Friday, August 29, 2008

Go Green, Get Rich

Well maybe not, rich-rich, but there will be more money in the kitty at the end of each garbage, recycling and yard waste collection bill. Consider that the average person generates 4 pounds of garbage per day and what that adds up to for the environment and the family's bottom line. Now consider the alternatives.

Here's a fun Garbage Quiz from the fine folks who run King County, WA to get you thinking and acting!

We just downsized to a smaller garbage can and will save more than 50% of what we were paying. We inherited a larger can from the sellers of our home and got the wind knocked out of us on our last public utility bill about the cost of that large can. I promptly called our utility and requested a can 1/2 the size, which will be delivered after the holiday weekend. Considering we were only using 1/2 or less of the can anyway, we're home free.

But what's more is that we realized we're having an easy and profitable time sorting waste and makin great use of our yard waste/compost bin and our recycling tubs.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bonne Maman: Great Jam and Green Living

My other, occasionally better half thinks this is too obscure to count as green living, but here it is. I think the Bonne Maman Preserves jars are beautiful and now have a couple that I'm using as cups, but think they'd make great herb planting containers, vases for the powder room, Q-tip receptacle and Lego or Playmobile holders.
Tell me if you agree. Thanks!

To buy, visit your local grocery or organic, green and good, Fresh Direct.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Salmon Season: Chinook Book is Worth a Cast

I'd heard of this Seattle and its environs coupon book that boasts over $3,000 in savings through their featured enviro friendly merchants and discovered their website today - EcoMetro. They work in 4 other regions and have an easy to use search function by category.

The Seattle Kids section features a good, known and reputable list of retailers, activities, etc. for kids and families. I appreciated the detailed information I found on consignment shops for kids gear.

I hope they expand the service and their Chinook Book coupon model to more cites.

Gone fishin!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Farmers Markets: Helping Baby Grow Green

There's no other response to my discovery of Local Harvest a site that provides zip-code based info on farmers market locations, local CSA(Community Supported Agriculture) groups, Co-Ops and more than total enthusiasm and reverence for the good people who have digitized incredible amounts of local information for use by many.

Serving baby organic, healthy food that's grown locally is a great way to support the environment and fun too! But where to find such manna? At Local Harvest, you simply type in your zip code or city and state to retrieve local (walking distance!) info on where to find your nearest farmers market or CSA. CSAs is the closest I'll ever be to a farmer, but I love the concept that supports local producers using organic farming methods. As Local Harvest puts it:

"A CSA is a way for the food buying public to create a relationship with a farm and to receive a weekly basket of produce. By making a financial commitment to a farm, people become "members" (or "shareholders," or "subscribers") of the CSA. Most CSA farmers prefer that members pay for the season up-front, but some farmers will accept weekly or monthly payments. Some CSAs also require that members work a small number of hours on the farm during the growing season. A CSA season typically runs from late spring through early fall. The number of CSAs in the United States was estimated at 50 in 1990, and has since grown to over 2000."

And each listing gives the location, website if possible and any other pertinent information. They make the caveat too with a message that says when the last update to the informaiton was made, so always good to double check it on your own.

Enjoy thinking globally and acting locally at your own community's farmers market!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Where to Shop: Baby Consignment Stores

If you're searching for gear for baby and want to go green by updating the nursery with used items like a moses basket or other merch that can be covered in your own and new organic linens, check out a few of these online baby consignment resources. is a great site that connects buyers and sellers across the country. Plenty of moms with merch looking to offload and update with other like minded greenophiles. While the search function didn't reveal results in my neighborhood for 'moses basket', I found plenty of 'crib' options under the Browse Tab.
Kids Consignment Sales where a click on Sales Directory takes you to a map of the US where you can select your state and all the local retailers and other consignment networks are listed with contact information.

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

How to Shop and Others

In the interest of keeping used products and merchandise moving through the 'system' and lightening the load of our landfills, Craigslist exists as a great local resource to find new homes for old stuff. I've been using the site in west coast cities for six or seven years and have never had a bad, much less disappointing experience.

Whether searching for home decor, stuff for the baby, Satsuma Designs sales reps around the country, singing lessons or help wanted, the Craigslist community has never treated me wrong.

Until now, and mind you, it's not that dramatic, but there were definitely a few misreps about the 'antique' hutch I went to scope for a new addition to our dining room.

Sadly, the 'solid wood' turned out to be veneer, the 'antique' status (100 years old+) was open for debate and its current location was a haul from home.

And so in the spirit of Caveat Emptor, I thought it wise to post a few buying tips for sites from Craig et al.

1. Always negotiate on price.
2. Don't drive more than 20 miles to a prospective purchase (not only is gas a consideration, but if it turns out to be a bust, you won't be as bummed). Instead try searches on your city and local neighborhoods and try to stay in a 10 mile radius of home.
3. Can pay cash, but get a written receipt even if it's on a piece of scrap paper.
4. Try to speak to the seller before either arranging a viewing or purchase. It's good to get the sound of the person you're dealing with. In the hutch case, the seller sounded like a gem, but obviously not that informed about what he was selling.
5. Ask questions on the phone and take a list on the visit.
6. Bring your measurements of the location it will go or in the case of something that is to hold something else, a sample of what it's to hold. Eg. With the hutch, I took a plate and a wine glass to ensure they'd fit.
7. Take a camera to snap for either later comparison or time to mull over for a final decision.
8. Have fun and feel good about reusing someone's once loved X, Y or Z!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Recycling for Toddlers

When baby grows green it's never too early to teach ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Toddlers as young as two can begin to understand the concept of recycling and taking care of the environment with a little coaching and fun!

Here are a few things to try with your little ones to encourage life long green waste management.

1. What kind is this? Let your toddler help you sort types of recyclable materials. Whether sorting into your city's recycling bins or your own tubs, take time to show the difference between plastics, bottles, newspaper, other paper and food scraps that can either be tossed into a yard waste bin or composted.

2. Green arts and crafts time. Encourage toddlers to color, paint and draw on both sides of his/her paper or sketch pad. Try telling a story with each days new art installations. Monday through Friday should reveal some fun Mad Libs!

3. Please turn off the water, Mommy! Instill good water conservation habits by telling your toddler about the importance of turning off the water faucet when not in use. Whether brushing teeth, washing hands before meals or helping wash vegetables for meal time, show and tell your toddler to use water carefully. Listen to him/her begin to instruct you!

Good luck and enjoy!