Thursday, August 14, 2008

Going Green with Laundry

I seem to be on a laundry kick for the last few days, probably because I've been doing my monthly washing this week, and to continue this laundry love fest I thought I might look around and see what I could find in the way of Earth and people friendly detergents.

Sun and Earth products are made in the USA and are free of dyes, perfumes, and petroleum based solvents. It's even safe enough to use for baby!

This link will take you to a list of the top 5 Eco-friendly detergents (I don't know who decided that these were really the best ...). I do have to say though, I have used Method's detergent before and I liked it a lot. Thinking about it now, I don't know why I ever switched back to the regular stuff.

I also Found Ecos detergent which retails in the US, Canada, and the UK! I also thought this would be good to add to this article because of the fact that it has a store locater which could lead you to find a natural market in your area that you may not have ever known about before. When I tried it for my zip code it listed several little shops that I've never heard of before but would be interested in hitting up!

If you know of any detergents or recipes for detergents, please email them to me and I would be more than happy to add them to my list!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Conserve: Water in the Laundry Room

There are not quite as many ways to save water in the laundry room as there are ways to save energy, but I still felt that the subject deserved to be explored.
  1. Run the washer only with a full load
    • It might mean that you have to go out and buy a few more packs of panties to make it through the month without doing your laundry every week, but if I can do it, you can too!
  2. Adjust your settings to accurately reflect the size of your load
    • If you have a smaller load (like your delicates) make sure that you adjust the load size thingy on your washer.
    • Do you really need to fill up the whole washer for a load of three sweaters? I don't think so.
  3. Wear your duds more than once before tossing them in the hamper
    • Most of the time your clothes are just fine to get folded and worn a few more times before they are really dirty (or smelly) enough to warrant a washing.
    • My personal rule is that everything (with the exception of pants which get worn for a few weeks) gets worn at least 3 times before it gets washed.
  4. If you're in the market for a new washer, consider this ...
    • Front load washers use a lot less water than top loaders (why? I'm not really sure.)
    • Getting a front load washer that has an energy star label? You are going above and beyond my friend.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Conserve: Electricty in the Laundry Room

Now that you aren't using your dryer anymore and are getting the maximum usage of your drying line (you are, aren't you?) in the backyard before you move the operation indoors for the winter, I think it's high time to talk about how you can save energy in your washing machine.

If you go to Google and type in "wash in cold" the first page that comes up is one from Carbon Conscious Consumer and I can tell you that every page after that pretty much will tell you the same thing (and then tell you that they got it from this page). It pretty much says that heating water uses a ton of energy nationwide and that you really don't need to wash in hot water to get your clothes clean.

And I can attest to that. I have been washing my clothes in the cold/cold cycle for so long that I can't even remember when I started. I do know that the reason I started was that I found out that washing in cold means that when you wash that new red shirt in a load of whites (yes, I am speaking from experience here), everything comes out the same color it was when it went in.

If you're worried about the nasties in your clothes stop and think about it. How dirty do you really get during the day? If you aren't a toddler, I bet the answer is not very. I throw a little bit of color safe bleach with every load anyway to make sure that my clothes are genuinely clean.

If you need to wash something in hot water there are still a few things that you can do to cut down on your energy consumption. Use the warm option instead of hot and be sure to use cold in the rinse cycle (it's the warm/cold setting on your washer).

And of course, using an Energy Star washer will save you even more.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Conserve: Paper

Did you know that the average American uses 749 pounds of paper a year? That's a lot of paper. I don't know about you, but when I read that number it made me want to work hard to make my number much smaller. So what can you do to make your usage number smaller? Here are a bunch of good tips that I've found.
  1. Go paperless when you can
    • I already have been receiving paperless statements from my credit card companies. I've also heard that there are lots of banks that are now offering paperless accounts.
    • Pay your bills online. Not only will you be saving paper, you'll save money on checks and postage.
    • Instead of printing off your receipts online, consider downloading a Cute PDF writer that will take a screen shot of your computer and put it into a PDF file for you to keep forever, sans paper.
  2. Recycle it when you're done
    • This is a no brainer for you all, but I felt it was worth reiterating (need to know where to take your paper? Check out this post on recycling).
  3. Make the most of what you have
    • When you are printing things that aren't that important, think about printing them on the back of paper that has already been printed on. This is how I used to print off my notes for my college classes.
    • You can also set your printer to print on both sides of the paper.
  4. Consider using paper made from materials other than trees
    • The Kenaf plant is gaining popularity for being a fast growing crop (versus trees that can take 70 years to mature).
    • You can get it from Vision Paper. Talk to your employer to see if maybe you can switch from plain old recycled paper to awesome new tree-free paper.
  5. Just avoid it
    • When you give a presentation at work, keep it in Power Point and only print off hard copies for the people who really need them (like your boss). Offer to email it to anyone who wants a copy.
    • Send emails instead of paper memos (but I don't think it's wise to skip sending that birthday card to your niece).
    • Before you hit the print button think about if you really need a hard copy. Can it be saved as a PDF instead?
    • Or you can follow in the footsteps of one intrepid artist and stop using paper altogether.
Keep in mind that these ideas can be applied in the office and at home. Now, go forth greenies, and save a tree (or plant a tree if you are feeling really Earth friendly).

I got my information from the NY Times,, and

Monday, August 4, 2008

Challange check-up

Sorry for the several days of no posting. I went out of town for a wedding and didn't have access to a computer. Plus, I am starting to struggle for post topics. Hopefully I will start up again soon and you will have everything you could want to read about being/going green.

I thought I might do a little check in about my challenge, even though it hasn't been a month yet (it seems like a lot longer). So far so good. I keep forgetting about it but I always remember if someone says something about shopping. I haven't had to go out of my way to avoid temptation and honestly I haven't had the desire to spend money I don't have.

I'm still looking for a quality website that will tell me where I can purchase responsibly made garments. I'm sure something is out there, it's just a matter of being persistent enough to find it.

If any of you are challenging yourselves also, I hope that you're doing well so far. I would love to hear from you!