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Recent Links

29 December 2011

While I’m off on vacation enjoying time with family and friends, I though I’d share a few links I came across recently (as in the past few weeks), some of them through readers of the blog.  Feel free to share any good stories, blog posts, or other information that you’ve stumbled upon in the comments!

Find Me Elsewhere

28 December 2011

I’ve disappeared with the holidays. There’s been get togethers, travel, and a lot of meals to eat. Life is rough.

If you want to here more about my adventures in green living, head on over to Decoy Betty’s blog for a my guest post.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be back someday with more posts to share, but I’m not promising anything in the near future.

Friday Tidbit: Oil Changes

23 December 2011

For most of us, having a car is necessary.  I know I couldn’t have survived the last few months without mine. Work and school were just too far apart.

While cars are a major source of pollution, you can reduce you impact on the environment by the choices you make in car care.

Huffington Post had a great slideshow about things to keep in mind when it comes to changing your oil.

There were a few things that stuck out to me as being especially important when it comes to your car.  Recycle used oil or make sure the shop that does your change recycles.

NEVER dump waste into storm drains.  Those drains lead directly to water sources.  It’s worse than dumping something down your sink as that leads to the sewer system and water processing facilities.

Finally, the 3,000 rule is a bit of a myth. Check your manual to see how often you should get your oil changed.  I have to get changes every 5,000 miles.

Wrapping Presents

22 December 2011

Every year around Christmas time, I’m struck by how much waste the holiday creates.  Not only do you have packaging for all these brand new products, but there is also all the wrapping material used.

It’s a lot.

I have a couple quick recommendations for being a little more conscious when wrapping presents this year.

1. Present your gift in a useful container or object.  For example, place baking supplies in an oven mitt and wrap in a bow, put clothes or linens in a basket that can be used again, or give a gift in a mason jar or other multipurpose container (think mixes, candles, or other treats).

2. Use fabric.  For years, my aunt has made gift bags out of Christmas fabric.  This makes it immediately useful for the gift recipient the next year.  These bags can work for gifts of any shape, too.  No more struggling to make a round object look pretty with paper.  You can also use cloth ribbon, which is easier to reuse.

3.  Alternatives to typical wrapping paper. Think beyond that shiny paper with bows and bells.  While more and more wrapping paper is recyclable, not all of it is.  This year, my roommate used brown wrapping paper and twine to wrap her packages.  They look gorgeous and earthy.

4. Gift bags. These are especially easy to reuse in future years.  Just make sure to remove the tag from this year. 🙂

5. Don’t wrap really big gifts.  Instead, cover it with a sheet or blanket, or have the recipient close their eyes.  Or, if it’s a car, just park it in the driveway with a bow on top.  That has always been a hit for me (I kid, I have not and will not ever give someone a car as a gift).

What other options can you think of?  How do you wrap your presents?

Happy Thriftmas

19 December 2011

I was raised by a man who loves a good deal and saving money.

If he’s running errands on Saturday and sees a sign for a garage sale, you better believe he’s stopping.  He knows when the big sales happen and what stores carry discount merchandise.

We grew up with the heat set to 68 (Fahrenheit, obviously) at the highest.  And you better believe that I know where to find the best deal on gas (he actually switched his prescription to earn more points towards discounted gas).

The man is a professional.

This year he wanted to take it to a new level, by doing a handmade/secondhand Christmas.  The only new items allowed under the tree must be made by someone or an essential like underwear (because thrifted underwear would just be gross and wrong).

I’ve found some great things for most of my family.  The hardest part, to me, is that there’s a bigger time commitment since you can’t expect to find certain items in one trip.

I’ll let you know how it all comes out on Christmas day.

Friday Tidbit: Biking Infographic

16 December 2011

I saw this infographic this week after REI tweeted it.  And after my posts about biking and walking, I thought it would be interesting to share.

This is actually a three part infographic.  While I thought about sharing it over the course of three weeks, it all ties together, so you are getting it all now.  Hopefully the stats don’t overwhelm you.

By the way, these were posted by Co.Design just a few days ago.

biking and health facts

Click to enlarge.

Two things stick out from the first section: you can lose 13 pounds in your first year of biking.  If you’ve been worried about your weight, that seems like a pretty easy option.  Second, 70% of Americans’ car trips are less than 2 miles. 2 miles!  That is not very far at all.

biking and health facts

Keep in mind these are correlations, not causations, but still.  If you have a short commute, the amount of money you’d save biking due to gas, health related expenses, and more, is pretty high.  Also, $8.00/gallon.  If that happened in the US, we’d revolt.

biking and health facts

Do any of these facts surprise or shock you?

Taking a Break

12 December 2011

I just wanted to write a quick note here.  It’s finals week at school and I have quite a bit to accomplish in the next day or two.  I’ll be back later this week with more posts, but until this I’ll have my head glued to computer screen looking at a website I’m “building” (with the help of a WordPress theme) and Word.

But don’t worry, I’m not taking a break from all the green changes I’m making.  I still have lots to do there, just not enough time to share it all with you.