Today’s Go Green to Save Green posts is about making your own cleaning supplies. Not only do they contain infinitely less chemicals than many commercial brands, they can cost a lot less, too!
It was when I was pregnant with my first child that I started to seriously reconsider my cleaning habits. Here I was in full-blown first-time mom mode, trying to eat perfectly, painting the nursery with low VOC paint, etc. The light bulb went off that commercial cleaners might not be the safest thing to play with while pregnant–or EVER.
I ordered Eco-friendly cleaners from online stores; at the time, I had a very hard time finding them in Green Bay! Lucky for everyone the “green” movement caught on and you can find them at most grocery and big box stores now. I also found some great books on the subject that I continue to use to this day:
- Naturally Clean: The Seventh Generation Guide to Safe & Healthy, Non-Toxic Cleaning
- The Naturally Clean Home: 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning
- Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living all became cleaning resources for me. I ended up buying the books for my library because I checked them out of the library so much!
- I also relied upon my money-saving “bible”, The Complete Tightwad Gazette, which also had homemade cleaner recipes.
Today’s post is how you can save money by ditching those baggies and packing lunches with reusable containers.
Estimates are that the average brown-bag lunch requires 4 plastic baggies. If you pack lunch 5 days a week for a year, that amounts to nearly 1000 bags per person. With four kids in our family and my husband who brown bags it most days, that is an astounding number of plastic baggies.
100,000,000,000 plastic bags are thrown away by Americans each year. That’s a lot of zeros! (And that’s 100 TRILLION, dear readers).
By reusing containers or investing in some food safe sandwich wraps and tins, you could save a lot of money, and keep all that plastic out of landfills.
Last year I showed off my favorite reusable lunch products/ideas on Good Day Wisconsin (which you can view by clicking here):
- Kids Konserve Nesting Trio Stainless-Steel Containers with Leak-Proof Lids
- Kids Konserve KK069MC Orange Food Kozy, 2-Pack
- Wrap-n-Mat Reusable Sandwich Pouch, Eco Design
I’m also a big fan of these Bento Boxes:
- ECOlunchbox Three-in-One (the kids love these but because of the size, you have to be very creative on how you pack them!)
- Eco Lunch Box, Oval 2 pc set, 3 3/4 cups.
- LunchBots Uno Stainless Steel Food Container, Blue
- New Wave Enviro Stainless Steel Food Container
Want a local option? Try GreenTime Creations.
The initial investment is more than buying baggies which make it seem like a huge amount to spend. However, I’ve been using these for more than three years. And I’ll be using them for years to come.
If you’re a crafty person (I most assuredly am not), you can make your own sandwich wraps. If you’re on Pinterest, you can check out the Green Bay Consumer DIY board. Or check out:
If you try making your own sandwich wraps, make sure that the material you use is food safe!
Today’s post is about Terracycle, a national recycling program that can earn money and rewards for your favorite school, business, scout group or even as an individual.
“Our goal is to eliminate the idea of waste by creating collection and solution systems for anything that today must be sent to a landfill.” – Terracycle website
Terracycle upcycles and recycles products that are not themselves recycled in traditional recycling programs. Stuff like dairy containers (sour cream, Philly Cooking Creme, etc), Capri Sun pouches and more. They currently collect items and make more than 1500 products from those items that normally end up in the trash. I’ve seen these items sold at stores such as Target and Walmart, like a backpack made from juice drink bags.
Here’s how their Collection programs work (called Brigades)
- Collect enough approved packaging to fill up a box or bag (approved waste is listed below). Remember to always reuse a shipping box or bag and use eco-friendly padding as needed!
- Download a pre-paid shipping label from terracycle.com. To acquire a pre-paid label, simply access your TerraCycle account online, and click “SHIP US YOUR WASTE”. You can print them out yourself or request that TerraCycle send the label.
- Ship the box to TerraCycle by affixing the pre-paid postage label and dropping it off at a UPS location.
While some brigades have a cost, many are free. Terracycle pays the shipping and for every unit of waste you send to them, you’ll earn at least $0.02 to a charity or school of your choice.
For more information on the Terracycle program, click here.
Be sure to check out Green Bay Consumer all month for more tips, tricks and resources to help you save the earth and save your pocketbook.
Today’s post is to convince you all to upgrade your lightbulbs from the traditional style to Energy Star qualified bulbs.
The initial cost is greater than the type of bulb Thomas Edison invented, but it’s worth the investment. If every house in the U.S. replaced one regular light bulb with a low-energy bulb, it would save about $600 million in annual energy costs, not to mention the prevention of 9 BILLION pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, too.
An ENERGY STAR qualified light bulb:
- Saves money about $6 a year in electricity costs and can save more than $40 over its lifetime
- Meets strict performance requirements that are tested and certified by a third party
- Uses about 75% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb and lasts at least 6 times longer
- Produces about 75% less heat, so it’s safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling
- Learn more about the difference of ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs
Be sure to check out Green Bay Consumer throughout the month for more tips, tricks and resources to help you save the earth and save your pocketbook.