Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Major Update Two

Here is the second half of my major update.

56. Only purchase Rainforest Alliance-certified flowers - it doesn't happen very often, but when they do come in the house, they are RFA certified.

57. Only purchase Rainforest Alliance-certified black tea - all new orange pekoe coming into the house is at least partially RFA certified.

58. No more DVD purchases - this has been so easy.  The kids get 99% of their movies from the library now, and I didn't miss the extra gifts at Christmas.

59. Purchase an environmentally-friendly yoga mat - I love it.  Now I just need to find time to attend classes.....

60. Carpool whenever possible - we've made some great strides in this.  DH carpools at least three times a week with a co-worker.  We often give rides to outings for Brownies/Beavers.  Several times I've been to meetings and carpooled with neighbours.  It's amazing how when you take a look at your transportation, how you can easily make a change without it being a burden or a problem.

61. Make one lunch/dinner per day vegetarian - this has been relatively easy also; about 90% of our days follow this pattern.

62. Only use dishwasher at night - I'm slipping a bit with this one.  Sometimes I can't wait until night to run the dishwasher.  I'd say we're only at about 50% compliance right now (which is 40% more than when I started the blog).  I'd like to see the compliance rate go up to about 80-90% by the time the challenge is over.

63. Turn off "heat dry" feature on dishwasher - if I turn it off, the dishes don't dry.  They are sopping wet, especially any plastic containers on the top rack.  If I turn it on, I use more energy.  I can't decide which I hate more - drying dishes or using an extra kW or two.

64. Have someone else pick up our puppy - 'nough said.

65. Re-use our dog items - I've been re-using other people's doggie stuff, too.

66. Clean shower regularly with vinegar - I'm actually not using vinegar right now, as I'm still trying to get rid of the embedded mould.  See below.

67. Get rid of mould in shower with hydrogen peroxide - working on it......

68. Purchase biodegradable kitchen garbage bags - I'm almost finished them.  Once they're done, I'll buy recycled plastic ones instead, as a reader rightly pointed out that biodegradable bags can't biodegrade if they never see the light of day in the land fill.  It's a case of one evil (landfill) vs. another (recycled plastic).

69. Send electronic invitations - it works beautifully, and no one has complained yet.

70. Purchase only recycled plastic black garbage bags - if only they sold them at Costco, I'd be a happy woman. I can't get recycled plastic bags big enough for our outdoor garbage bin, so have been using them to collect dog poop and other assorted smaller garbage messes.

71. Plant more native species in garden - is Spring here yet???????

72. Hang linens to dry - this has been hit or miss.  I find I'm tumble drying my linens at lot, as I'm usually doing 3 or 4 loads at a time (because someone has peed or thrown up in bed).  However, when I'm only doing a single load of sheets or blankets, I do hang them to dry on my railing.

73. Purchase bamboo socks - bamboo vs. organic cotton.  The debate is still on; I haven't decided which is more environmentally friendly.

74. Install timers for bathroom fans - love them!!!!!

75. Join Project Feederwatch - I've joined, but no one is coming to my feeders on the days I need to count.   :(

76. Cancel newspaper subscription - I really thought I'd miss the paper version.  But using the electronic one has been really great.  I'm a convert.

77. Borrow Hallowe'en costumes instead of buying them - this worked out really well.  I'm going to try again next year.

78. Turn tap off when hand washing - once I got in the habit, it's been very easy to maintain.

79. Purchase environmentally-friendly kids shampoo - I had the best of intentions with this one.  However, one too many times of the ENTIRE bottle of shampoo being used to make bubble bath, I've decided to wait until the kids are a little older before spending $10 a bottle on shampoo.

80. Hold a "greener" birthday party - it was awesome.  I'm going to attempt the same for DS and DD2 when the time comes.

81. Place compost bags in all rooms - as mentioned, I've removed these from the rooms (no one was using them), and am now making sure to sort the compostables before they are dumped in the garbage.
82. Use a variation of the "if it's yellow...." rule - working great, although I've had DD2 come into my bathroom and scold me, "Mummy you forgot to flush!"

83. Eat kids' leftovers for lunch instead of throwing out food - I'm hardly throwing anything out now.

84. Put certain lights on timers - love it!  Now to install one in DD1's closet.....

85. Turn computer off when not using it (during day) - this one has been hard.  I work on an on-call basis, so need to be checking email several times a day.  It's been a pain to power up and power down the computer 10 times a day, so I've made a compromise with myself.  I shut the computer off when I'm going out, or if I'm going to be involved in a project at home that I know will take several hours to complete.  It's not what I'd originally hope this challenge would be, but sometimes we need to adjust our goals to our lifestyle.

86. Install wall plate insulators - I don't know if it's truth or wishful thinking, but the house has seemed warmer lately, even though the temperature hasn't been raised.

87. Re-purpose our baby bathtub - nothing more to add until Spring.

88. Purchase environmentally-friendly dog shampoo - I'm running into a similar problem with the dog shampoo as with the kids' shampoo.  In this instance however, the quantity being used is to actually bathe her.  Her fur is long, thick and wavy, and need almost 1/2 a bottle to wash at one time.  Sad to say, we may have to think about clipping her when the warmer weather gets here.

89. Purchase re-usable produce bags - love them!

90. Turn furnace fan to "auto" - saving energy and still keeping the house warm.

91. Make my own drain de-clogger - this has been sooooo easy.  Sometimes I need to repeat once or twice, but it works every time.

92. Use eco- and body-friendly hand cream - lovely stuff.

93. Be powerWISE - slowly working my way through our high energy usage stuff....

94. Start looking for local sources of animal protein - this is going to take some time.  We've tried one farm, but the product was not quite what we were looking for, and not enough quantity for a family of 5.  We have a couple of other places to check out, so hopefully, I'll find a farm that suits our needs.

95. Buy a recycled steel garbage can - this was a one time purchase.

96. Enroll children in Scouting and Guiding movements - one of the best activities my kids have participated in.

97. Not using SOS pads for kitchen cleaning - I love my scrubbie.

98. Use an all natural facial scrub - I've been thrilled with the product we're using.  I may try to make my own later, just for the fun of it, but right now, I'm happy to use this one.

99. Buy and use a Diva Cup - I can't believe I didn't find out about this sooner.  When I think of all the waste I could have saved......

100. Make more food from scratch - this has been a lot of fun.  Interestingly, or not, depending on your point of view, it's been more difficult that I thought convincing the kids that home made is better.

101. Use eco-friendly lip balm - it's been great.  I just wish I could get an EF one with sunscreen in it.

102. Use extendable cooling rack - my new favourite kitchen toy.

103. Turn off air conditioning breaker - I just need to remember to turn it on.

104. Buy and use an all-natural eyeshadow - I've been happy with the product.  It goes on well, and doesn't bother my eyes.  I just need to find it in a darker colour.

105. Purchase rain barrels - is it Spring yet??????

106. Bring home our compostables - so easy, if you don't mind a few strange looks (and not all of them from strangers....)

107. Invest in nightlights - this has been really great for my family.


  1. Regarding change 79. My kids were using the soap and shampoo for "science experiments" and generally using too much. I went and bought a 3 container pump dispenser that attached to the shower wall. I use one for boy soap, one for girl soap and one for co-ed shampoo. I told the kids how many pumps they are allowed to use and they love counting them out and watching the soaps squish out. A bottle lasts us for months now instead of days or weeks. Santa supplied the last bottle in the kids stockings and we've got about 1/3 left.

  2. These are a great review for me! I like the home tips such as the bathroom fan timer and turning the furnace fan to auto!

  3. 88. When we bathe Winston (a shar pei) we often just use human shampoo. He has incredibly dry, flaky skin, and our vet suggested using human dandruff shampoo. Is there any chance you can buy people shampoo in larger quantities and use it for everyone?

    Also, when you come to visit next, you should shoot into Walkerville and check out Shop Eco. They have some AWESOME face/body cream that i've been using for a while that they make locally. They also have everything from cloth diapers, to diva cups to recycled razors and everything in between.

  4. great post...look at all you have achieved! still hope to follow your lead on some of these. thanks!

  5. Thanks everyone for your comments - I really appreciate the positive feedback.

    Kathy - I will have to try this. I wonder if my kids will be as compliant as yours? :)

    Nicole - I am eager to see Shop Eco. A. W. bought me some stuff from there, and I would love to see what else they have. Maybe we can make a trip in together?

  6. You've inspired me - the day I read your blog I made 2 re-usable coffee filters. Since we make individual cups of coffee and use a new filter every time, the number of filters we go through is astounding! Though to be fair, I mostly did it to be cheap - I was tired of buying filters!

    Thanks for your tip (that I read somewhere) about getting a rainbarrel from rainbarrel.ca. Like you, I've always wanted one, but they're too expensive. I can handle this price, so I've already reserved one and am very excited to use it at our new house!

  7. Melanie - glad you found the posts useful. That is what I'm trying to achieve - passing on interesting and reasonable eco-tips for the average person.