I Hate Cheap Gas

Costof a Gallon of Gas 2016

Four reasons why I hate cheap gas:

  1. Buying gas today is easier on our wallets, but burning it is not any easier on the environment.  People tend to overlook this when gas prices drop.
  2. When oil products are relatively cheap, the cost savings of recycling plastic are diminished or nonexistent.  This discourages recycling.
  3. Cheap gas means that more people will choose the large suburban rather than the hybrid car.  The atmosphere is crying.
  4. Investors/ companies that were going to put their money into Green technology might reconsider because the payback period will be longer if gas/oil is cheap.

 

How to Break your Hair’s Oil Cycle – Part One

Washing your hair.  It seems simple enough, but when you stop to think about it, the simple task of washing hair can impact a lot of things.  Most directly, it impacts your time.  Time to wash hair, comb it, and dry it (if you use an energy sucking blow drier that also damages your hair).  But besides time, there is also money spent on shampoo and conditioner (both of which have to be manufactured).  A third impact from washing your hair is water.  Water is pumped to your house, heated, used in the shower, sent to be treated (with gallons of chemicals), and then released into the environment.

With these three impacts in mind, I am trying to reduce the number of times that I wash my hair per week.  In order to do this, I will have to break my hair’s oil cycle.  I’m not a hair expert, but my understanding is that when you shower, you wash away the natural oils on your head.  Then your skin thinks it needs to make more oil to replace the oils that were washed away.  The more you wash your hair, the more oil your head will produce and this becomes the oil cycle.

As I got deeper into this green change, I wondered, how often does everyone else wash their hair? To answer this question, I surveyed 52 ladies.  Thank you to everyone who participated!  Here’s the data:

On average, we wash our hair 4 times per week, but the most frequent answer was “every other day”.  Below is a graph of all the responses.  2.5 washes per week means that the person washes their hair 2 or 3 times per week.  I know you can’t actually wash your hair in half increments.  Also, a few people mentioned that they use dry shampoo sometimes.  This data represents wet hair washes only.

Hair Washing Frequency

I’m sharing this data because I think it is interesting, not because I am judging someone for washing their hair a certain amount.  Each individual has to do what they feel comfortable with.  With that in mind, stay tuned for part two on this topic when I’ll report on the results of my attempt to reduce my hair washing frequency.

15 Signs that You’re a Green Freak

If you exhibit one or more of these signs, then you’re in luck, you are a Green Freak:

  1. You don’t buy Girl Scout cookies because they have too much packaging.
  2. You have a worm bin for composting.Green Hero
  3. You take Navy showers.
  4. You have solar panels at your house.
  5. You walk, bike, or carpool to work no matter what.
  6. You have a composting toilet.
  7. You cut off the bottom of the toothpaste tube to squeeze out the last bit.
  8. You unplugged your refrigerator.
  9. You buy most of your food in bulk with your own containers.
  10. You live in a Tiny House.
  11. You started your own Green Team at work.
  12. You recycle EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING.
  13. You buy the majority of your things second-hand.
  14. You eat the core of your apples to reduce landfill methane.
  15. You weigh the environmental impact of every decision (big or small) in your life and act accordingly.

Disclaimer: In the context of this blog, being considered a Green Freak is a high honor.  If you have signs of being a Green Freak, but you don’t appreciate the name, then please replace “Green Freak” with “Eco Warrior”, “Sustainability Soldier” “Green King/Queen”, “Sustainability Master”, “Environmental Expert”, “Earth Savior”, “Green Hero”, “Enviro VIP”, or any similar phrase that is more to your liking.

Also, for the record, I don’t have a composting toilet (yet), and I only fulfill 8 of those 15 criteria (so far).  Do you have other ideas for the Green Freak criteria?  I’d love to hear them!

Worm Bin Update

worms

These are not my hands or my worms.

After 18 months of continuous composting in my worm bin, I thought I was really an expert.  My worms are on a regular diet of 1 chopped banana peel a week (my bin is very small so I don’t want to overload it).  Also, I mist the bin two or three times a week to keep it moist.  Worms need moisture to breath.  Within a week, the banana peel is gone or almost gone.  Composting success!

However, last week, as I was inspecting my worm bin, I realized that there was only one worm left.  Oh no!  The last time that my worms died, I determined that they got dried out.  But that wasn’t the issue this time.  Maybe the worms just got too old?  I’m not sure.  I guess I’m not the expert that I thought I was.  But not to worry, I went to the bait shop and bought two containers of worms.

This bunch of worms makes the third group to inhabit my worm bin.  For somewhat mysterious reasons, both the second and third clans have experienced escaped worms.  So, if you have a worm bin, don’t be too alarmed when your new worms try to stage an escape.  With the most recent escape attempt, about 48 hours after adding the worms, I found 8 escaped worms (of approximately 40 worms that I added to the bin). They get dried up once they leave the bin, so they don’t make it very far.  I feel sad to lose these worms, but I don’t know what causes it.  I read somewhere that the worms are just restless in the new environment.  Now that the remaining worms have settled in, they look to be happy and healthy.

New Year’s Resolution- Time to go Green

This year make a resolution that will help you and the Earth!  Resolve to do something environmentally friendly.  time to go greenBetter yet, make an eco-friendly change each month, week, or day, for the entire year.  How much of a challenge can you handle?

My Green Challenge was 52 eco-friendly changes in 52 weeks, and it gave me something to look forward to each week as I adventured deep into sustainability.  These were some of my favorite changes: Taking Navy showers, starting a worm bin for compost, and bringing my own to-go container to restaurants.  Do your part for the planet and create a Green Challenge of your own.  Check out my complete LIST of green changes to get started.  Good luck and happy New Year!

Fill your Pens, not the Landfill

Pen

This is the refillable pen that I use.

How many times have you used a pen in your life?  I probably use a pen every single day, but I never thought about the environmental impact.  I just never thought about it.  In our throw-away culture, I am used to throwing things like empty pens away.  Too bad there is no ‘away’.  Our garbage just goes to a landfill and piles up into a disgusting, hazardous mess.

In order to reduce my input to these landfills, I have now started to refill my empty pens both at home and work.  Buying pen refills means that I am avoiding the environmental impacts of throwing away the body of the pen and the manufacturing impacts of producing a new pen.  Although I’ve never seen pen refills in stores, I have been able to buy them on Staples and Amazon.  It’s a small action, but every small thing adds up.

 

Reduce Food Waste

Food WasteUnfortunately, throwing away food is common.  Food that spoiled in the fridge.  Coffee grounds.  Food on your plate that you thought you’d eat.  Moldy bread.  Leftovers.  Food that is past the expiration date.  Fruit that is not pretty enough to make it to the grocery store shelves.  The other half of the heavy whipping cream since the smallest container at the store was double what was needed.

In the United States, the statistics are staggering.  30 – 40% of the food supply is wasted, and organic waste is the second largest component of landfills.  That’s crazy!
asparagusWhat can be done about this?  Here’s one small idea: when you are shopping in the produce section, if there is an item that is bundled together, consider un-bundling it if you are not going celeryto eat the entire thing.  For example, my husband and I never eat the whole bunch of asparagus.  After wasting a lot of asparagus, we started to split the bunch into two parts.  We unwrap the rubber bands and create two bunches each with one rubber band.  This can only be done if the item is sold by the pound.  Another culprit for us is celery.  Now when we need celery, we peel off the number of stalks that we will consume.

Of course there are a lot of other ways to reduce food waste, but this is one simple action that anyone can do.