Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Make your own laundry soap

Buying organic or earth friendly everything is A. probably not possible and B. really expensive. I thought about picking up some eco-friendly laundry detergent but thought I could probably make some instead.

Goggle "make your own laundry detergent" and you get tons of sites (all the recipes are about the same.) I found this recipe and tried it. Several websites break down the price.... I am not going to do that but with all the borax and washing soda I have left I can tell you right off the bat it's a hell of a lot cheaper than the Tide I had been using.

Borax and washing powder are non-toxic and free of harsh chemicals so making your own is both more eco-friendly and more wallet friendly.

Here's what I used:
Washing soda
Bar of soap
I grated the soap and mixed it with one cup of both the borax and washing soda and put it in an air tight container.

That was it.

Then I used 2 tablespoons for my admittedly very dirty whites (mostly kitchen rags)


It certainly smells clean. I did have to wash a few things along with the second load... although since it was used for things like cleaning up spilled coffee and stuff I am not sure my Tide would have done much better.

The lavender sent I really hoped would would stay is pretty faint. I saw some instructions to make your own dryer sheets which might be next.

I'll certainly keep using it and probably keep making it. Some light stains were removed completely, and I like that it's both green and cheap.

Bonus: making it made my whole kitchen smell like yummy lavender soap.

For more uses for borax click here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

There's weed killer in the water


It's important and we don't drink enough of it. Partly that's because that it's often cheaper to drink soda than water when buying it bottled. Everyone knows that plastic bottles stay in a landfill forever (bad) AND according to earth911.com only 24% of all plastic bottles are recycled.

In addition to garbage, we often forget to think about the carbon footprint our little bottle
or Fuji, or worse, Evian leaves. Although I'm a fan of both waters, the amount of energy to transport the water leaves its own large
footprint. (Evian being worse than Fuji because it travels by Air) The making of the plastic bottles itself is a huge waste in energy, see this study which breaks down the carbon footprint bottled water leaves behind.

SO the best thing to do is fill your own bottle of water from the tap right?
well, it may put your health at risk.

According to a Huffington Post article there isn't blood in the water, there's weed killer. Not my fault folks, I used vinegar on my front steps! The chemical is called atrazine and its used to kill broad leaf weeds. Though there is a dispute on how bad it is for you, I think I'll pass.

Thankfully Brita filters do indeed filter out atrazine. So no worries. Pick up a $5 coupon for a Brita filter when you pledge to bottle your own water, reduce waste and lower your carbon footprint.

Wondering how you can reduce waste, drink less weed killer AND go local?? (boy you're ambitious!) pick up a Sigg bottle at Monkey Grass at the Shops at 5807. And check out other eco-friendly products while you're at it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My house smells like a pretty good salad.

Okay, so I went to Kroger.
I couldn't find a gallon of Vinegar anywhere else.
I heard vinegar is the perfect cleaner, cheap and ecological to boot.
So, I gave it a shot.

A spray bottle and a gallon of vinegar:
*killed the weeds over taking the brick outside my house
*cleaned my coffee maker
*took red juice stains off my kitchen counter
*freshened my garbage disposal
*de-greased spots on my stove
*shined the stainless steal on my sink

Need more convincing to used vinegar instead of store bought cleaner?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to make myself a salad.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Coffee for 99 cents?!

It's true! No, not Maxwell House at 7-11 but several delectable fair trade and shade grown coffees to choose from at Ellwood Thompson's. I have an obsession with Ellwoods, and it'll be my Mecca as I try to purchase environmentally friendly foods and the like at locally owned stores.

There's no such thing as a quick trip to Ellwood's, there's just too much to look at. I stopped in to pick up some sugar and half & half and a snack for later but I spent a good 15 minutes
perusing the aisles just for fun. Ellwood Thompson's is set up just like a small grocery store but have a sign indicating whether your food is local. Which is great for picking up something you find you needed or forgot to get at a farmers market. Ellwoods sells locally food and vegetables, freshly baked breads and even local free range eggs which can be bought in bulk for a pretty good price (more on that in another post).

I picked up a pint of organic half & half for $2.49. More than I usually pay. Maybe this will encourage me to drink less coffee? We'll see.

For sugar I looked in the baking aisle before remembering that Ellwoods sells bulk at a good price AND it reduces waste. Excellent. Even better? Eliminate those plastic bags and bring in your own container and shave 10 cents off the cost. Cool!

Intrigued, I called Ellwoods after I got home and got the scoop on the best ways to save money while shopping at ET's:

*Bring your own bag and save another 10 cents for each bag you use.

*Go on customer appreciation day (every second Wednesday of the month) and save 10% on your entire purchase.

*Double Coupon Day every Tuesday! Not only do they take printable coupons and manufacturer's coupons but take it in on a Tuesday and double it! Coupon books are also available near the produce section of the store.

*Buy bulk. Not just for the bulk section, this includes laundry detergent, fabric softener, dog food, tofu and even farm fresh eggs. Bring your own container and save 10 cents off an already great price. Just don't forget to get the tare weight before you fill up!

*Ride a bike, walk or use another low impact method (though I must say the intersection is terrifying, I was assured the employees do it daily) and save another 25 cents.

*Need dinner on the fly? Check out the Hot Bar Happy Hour at 8:30 for just $4.99lb. (I can't begin to tell you how delicious their food is!) Their hot breakfast bar is $5.49 and also worth checking out.

*Find something you love? Order it by the case! Save yourself a shopping trip or two and 10% off a case (mix-and-match with wine!)

*Check out the monthly sales flyer for discounts that last all month. Try something new or stock up on something you love.

*And my very favorite, bring in your coffee cup and refill your travel-mug with coffee that smells so good it'll make your co-workers jealous, for just 99 cents! More ecological container, cheeper and better-for-the-earth coffee than Starbucks!

I'd already done a lot of grocery shopping before I decided to go on my local-organic-environmental kick. But check back with me in a few weeks as I'll make a bigger trip- this time armed with containers, bags, coupons and a calendar and I'll let you know how much I could save!

For more things ET's does for the community and the environment, check out http://www.ellwoodthompsons.com/community.php

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Byrd House Market experience.

Okay, I have something terrible to admit. A dark secret I've avoided telling. There's a farmers market in my neighborhood... and I've ever been. In my defense I used to work Tuesdays and would come home to the kids ASAP. But, The Byrd House Market is literally only a few blocks away... I know. Bad.

I was further embarrassed when I saw a familiar face. My boyfriend from middle school was there selling beautiful loaves of delicious bread. Small world. Once again, I had to admit I had not been to the Market yet. You can't get more local than these loaves Evrim and Rick make their bread from locally grown and milled whole wheat and rye flour. The bread is hand shaped and baked in a wood fire oven. Instead of selling in a store front Sub Rosa sells subscriptions, four week months are $24 or $40 dollars, five week months are $30 or $50. I was sold, and sent an email immediately to subscribe. I can't wait to blog about that.

After running into my old friend Max and I roamed the market. I will not buy fruit and veggies from the grocery store again. AgriBerry Farms had blackberries so huge, so delicious, and so fresh they stained my fingers black. Max didn't want to try them which I was secretly happy about because now I get them all for myself. I also purchased 4 apples from them. My total for 4 apples and a good sized basket of blackberries. $8. my splurge for the day. I got fresh basil, 4 stems for a dollar and picked up fresh tomatoes from Amy's Garden. Next time I'll pick up one of their beautiful baskets of mixed tomatoes. I'll post pictures too. Meanwhile Max enjoyed his $3 Soul-Ice and talking with the friendly vendors.

All in all it was a wonderful success and I'll be back next week. I used my fresh tomatoes and basil for dinner and they were absolutely delicious! The Byrd House Market was about the same price as going to Kroger but difference in the taste was noticeable. I spent under $20 for Soul Ice, Basil, Tomatoes, 4 apples, a basket of blackberries and a giant cookie for dessert.