User login

A Community of Green Bloggers & Activists

The Downside of Ice Melt

This blog post was originally published on Keen For Green in February 2011, but it's such useful information that we like to repost it every winter.

http://www.analogphotography.comI don't know about the rest of you, but I can tell you that we in the Midwest have had the snowiest, iciest, coldest winter in decades, and it's really gotten me thinking. Since I became a dog mom in January of 2002 I've heard that ice melt is bad for dogs. This has led me to always keep a mat at my front door and religiously take off my shoes the moment I enter the house. I've also stopped using any ice melting product in the back yard, my dog's domain. But is there any truth to this ice melt rumor? If so, what exactly can ice melt to do a dog? 

According to the ASPCA, it is the sodium chloride and calcium chloride in the most common ice melts that is potentially damaging to the puppy in your life. If your dog walks on an ice melt containing one of these chemicals, her paws can become dry and cracked. And if she licks her paws or eats the ice melt (the ASPCA cautions that she can also ingest it by drinking from a puddle of melted snow containing ice melt), her problems can get worse. The ASPCA lists symptoms from as mild as excessive drooling and loss of appetite to as severe as decreased muscle function, coma, and death. ... read more

Keeping Your Drafty House Warm - On a Budget

insulating a house in the winter on a budgetI live in an area where most of the houses are about 100 years old - ours is 140 years old!  A lot of us battle drafty windows and doorways, but doing renovations are not always in the budget.  

Before you get started, look into state programs that help make costly energy efficient renovations more reasonable.  I live in Massachusetts, so we have the Mass Save program which offers loans and rebates.  Check your area to see what's available.

If renovations are still too costly, if your area doesn't offer incentives, or if you rent your home, there are still lots of ways to make your house a little warmer.  My tips are cheap, easy, and quick!

Before we talk about drafts, my first recommendation is to buy a programmable thermostat.  Set it so that the heat goes down during the day when nobody's home and at night when you're sleeping.  This doesn't help with drafts, but it will help with heating costs and wasted energy.  In the past few years, there have been some awesome developments in programmable thermostats.  There are a new type called "smart thermostats" which have wifi capability so you can adjust them from your phone, tablet, or computer.  They're a little more expensive than your average thermostat but you will save money on your heating bills.  ... read more

Green Holiday Gift Guide for KIDS!

eco-friendly toysOne week until Hanukkah and two weeks until Christmas Eve!    Are you still scrambling to think of what to get for the children in your family?  Scramble no more.  I am here to help you.

We live in a world of plentiful, plastic toys.  And don't get me wrong - I'm not adverse to them.  We have a living room filled with Legos and they get hours and hours of use.   But, I am making an effort to cut down on the amount of toys that my 5 year old boy won't use often.  So, I am keeping that in mind while doing my holiday shopping this year.  And here's how I'm doing it:

1)  Buy used.

Some of these toys can get really expensive, especially those darn Legos and things like Thomas the Tank Engine.   Check out craigslist, your local consignment store, or join your town's yard sale group on Facebook.  You can even check Freecycle - sometimes people are so desperate to declutter that they're willing to give away perfectly good toys!   This will save you money AND it lengthens the life of these toys.  ... read more

Are Gift Cards Recyclable?

Every holiday season, you're bound to end up with a few gift cards.  The gift card market is a multi-billion dollar industry, with sales expected to climb to $52.2 billion by 2012!  That's a lot of gift cards that need to be disposed of properly.  

Unfortunately, gift cards are often made of PVC.  PVC is toxic to produce and seldom accepted through curbside recycling plans.  Because of this, I was surprised to see gift cards listed as the greenest gift choice in Country Homes Magazine.  ... read more

Keen For Green Holiday Gift Guide

20 more shopping days 'til Christmas!   I’m sure there are many of you who barely started your shopping.  (Like me!) Stumped on what to get friends and family?  I’m here to help!  Here are some of my favorite green gift ideas:

eco-lovers tea cupFor the coffee lover:

... read more

Real vs. Fake Christmas Trees & the Environment

real vs. fake christmas treesWho is planning to deck the halls this weekend?

You might be wondering what the most eco-friendly solution is in terms of buying a Christmas tree.  Is buying a real Christmas tree bad for the environment?  Or what about the fake ones?  What are your options to keep your Christmas tree, well, green?... read more

n/a

Environmentally Friendly Wrapping Paper Options

'Tis the season to start Christmas shopping! There are plenty of ways to keep your holiday shopping green, but how can you wrap your gifts in a festive way that is also eco-friendly?

A lot of times typical wrapping paper is not recyclable, especially if it has tape on it, so be aware of that before wrapping your gifts in that. There are lots of recycled and sustainable giftwrap options out there, so if you like the traditional look of wrapping paper, go that route! ... read more

Don't waste those Thanksgiving leftovers!

Previously, I wrote a post about how much energy is used on wasted food.   With the beginning of the holiday season arriving, it's hard not to end up with lots of leftovers.  The green thing to do is to make sure you use up those leftovers!   Wasted Food says:  Be Thankful, Not Wasteful!  

First, don't make more food than you don't need.  Here's a chart of how much food will feed how many guests.  

Second, try to give as much to your guests to take home as possible.  Put together little doggie bags for everyone so they can enjoy the leftovers as well.

Even so, you might still end up with leftovers.  After your green Thanksgiving, you may choose to stay home on Black Friday instead of braving the crowds while enjoying all of that leftover turkey, pumpkin pie, and sweet potatoes.   But by Saturday, you might be tired of the same old turkey and mashed potatoes.  Time to get creative!... read more

4 Weird Ways to Green Your Home Business

You refuse to purchase plastic water bottles, your home business is paperless, and you recycle and reuse whenever possible. You are at peace knowing your efforts to minimize your carbon footprint are making a small but meaningful impact on the planet.

But there’s always something more you can do. Consider the following 4 unordinary ways your business can continue to make progressive moves to better the planet’s health.

Create a Healthy Breathing Ecosystem

Plant life is important for filtering the air we breathe. Your home business will benefit from healthy plant life both in and outside of the house. Consider using a rain gauge to water your plants and conserve water. The presence of healthy plants is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it also adds more essential oxygen to the environment.... read more

5 Ways to Save Green by Going Green

Non-renewable energy comes at a price. The more of it you use, the more you’re going to pay. In the same way, our consumption of these energy resources comes at a price to our local, regional and global ecosystem – and its cost might be higher than we were ever willing to pay.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a commonly held misconception that it’s infeasible to offset our individual costs and those on the environment. Well, I’m here to tell you that this it’s totally feasible, and anybody can save green by going green.

You just have to do a little bit of homework before you get started.

Research, Research and More Research

What you’re trying to accomplish is a systemic switch in which type of energy you use, and how much you’ll be consuming. This is going to be a great deal more extensive than just changing out lightbulbs, so it’s going to require a good bit of research on your part.

Here are just a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself to give you a starting point:

  • Where do you live? You need to determine your region’s climate and how your energy is commonly supplied in your local area.
  • What is your living situation like? Do you rent or own? What are you currently using for energy utilities?
  • What is your current budget for the project? Think of this switch as more of an investment than an overhead cost.
  • What can you do (rather what do you want to do)? Some changes might not be possible, given your living situation, due to space or legal issues.

 

... read more

Syndicate

Syndicate content