Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Like a black fly in your Chardonnay

The whole idea of buying water in a plastic bottle for a dollar (or two if it’s “smart”) is pretty new—new enough to have really taken off during my relatively short lifetime.  According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation (whoever they are) the number of plastic water bottles sold in the US jumped from 3.3 billion in 1997 to 15 billion in 2002.  Eek. 
Sadly, the vast majority of these bottles are not recycled--~12% according to R.W. Beck, Inc.(again, whoever that is).  Some end up in landfills (yuck) and many end up in our natural water sources (double yuck).  The United Nations estimates that, on average, every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of plastic trash.  Also, chemicals founds in these bottles (BPA, namely) have been found in ocean waters around the world.  The final results aren’t in, but scientists think these chemical might cause all kinds of terrible health conditions in animals and people if consumed by drinking water. 
Isn’t it ironic that drinking a plastic bottle of water, a seemingly health behavior, can have such negative effects on water resources? 
So, I’m sticking to drinking out of reusable (but BPA-free) bottle whenever possible.  I have one at work, one for the gym, and a regular ol’ glass for home. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Read Right

When the Kindle came out, I hated the idea.  I was 100% convinced that there’s just something about holding a well-worn and well-loved novel with your fingertips poised to turn the page as you anxiously await the next turn of the plot that can’t be replaced.  My fellow readers know what I mean, right?    

Then I got a Kindle as a gift.  And I started trying to save the world.  So, I changed my mind (I’m allowed to do that). 

To be fair, I’m under the assumption that the creation of Kindle’s in combination with the electricity used to power them and the waste they create is less than the hard copies.  Can anyone verify that?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Wash and Wear

I am quite picky about how I do my laundry—separating by color, by type, blah, blah, blah.  I also don’t fully dry the majority of my clothes.  Most clothes, especially “nice” ones, are only dried for about 5 minutes (enough to get the wrinkles out) then I hang them on a drying rack.  Not only does this save energy, but it keeps my clothes nice longer and it works as an energy-free humidifier (much needed in the winter!).   3 times the world saving!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Do you ever fervently say that you are going to do something and then instantaneously, whole-heartedly regret what you just said?  But it’s too late to take back what you said because taking it back would mean you are only half-heartedly committed to saving the world?  Yeah…that just happened.

I said I’m going on a shopping ban.  Alas, some of you may think I’m being a bit dramatic, but I suspect there’s at least one other soul other there gasping with horror. 

Let me explain....

What exactly do I mean by a “shopping ban”?

I mean I’m going to stop buying “stuff.”  No clothes, shoes, craft supplies, beauty products, jewelry, kitchen tools, books—I think you get the idea.*

I am allowed to buy food and household necessities (e.g., laundry detergent, shampoo) when I run out.   In case you were wondering, nail polish is not a household necessity and even if I painted my nails every day this year I wouldn’t run out of nail polish.  And I can survive with one kind of shampoo.

How long will the ban last?
“They” say it takes just 3 to 4 weeks to form a new habit…just for good measure, I’m giving myself 16 weeks (1/1/2012 to 4/21/2012). 

Why am I doing this?

There’s so many reasons I HAVE to do this.  I have too much stuff.  I buy too much stuff.  I might be addicted to stuff.   I’m not proud—the excess in areas of my life is embarrassing.  And, it’s WASTEFUL.  A waste of energy (READ: doesn’t save the world), space, money, time, and who knows what else. 

 Admittedly, I’ve been yapping about doing a ban for something like 6 months.  But I can always think of something I “need” that keeps me from starting The Ban just yet.   In reality, I’m pretty sure the delay stems from my fear of failing miserably.   I’m just worried that I will get caught up in life, the pressure of keeping up with the Jones’, buy stuff, not reach this goal, AND have to announce my failure to the world wide web.  There really is something to say for getting your resolutions “out there.”  There’s no incentive as compelling as fear.   

Anyway, that’s it.  That’s what I’m doing.  Wish me luck! 

*Of course, there are a few exceptions:  
1) Snow boots if my current boots fall apart  (I live in Chicago and The Ban is not worth losing a toe)
2) Gifts (for others, not myself)
3) Craft supplies that are ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED to finish a project (I’m trusting myself to know if something is absolutely required, this mostly falls under gifts anyway).  This probably sounds like a weird exception but have a lot of craft projects planned for the cold months and don’t need any more excuses for not finishing them. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Holy Poo!

Let me start with same simple facts.  I have my limits.  The point of this blog is to prove to myself (and hopefully others) that one everyday person really can make a difference in the world.  But, I’m not insane. 

The other day, I was watching TLC’s “Extreme Cheapskates” (yes, I somewhat regularly enjoy crappy TV, ridicule away).  Oh how the Midwest cheapskates and world savers (who are often one and the same) were representing. 

One Kansas cheapskate profiled was a stay-at-home mom of six kids.  That fact alone says that this is one brave, brave lady.  But, in case you need further convincing of her bravery, listen to how she saves an extra 20 bucks a month….BY NOT BUYING TOILET PAPER.  Instead, she enlists her kids to cut up old cloths into squares which are placed next to the toilet and used in place toilet paper.  Used squares are then thrown in a bucket next to the loo and washed. 

Let’s all give that lady a round of golf claps for doing the unthinkable. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Throwing Rocks at Birds*

Once my husband said something along the lines of “It’s like I was throwing rocks at two birds.”   I gasped, “Why are you throwing rocks at birds?!?!?!”  Thankfully, what he meant to say was, “It’s like I killed two birds with one stone.”  To be fair, English is his second language. 

Anyway, that was about 99% off-topic.  The point is, I received a creative, world-saving gift from mom that does exactly that---figuratively kills two birds with one stone.  She gave me a handy-dandy bag made out of...*drum roll*….used plastic grocery bags!  It’s the “bag of all bags” (I can’t take credit for this clever play on words—it’s on the bag’s tag).  Upcycling at its best = world saving bird #1.   

And, it’s no coincidence that I am posting this right after this post.  Looks like I have my first reusable grocery bag!  Using re-usable bags = world saving bird #2.

The bag was made by world-saver Julie Starbuck, who crochets the used plastic grocery bags (recognize the old school Walmart bags?  I do!) into the snazzy new usable bags.  The new bag is even washable (cold water)—which makes it a perfect veggie/fruit grocery bag (or beach tote or slobbery dog toy carrier or lunch bag or countless other uses).

If you would like to purchase your very own snazzy bag, you can contact Julie at or 660.441.0598. 

*No animals were harmed in the writing of this post or by said husband

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Recall ages ago I said there were two simple world-saving things I had a hard time doing, the first being limiting my use of paper towels.  More on the progress on that front some other time. 

Here’s another struggle--using re-usable grocer bags.  It seems like everyone and their mother has taken up this green trend except me.  For whatever reason, I can’t seem to manage to get the bags to the grocery store.  I could keep some bags in my car, which would help, but I probably only use the car to get grocery shop 50% of the time (and remember to put them back in the car).  So, I have to carry the bag with me at all times or I have to actually remember when I head to the grocery store (assuming I also start planning these trips in advance since I often just swing by after work).   

On the bright side, I don’t just throw away the bags I get from the grocery store.  I use them for all kinds of things like garage bags, dirty shoe carriers, and yarn storage. 

It’s still pretty lame. So, my goal over the next couple of weeks is to a) make some reusable bags, b) stuff them in places like the car and my work bag, and c) start using them. 

Anyone have any tips?

We’ll see what happens.