My Photo

Or receive updates by email:

Delivered by FeedBurner


FIND DIANE ON...



AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Get Our Newsletter:
Green Purse Alerts!

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.
  • January 17, 2011

    Hate Clutter? 10 Sure-Fire Ways to Cut It.

    Clutter.

    In my house, clutter is a "five letter word" that actually means "paper - and too much of it."

    Summer food, office 080 Too much junk mail I won't read. Too many newspaper advertising supplements I don't use. Too many coupons I don't clip. Too many business cards from people I don't know. Too many receipts I don't need. Too many empty cardboard boxes I can't fill. Too much throwaway packaging I can't use. (Yes, this is what my desk looks like every now and then...cluttered!)

    Maybe all this papery nonsense served a purpose at one time, but it becomes clutter in my eyes when it physically gets in my way. It's especially annoying when it covers my desk or makes a mess of my coffee table. Then, it can take me HOURS to go through it, sorting, shredding, tossing, WASTING precious time. To add insult to injury, all this wasted clutter weighs down the recycling bin I have to lug out to the street every week. 

    Plus, it pains me to think about the environmental impact paper clutter has. According to 41pounds.org, a group that works to reduce unwanted junk mail, more than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce junk mail. Just creating and shipping junk mail produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 9 million cars.

    What to do? Reduce, Reorganize, Recycle

    My anti-clutter crusade is based on these three strategies. I am reducing the amount of waste paper coming into my house as much as possible. I've re-organized my filing systems slightly so I can keep track of the minimum amount of paper I need to hold on to. And I'm recycling the rest.

    How?

    1) Pay bills and bank online. Many banks now actually charge their customers a monthly fee to send them a paper statement (my Bank of America outlet charges $8.95/month for this "service."). So not only does online banking reduce the clutter in my house; it saves me money, too. Plus, paying bills online gives me longer access to my capital, since I can pay bills the same day instead of having to send a check a week ahead of time. In addition, I'm saving money on postage - not a lot in a month, but dollars that will add up over time.

    2) Read newspapers and magazines electronically. Why? To avoid all the ads. The news part of the paper is actually rather thin; the advertising supplements are huge. If I bought what they're selling it might make a difference, but I don't.  When I want to know what a store has on sale, I check out their website before I go shopping, or pick up their sales paper when I enter the store. If I want the coupons, I can usually find them online: there are all kinds of mobile phone coupon apps so you can skip the print-out completely. (You can find coupons for green products here. ) Meanwhile, I read the paper on my laptop or my phone. I don't have an e-reader, but you could certainly read newspapers and magazines there, too.

    3) Share or go to the library. Sharing works especially well for for magazines. I share a variety of magazines with my neighbors, and drop in at my local library for others.

    4) Stop junk mail and unwanted catalogs. You can use a service like 41pounds.org who will contact junk mailers on your behalf. What I've found, however, is that the most effective solution is to call the contact number directly on the mail or magazines I don't want and ask them to remove me from their lists. Here are more services that will help you stop junk mail from cluttering your house. You can also put a "No Solicitations, Please" sign on your door or mailbox so people won't leave their sales fliers at your home.

    5) Skip paper receipts. I don't take receipts at the ATM, the gas pump, or the grocery store. I've discovered that grocery stores will usually take back a product they sell without a receipt; but honestly, I almost never take anything back to the grocery store, so why bother with the receipt? I only take receipts when I buy hard goods, like clothing or some kind of equipment. I keep all receipts in a file, just one file per year, so they're not on my desk. NOTE: Whole Foods market gives its customers the option to receive receipts online, though I don't want this clutter in my e-mail box, either.

    6) Limit business cards. I recently threw away a shopping bag half-full of business cards I'd accumulated over the last couple of years because they were just cluttering up my office. I couldn't remember who most of those people were, anyway - and I'm sure they don't remember me. Now, I only give out business cards to people whom I really should be networking with, and I only take business cards so I can follow up with people I really want to be connected to.

    7) Carry reusable bags. In addition to grocery bags, you can use small mesh bags for produce or grains you buy in bulk. I have a couple of snazzy shopping bags I use when I go clothes shopping, too. Plus, I just say "not" to the extra tissue paper some stores like to wrap around the items I buy. 

    8) Use a blackboard. Note pads and stickies are supposed to keep people organized, but they're a big source of clutter for me, given how easily they stack up. A clutter-free alternative? Blackboards. Put one in the kitchen where you can leave "notes" for family members, put one in your office or workroom so you can write notes to yourself.

    9) Consolidate.  Right now, I'm in the process of consolidating the contents of five different notebooks into just one. It will make my life sooooo much simpler. I'm also consolidating paper files into fewer folders that have only the essential papers in them. Everything else is headed to the recycling bin. Speaking of which...

    10) Make recycling easy. Keep a recycling bin nearest to where the most paper comes into your house or where it creates the most clutter. Some options: 1)Near the front door, so you can deep-six unwanted mail before it makes it to the dining room table. 2)In the kitchen, so you can easily recycle packaging. 3)In your office, so you can keep paper from piling up on your desk.

     For more anti-clutter strategies, don't miss this month's Green Moms Carnival, hosted by Amber at strocel.com.

     

    December 03, 2010

    Holiday Traditions that Mean the Most to Me: Family, Friends, Food!

    This weekend begins a chain of traditions I've been building with my family for twenty years.

    Holly berries Early Saturday morning, I'll climb up in the attic and pull down the holiday lights, bunting, evergreen trim, and ribbons and bows we use to decorate our house for Christmas every year. I'll tap my "inner Martha Stewart" as I weave the trim around the staircase and across the balcony railing, then thread white lights through the trim to turn our day-to-day home into a holiday wonderland. 

    While I'm trimming the stairs, one of the kids will be out in the yard cutting holly branches bursting with bright red berries. The holly goes everywhere - in vases of other yard cuttings, around the base of lamps, behind framed photos on the walls, around the candles that are now sitting on the window sills and in the middle of the dining room table. All the while, apple cider, infused with cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, will simmer on top of the stove. In a matter of a couple of hours, it will look and smell in here the way it does every year about this time: which is to say, just like Christmas.

    Sunday, we'll get our Christmas tree. We have a high ceiling, so we usually aim for a fir about seven feet tall. When we can, we buy our tree from a local farmer who grows it organically on his farm in Pennsylvania. It is not perfectly shaped; a stray bird's nest may be hiding in the crotch of a couple of tall branches. No matter. "Oh...that smells sooooo good," everyone says in his or her own time. We'll trim the bottom to fit into the Christmas stand, and save the branches to add more Christmasy smells to the house or put on the porch to make a bed for the candles we'll light there on Christmas Eve.

    Continue reading "Holiday Traditions that Mean the Most to Me: Family, Friends, Food!" »

    October 28, 2010

    Please: "Bury" Me Before I Die

    Glamour photo Well, not exactly. I mean, I don't want to be buried alive, or anything weird like that.

    But I've been to enough funerals and burials to know that they're usually wasted on the person being laid to rest. The people left behind - those still alive, in other words - get to have all the fun. As sad as the occasion is (and I mean absolutely no disrespect to those grieving the loss of a loved one), a funeral presents a wonderful opportunity to celebrate someone's life: who they were, what they loved, and the legacy they left behind.

    Why would I want to miss that?

    I don't. 

    So...I want my funeral service before I die. And I want it exactly like this:

    Continue reading "Please: "Bury" Me Before I Die" »

    September 27, 2010

    Clothing: What's Eco, and What's Not

    Greenmoms1 What does it take to manufacture, sell, and dispose of clothing? You might be surprised. The clothing industry is one of the most environmentally intensive in the world. If it's made from cotton, it's been doused with as much as 22.5% of the pesticides applied to agricultural crops worldwide. If it's made from a synthetic fiber, its source is actually coal or oil. As much as we might prefer to wear fig leaves, when we have to wear fabrics, what should we choose? 

    The Green Moms Carnival tackles the clothing conundrum this month. Most of us bemoan how difficult it is to figure out how to buy environmentally-friendly fashions in the first place.

    Mary of In Women We Trust regrets how few organic fabrics are designed for the boardroom instead of the beach, and points out the valuable role that the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) play in ensuring that textiles are produced organically.

    Amber at Strocel.com compares polyester and acrylic, two synthetics made from fossil fuels, and comes down on the side of buying less clothing over all, and natural fibers over synthetics. "Reducing consumption pretty much always comes out ahead," she notes.

    Anna at Green Talk provides a comprehensive analysis of the use of recycled plastic bottles in clothing, as well as other textiles. A big concern is that textiles made from recycled plastic emit the chemical antimony, which has been linked to a wide variety of health problems in laboratory animals. Anna also reports that demand for plastic bottles that can be recycled into textiles has risen so much that some manufacturers are using brand new plastic bottles, rather than recycled ones. Talk about the law of unintended consequences

    Linda at Citizen Green points out several benefits to using recycled plastic, like the fact that "30% less energy is needed to down cycle the bottles into shirts than is needed to make them out of virgin plastic." So what's the worry? Plastic is still plastic, and will take hundreds of years to biodegrade.

    Leopard purse Sarah of Practically Green provides a great set of tips if you're shopping vintage. "Don't keep it if you will NEVER be that size again," she suggests -- good advice whether you're buying old or new. You'll also love her pictures of the vintage clothes she's snagged over the years, from a snazzy leopard clutch she lined with red leather (see photo, right) to her dad's v-necked, cashmere sweater.

    Keep reading. There's more!

    Continue reading "Clothing: What's Eco, and What's Not" »

    August 10, 2010

    Students Start Food Fight So They Can Have Re-usable Lunch Trays.

    Trays Kids are going green, and not just at home. A cadre of student activists at Piney Branch elementary school in Takoma Park, MD, are agitating to replace the throw-away polystyrene lunch trays used in their public school cafeteria with reusable, washable ones. They've raised over $10,000 towards the purchase of a dishwasher to clean the trays. Officials who oversee the school in Montgomery County, MD have thus far refused to allow the kids to even test out a reusable trays program, saying it is too expensive. But the kids are fighting on.

    Full disclosure: Both my kids attended Piney Branch, which is located near the Washington, D.C. border about three blocks from my house, and educates students in the third, fourth and fifth grades. But my son and daughter left long before more environmentally aware kids formed "The Young Activists Club" and launched their inspiring reusable tray campaign.

    The kids are concerned because the polystyrene in the trays is a "known neurotoxin and suspected human carcinogen," they say on their website.

    "But there's more," they say. "It turns out polystyrene has a high carbon footprint as it's made from fossil fuels. In addition, unlike other types of plastics such as beverage bottles (PET, #1) and milk jugs (HDPE, #2), its recycling level is virtually zero. It is not biodegradable, either. This means polystyrene that is littered will end up eventually in our watersheds and the world's oceans where it can have devastating impacts on water life.

    Continue reading "Students Start Food Fight So They Can Have Re-usable Lunch Trays." »

    EcoCentric Mom
    Everbuying led light
    Green by Answers.com
    GSHNetworkMember125

    Categories