Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Green Machine

Crouching tiger, hidden Bronco, circa May 1983
When I was young, my Dad had a green Ford Bronco. We called it the Green Machine. I remember riding around in the back seat singing along to Thunder Road and Another One Bites the Dust (a song that I now hate, but not due to my association with the Green Machine).

These days, green usually pertains to the environment. Planet-friendly. A Green Machine would be someone who kicks ass in the sustainability department. While I am not a Green Machine, I try my best to think about what I'm doing and the resources I'm using. These are some of my attempts to reduce, reuse and recycle. Please share yours with me.

1. The last time I used paper towels to clean the whole house was December 2011. In January 2012 we started using washable rags and microfiber cloths to do the bulk of our cleaning. I still use paper towels on the toilets in the bathroom, but that's it.

2. I can't remember the last time I bought paper napkins because they seem to last for an eternity, but in January 2012 we started using cloth napkins for daily use. We use paper when people are over. I feel really good about this and the paper towels because I'm not throwing out money or useless waste in the trash.
Napkins to the left, fake paper towels to the right, lucky bamboo stuck in the middle with you
3. I stopped buying bottled water. On a daily basis, I carry water in a reusable bottle. For parties, I serve water in pitchers with some lovely lemons and refill as necessary. When I buy water by the gallon it's so I can reuse the gallon to hold homemade iced coffee.

4. Our recycles outweigh our trash three to one.

5. Ninety-five percent of our light bulbs are compact fluorescent bulbs.

6. I avoid individually wrapped stuff whenever possible.

7. I use baking soda and vinegar to unclog drains instead of Drano. I use other enviro/make at home cleaners as well.

8. I pass my magazines on to my Mom so they get more than one read. She passes them along to her friend Sue, so they get more than two as well.
Magazines for mother
9. I don't receive any bills in the mail and I pay all bills online. The exception is the Philadelphia Water Revenue Bureau. Hey fools! You deal in water, which is a finite resource. Think about the trees and offer a paperless billing option, and allow people to pay online!!! I don't mean the auto-deduction you just came out with, either.

10. I use reusable bags at every store. If I don't have them in the car, I will go to the store another day or I will carry my purchases out without a bag. I only get plastic bags when I need new trash can liners or backyard poop bags.
This is actually the very first reusable bag I owned. All these years later, it still has sass. 
11. I group errands together to save on gas and carbon emissions.

12. Before throwing something out or recycling it, I think of ways I might be able to reuse it. My Pop loves to go to flea markets, and he got me a wooden popcorn bowl. I'm not using it for popcorn, but I am using it as a planter outside this year.

13. I try to eat seasonally and locally. I don't have much room ground-wise to plant veggies. I do herbs in pots every year. This year, I'm trying some veggies in pots as well. Fingers crossed I don't kill them, animals don't eat them, and dogs don't attempt to pee on them (edit from 2015: I killed them and the dogs peed on them until they died. The End.)

14. I am a heat and AC nazi. A house shouldn't be 75 in winter and it shouldn't be 65 when it's 95 degrees and humid outside. No matter how much either of those scenarios would be to our joy and comfort, it's not good for the environment. In the winter I turn the heat down, put on a sweater, and get under a blanket. In the summer I wear a tank top and shorts and resist the urge to be hot under a blanket. MFD does not subscribe to this philosophy. See previous post on Thermostat Wars.

15. I wash all clothes in cold water. Sheets and towels in warm.

I don't compost, but I think about it. Does that count? Nope.

I hope something got you thinking hey, maybe I can do that too...and I also hope you can give me something else I can do to be more environmentally friendly. We are responsible for being loyal stewards of this planet so that future generations have a planet to live on.

Have a wonderful Wednesday! Only two more days in the work week for the typical Monday - Friday crew. Make them count! Crunchy granola cha cha cha, kumbayah and earth hoo-rah,


  1. I keep the house at 63 in the winter (54 in the bedroom) and at 81 in the summer IF I TURN THE A/C ON AT ALL. I also use reusable bags for the stores... they are always in my car. I keep water in a pitcher in the fridge and carry a reusable bottle with me. I only use electricity during off peak hours - I would NEVER use the dryer or dishwasher or stove or oven during the day! I would rather wear dirty clothes. I also pay all bills online. I get no paper bills. I DO get a hell of a lot of junk mail - WTF??? Why can't these bank credit card companies get the hint? I do not want them! (I shred and recycle these mailings.) I use all compact florescent light bulbs. Who wouldn't?
    All that being said, I sadly eat way too many packaged frozen meals in wasteful boxes. Mea culpa.

  2. I had another one bites the dust in my head all freaking day! Lori

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  4. Wait....baking soda and vinegar unclogs drains?..Do tell!
    You are doing a great job! The Earth thanks you:)

    1. Jenny, yes!

      Siphon 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Pour in 1/2 cup of vinegar. Cover the hole so the fizz is forced down and not up. Add another 1/2 cup of vinegar and cover again. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes, and flush it with a gallon of boiling water.

  5. We joined a farm share to eat more locally and seasonally. They have multiple pick up locations throughout Philly. See here: My coworkers all did it last year and loved it. As Debbie Rae says, "Sharing is Caring!".

  6. I tried composting. And then we started attracting raccoons so Mark made me stop. They were so cute though! But they were dragging compost all over the yard and side yard. :(


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