Looking for Sustainability ideas

I thought I find a way to keep costs down while still trying to stay eco-friendly. Trying to keep striving for sustainability. This a record of that journey.

Sometimes blunt and straight forward then sometimes sarcastic

This frugal crunchy hipster single momma is doing what she can to save Mother Earth while not breaking the bank!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

You are Beautiful.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is February 21 to February 27.  When the Dove commercials first came out I cried at the beautiful little girls with the sad "thoughts".  Little girls who didn't know they where beautiful.  When working with children and dealing with people I knew that had this disorder I learned some very scary things.  Things that made me think, that told me I  need to change the way I thought.  End the fat talk the negative self talk.  That 58% of men and women think they would look more beautiful if they lost weight.  The youngest person on record with a eating disorder was 5. Five years old.  She saw mommy purging. So when she decided she was too fat; she began to purge.  Little girls wanting to go on diets.  Grown women that would give up years off their live to be or stay thin....  Makes me wanna cry.

Tonight I found  Operation Beautiful It's basically a grassroots campaign that leave positive messages in public places for other women to find. Using sticky notes.



Simple beautiful way for us to support each other. Because beauty is in the fact we don't all look the same. Beauty is our difference. Our humanity.

YOU Are SO Beautiful......... Show the world your beauty.

I think I have a sticky note saying there... What do you think?

ivy

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Way to Go Walmart

So one of my secrets so to speak is that I work for the Walmart Corporation.  Yep the big box store.
But today I watched a web cast on Treehugger with Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke announcing that the company is pledging to to eliminate 20 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions from life cycle of products we sell around world by 2015!

Go Walmart! Go Walmart! 

Graham Hill, founder of Treehugger started with prerecorded message teaching the veiwers what is global warming and ways to cut your carbon footprint.    

This will be done on the store level and  in partnership with our suppliers. The company has done well with reducing the carbon footprint of the truck fleet.  If you think about it: this isn't to hard for a big box company like Walmart.  There are many suppliers and companies that would supply Walmart with more  sustainable products to the 8,000 retail units under 53 different banners in 15 countries. Working with Environmental Defense Fund Walmart has been conducting "Sustainability Roundtables".  This also happens at the store level and online.  I missed the last meeting I had a appointment.   Walmart also plans on remodeling stores and build more stores with the environment in mind.  Building more eco-friendly buildings and remodeling store for energy efficiency.  My store is planned for this remodel this year. I am excited to hear Walmart is not just giving lip service to the problems of global warming but doing something. In turn this is leading the way to make other companies to wake up and  do something to help our environment.   

We use many sustainability practices now.   We have many stores that are using renewable energy, recycling and energy efficient practices.  We have recycle bins in our break room. Paper is shredded and recycled.  And all the rumors about the food we throw out is the fact many things can not be donated because of safety reasons.  We don't eat out dated meat.  Many food industry companies have to throw out meat and milk product for safety reasons.  However every night I work I donate our bread (the day before it expires) to the area food bank. So yes Walmart donates food. You don't have to sign the petitions that are circling the net; it is already happening.

Plus as small as our Plus Program at Sam's the Evalues where the member can upload savings to thier card.  Saving paper waste where one can get coupons on their membership card.  I saw this as keeping up with the times.  Walmart is in the twenty first century leading other companies saying come on catch up! No cutting coupons or forgetting them which I am so guilty of doing!

Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp thanks Wlamart for looking at the  Big Picture.  Cutting carbon footprint.  Doing well by doing good. Getting competitors to keep up.
Cutting  packaging and plastic. Lighter weight packaging. Lower cost! Means lower cost for us.

Fox Home Entertainment Doug Grossman also was on the webcast.  His company promises to cut packaging and plastic. Lighter weight packaging Lower cost!  This is already started.  He explained that this is happening in Hollywood and on set on many movies.  Suppliers offering a higher percent recycled product in the making of the final product.  This inturn will help the product over all carbon footprint.

ivy

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Green Dust Clothes

Ok I found this great idea from Planet Green to make homemade dust clothes.

  • empty  baby wipe container 
  • 5 cheesecloth squares cut to about 20 inches by 20 inches. old thin towels is what I used
  • 1 pint of hot water                                                                                           
  • 1/4 cup lemon oil - Old English or Milsex Lemon Oil
    Instructions:
    1. Combine the water and lemon oil in a glass jar
    2. Cover and shake well.
    3. Soak the cloth in the solution and squeeze out the excess.
    4. Hang and allow to dry.
    5. Fold and place in your sealed container
    Use like you would your throw away dust cloths. 

    When the cloth gets dirty just wash it in warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
    Repeat the soak, hanging, drying and folding to store to be really when you need them!

    Now I have to figure out a way to make something that will fit over the forked handed product that the girls (ok me too) like to use.  You know it has a handle and can get into smaller places.  I am thinking about that  bath mat I saw with a hook rug base and old towels are the "yarn".  hummmm I will let you know if I can make it happen. Or some of these mitts you see that look like  mitten with fringe all over the mitt part.... Make it smaller to fit the fork..... hummmm 
    ivy

    Need to Clear the Air

    Being winter here in Northeastern Ohio it becomes very important to keep the air in your house breathable. Indoor Pollution and it is not from the outside air. 

    Air fresheners are toxic!  Air fresheners are made with  synthetic fragrance that basically just  numb your sense of smell.  They don't cover up the smell they just irate the lining of your nasal passages to not notice the order just the air freshener.  EPA  studies show that air fresheners produce formaldehyde-related compounds.  Formaldehyde! 

    Air fresheners are more toxic for our children. It is been said that they may help with the rise in asthma in our children. Asthma is up to 12% of our children are asthmatic.

    Natural ways to freshen your home:
    Fresh flowers or plants
    Lavender sachets   Our grandmothers put lavender sachets in her drawers and packed clothes to keep them smelling fresh. 
    Real potpourri made with dried flowers, herbs and citrus slices which look very cool...  
    diffusers with pure essential oil Make sure the bottle says pure essential oil. Plus herbs and EOs have healing qualities also.
    herbs Clean with herbs or use sachets or potpourri

    Baking soda sprinkle on carpets, use like you would in the refrigerator, place open box in a area that will not be tipped over... like the top shelf in your closet.  
    Clean! Find the source of the smell and clean it.  Plus keeping your house clean also keeps the air clean.  Darn Do I have too?? LOL

    Watch wearing Perfumes and colognes.
    Environmental Health Network (EHN),perfume contained over 800 compounds.  EHN also found many ingredients that are suspected carcinogens and hormone disruptor  linked to reproductive disorders.  hummm we wear perfumes and colognes to smell good for finding a life partner... but it can cause problems with our hormones.  Then if we do get married we might have problems having babies.  Doesn't sound like what you see from the ads.  

    Natural Perfumes and Cologne
    Make your own perfume and cologne!
     Add pure essential oil to a base oil like Almond oil,  everclear or vodka!  Let mingle together for two months without opening.  Jojoba oil is a little expensive but is odorless and keeps longer then other oils.

    To make a cream based perfume use  1 tbs. oil, 1/2 tsp. bees wax, and 1/4 tsp. of EO.
    Melt wax with oil in the microwave is the easiest.  Let cool. Add EOs.  I reuse my mineral make-up containers for this.


    Breathe in, breathe out, breathe naturally...........

    ivy

    Monday, February 15, 2010

    I am craving sweets

    I have tried to cut out or down the amount of high-fructose corn syrup we eat. This has NOT been easy to do.... Because so many items have HFCS in them.  Things you never thought they would be in like ketchup, salad dressings, yogurts, breakfast cereals,  pancake syrups,  juices (even the one marked real juice)  cookies, gum, jams, jellies, baked goods and barbecue sauce. We have heard and know that things like soda and  bottled drinks have  HFCS in them.  So we have been reading the labels when shopping.... The girls are  help too.  They also noticed that some items have corn syrup listed.  But I tell them that it's the high-fructose part that worries me for the chemical process to make a fake syrup that our bodies don't know how to digest is the problem.  You know the eat only what your great-grandmother would recognize! My grandmother used corn syrup for candy making.  But we try to find a brand with corn syrup for the most part.  Karo has been around since 1903 so I guess that is in my great-grandmothers time..... 
      I have reading things including a few blog posts on thoughts of  high-fructose corn syrup and learning more then I thought i knew about it.  It cheap to make and is very sweet.  It is sweeter than sugar making it easy to produce because they can use less and have a very sweet taste. I also learned of lab test that use high-fructose corn syrup and cells.  The cell became fat cells after a diet of high-fructose corn syrup.  hummm.  Or the fact doctors noticing that it play a big role in accelerate bone loss,  high cholesterol,  hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.  It is also said that men are more at risk then women but we women also have the issue that HFCS will mess with our hormones.  Between the food we eat and the hormone we take to prevent pregnancy we really should be careful how we affect our hormones. In my opinion.
    So just like a junkie needing a fix I have really have had a sweet tooth lately.  Can it be from the withdraw of high-fructose corn syrup? Well I am learning new ways to cure that craving.

    We have found that Welch's juices are HFCS free, well not the frozen punch type.
    Simply Fruit from Smuckers which at first the girl said it tasted different but now love the taste and think that regular jellies and jams are way to sweet.  But my beautiful cousin and wonderful aunt has made fresh jams and preserves for us too.  yummmy.   And more important to the vegetarian Jif peanut butter but still concerned about rapeseed oil..... might be looking for a different peanut butter...
    But hey they got a sugar coated breakfast cereal and told me hey it doesn't have HFCS..... hey sugar was the second ingredient and had 11 grams of sugar, but hey it's  high-fructose corn syrup free! LOL Not sure I am pleased but it has only one bowl per girl gone..... so I guess that they had a taste.  Oatmeal is slowly replacing cereal... no HFCS  there. But more important better for us. They really ask is it ok to add a little brown sugar? How is that healthier?  I tell them that the sugar adds to the taste and is far less sugar then most  sugar coated breakfast cereal.  I know if I remove all the sweet items they would want more and eat the worst... oh the fun!

    What items have you changed to remove the  high-fructose corn syrup from your table????

    ivy

    Live at Noon!

    Today at Noon the local news station News Net  5 had a segment about the best time to buy consumer goods. I had to take notes!!!

    January- electronics
    March winter clothes are  on clearance
    May-mattresses
    Mother's Day- cell phones
    June and July -jewelry
    Fourth of July or Labor Day- furniture
    Fall - appliances, big and small
    Sept- Cars

    Many times the good sale prices are to make way for the newer products or next year models.

    ivy

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    adults only. Lube talk

    Happy Valentines Day!   With Valentines Day on it way I found this so fitting for the occasion......

    Many of the popular personal lubricants are petroleum based.  Meaning that many ingredients are not also the best thing to put in a very sensitive personal place.  Many of the ingredients are the same thing that are used in motor oil!  I do however think that if you are not in a commented relationship, as to say you need; to use the over the counter products for protection of the HIV virus, but that is just me. I not a medical personal type person.  I just think that  one needs to be very careful with this disease.

    Ingredients you should avoid:
    propylene glycol
    parabens
    synthetic fragrance

    Yes there is many lubricants that are eco-friendly that are for sale in health food shops and on line. But the can cost more than the name brands. Much more.

    recipe;
    2 cups water
    2.5 Tbsp flax seeds
    Boil the water to a full rolling boil. Add flax seed.  simmer until reduced to half. Around 20 minutes
    strain and let cool. Place in bottle. Store in refrigerator. Room temp will last only a few days.

    Can also used as a hair gel. But really don't use to used stuff, but then if you are having a wild night.(I'm jealous) .. it doesn't hurt if it  gets into your hair.....

    ivy

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    Eco-friendly cat litter


    So we the cat owners (or should I say care givers?) that cat are very finicky creatures that hate change. If you change there food they may stop eating. Change where the litter box is well, they find a place they think it should be... SO the best thing to do is slowing start adding a new product to the old.

    My problem is I find this great advice  at the Greenwala site but now I get to find an animal feed supply or farm/ranch store in my area.  I live in a urban area. SO I will blog about the ideas and maybe find a store where I can get the products and tell if they work.  Heck maybe just to add to the cat litter to help control cost for a while!




    corn based cat litter..

    simple corn scent - no added perfumes or chemicals
    cats easily adjust to it
    Clumps naturally
    Absorbs odors natural
    BUT
    mold can grow from the moisture
    GM crop....

    Greenwala suggestion:
    Chicken scratch (otherwise known as cracked corn).

    Wheat based

    earthy smell - with no chemical additives
    Clumps naturally
    Absorbs odors natural
    Biodegradable, flushable and compostable
    Uses natural enzymes for odor control
    BUT
    cats eat the litter
    tracking through the house
    hard to scoop
    GM crop

    No subs.........

    Wood pellet
    Woodsy smell
    can be reused as mulch
    Sold a the big box stores
    BUT
    some cats hate it.
    Very heavy
    pellet end up all over house (doesn't most litter??)

    Greenwala suggestion:
    natural wood fiber horse bedding

    Well idea saved... too bad my grandfather isn't still around;  he would  have had either (both!) and let me have a little to experiment with...... No he would tell me, "Get out of the city girl!! Breathe some fresh air and get some dirt between your toes"......... Giggle..........

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    ewww now I have to wash my bagged lettuce

    on Civil Eats site reports that Consumer Reports' that packaged leafy greens has high levels of fecal contamination! Signs of poor bathroom manners. Yuk! Plus this also is in the organic produce too!

    There is limits on the amount of contamination in our water, raw meat, milk, and some processed foods, but not produce. So the lettuce is not tested to assure us that there is no contamination.

    Part of the testing that Consumer Reports included the sale by dates. The closer to the sell by date the more of this contamination. So try to use it up before the sale by date and wash, wash your greens...... the packages marked "pre­washed" and "triple-washed" salad greens had a high number of poop matter.

    What Consumer Reports advice on what you can do:

    * Buy packages as far from their use-by date as you can find.
    * Even if the bag says "prewashed" or "triple-washed," wash the greens yourself. Rinsing won't remove all bacteria but may remove residual soil.
    * Prevent cross contamination by keeping greens away from raw meat

    Ok this is getting gross. First I learn that at fast food restaurants there is a high level of fecal matter in the drinking fountains and now it the lettuce bags!!!!! OH my goodness. It is also said that many times this contamination is from the illegal help that picks the food. The ones in charge demand a high yield and cut cost where they can. Not that the pay is problem. Many times the works just use the ground as their bathroom, for to take a break may cost them their pay for the day. I am not sure how true this is or if it is a internet rumor but makes you wonder with many foods are testing high for the fecal bacteria.....

    Guess we should just give everything a good washing before eating......

    ivy

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