Monday, December 29, 2008

Fabric Wrapping Bags

A great alternative to paper gift wrap for your holiday (or birthday, wedding, bar mitzvah, baby shower, etc...) is to buy or make reusable cloth gift bags. You can reuse them each year, or they can be passed along each time someone receives and gives a gift.

Check out the Lucky Crow for some stylish and reusable gift wrap.

If you want to make your own bags, Spoonflower is a website where you can design your own fabric.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Reduced salt area

Today we rented a car to get myself, my husband, and our 2 cats to my parent's house in MA for the holidays. (I know, cars are not as eco-friendly as public transportation, but traveling with pets is challenging. Plus, we don't own a car, so I feel that renting one every so often actually is eco-friendly. It's car-sharing.)

There was an intense snow storm and the roads were intimidating at times. It got me thinking about all the salt and chemicals that get thrown on the roads (and then run off the roads or gets stepped on by us and our pets). There are even signs on the roads in MA that say Reduced Salt Area because a local aquifer or preserve is near by.

I searched around on the internet a little, and found a couple interesting alternatives to salt for the roads or your car. The Daily Green had an article about beet juice as a potential alternative (some kinks still need to be worked out, but it's great to hear the wheels of change are in motion.) There's also an eco-friendly deicer called IceClear. And most intriguingly, scallop shells are being considered as an alternative in Japan because of their calcium carbonate.

Additionally, a simple home remedy to make starting your car in the morning easier, is to wash the windshield with equal parts water and vinegar will discourage frost from forming in the first place.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Light Lunch

I have been making lunch for myself and my husband to take to work with us for as long as I can remember. (My mother had me making my own school lunches in first grade, and I've kept it up ever since.)

We each have a canvas lunch bag, and I fill Glad-Ware and Zip-Lock reusable containers with our sandwiches, veggies, and snacks. I'll admit it, my original intent was to save money, but I recently thought about how many plastic bags I've been saving while doing this as well. Let's say I make lunch for the two of us 4 times a week. Each lunch would normally require about 3 plastic sandwich bags (sandwich, veggies, snack). That's 6 plastic sandwich bags a day between the two of us. Times that by 4 days a week, and that's 24 plastic sandwich bags we're not using. (Not to mention all the to-go containers and wrappers.)

I also have my own silverware, glass, and mug at work that I can simply wash after each use.

The best part is that my lunches have inspired other people (at my office and my husband's) to start packing their own! Home-made lunches are healthier, more economical, and help save the environment... what's not to like?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Yesterday I took my LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) accreditation exam and passed! I studied for over two months, and every minute was worth it. It was a lot of hard work and diligence, and I have to say I am quite proud. If I may have a moment to brag, the exam only has a 34% pass rate.

I was originally inspired to take on this accomplishment when I realized that I am in an industry that consumes 40% of the total energy in the USA, and construction and demolition waste constitute over 40% of the solid waste stream in the USA. At first, being an environmentally conscious individual, I thought that I should switch careers. Then I realized I am in the perfect position to help make changes happen.

While the changes I can help facilitate in my work are on a large scale, I also like making small, easy adjustments to my daily life to help the environment and our planet. I am like a lot of people, I do not want to alter my lifestyle to the point of it being a nuisance. My goal in writing this blog is to pay attention to small habits and aspects of my life and find earth friendly answers and alternatives to questions that come up. By doing the research myself, I hope to make it easier for other people to do the same.

If you find one thing inspiring and worth changing for, it will make a difference. Thanks for reading!