.
I'm careful also about food waste, since this is the field I work in, the price of food rising (between gas prices and ethanol and all of the flooding/dry spells) is killing a lot of businesses off. I try to buy local products from farmers and markets as much as possible also to support my area.

-K8memphis Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 2:07pm
post #3 of 23

I don't have a real green thumb here. I tried the cost saving spirally bulbs years ago before it was cool and the very expensive thing that I was sure the kids would fight over when I was gone burnt out faster than my old bulbs. Now they say some of them have to be disposed of carefully because of the mercury.

Currently they are saying that the money you save on hybrids is flat lined when you have to replace the battery for several thousand dollars.

I think there are lots of great things we can do but y'know what? America is about the greenest place on the planet. We are very careful about emmisions and all kinds of stuff. We can be an example for most of the rest of the globe.

We can do better for sure. Sometimes I'm just not real sure how.

darandon Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 2:14pm
post #4 of 23

We have been recycling for a few years now so that is the easy part for us. I have started taking an extra recycling bin to the neighbors when there are parties for the empty beverage cans/bottles.
I have switched to the new light bulbs, but that is mainly because they last so much longer, and I"m very short and hate climbing on stuff to change light bulbs.
Our house has central AC but it is kept at 75 and I use a timer on the thermostat.

indydebi Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 2:18pm
post #5 of 23

I just don't believe my 3 minute drive to walmart is what is causing the price of gas to go sky high! I read that the U.S. Govt makes more money off of gas prices than the oil companies do .... taxes on each gallon. As long as the gov't is making big bucks on it, I don't believe they have a real interest in doing anything about it.

paper towels are made from the wood scraps used to make furniture and housing lumber .... so NOT using paper towels is almost a waste of a tree. And trees are a renewable crop.

I carry a cloth bag (that I bought at walmart) for small purchases only because I hate screwing around with all of those plastic bags (why do they give me 4 bags for 5 items?). I use the spiral light bulbs because I'm a lazy person and hate changing burnt out bulbs all the time (plus the regular 'ole light bulbs we've used our whole life are going to be discontinued.

Agree with k8.... America is already the most eco-minded country on the planet. I am sick and tired of everything being the little guy consumer's fault when I'm the one suffering for the pricing but record pricing and profits are being set everyday.

snowshoe1 Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 2:45pm
post #6 of 23

[quote="k8memphis"]Currently they are saying that the money you save on hybrids is flat lined when you have to replace the battery for several thousand dollars.quote]

Interesting...I had read that before I bought a hybrid but luckily the battery is under replacement warrenty for 10 years. For me its not a matter of saving money, but lowering emissions, using less resources, etc... Not a lot of what I do to 'go green' is to save money, as often it costs more.

indydebi - don't think your 3 minute drive makes much diff in gas prices either icon_wink.gif - its greedy speculators, developing country demands, and political unrest (including our own!). I belong to a grass-roots org that tries to lobby government and private investors, educate people, etc... on alternative fuels - but usually people roll their eyes (this does little to deter me though).

veejaytx Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 2:55pm
post #7 of 23

I believe the key word on the subject of "going green" is HYPE! Of course we all know we need to conserve, and we have known that for a long time, but some advertising person came up with a new gimmick with the going green, and it is making money for lots of people.

The fluorescent bulbs are potentially dangerous if not disposed of properly, so the government is telling us that by 2011 (I think that is the right year) we won't be allowed to use incandescent bulbs any more, so what happens when each household in the US is using the fluorescent ones and not disposing of them properly? I hate to even think about that! Also the fluorescent costs what, 3 or 4 times what the incandescent ones do but don't always last 3 or 4 times longer.

And, according to several news stories, if you go out and buy a hybrid, as expensive as they are now, it will take 5 or 6 years to cover the expense of just buying the car before you realize any savings on the gasoline.

IMHO, I think "they" have got us no matter what we do. By "going green" I think they mean we are going to spend more green to use all the new products they want us to buy and use.

Texas_Rose Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 3:08pm
post #8 of 23

We're not running the air conditioner at night anymore, not so much for the environment but just to save $$$...we got our electric bill for the month and it was $300 for a 970 sq ft apt. It was more than double last month's bill and $100 of it was a fuel adjustment charge.

So anyhow, I'm not running the air conditioner. I've got a fan by each of the beds, in the living room and in the kitchen, and I screened off the patio when we moved in, so I leave the patio door open for the breeze all night (besides I'm not asleep and if anyone breaks in that way, I'll just shoot them). I'm not running the dishwasher either. I'm pouring the water from the dehumidifier (about 4 gallons a day) into the kids' swimming pool to replace what evaporates.

We're not using those new light bulbs. I know they're supposed to be better. I'm just going to stock up on the old kind when they really get ready to quit making them. The fluorescent bulbs have a little flicker to them...most people can't see it at all but it's one of my migraine triggers.

Have you noticed how the Walmart bags have gotten thinner? I can't get the groceries into the house anymore without at least one bag breaking. DH says they're doing it to try to get everyone to switch to those bags they're selling. I just think it's odd that the stores are encouraging people to bring those bags in...doesn't it seem like whatever they save on plastic bags they'll probably lose on people shoplifting things with those bags? Especially the ones with all the pockets.

It really is funny how the whole green thing is such a fad right now. They had a gala at DH's work and the theme had to do with going green...well, they made the tables for the event out of recycled cardboard and people were there complaining that they had paid $10,000 to eat dinner on a table made out of trash icon_biggrin.gif (that was for the whole table of guests though)

snowshoe1 Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 3:13pm
post #9 of 23

[quote="veejaytx"]And, according to several news stories, if you go out and buy a hybrid, as expensive as they are now, it will take 5 or 6 years to cover the expense of just buying the car before you realize any savings on the gasoline.
quote]

Agree with you on the light bulbs which is why its stated in the OP I don't use these due to the controversy. I bought my Civic hybrid from the dealer for about $500 more than a standard Civic so my costs are already re-couped. Again, for me its about the environment - not saving money. I don't think hybrids are the ultimate answer but its the only thing mass produced now.

I had hoped I would get some good tips from other people with this post and not become a political thing. I think its really about the environment, using less chemicals, setting examples, and having healthier bodies. icon_wink.gif

darandon Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 3:36pm
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowshoe1

I think its really about the environment, using less chemicals, setting examples, and having healthier bodies. icon_wink.gif




I have long ago adjusted to using less chemicals. I use alot of vinegar/baking soda combos for cleaning. Instead of the high priced cleaners, I use the cheaper comet type cleanser. I know it is still a chemical, but a little goes along way when scrubbing. I also dilute all of the other things I use when it's not straight vinegar. It still works and is not as strong smelling as before.
I love that some of the laundry soap companys are now touting using their new "cold water" forumula. I think it is funny because I grew up washing everything in cold water. Ocasionally the towels and undies would get a load done in hot water, but it wasn't every time. Their regular product have always worked fine in cold water.

veejaytx Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 3:46pm
post #11 of 23

Excuse me, snowshoe, I didn't mean to step on your toes. I think the point of the news stories on the hybrid cars is if you go out now and buy one thinking you would save money, more than likely you won't realize that goal right away.

Like Darandon, I only wash clothes in cold water, and make sure I have a full load when I do wash. I still use the dishwasher (it isn't often with only myself to wash dishes for) but I let them air dry rather than with heat.

I keep my blinds closed most of the time, it helps the AC quite a bit, and my thermostat stays on 80 all the time.

Sorry for not posting this in my other post in order to stay within the subject of the OP.

Doug Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 4:02pm
post #12 of 23

simple go green:

select-a-size paper towels -- since switching, it takes me about 2x as long to finish a role.


and something we will rediscover as gas prices soar:

walk, bike

-K8memphis Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 4:31pm
post #13 of 23

Stop the presses. I not only got a commuter bike I recently got an upgrade. Not to mention just this morning I got s SUSPENSION SEAT POST whooo hooooo.

I have a Trek Lime--this is a bicycle with a coaster brake and a
three speed AUTOMATIC gear shifter. Yes on a bicycle, automatic--as in
don't have to think, just peddle forward and peddle back to brake icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

It Is Far Beyond Incredibly Awesome.

So the days I don't drive my car I ride my bike a 12 mile round trip. And Indy every time I ride I got yah carbon covered for four trips to Walmart!

thumbs_up.gif

mkerton Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 7:13pm
post #14 of 23

we just bought a more fuel effecient vehicle for me and drive my hubby's civic whenever we can for running errands..... we are trying to use reusable shopping bags, we have mostly changed over all the lightbulbs, I try to keep the lights off during the day (but the darn kids like to keep turning them on), i turn my thermostat up while DH is at work, because it doesnt bother me to let the house get a bit warmer during the day..... we also recycle, but we have been doing it for years.

I think for us these "hard times" have forced us to see how truly wasteful we were, if there is anything positive in going through a rough patch, its that we have been able to really "trim the fat" around my household and believe it or not I am putting more money into my savings account now, than I ever did 3 years ago. I used to hop in my car and go whenever the urge hit me, even if it was just to window shop, or heck just for the ride, now we dont do that at all. every trip must have a specific purpose. We used to eat out all the time, costing us fuel and the price of dinner...now we eat at home more. I used to toss almost all leftovers, now we eat them up. just little stuff

SaraO Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 7:40pm
post #15 of 23

Good idea to start this thread. This is good inspiration for me. Some of they things I do now are: recycle my cans, buy my fruits and veggies from farmer's markets, drive a fuel-efficient car, use reusable grocery bags, wash my clothes in cold water and air dry them, and I do use those new lightbulbs - I didn't know they had dangerous stuff in them. I'm also one of the ones who hates having to stand up on a chair to change the lightbulbs all the time.

TexasSugar Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 8:22pm
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by veejaytx

Also the fluorescent costs what, 3 or 4 times what the incandescent ones do but don't always last 3 or 4 times longer.




I put in the spiral florescent lights in my house when I moved into it. I'm in to my third year of living there and have yet to have to change one of those bulbs.

In the winter, my front porch lights is on from 6am to midnight somtimes. In the summer from about 9am to midnight. Yes I know I shouldn't leave it on all the time, but I live alone and don't have alot of neighbors so I am not going to walk across my porch and in to my house in the dark. Even with that light being on as much, it is still the orginal bulb that I put up in about 3.5 years go.

Now the bathroom lights, I think I am recplace every 3 months.

indydebi Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 9:11pm
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

Have you noticed how the Walmart bags have gotten thinner? I can't get the groceries into the house anymore without at least one bag breaking.




Thinner bags (probably to save them production monies) but the cashiers will double bag everything, so what are they saving? icon_confused.gif (I HATE double bagging! Just twice the number of bags I have to screw around with when I get home!)

MichelleM77 Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 9:48pm
post #18 of 23

Wow! I totally was thinking I was going to pop in here and post about all the hype and be bashed for it. Glad to know I am not alone!

Any Glenn Beck or Rush fans out there?

Texas_Rose Posted 3 Jul 2008 , 11:45pm
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

Have you noticed how the Walmart bags have gotten thinner? I can't get the groceries into the house anymore without at least one bag breaking.



Thinner bags (probably to save them production monies) but the cashiers will double bag everything, so what are they saving? icon_confused.gif (I HATE double bagging! Just twice the number of bags I have to screw around with when I get home!)




Our cashiers won't double bag anything. You would think the bags were coming straight out of their paychecks...they don't want to bag the sodas, milk, toilet paper, etc...they stack it up on the top of the turntable and I end up bagging it myself. Or they pack the groceries in with the cleaning chemicals and I have to stand there and fix it.

veejaytx Posted 4 Jul 2008 , 4:20am
post #20 of 23

Hi again. I've lived here in this apartment for seven years, and there are two bathroom light fixtures with six incandescent bulbs in each of them. I've never had to replace any of them.

I also get annoyed with the number of plastic bags at the grocery store, not just Walmart, the Kroger I shop is just as bad. Like TexasRose said though, if they don't use a lot you get toxic items in with your food items. I do reuse as many of them as possible, but sometimes I just have to dispose of some of them. That is pretty funny, make the bags thinner and then double them, same amount of plastic, more work to double them up.

Occasionally someone will ask if I want paper or plastic, I would prefer the paper, but paper bags are harder to carry the groceries since they don't have the handles, important when you have to walk a distance from the car to your front door! A good reason to have the reusable bags, but I only get to shop every couple of weeks, would take a lot of those bags for me to carry everything!

-K8memphis Posted 4 Jul 2008 , 12:49pm
post #21 of 23

I have an idea for crocheters. Have you ever seen the cool rugs they make with the plastic crinkle bags from Kroger and Walmart and stuff?? They are so cool.

We have a prayer shawl group where I am just the designated driver because I'm not a good crocheter. But someone brought in a really really cool rug that was crocheted from those bags. If you use all the same color you have a serviceable and nice looking product.

I don't have instructions--I'm sure it's google-able.

indydebi Posted 4 Jul 2008 , 1:11pm
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by veejaytx

I would prefer the paper, but paper bags are harder to carry the groceries since they don't have the handles,




A few groceries in town have paper bags with handles and they are GREAT!! THe handles will tear off if there's too much stuff in it and it's heavy, but overall I luv 'em! I save them and give some to my sister. Ask your stores that use paper if they would consider switching.

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