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Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • « June 2012 | Main | August 2012 »

    July 31, 2012

    My Utility Company Give Me $200 When I Bought My New Refrigerator. Maybe Yours Will, Too.

    Refrigerators use more electricity that any other single appliance in your home. Why? Because they're on all the time. There are a few ways you can improve the efficiency of a refrigerator you already own, but if you have an older model, it could make a lot of financial sense to replace it with something new - especially if your utility company, like mine, helps foot the bill.

    WhirlpoolI held on to my refrigerator for 27 years! But finally, we needed a new one. The seals on the old one were cracked, the drawers were broken, the door handle was chipped, and mold was starting to build up in places I couldn't keep clean. The old fridge still kept my food pretty cold, but it was depressing and unhealthy to use. And being as old as it was, I suspected it was using much more energy than newer models.

    As you can imagine, I wasn't wild about spending hundreds or maybe even a thousand dollars or more on a new fridge. I was relieved when I learned that Pepco, my electric utility, would give me a $150 rebate if I bought the most energy-efficient refrigerator available to meet my needs. Pepco would also pay me $50 if I let them recycle my old fridge. With $200 guaranteed off the price of the appliance, I went shopping! I ended up buying this Whirlpool pictured above. Here's how.

    Continue reading "My Utility Company Give Me $200 When I Bought My New Refrigerator. Maybe Yours Will, Too." »

    July 25, 2012

    Want a Plastic-Free Life? Buy This Book ASAP!

    Plastic-Free-cover-258x300How much money do you waste buying plastic every year? It’s probably hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Even though it’s that much money, you may not realize how much you’re spending because so much of the plastic we buy is hidden in products that we think are plastic-free. Fortunately, by following even a third of the suggestions in this new must-read book from plastic-free visionary Beth Terry, you can start saving a lot of that money rather than throwing it away. You might even save enough to put your child through college!

    But let’s back up a minute, to the original question. How much money do you waste buying plastic every year? I’ve written about why using less plastic matters here. In short, the stuff is made from oil and other toxic chemicals, can make us sick if we’re repeatedly exposed to those chemicals, and wreaks havoc on wildlife and the environment.

    If you’ve given up buying bottled water, use your own reusable cloth shopping bag and maybe grow some (or most) of your own food, your automatic response might be: “Almost none. I don’t buy plastic.”

    But chances are, you’re still subsidizing the use of a fair amount of plastic, since almost everything anyone buys these days comes either shrink-wrapped, padded in plastic balls or peanuts (yes, polystyrene is a form of plastic), encased in a plastic package of some sort, or wrapped in paper that’s been coated with a plastic film so thin you don’t even notice it.

    One area where I’ve become particularly aware of how much plastic I consume is in the bathroom. Even though I don’t use a lot of cosmetics and follow a mostly “natural” hygiene regimen, now that I’m paying attention, I’m appalled at how many of my personal care products come packaged in plastic. I’ve switched to bar soap that’s sold either wrapper free or wrapped in paper, my face cream comes in glass jars, and my hand salve comes in metal tins. I use wash cloths instead of disposable wipes to remove dirt and make-up, and a crystal for deodorant. But my shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, toothpaste, sunscreen, and mouthwash? They’re all packaged in plastic. Ditto for the blush, mascara and lip gloss I apply.

    Continue reading "Want a Plastic-Free Life? Buy This Book ASAP!" »

    July 20, 2012

    Rechargeable Batteries and Eco-Friendly Flashlights Will Help You Survive the Next Power Outtage

    We've had at least three power outtages in the last two months, so I've become a bit of an expert at figuring out how to get my family power and light when they're not being delivered through an electrical cord. 

    BE PREPARED

    * Stock up on flashlights, batteries, water, dry food, pet food, and candles before you need them. We were caught completely by surprise during the last storm, which knocked out power to our neighborhood for three-and-a-half days. Luckily, we had many of the devices I review below on hand; by the time we found an open store the next morning, they'd been cleaned out of almost all useful emergency supplies. 

    * Put emergency supplies where you can find them easily. I  keep two big bags full of battery-powered lamps, candles, flashlights and some snacks at the ready in the family room near our television set. The TV won't work during a power outtage, but everyone knows where to find what they need to read or get around in the house.

    * Create a checklist that's relevant to your family, and review it with everyone in your household. Hopefully, in most cases, you won't have to leave your home just because you lose your power. It's a good idea to keep a bag packed with copies of your most important documents, medicine, and other essential items in case you need them.

    SOLAR-POWERED BATTERIES 

    Battery chargerRechargeable batteries are terrific, but if your plug-in recharger uses electricity, it won't help you much during an outtage. Keep a couple of solar-powered rechargers on hand to re-power the different sized batteries you may need. Or choose one versatile device, like the one pictured here, which is designed to charge 11 different types of batteries. A built-in meter shows you the strength of the sun, the strength of the current out-put from the solar panel, and the time required to fully charge the different types of batteries you have.  A built-in blocking diode prevents the reverse flow of electricity from charged batteries during storage.  A polycarbornate transparent cover makes the charger weather resistant. Though ideal in a power outtage, you can also use a recharger like this if you're traveling, camping, boating, or anywhere else where you don't have access to electricity.

    Solar lanternSOLAR-POWERED FLASHLIGHTS

    It's pretty easy to power-up a solar flashlight - as long as you have sunlight and can set the light out where it gets full exposure for a few hours. This one  to the left is actually  two lights in one: an LED spotlight plus an adjustable LED lantern. You can recharge it by using its built-in solar panel or by drawing DC power from your vehicle's cigarette lighter socket. 

    HAND-CRANKED FLASHLIGHTS & RADIOS 

    Crank radioHand-cranked flashlights and radios are particularly convenient not only if you lose power, but if you have no sunlight for recharging your devices. I have a version of this model that I purchased after one outtage too many, which I keep in a handy kitchen drawer so I can find it any time I need it. What I like about it is that it has a great radio, built in flashlight, and a port so I can re-charge my cell phone as needed. 

    Continue reading "Rechargeable Batteries and Eco-Friendly Flashlights Will Help You Survive the Next Power Outtage" »

    July 18, 2012

    Help Your Plants Beat the Sweltering Heat With These Water Sense Tips

    Heat waveThis summer’s heat wave is expected to result in a serious spike in the amount of water being used outdoors this year. Late July and early August are usually when outdoor water use soars in most of the U.S., but some regions report that they see people in their communities overwatering well into the fall. City and county managers worry because, if people and businesses don't use water more efficiently,  communities will find it very tough to manage droughts and freshwater resources.

    Why should YOU care?

    ·        Depending on where you live, you might use between 30 and 70 percent of your water outdoors.

    ·        Experts estimate that 50 percent of the water we use outdoors gets wasted due to evaporation, wind, or runoff due to overwatering.

    ·        The average American home uses about 260 gallons of water per day. During hotter months, homes can use about 1,000 gallons of water a day. Some use as much as 3,000 gallons per day, or the equivalent of leaving a garden hose running for nearly eight hours!

     No matter how much or how little water you use, it will save you and money and time to use less water. Here's how!

    Top 10 Tips for Saving Water Outdoors
     
    1. Xeriscape: Plant perennials, annuals, bushes and trees that do not need more water than normally falls in your region. If rainfall is scarce, skip hydrangeas, which require frequent watering to thrive and bloom. You can find a good list of plants and the amount of watering they require here.

    Continue reading "Help Your Plants Beat the Sweltering Heat With These Water Sense Tips" »

    July 12, 2012

    Make Your Own Yummy Popsicles: Popsicle Molds and Recipes

    Popsicle blackberrySummer at our house is popsicle time.We eat popsicles for breakfast, lunch and dessert after dinner. We eat them when we're hot and sticky, like we've been most of this summer. Really, we eat popsicles any old time - they're refreshing, fun, and when they're not loaded with sugar and artificial food coloring like the ones you might buy in the store, they're a healthy and eco-friendly snack.

    Popsicles are one of the easiest make-it-yourself treats both because they're quick (not counting freezing time), and because they use up fruit that might be too ripe to eat but very easy to puree. All you need to make popsicles is:

    * some kind of mold to put the popsicle mixture in;

    * a mixture of whatever you'd like to eat in your popsicle;

    * a blender of some sort to puree the ingredients so you can pour them into your popsicle mold; and

    * a funnel so you can easily pour the puree into the mold.

    What Can You Put in Your Popsicles?

    Continue reading "Make Your Own Yummy Popsicles: Popsicle Molds and Recipes" »

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