Wash away my sins

I used to take hot showers.

Heck, I didn't just take them, I relished every darn second of them, feeling the heat wash through every part of me as it washed valuable resources (and my skin's moisture!) down the drain.

I consoled myself with justification. I bought a low flow/high pressure shower head. I cited studies which showed that filling up a bath tub wasted more water than a shower (however, this is totally dependant on the LENGTH of your shower, as one site explains). But both of those measures are negated if, like me, your showers tend to top 10 minutes on a regular basis.

Last week I was in the shower brainstorming a few ideas for this blog when it hit me - this is ludicrous! Hypocritical! How could I stand there, steaming up the mirrors, and think about environmentally friendly posts? Without thinking, my hand shot out and adjusted the water temperature. Perhaps I SHOULD have thought a bit, because I was instantly soaked with icy water. Once I got over the jumping and shrieking, I was able to adjust it to a more humane temperature and while it wasn't the sauna-like experience I was used to, it wasn't so bad! Additionally, without the hot water zoning me out, I was able to take a shorter shower and use less water.

I decided to stick with this model for a couple of days, shorter showers at a lower temperature. In doing so, I discovered a whole list of benefits!
  • Environmental - less energy expended to heat the water and less water used
  • Comfort - it's a lot easier to step out of the shower and into the cooler air in my apartment
  • Moisture - I'm no longer 'steaming' the natural moisture out, so my skin feels better
  • Hair - rinsing with cool water helps seal your hair, mine looks smoother
  • My apartment - we're still battling moisture issues here. The cooler water doesn't steam up my windows and create more work for my poor exhausted dehumidifier
I know a lot of us know this stuff already, but it took really putting it into practice for a little while for the benefits to truly sink in. So here's my challenge to you... switch to cool showers for a week! It doesn't have to be cold, just cooler than your normal temp. At the end of your week, check out this water and energy use calculator and figure out how much you saved! Then, come back to Greener Alice and let me know how your week went :)

Happy showering!





Save Homemade!

Yesterday, I posted about "Saving Handmade" on Through The Looking, my knitting blog. Forgive me for doubling up, but I think the subject deserves at least a passing mention here, too!

I'm not going to copy and paste the information about the bill, again, so the short version is... a new act has been passed requiring stricter testing and evaluation for children's toys which looks like it will impact small businesses (Etsy sellers and the like) far more than is necessary.

Now, this is just my humble opinion, but part of my idea of "greener" is buying local or handmade whenever possible. I would MUCH rather have my (theoretical) child pushing around a handcrafted wooden train made without any toxins or petroleum-based products than another piece of made-in-china plastic crap. To replace a polyfiber stuffed bear with one made from organic cotton and stuffed with re-purposed fabric scraps.

If that becomes impossible due to this bill, it'll be a very sad day.

Save Handmade Toys


Cleaning house - recycle!

If I have something large to get rid of (old computer parts, a treadmill, etc.), I jump RIGHT on the Suffolk County Freecycle Yahoo group and list that sucker as fast as I can. However, what if that something isn't really worth the trouble?

Last fall, my tv took a sudden turn for the worse. Now, I'm not complaining. This tv was rescued from the side of the road almost 2 years earlier, so I think it earned its rest. I attempted to list it on Freecycle, but... somehow that just never panned out.

My dad's tv died around the same time, so here we were with two big ol' clunkers on our hands and no one to take them. So we did the traditional Glass family thing and... put them aside to "age" for a bit.

Last week, my dad came home from Vermont with a replacement tv for me (yay!) which meant... it's time to get on the ball and get those dead machines gone!

After some searching, we discovered that Best Buy has a VERY easy recycling program for electronics and tvs up to 32". All you have to do is bring your items into the store and pay $10, then you get a $10 gift card back! It doesn't actually cost you anything, but now Best Buy has a guarantee that you'll spend at least a little money in their store. Seems pretty fair to me.

So, tonight, a friend and I wrestled (quite literally) the two tvs into the back of his car and headed off to Best Buy! Nothing makes you feel productive like cleaning house AND recycling at the same time :)