Quick Tips

Cleaning

Cold Water Washing

laundry 5 Go for cold-water washes to conserve energy and cash. Except in cases of gross-out dirtiness, cold water can often be just as effective as hot water,   keeping your clothes (and you) looking great! You don’t even need a cold-water detergent – really…just ignore the commercials.

· Around 80%-90% of the energy typically used by a washer goes to heating the water.

· In a year, each household that washes with only cold water keeps 1,281 pounds of CO2 from entering the air.

· Washing in cold water keeps your clothes looking newer, longer than hot water washing.

· If 10,000 Birmingham households switch to cold, in a year we’ll avert the CO2 equivalent that 6,405 trees suck up over their lifetimes.

 

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Remove Tough Laundry Stains Naturally

line_laundryFor a more natural approach to stain removal for clothing, keep your laundry room stocked with some simple, non-toxic household products.

  • Cornstarch or baking soda can be applied to grease stains, gasoline, and even foods such as salsa, to help quickly absorb stain and odors.
  • Lemon juice or white vinegar work as natural bleaching agents and can be added to a wash cycle to help brighten whites.
  • To remove dark colored stains such as ink or chocolate, soak the clothing in a bowel of glycerin for 30 minutes.
  • Mild dishwashing liquid can also be used as an all-purpose stain remover, apply a small amount directly to a stain and gently rub, or mix into with water and use for soaking stained items.

For more great all-natural cleaning tips and recipes, check out: Spring Cleaning: The All Natural Way

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Turn the Dryer Off & Get Back to Basics

line_laundryYes, we know this may seem like a throwback, but instead of running your clothes dryer, consider drying your clothes on a drying rack or even a clothesline. It can be as simple as tying a sturdy rope between two trees!

There’s no disputing it — most dryers use 10-15 percent of domestic energy in the United States.  However, you can reduce  your electric bill by as much as $25 a month by simply skipping the drying and instead, opting for hang drying methods.

Line drying the open air of a backyard is typically the best choice, yet for those who live in a neighborhood with association covenants, there’s always the option to use a dryer rack instead.

There are many great options available, including those available at laundrylist.org or one of our favorites, this cool Bamboo Clothes Drying Rack from Household Essentials!

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Natural Carpet Cleaning Remedies: Don’t Wait!

green-cleaning-kitClean up spills on carpets immediately to prevent stains:

  1. Soak up liquid spills by covering them with clean white (or light-colored) towels or paper towels. Scrape sticky substances off carpets with a spatula or spoon. Don’t rub the spill. That will damage carpet fibers and make the stain spread.
  2. To clean the stain, mix 1 cup warm water and 1/2 teaspoon mild liquid soap, such as dishwashing liquid or fine fabric detergent. Apply a small amount, blot by pressing a clean white towel into the carpet and lift. Then repeat the process until the stain is removed. Don’t scrub. Be patient.
  3. After stain is removed, rinse the area with a solution a few teaspoons of white vinegar to one cup water and blot with another clean towel.

Read more: http://www.healthychild.org/live-healthy/checklist/clean_carpets_without_dangerous_chemicals/#ixzz2HaEXXAkd

 

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Natural Carpet Cleaning Remedies: Just Look in Your Pantry!

howtogreencleanersUse household ingredients to clean carpet stains:

  • Club soda removes red wine stains.
  • Use an ice cube to harden gum and candle wax, then scrape off.
  • Sprinkle greasy stains with baking soda, corn starch or corn meal. Let stand six hours or overnight. Then vacuum.
  • Mix 1/3 cup vinegar with 2/3 cup warm water and apply to the stain. Then blot with a clean towel and repeat until the stain comes clean.

For more cleaning tips, see How to Clean with 5 Basic Tools and Recipes for Safer Cleaners.

Read more: http://www.healthychild.org/live-healthy/checklist/clean_carpets_without_dangerous_chemicals/#ixzz2HaEXXAkd

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Lemon, the All Natural Super Cleanser

howtogreencleanersWhile a wide selection of all natural cleaning products are lining more supermarket shelves then ever before, you might be impressed to find one of the most natural cleaners right in your refrigerator. Lemons have long been known for their fresh scent, but most people are unaware that their high acid content makes them a powerful antibacterial cleaning agent. Here are some great ways to use lemon while cleaning:

  • Clean and sanitize your microwave by heating a combination of several thin slices of lemon and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe bowl for about one minute. Any lingering bacteria will be killed by the citric acid’s antibacterial properties. Additionally, the fresh lemon scent will help rid your microwave of any lingering odors.
  • Rid your shower or tub of soap scum by spraying their walls with pure lemon juice. The citric acid will help break down the tough soap scum, and work to sanitize the overall environment.
  • Watch the dirt and grime on your windows quickly dissolve like never before when you apply a mixture of four tablespoons of lemon juice and a half-gallon of water.

For more great all-natural cleaning tips and recipes, check out: Spring Cleaning: The All Natural Way

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Cheap and Natural – the best way to unclog a drain

Drain-CleaningSo it’s happened again… the drain is clogged! Don’t run out to the store and purchase toxic chemicals to get things flowing again.

To fix a slow drain, pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain and follow it with half a cup of white vinegar. Let it sit for twenty minutes to a half hour, then pour about two quarts of boiling water down the drain.

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Coffee Grounds For All Around

120px-Coffee_(2)All across our city pots and pots of coffee are brewed every day. From the home to the office, many of us can’t function without that morning cup of java. Take your coffee experience one step further by reusing the coffee grounds as fertilizer for your plants, and as other household remedies.

Here are some ideas:
• Old coffee grounds are nutrient-rich for plants that thrive in an acidic soil; Add used coffee grounds to the pots of indoor plants and work used coffee grounds into your garden soil before seed planting. After your plants start to emerge, work in coffee grounds near the plants.
• Wipe out nasty scents in your fridge with a bowl of coffee grounds and a splash of vanilla
• Remove furniture scratches with wet coffee grounds and a diaper rag.

If you want to pick up some extra grounds for composting and fertilizing or for your other household needs, stop by your local coffee shop and offer to take them off their hands. Many will be happy to share them with you!

 

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Vinegar + H20, the Super Power All-Purpose Cleaner

SPT-00248-1For an all-purpose, chemical free cleaning solution, there’s no better combination than vinegar and water. Combine a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water and store in a reused spray bottle. This can also be used as a great produce wash!

For more great all-natural cleaning tips and recipes, check out: Spring Cleaning: The All Natural Way

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Natural, Plastic-Free Dishwashing

  • dishes-867394-mBaking soda is a fantastic scouring powder, and comes in a cardboard box (score-no plastic!).
  • Use powdered dishwasher detergent instead of liquid-it too comes in a cardboard box.
  • Hand wash dishes without using a plastic scrubbing-brush or sponge made from plastic. Try a natural fiber dish cloth instead, or a  Chore Boy copper scrubber, which (woohoo!) comes in a cardboard box with no plastic.

For more great all-natural cleaning tips and recipes, check out: Spring Cleaning: The All Natural Way

 

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Food & Garden

No More Brown Apple Slices!

appleStop cut apples from browning in your child’s lunch box! Simply cut it into sections and secure the whole apple with a rubber band. Easy Peasy.

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Coffee Grounds For All Around

120px-Coffee_(2)All across our city pots and pots of coffee are brewed every day. From the home to the office, many of us can’t function without that morning cup of java. Take your coffee experience one step further by reusing the coffee grounds as fertilizer for your plants, and as other household remedies.

Here are some ideas:
• Old coffee grounds are nutrient-rich for plants that thrive in an acidic soil; Add used coffee grounds to the pots of indoor plants and work used coffee grounds into your garden soil before seed planting. After your plants start to emerge, work in coffee grounds near the plants.
• Wipe out nasty scents in your fridge with a bowl of coffee grounds and a splash of vanilla
• Remove furniture scratches with wet coffee grounds and a diaper rag.

If you want to pick up some extra grounds for composting and fertilizing or for your other household needs, stop by your local coffee shop and offer to take them off their hands. Many will be happy to share them with you!

 

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Cheers! Organic Wine? We Say Yes!

WineCheers!  Here’s a tip for choosing your next bottle of wine

The buzzword with wines these days seems to be organic. Rumor even has it that there’s no hangover if you buy organic. Perhaps. But there’s more to it than how you feel the next day.  “When you put the label ‘organic’ on something, it’s likely to sell,” says wine enthusiast Christy Farr. “But sustainability is the thing that really matters.” So what’s the difference? “A wine may be organic, but it’s not necessarily sustainable,” says Farr. “Sustainability integrates the whole growing culture.”

Organic may reduce environmental impact on some of the growing process—meaning the growers may cut down, but not eliminate, the use of some pesticides. Sustainable growers are purists—there are no pesticides at all.

 

 

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Companion Planting Helps Reduce Pests

ornamental plantsCompanion planting works to combine plants that have a higher tendency to attract pests with those that pests tend to avoid. This works to benefit certain plants by providing them with pest control-without the use of harsh chemicals. The following are some examples of plants that work well for companion planting:

  • Lettuce with strawberry/cucumber
  • asparagus with tomato/basil/parsley
  • onions with beets/lettuce/carrots
  • cucumber with beans/sunflower/peas
  • roses with chives
  • spinach with strawberry/faba beans
  • tomato with parsley/marigold/onion

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Organic Garden Pest Control

a gardensAvoid harsh pest control in your garden with a variety of all natural methods. Hand picking beetles or leaf munching caterpillars from your vegetables may seem like a lot of work, but there’s no doubt that it gets the job done. You can also apply a mixture of dish soap with water to the leaves of your plants to help kill any pests. However, make sure to do early in the day, rinsing the leaves with water soon after or the sun may burn the leaves of your plants.  Garlic oil and hot pepper spray are also well known for getting a handle on pest problems in the garden.

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Less Is More

800px-Food_to_goLet the package be your guide.

All things being equal, select foods at your local market and other items that have less packaging. The less packaging you have to get rid of, the better the world is, right?

 

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Sensor Your Water Usage

waterCombat water waste by incorporating rain or moisture sensors in your outdoor sprinkler system.

Moisture sensors tell your sprinklers to spray only when your garden’s dry (and save you up to 40% of your outdoor water use), while rain sensors shut your sprinklers off when it rains (saving you up to 10%).

These are savings that will definitely saturate your next water bill!

MGB Recommends: Nelson EZ Pro Moisture Sensor – reads soil moisture and other characteristics, and waters as necessary; install it beneath your lawn ($250).

Toro Wireless Rain Sensor – rain sensor that lets you choose when your sprinklers should shut off based on rainfall; setup takes as little as 10 minutes ($48).

 

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Green Pets

DIY Sustainable Dog Bedding

There are lots of great ways to create a more sustainable living environment for your pet, including the bedding they sleep and rest upon every day.

dog bed DIYAvoid purchasing a new pet bed in the first place — they’re usually pricey anyhow, and tend to be made with cheap, low-grade fabric and fillers that easily fall apart over a short amount of time.

Instead make your own pet bedding by giving new life to some household materials you probably already have on hand. Making a re-purposed pet bed can be done in little time, and only requires minimal sewing skills.

To create the outer case of the bed simply find  two old bath towels, lay one over the other, and after aligning them, sew the towels together, leaving about a six-inch hole for stuffing.

Turn the case inside out so that the stitching is on the inside, and stuff with whatever soft materials you have available, such as old pillows, socks, or blankets. Presto, you now have a fabulous re-purposed pet bed!

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Healthier Pet Food = Healthier Fido

healthy dogWhen it comes to feeding our families we do our best to choose healthy, all natural ingredients, so why not choose the same when it comes to feeding our pets? Make the switch by swapping out the low-grade pet food (junk food) for pet food that consists of natural and organic ingredients. Most conventional pet foods come from contents that are otherwise unfit for human consumption. Although these products might sustain your pooch, they also tend to include pesticides, hormones, and artificial preservatives and ingredients-all of which do nothing to promote and healthy lifestyle. Feeding your pet all natural foods that contain nutrients and vitamins, and have been preserved with natural substances help deter illness and disease, while also increasing Fido’s longevity.  Also, look for an all natural and organic pet food that has been minimally processed, created within humane conditions, and produced with sustainability in mind. Recommended: Blue Buffalo.

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Chew On This: Sustainable Pet Toys


kongWe love and treat our pets like family, so why not choose a greener lifestyle for them as well? Instead of picking up toys you know your pet will shred within a few days, opt for products made  from stronger, more durable materials such as hemp. When picking out fun toys play toys for  your pooch, choose toys made from nontoxic substances, such as Zogoflex, a tough rubber-like material designed to be recycled. We also love KONG Extreme Dog Toy products, especially ones that can be filled with peanut butter or other treats to help keep dogs happily occupied on their own.

The Kong chew toy, made from non-toxic rubber, is one of the most popular dog toys on the market.

You can also provide your pet with a greener lifestyle in regard to its bedding. Avoid purchasing a new pet bed in the first place-they’re usually pricey anyhow, and tend to be made with cheap, low grade fabric and fillers that easily fall apart over a short amount of time. Instead make your own pet bedding by giving new life to some household materials you probably already have on hand. Making a re-purposed pet bed can be done in little time, and only requires minimal sewing skills. To create the outer case of the bed simply find  two old bath towels, lay one over the other, and after aligning them sew the towels together, leaving about a six inch hole for stuffing. Turn the case inside out so that the stitching is on the inside, and stuff with whatever soft materials you have available, such as old pillows, socks, or blankets. Presto, you now have a fabulous re-purposed pet bed!

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The Vanishing Pet: Reducing Your Furry Friend’s Carbon Paw Print

dogWhen out for a walk, keep your pet on a leash to help protect the surrounding natural environment. This can also prevent possible harm to smaller animals who might be nearby in their own natural habitat. Additionally, using biodegradable bags to clean up your pet’s waste will help prevent it from becoming immortalized six feet under in the local landfill.

If you want to take it one step further however, try composting your dog or cat’s waste. Not every one has a yard that can accommodate this process, but doing so can help protect our waterways from being contaminated by run off containing pet waste.

To better green your feline’s zone, begin by nixing the clay-based kitty litter, which takes several decades to decompose. Produced by strip-mining, clay-based kitty litter is created through a process that causes irreversible damage to the environment. Reduce your cat’s carbon paw print by switching to biodegradable brand of litter, or consider making your own. This can be done by mixing a ¼ cup of baking soda into a litter box filled with shredded newspaper or chicken scratch (a combination of ground corn and seeds). Adding cedar chips will provide a fresh scent, but is completely optional. Scoop and dispose the litter as you normally would, or compost it to create a great fertilizer for trees and shrubs.

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Healthy Lifestyle

Containing Food Safely

plasticIf you think buying plastic products labeled BPA free puts you in the clear, think again. A 2011 study in Environmental Health Perspectives shows the majority of plastic products still capable of leaching health hazardous chemicals-even those advertised as being BPA free.

To stay on the safer side, avoid exposing your plastics to heat (re-heating leftovers in the microwave) and storing food in plastic that has significant wear and tear (scratches or bubbling). Alternatively, consider nixing plastic containers altogether and replace them with more Eco-friendly options, such as glass or stainless steel.

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No More Wire (or Plastic) Hangers!

Bamboo-Hangers3Don’t imediately throw out all of your current plastic or wire hangers all at once, but considerreplacing them as they break with with eco-friendly hangers made from bamboo, corn, or wheat. It’s the greener lifestyle option – bamboo is a highly renewable plant, and options made from wheat are actually compostable.  Petroleum-based plastic, on the other hand, never fully biodegrades.

Also, try taking the gazillion wire hangers you’ve accumulated from years of dry cleaning back to the cleaners – most will gladly reuse them!  Check out your local Wal-Mart or Target to purchase your new green hangers.

 

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No Dumping Allowed-Proper Dispoasl of Meds

92px-Pill_Bottle.svgRecent studies have revealed that the water in our nation’s lakes and oceans are chock full of hormones, medications and other toxins. If you are dumping your meds down the drain or simply throwing them in the trash, sadly, you are most likley contributing this very dangerous problem. “Disposal via the toilet takes your drugs into the local sewage system. Modern water treatment plants are not fully designed to deal with medication disposal. The long-term health risks posed by consumption of even minimal quantities of these medications in drinking water and the full extent of environmental damage remains unknown.” (about.com) Yikes!

Instead of trashing your expired meds or flushing them down the toilet, consider taking them back to the pharmacy from which they came.

 

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Toxic-Free Personal Care Products

beauty-products(1)We often think, “surely this makeup (or other personal care product) is safe to use, my drug store wouldn’t have put it on the shelf otherwise.” Sadly, many personal care products come with a false sense of security. To find a solid list of specific ingredients in more than 74,000 personal care products, check out cosmeticdatabase.com. Find out which ingredients to avoid (such as triclosan, BHA, Fragrance, & oxybenzone) and learn about safer cosmetics, sunscreens and many other personal care products.

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The Number Game

800px-Nestbarer_Behaelter04So if you are going to break the greenie cardinal rule and buy plastic, at least buy “good plastic.”

When buying plastic containers, try to buy those that are labeled with a 1 or 2 within the chasing arrows symbol. These two types of plastics are widely recycled. Avoid buying plastics with numbers 3 through 7 – they are difficult to recycle.

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Purify With Plants

Peace lilyFreshen up your indoor air with a little green.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currently ranks indoor air pollution near the top of a handful of constant threats to human health. (Not good.) As a matter of fact, indoor air is normally two to five times more polluted than outside air. And to think, you thought you were getting away from all of the outdoor pollution by escaping to the sanctuary of your home.

One solution to this problem is to utilize purifying plants in your home. Some of the most effective plants are bamboo palm, Chinese evergreen, dragon tree, English Ivy, peace lily, and snake plant. (Unfortunately, some can be hard to find locally, so try searching on-line.)

These plants reduce carbon dioxide, reduce airborne chemicals and VOCs (stuff that comes from cleaners and paint in your home), and cultivate healthy levels of humidity.

Who knew a potted plant could be so multi-functional!

 

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CFL breaks need a little TLC

incandescent-light-bulb-537x357Cleaning-up a broken CFL light bulb is not as easy as pulling out the broom and dustpan. CFL bulbs contain small amounts of mercury which if consumed can be dangerous to your health. Don’t worry, the mercury can’t harm you just by using the bulb, however, proper clean up is necessary if one breaks.

Check out Energy Star’s guide to cleaning-up broken CFL bulbs:

http://energystar.custhelp.com/

Select question #8

 

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“Shoe Toxins, Shoe!” Creating a Shoe-Free Home

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany contaminants can be tracked into our homes on the soles of our shoes. Consider becoming a shoe-free household by removing shoes upon entering the house, & placing them in a designated shoe basket. This can help prevent toxins and germs from entering into your home, and also help keep indoor air cleaner.

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Home and DIY

Check Your Energy

796px-YardstickUse a home energy reader as your yardstick. These gadgets make gauging your home’s power – down to the last night-light – easier than converting Fahrenheit to Celsius (and when you know how much you’re using, you’re way more likely to conserve).  Just unplugging that plasma, stereo system, and the battery pack for your laptop can make a difference in your yearly power bill!

MGB recommends: “The Energy Detective” – a plug-in device that gives you info on how much power (and associated cash for energy bills) you’re using throughout your house ($145).  For a more budget friendly energy bug, check out the “Kill A Watt” to see how much energy your individual appliances are using ($24).

 

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Cold Water Washing

laundry 5 Go for cold-water washes to conserve energy and cash. Except in cases of gross-out dirtiness, cold water can often be just as effective as hot water,   keeping your clothes (and you) looking great! You don’t even need a cold-water detergent – really…just ignore the commercials.

· Around 80%-90% of the energy typically used by a washer goes to heating the water.

· In a year, each household that washes with only cold water keeps 1,281 pounds of CO2 from entering the air.

· Washing in cold water keeps your clothes looking newer, longer than hot water washing.

· If 10,000 Birmingham households switch to cold, in a year we’ll avert the CO2 equivalent that 6,405 trees suck up over their lifetimes.

 

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DIY Incense Burner

incense holder

Incense holders are fun household accessories, but they often require cleaning or replacing. Make your own incense holder with just a shred of bark & a button! Find a piece of bark with natural grooves to lodge an incense stick in. Use a button to keep the incense tilted while it burns & enjoy!

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Turn the Dryer Off & Get Back to Basics

line_laundryYes, we know this may seem like a throwback, but instead of running your clothes dryer, consider drying your clothes on a drying rack or even a clothesline. It can be as simple as tying a sturdy rope between two trees!

There’s no disputing it — most dryers use 10-15 percent of domestic energy in the United States.  However, you can reduce  your electric bill by as much as $25 a month by simply skipping the drying and instead, opting for hang drying methods.

Line drying the open air of a backyard is typically the best choice, yet for those who live in a neighborhood with association covenants, there’s always the option to use a dryer rack instead.

There are many great options available, including those available at laundrylist.org or one of our favorites, this cool Bamboo Clothes Drying Rack from Household Essentials!

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Containing Food Safely

plasticIf you think buying plastic products labeled BPA free puts you in the clear, think again. A 2011 study in Environmental Health Perspectives shows the majority of plastic products still capable of leaching health hazardous chemicals-even those advertised as being BPA free.

To stay on the safer side, avoid exposing your plastics to heat (re-heating leftovers in the microwave) and storing food in plastic that has significant wear and tear (scratches or bubbling). Alternatively, consider nixing plastic containers altogether and replace them with more Eco-friendly options, such as glass or stainless steel.

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Simple, DIY Draft Stopper

draft stopperRe- purposing some old clothing and make your own draft stopper to prevent cold air from seeping into your house through a window or door. Simply take an old wool scarf, sew the seams together along the sides and the bottom to make a tube. Stuff it with cotton, sand, or even beans, and sew the top side closed. Place it along the bottom of a door or window jam, and enjoy your draft free home! This can also be done using old knee socks or even a sweater.

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No More Wire (or Plastic) Hangers!

Bamboo-Hangers3Don’t imediately throw out all of your current plastic or wire hangers all at once, but considerreplacing them as they break with with eco-friendly hangers made from bamboo, corn, or wheat. It’s the greener lifestyle option – bamboo is a highly renewable plant, and options made from wheat are actually compostable.  Petroleum-based plastic, on the other hand, never fully biodegrades.

Also, try taking the gazillion wire hangers you’ve accumulated from years of dry cleaning back to the cleaners – most will gladly reuse them!  Check out your local Wal-Mart or Target to purchase your new green hangers.

 

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Cheap and Natural – the best way to unclog a drain

Drain-CleaningSo it’s happened again… the drain is clogged! Don’t run out to the store and purchase toxic chemicals to get things flowing again.

To fix a slow drain, pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain and follow it with half a cup of white vinegar. Let it sit for twenty minutes to a half hour, then pour about two quarts of boiling water down the drain.

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Coffee Grounds For All Around

120px-Coffee_(2)All across our city pots and pots of coffee are brewed every day. From the home to the office, many of us can’t function without that morning cup of java. Take your coffee experience one step further by reusing the coffee grounds as fertilizer for your plants, and as other household remedies.

Here are some ideas:
• Old coffee grounds are nutrient-rich for plants that thrive in an acidic soil; Add used coffee grounds to the pots of indoor plants and work used coffee grounds into your garden soil before seed planting. After your plants start to emerge, work in coffee grounds near the plants.
• Wipe out nasty scents in your fridge with a bowl of coffee grounds and a splash of vanilla
• Remove furniture scratches with wet coffee grounds and a diaper rag.

If you want to pick up some extra grounds for composting and fertilizing or for your other household needs, stop by your local coffee shop and offer to take them off their hands. Many will be happy to share them with you!

 

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Look for the (Green) Seal of Approval

MGBgreenlivingWith the green movement taking off around the world, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the new products hitting the shelves claiming to be green. If you need a guide to navigate the green aisles consider looking for the trusted source for consumer assurance: the Good Housekeeping Seal.

In its April, 2011 issue, Good Housekeeping announced it has added a green category to the 119 year old seal of approval.

The magazine partnered with a California consulting firm to develop a green-criteria based on a product’s manufacturing, composition, and packaging.

For more information, and to learn which products have already made the coveted list, visit http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/product-testing/reviews-tests/green-products/.

 

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Get Unplugged

626px-USB_TypeA_PlugUnplug, unplug, unplug!  Even when electronics and appliances aren’t powered on they are still drawing electricity – which costs money and energy. Watch your power bill go down and the energy you save go up by snatching a few plugs out of the wall.

Think of everything that is plugged-in at your home: cell phone charger, computers, coffee pots, lamps, hair styling irons and blow dryers, televisions, DVD players, stereos, the list goes on…

Electricity is the biggest source of power for your home.  Soften your impact on the Earth by getting unplugged.

Don’t forget to unplug at the office too!

 

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Holiday Quick Tip: Enough with Tradition, In With the New

natural tree 2The holidays mean many things for many different people – family, good food, and presents under the tree. Many of us kick this season off by spending hours decorating our homes to add a little holiday cheer. Before you bring out that box of old lights and sit in the floor trying to untangle them and determine which ones still work, consider purchasing more energy efficient lights to get that holiday glow.

Save energy, and money, this holiday season by switching your old strands of incandescent bulbs with new LEDs (light emitting diodes).

Appearing during the darkest time of the year, holiday lights brighten hearts, as well as neighborhoods and landscapes. The good news is LEDs use a fraction of the energy of conventional light bulbs (up to about 15% currently), and they last for many years. Based on semiconductors, they’re cool to the touch and extremely durable, meaning they are great for many applications (especially where there is a fire hazard).

In the past, LEDs have been relatively expensive, but prices have been steadily coming down. Today, a strand of LED holiday lights typically goes for between $20 and $30. They are available in a wide range of colors and styles, from icicles to snowflakes and more, and can be ordered online, from local hardware stores or big box retailers like Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target and Big Lots.

 

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Choose Screens Over Trees

recycle-computerIt takes 500,000 trees to produce the paper needed for Sunday’s newspapers each week. But there’s no need for eco-aware individuals to forgo the in-depth environmental reporting that can be found in newspapers. Reading mostly online is the obvious green alternative. If reading a real paper is your thing, consider reducing your subscription to a weekend or Sunday-only format. Don’t forget to recycle when you’re done — recycling every newspaper that gets printed would save 250 million trees per year.

Thanks to the Sierra Club for this tip!

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Clean Your Closet, Clothe An Actor

Walk_In_Closet_-_Expandable_Closet_Rod_and_ShelfDonating clothing and furniture to various charities is not only a way to help others, but it keeps these donated items out of our overflowing landfills. But, have you ever thought to donate these items to local community theater groups, or college or high school drama departments? Local theater groups are always on the look out for furniture for their sets and clothing and accessory items to dress the cast. Donated goods help to defray costs. Also consider donating leftover paint and building supplies needed for creating the backdrops and sets for their productions.

An internet search or checking out your local newspaper will supply you with a list of theater groups in your area.

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Stop Flushing Away Your Money!

DIY Dual ConverterAccording to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. population has doubled over the past 50 years, our thirst for water has more than tripled, and by the year 2013, at least 36 states will have faced water shortages.  Help conserve water at home AND save money by replacing old 3.5 gpf (gallon per flush) toilets, or 1.6 gpf toilets with a 1.28 gpf, 1 gpf or dual flush version.  Be sure to shop for toilets with the EPA’s “WaterSense” label.  We recommend low flow or dual flush toilets from TOTO.

You can also easily install a dual flush converter to your existing toilet–for less than $30! See our simple tutorial HERE.

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Slow Your Flow and Save Some Dough!

money-houseDid you know that average indoor water use in a typical single-family home is 70 gallons per person per day?  In addition to taking shorter showers and turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth and washing your hands, you can make these simple upgrades to easily help conserve water in your home and reduce your water bill:

  • Swap standard bathroom sink faucets which typically flow in excess of 2 gpm (gallons per minute) for “WaterSense” versions that lower the flow to 1.5 gpm-a reduction of over 30%.
  • Change out existing showerheads which tend to flow at 2.2 gpm or more, to a “WaterSense” showerhead which flows at just 1.75 gpm or less.  An average family of four using a low flow showerhead can save approx. 29,900 gallons of water each year.

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Want Hot Water? Why Wait?

Clean water is a goal for many Americans.Tired of standing at the sink watching water run down the drain as you wait for it to warm up?  Try installing a retrofit pump which will help eliminate the wait-and conserve water. We recommend the D’Mand pump by TACO. Determining proper equipment sizing will depend on your home’s water tank type, or if your home has a tankless water heater, so discuss this with your contractor first, but don’t be deterred-the long term savings from water and energy related costs almost always far outweigh any short term, upfront expenses.

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No Dumping Allowed-Proper Dispoasl of Meds

92px-Pill_Bottle.svgRecent studies have revealed that the water in our nation’s lakes and oceans are chock full of hormones, medications and other toxins. If you are dumping your meds down the drain or simply throwing them in the trash, sadly, you are most likley contributing this very dangerous problem. “Disposal via the toilet takes your drugs into the local sewage system. Modern water treatment plants are not fully designed to deal with medication disposal. The long-term health risks posed by consumption of even minimal quantities of these medications in drinking water and the full extent of environmental damage remains unknown.” (about.com) Yikes!

Instead of trashing your expired meds or flushing them down the toilet, consider taking them back to the pharmacy from which they came.

 

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Increase HVAC Efficiency and Improve Air Quality in Your Home

air filtersMake your HVAC system more efficient and the air in your house healthier by performing this simple maintenance task: change your air filter!  Dirty filters make the equipment work harder and can reduce efficiency. A completely clogged filter can make the coil freeze up, causing water problems and reducing the life of the system. Regular cleaning and changing of filters ensures the best filtration, enhances the unit’s efficiency and longevity, and provides healthier, cleaner air for the home environment.  Most 1 inch filters should be changed once every three months, but as often as once a month if you have several animals and/or allergies.

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Renewable Is So Doable

Alabama Power logo(1)Purchase renewable energy:

Did you know that buying two 50kWh block of Renewable Energy per month for a year is equivalent to planting 125 trees or not driving 2,000 miles, according to Alabama Power Company? Wow!

Doing so can help reduce emissions from fossil fuels and, is also relatively inexpensive with a minimum $2.25 per month premium to replace 5% of your average energy usage.

To learn more about Renewable Energy, visi thttp://www.alabamapower.com/residential/renewable.asp

 

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The Lights Are Out – Now What?

tree_recycleAfter hauling all of Christmas lights down from the attic, you anxiously plug in the first strand only to be dissapointed by a big fat nothing. What can you do with old, broken holiday lights?

Recycle them!

Many home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s will recycle used holiday lights, but for a local resource, try Technical Knock Out. They will take your used lights for free. All you have to do is drop them off!

Look them up in our Green Guide under “Recycling.”

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Pack It Up

Pile_of_junk_mailEven though they’re so much fun to play with, ditch the foam peanuts (polystyrene) when packing items to ship.

Use crumpled newspapers as packing material instead. The production of polystyrene depletes the ozone and takes several hundred years to degrade in landfills. Need we say more?

 

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Smarty Pants

laundry 5If you are still trying to figure out the green thing, at least let your appliances take some of the guesswork out of it for you.

Purchase energy efficient, “smart,” appliances, like a dryer with a moisture sensor setting. The dryer will automatically shut off when the clothes are dry, saving energy, water, and wear and tear on your clothes.

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The Number Game

800px-Nestbarer_Behaelter04So if you are going to break the greenie cardinal rule and buy plastic, at least buy “good plastic.”

When buying plastic containers, try to buy those that are labeled with a 1 or 2 within the chasing arrows symbol. These two types of plastics are widely recycled. Avoid buying plastics with numbers 3 through 7 – they are difficult to recycle.

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Old Junk, New Beginnings

Battery-Recycling-Symbol2Don’t toss it out – re-engineer it!

Stop and think before you automatically consider a broken item destine for the trash. Maybe it can be reincarnated before it leaves your home. You may be able to do some dismantling and salvage parts to reuse yourself or to recycle, donate, or sell.

For example, the wheels and handle from a broken push lawn mower can be reused in building a wagon for your little one. A broken broom handle can be used as a plant stick or hanging rod.

Get into the habit of looking at broken items differently to help divert as much as possible from the waste stream.

 

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Adjust the Thermostat & Layer A Little

honeywell thermostatRemember, when you turn up the heat in winter time, your furnace is probably burning fossil fuels. A sweater or nice warm robe will keep you even warmer and will help conserve resources and reduce climate change.

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Clean Up Your Wrap

wrapped giftsUse reusable fabrics and bags instead of traditional wrapping paper for gifts.

Did you know, if every American family wrapped just three gifts in reused or reusable materials, we’d all save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields, every year?Enough said!

Consider using tea towels or wine bags, or even craft your own bags and wrapping from cuts of old clothes or linens.

We know, it sounds like a stretch, but is saves money and won’t generate additional waste!

 

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Sensor Your Water Usage

waterCombat water waste by incorporating rain or moisture sensors in your outdoor sprinkler system.

Moisture sensors tell your sprinklers to spray only when your garden’s dry (and save you up to 40% of your outdoor water use), while rain sensors shut your sprinklers off when it rains (saving you up to 10%).

These are savings that will definitely saturate your next water bill!

MGB Recommends: Nelson EZ Pro Moisture Sensor – reads soil moisture and other characteristics, and waters as necessary; install it beneath your lawn ($250).

Toro Wireless Rain Sensor – rain sensor that lets you choose when your sprinklers should shut off based on rainfall; setup takes as little as 10 minutes ($48).

 

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Purify With Plants

Peace lilyFreshen up your indoor air with a little green.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currently ranks indoor air pollution near the top of a handful of constant threats to human health. (Not good.) As a matter of fact, indoor air is normally two to five times more polluted than outside air. And to think, you thought you were getting away from all of the outdoor pollution by escaping to the sanctuary of your home.

One solution to this problem is to utilize purifying plants in your home. Some of the most effective plants are bamboo palm, Chinese evergreen, dragon tree, English Ivy, peace lily, and snake plant. (Unfortunately, some can be hard to find locally, so try searching on-line.)

These plants reduce carbon dioxide, reduce airborne chemicals and VOCs (stuff that comes from cleaners and paint in your home), and cultivate healthy levels of humidity.

Who knew a potted plant could be so multi-functional!

 

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CFL breaks need a little TLC

incandescent-light-bulb-537x357Cleaning-up a broken CFL light bulb is not as easy as pulling out the broom and dustpan. CFL bulbs contain small amounts of mercury which if consumed can be dangerous to your health. Don’t worry, the mercury can’t harm you just by using the bulb, however, proper clean up is necessary if one breaks.

Check out Energy Star’s guide to cleaning-up broken CFL bulbs:

http://energystar.custhelp.com/

Select question #8

 

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Shower Less, Save More

low flow shower headQuick Tip:
Give up the Hollywood showers – 20 minutes in the shower equals wasted gallons of water. Decrease your shower time and install some water saving gadgets to conserve more.

Install a low-flow showerhead to save 15 to 25 gallons of water per day (depending on the number of people showering in your home). You will also save on energy and hot water bills if your hot water tank is well insulated and the proper size for your home.

You can even go one green step further, by also installing low-flow toilets and aerators in all your faucets. You can find all theses supplies at any local home improvement store.

In case you didn’t know: “aerators restrict the flow of water, compressing it into a higher-pressure discharge than regular faucets. They also introduce air bubbles into the water, making it feel like there is a larger water flow. They reduce water flow by about 50 percent or more.”www.energyhawk.com

 

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It’s a Fact! Programmable Thermostats Help Save $$

honeywell thermostatThe average homeowner can see savings of $180 each year on utility bills by upgrading to a programmable thermostat. During cooler months, the Department of Energy (DOE) recommends lowering the thermostat by 7 degrees at nighttime and during the day, if no one is home.

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“Shoe Toxins, Shoe!” Creating a Shoe-Free Home

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany contaminants can be tracked into our homes on the soles of our shoes. Consider becoming a shoe-free household by removing shoes upon entering the house, & placing them in a designated shoe basket. This can help prevent toxins and germs from entering into your home, and also help keep indoor air cleaner.

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More Simple Steps

Paper Towel Let Down

snap_towelsGoing green goes out the door when it comes to American’s consumption of paper goods like paper towels and napkins. You can’t reuse them and recycling used towels and napkins is rare. According to figures from the EPA on municipal solid waste, we send about 6.8 billion pounds of disposable tissue products to landfills annually – tissue, paper towels, napkins, etc. – wads and wads of them, and less than o.5 percent of them get recycled.

So what do you do? Try cloth dish towels and rags. Definitely say no to paper when drying hands, wiping counters, drying dishes, etc. Turn your fam and friends onto cloth napkins. A throw back to days gone by, but a perk for the future for sure.

When you do have to grab the paper stuff, be sure to purchase recycled and chlorine free products. Get smart though – just because the label says “recycled” doesn’t always mean what it says. It could mean it’s made from leftovers from virgin paper runs, not post consumer recycled paper. Post consumer good, virgin paper bad.

Our paper product recommendations: Seventh Generation and Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Paper Towels.

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Save The Trees!

800px-Brother_HL-1050_03Reduce paper and ink by printing documents on both sides, at home and at work.

 Or better yet, go digital! Store and read documents on your computer.

 Paper accounts for 25% of all landfill waste. As paper biodegrades, it produces methane—a product 23 times more potent to the environment than carbon dioxide.

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Want to save $$? Buy in Bulk

Organics1Buy products and food in bulk!

On average, organic bulk foods cost 89% less than their packaged counterparts. Buying in bulk also prevents excess packaging from unnecessarily filling landfills.

Check out these other great benefits for Buying in Bulk.

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Stop “vampires” from sucking away your $$

626px-USB_TypeA_PlugEliminate (and stop paying for) “vampire” or “phantom” energy use by unplugging appliances and electronics when you’re not using them, or by purchasing a “smart” power strip.

In the United States, “vampire” energy consumption is roughly equivalent to the amount of electricity the country of Italy consumes annually.

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Something Borrowed, Not Something New

money houseBorrow instead of buy! Save money and the environment by exchanging and borrowing goods and other items.

Sharing movies, power tools, and kitchen appliances with friends or neighbors can greatly reduce the amount of plastic products we use.

Plastic is made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource and major contributor to global warming.

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Reuse Bags and Totes

0308_go-green-bags_400x400Bring your own bags or bins when you go grocery shopping or to the mall to reduce plastic bags usage. 

Thousands of marine wildlife and more than a million birds are killed each year due to plastic bag pollution.

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Make Use of Old Magazines and Newspapers

reuse magazinesHave a huge pile of magazines you’ve already read cover to cover? Give them new life by passing them onto a friend, or by donating them to local businesses, such as doctor’s offices or local gyms- wherever your to do list takes you! The SPCA is also always appreciative of old newspapers.

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Have an Upgrade? Recycle Your Old Cell Phone

Funktelefon2Cell phone devices and accessories can be reused by charities that distribute them to people in need (even a de-activated cell phone can place a 911 phone call).

Even if the phone is unusable, if properly recycled, the device itself can be refurbished, toxic parts can be properly disposed of, or any reusable materials can be salvaged.

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Put ‘Useless’ Goods to Good Use, Donate ‘Em!

donateWant to get rid of extra household items, but just don’t have time for a yard sale? Tossing things in the trash may seem like a simple solution, but give your conscious something to feel good about instead and donate your unwanted stuff to local charities!

Approximately 93% of all textile waste recycled is reclaimed; however, 85% of all textile waste goes directly to landfills. Instead of taking up space in a landfill, the items you consider useless could be put to good use by people less fortunate than you.

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Why Recycling Soda Cans Matters

 recycling logoCliché, but recycle your aluminum cans! Even the smallest things make a big difference.

Recycling one aluminum can can save enough energy to run a computer for up to three hours!

 For more information about recycling in Birmingham, check out our Recycling Page!

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Drive Less, Save More

One hundred years ago 99.99% of people got by without cars. They took the train, they lived near their workplaces…. and they walked. Using fuel efficient cars is important, but we can save even more fuel by simply driving less and driving smart.

Check out public commuter options, and consider carpooling. Commute Smart makes it terribly easy (and profitable) to cut down on emissions, gas costs, and even make friends. They connect you with folks from your job and your community who are willing to carpool and then they pay you to do it! Sold!

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Watch Your Waste

electronics recycling2Items you may be throwing away can contaminate land and water for thousands of years. Sure you won’t be here, but someone will and they will be dealing with your waste. You know the cycle…

Most communities have special disposal procedures for things like used oil and batteries. For instance used cooking oil can be taken to one of the City of Hoover’s nine fire stations for recycling into biodiesel fuel. Contact 205-444-7655 or fire@ci.hoover.al.us for locations.

Items like ink cartridges can probably be recycled where you bought them. And many of the new CFL bulbs contain mercury, so proper disposal is crucial. Check with the store you buy them from for options for proper disposal.

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Paper NOR plastic

0308_go-green-bags_400x400Bring your bags with you. By taking reusable bags to the grocery store, you can cut down on the 350 bags the average American uses each year and reduce needless deaths of marine life caused by plastic bags that end up in streams, rivers and oceans.

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BYOM: Bring Your Own Mug

743px-Paper_cupQuick Tip: Give up the paper cups

Yes, we know it’s so tempting to grab a paper cup every once and a while – especially in the hustle and bustle of the office environment.  Unfortunately, it’s just not worth it!

There are an average of 130 billion paper cups used in the United States every year.  They are usually coated, so they can’t be recycled or composted, which means total waste.

Stay committed to using a mug or thermos – even when the convenience of a paper cup seems so attractive!  After all, no one ever said being a greenie was easy…

 

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Recycling

Start Small, Recycle Bathroom Items

If you’re new to recycling in general, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the process as a whole. Instead, relax and think in terms of starting small. Begin at home recycling in the smallest room in the house, the bathroom. Simply place a small bin next to your bathroom trash can, rinse empty plastic bottles, etc…, and start recycling!

bathroom recycling binCommon Bathroom Recyclables:

  • shampoo/conditioner bottles
  • pill/medicine containers
  • toilet paper rolls
  • soap boxes/paper wrapping
  • toothbrushes
  • lotion bottles

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Start Small, Recycle Bathroom Items

QTbathroom recycling2If you’re new to recycling in general, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the process as a whole. Instead, relax and think in terms of starting small. Begin at home recycling in the smallest room in the house, the bathroom. Simply place a small bin next to your bathroom trash can, rinse empty plastic bottles, etc…, and start recycling!

Common Bathroom Recyclables:

  • shampoo/conditioner bottles
  • pill/medicine containers
  • toilet paper rolls
  • soap boxes/paper wrapping
  • toothbrushes
  • lotion bottles

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Holiday Quick Tip: Recycle Electronics For Gift Cards

electronics recycling2So the kids have a new gaming system on their wish list – to replace the one you just bought last year! Well sell it back to Sears and receive a gift card! Sears has partnered with Gazelle to help consumers responsibly dispose of electronics. For more details, visit http://sears.gazelle.com/

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Choose Screens Over Trees

recycle-computerIt takes 500,000 trees to produce the paper needed for Sunday’s newspapers each week. But there’s no need for eco-aware individuals to forgo the in-depth environmental reporting that can be found in newspapers. Reading mostly online is the obvious green alternative. If reading a real paper is your thing, consider reducing your subscription to a weekend or Sunday-only format. Don’t forget to recycle when you’re done — recycling every newspaper that gets printed would save 250 million trees per year.

Thanks to the Sierra Club for this tip!

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Clean Your Closet, Clothe An Actor

Walk_In_Closet_-_Expandable_Closet_Rod_and_ShelfDonating clothing and furniture to various charities is not only a way to help others, but it keeps these donated items out of our overflowing landfills. But, have you ever thought to donate these items to local community theater groups, or college or high school drama departments? Local theater groups are always on the look out for furniture for their sets and clothing and accessory items to dress the cast. Donated goods help to defray costs. Also consider donating leftover paint and building supplies needed for creating the backdrops and sets for their productions.

An internet search or checking out your local newspaper will supply you with a list of theater groups in your area.

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Why Recycling Soda Cans Matters

 recycling logoCliché, but recycle your aluminum cans! Even the smallest things make a big difference.

Recycling one aluminum can can save enough energy to run a computer for up to three hours!

 For more information about recycling in Birmingham, check out our Recycling Page!

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Enough With The Catalogs

Pile_of_junk_mailIt’s happened to us all before – you order one item from a company, and then suddenly you are on their list to receive every catalog (and there affiliates catalog) in the mail. A total waste of paper, especially considering most major retailers have their catalogs available for perusing on-line.

Reduce the amount of catalogs mailed to you. Catalog choice is a free service that lets you decline paper catalogs you no longer wish to receive. Sign up at: www.catalogchoice.org

You will easily reduce your yearly mail by several pounds and a few thousand sheets of paper.

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Phone Book Recall

800px-AnnuaireWhen was the last time you actually looked something up in a phone book? Many folks opt to use their smart phones and the internet to look up phone numbers and addresses.

If you don’t use paper phone books, call to stop delivery all together. Telephone books make up almost 10 % of waste at dump sites. To discontinue the delivery of your phone book, contact AT&T at 888-757-6500 (open Mon-Fri 8am – 7pm EST & Sat 8am -5pm EST).

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Overdue at the library? At least be green about it…

1024px-Library_PengoThe Jefferson & Shelby county Libraries are discontinuing overdue notices.  Please help your local library in their green efforts by signing up for email overdue notification and courtesy reminders.  It will help our library systems to cut down on paper usage and also, reduce your mail clutter at home!  For more information, visit http://www.jclc.org/email/ or ask about it at the circulation desk at your local library.

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Curbside Recycling in Hoover-the Facts

recycle-girlIf you’re a resident of Hoover, then curbside recycling is a must! Recyclables should be placed on the street in appropriate containers by 7 am on Wednesday mornings. (To request a recycling bin, simply call 205.444.7796)

Recyclable items include: aluminum cans (no other products made of aluminum), glass, plastics with recycle labels embossed with numbers 1 through number 7, (no plastic flower vases), plastic bags (grocery and shopping), tin cans (food cans only, no paint cans or other products made of tin), paper, and cardboard.

 

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The Lights Are Out – Now What?

tree_recycleAfter hauling all of Christmas lights down from the attic, you anxiously plug in the first strand only to be dissapointed by a big fat nothing. What can you do with old, broken holiday lights?

Recycle them!

Many home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s will recycle used holiday lights, but for a local resource, try Technical Knock Out. They will take your used lights for free. All you have to do is drop them off!

Look them up in our Green Guide under “Recycling.”

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The Number Game

800px-Nestbarer_Behaelter04So if you are going to break the greenie cardinal rule and buy plastic, at least buy “good plastic.”

When buying plastic containers, try to buy those that are labeled with a 1 or 2 within the chasing arrows symbol. These two types of plastics are widely recycled. Avoid buying plastics with numbers 3 through 7 – they are difficult to recycle.

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Ran Out? Grind Up!

EVD-tenis-050Running shoes worn out? Grind them up!

Recycle your worn out athletic shoes through Nike. They will take them off your hands and turn them into Nike Grind – a material used in sports surfaces. How cool is that?

Fore more details, check out www.nikereuseashoe.com.

 

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Don’t Let Your Package Stop at the Door

REcycleSo your package has been delivered, now what? Keep the packaging materials on the move – recycle the materials used to ship your goods.

If you receive a shipment packaged in plastic peanuts or bubble wrap, locate a shipping company, like the UPS Store or Pak Mail that will take them off your hands.

Check out the Plastic Loose Fill Council at www.loosefillpackaging,com to locate the closest drop-off location where leftover plastic packaging can be reused. Yeah, there’s a website for that too.

 

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Old Junk, New Beginnings

Battery-Recycling-Symbol2Don’t toss it out – re-engineer it!

Stop and think before you automatically consider a broken item destine for the trash. Maybe it can be reincarnated before it leaves your home. You may be able to do some dismantling and salvage parts to reuse yourself or to recycle, donate, or sell.

For example, the wheels and handle from a broken push lawn mower can be reused in building a wagon for your little one. A broken broom handle can be used as a plant stick or hanging rod.

Get into the habit of looking at broken items differently to help divert as much as possible from the waste stream.

 

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Less Is More

800px-Food_to_goLet the package be your guide.

All things being equal, select foods at your local market and other items that have less packaging. The less packaging you have to get rid of, the better the world is, right?

 

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Say no to take-out extras

plastic spponsSay no to take-out extras.

In the land of the drive-thru, carryout, and delivery it’s easy to forget you’re a greenie when trying to eat between appointments or needing a quick fix for dinner idea desperation.

On a recent trip to a local fast food restaurant in Birmingham, the MGB.com crew assessed the extras of carryout dining. For two grilled chicken salad orders, we received plastic silverware (fork, knife, spoon, and salt and pepper packets), a super-sized plastic bag, way too many napkins, a flier advertising restaurant specials, and a menu – all waste that we didn’t need.

Try specifying in your order that you only need your food and none of the additional fanfare. When you can, place your order inside and take in one of your reusable totes to carryout your order. If taking your food home, be sure to also say no to plastic silverware and condiments and use your own.

Show those fast-foodies what being a greenie is all about!

 

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Take Your Cap Off

800px-Song_Dong_Waste_Not_bottle_capsSeparate bottle caps from your recyclable bottles.

Contrary to popular belief, plastic caps from shampoo, detergent, water bottles and more are not easily recyclable. You are actually tainting your good works, by not separating the two.

Bottle caps can get caught in the nooks and crannies of recycling machines, causing them to stall or even break down. However, there is a solution!

Richard Joseph SalonSpa and the Alabama Environmental Council are teaming up to recycle plastic bottle caps. Take your caps to Richard Jospeph SalonSpa or have a box sent to you for collection. All caps are sent to Aveda for recycling.

For more information check out www.richardjosephsalonspa.com/

 

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I Want To Recycle… Where Do I Go?

recycle_al_lgWe know, we know… recycling in the City and surrounding areas is not a robust amenity. Curb-side pick up is not a given for all residents, so many of us have to cart our recyclables to the nearest center. “But where is it?” That’s the question we get from a lot of our followers, and we are so glad the Alabama Environmental Council hooked us up with the answer!

The AEC recently added a search database for you to locate places to recycle a variety of materials and items. Simply select the item(s) you plan to recycle and plug in your zip code, and voila! You are off to the nearest location to your home to get your recycle on.

Don’t forget the AEC Recycling Center is a wonderful resource in the heart of downtown Birmingham to take your recyclables.

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