Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Household Cleaners

Read how to make your own from common household non-toxic items here.

PROS: Saves money, saves packaging, spares you the toxic fumes and contaminants

CONS: May take a bit more time to make it than buy it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dog Hair

Too much dog hair hanging out around the house?  Check out this book on how to knit a sweater from your dogs hair.

No Pros or Cons on this one.  I think it speaks for itself.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


If you're getting a haircut, grab the extra hair and put it out on your lawn or in a bush.  It's organic so at worst it'll break down, and birds like to use it to make nests.

Another option, if you have a lot of hair or are a haircutter by trade is to send your trimmings to Matter of Trust where they use it to make mats for cleaning up oil spills.

Finally, if you are cutting hair that is longer than ten inches, you can send it off to Locks of Love. They weave them into wigs and give them to people who have lost their hair to cancer and other diseases. It's a great cause and a great re-use of your hair.

PROS: Helps others

CONS: It's a bit of a pain to collect the hair but it's not too big a deal.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Plastic Bags

Face it, there's no need for these things and they are destroying the planet.  China has outlawed them, Ireland has taxed them, and hopefully soon the US will start dealing with the problem as well. Plastic bags create a tremendous amount of waste (over a million enter US landfills a minute) and waste a great amount of petroleum since that's what they are made from.

Your best bet is to get some good re-usable bags.  They range anywhere from 99 cents to a few bucks and each one (or at least a well made one) will replace thousands of plastic bags over it's lifetime. On top of that, with a 5 cent back per bag refund from most grocery stores, they'll actually pay for themselves and then keep making you money.

Your best bet is to have a few by the door, a few in the car, and one in your purse or bag (Chico bags are small enough to fit in there without getting in the way).  Whole Foods sells a good full size bag for 99 cents that's made from recycled bottles and has a lifetime warranty (they'll replace it for free).

On top of that, take the pledge and just say that you'll never take another plastic bag again. After that, you'll find yourself at the store once or twice without a bag and have to juggle things out, but trust me, that'll convince you pretty quickly.

PROS: Better for the environment, better for your pocket, actually saves you money over the long run.

CONS: Takes a little while to get used to keeping bags handy but eventually you won't even think about it.


Instead of getting subscriptions to magazines for yourself, think about seeing what your friends get and sharing what you have with them as well.  Most people end up disposing of magazines when they are finished with them and this can allow you all to have access to a larger number of periodicals while not adding to the waste made from disposing of them.  

When you are done reading them, consider donating them to a local hospital.  They pass them out to patients and use them in the waiting rooms and are really appreciated.

Finally, if you have the time, most libraries maintain multiple subscriptions and you can also find a number of mags online as well.

PROS: Saves you money, fosters community by creating interaction with your neighbors, decreases energy and resource use in magazine printing and transporting.

CONS: May create a lag in reading new issues so for current events mags this may not be a practical solution.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


If you are like me you think that you are handier around the house than you are and like to have the right tool for every job.  That said, many tools are not needed very often. I'd suggest two options as opposed to going out and buying a tool every time you need one. 

Many hardware stores rent larger, and some smaller, tools so if it something you are only going to use once, consider renting it before buying and adding to the whole consumption stream.

Better yet, why not get together with your neighbors and put together a list of the tools that everyone has that can be borrowed. If you have neighbors that you know, this can be a great way to help eachother, save on money, and even get someone else to help with those larger jobs around the house.

PROS: Builds community, saves money, diminishes the waste stream from unnecessary consumption

CONS: Takes a little bit of planning ahead of time and there is the possibility of someone not taking care of your tools as you would.


While there are many online recipes for toothpaste, trust me when i say that you don't want to go there.  Toms of Maine is a really good responsible company that has a line of all natural toothpastes.  Best of all, if you take the plastic cap off when you are finished, you can recycle the tubes with your aluminum cans.

I also use a little squeezer on my tubes so i can get every little last drop out before it hits the recycling bin.

PROS: Less nausea with toothpaste, less landfill space used by using a recyclable product, less time than making your own toothpaste

CONS: Compared to the homemade stuff, very few