So glad to be back in the saddle! (Thinking of Mad About You!) I have noticed how I have been more conscious of the decisions I make based on the impact it has on the earth. I rarely go out to eat and I find myself being a trash picker, nothing wrong with that, right? Plus, being a mommy (or daddy) you need to set an example to your children. Little M does love to reuse!
(( UPDATE: Composting is going good, but slow. I haven't been able to add the "brown" material, so had to cut up newspaper. I'll hopefully be able to show you the progress in a few weeks. ))
I've taken a break for the past two weeks, so lets see what ya'll did last week to Change the World. Last weeks challenge was to do "ECO-FRIENDLY LAUNDRY!" Be nice and visit and leave a comment!
Last week we did laundry ... Eco-friendly laundry. We tried using cold water, Eco-friendly laundry soaps and vinegar in the rinse cycle instead of fabric softener sheets in the dryer. In our house, cold water is the "norm" and we also use vinegar in the rinse cycle which not only softens cloths but reduces static cling. My biggest challenge is the soap ... I haven't found Eco-friendly soaps to be efficient in getting our clothes truly clean. So that's an area that needs improving. In addition to the challenge suggestions, we do a few other things to make laundry efficient: we only do full loads, we use hydrogen peroxide to whiten those whites, and we don't allow the dryer to cool down between loads. Let's see what the Honor Society had to say about this challenge:
EcoGrrl always uses cold water for her laundry and shares that most detergents are now formulated for cold water washing (she uses BioKleen). She never uses dryer sheets ... in fact, she doesn't always use a dryer, opting instead for a clothes line in the yard. Great job, EcoGrrl!
Mrs. Green wrote this POST about what does and doesn't work for her. Cold water washing doesn't get her clothes clean, but earth-friendly soap (Ecover) does. She also posted a recipe for a laundry soap called "Gloop" which she plans to try. Please come back and let us know how it worked out, Mrs. Green.
Mrs. Green also did an update on our challenge about eating local. You can read it HERE. She touches on something which many of us face ... when the choice is between our dietary ethics (or our health) and the earth, which do we choose. It's an interesting, eye-opening discussion.
Hand Crafter, who found us through the Wednesday Blog Hop, stopped in. Nice to see you HC ... hope you'll join us for more challenges.
Our friend, Jennifer, uses soap nuts (normal wash), Seventh Generation Laundry detergent (for getting tougher stains out), Castille Soap and Oxybleach (for pre-soaking) ... all Eco-friendly options. And she also line drys ... her clothes come off the line smelling like sunshine. Fabulous!
Kelly, another new follower, does her laundry in an unusual way (well ... unusual in the modern world) ... she washes her clothes in a tub of cold water, using a plunger to agitate the load. Then she uses a wringer, which is from the 1800s, to squeeze out the water and then hangs everything on a line to dry. Wow!! I think Kelly wins the prize for the most Eco-friendly laundry method today! If you'd like to read about it and see pictures of her wringer, click HERE. She also shares that they have simply stopped buying anything which comes in plastic. Great job, Kelly!
Frugal Invitation stopped in. She is the hostess of the Welcome Wednesday Blog Hop which you'll find in my side bar. Nice to see you FI!
TLN never uses a dryer and plans to try out Eco-detergents. Let us know what you learn, TLN!
MindfulMixture has been wanting to write about alternatives to chemical-laden laundry products ... she has chemical sensitivities. I hope you write the post, MM ... I'm sure that you'll find a thoughtful and kind way to approach the subject. When you do, let us know ... we'd love to read it! By the way, MM tried out this month's vegan recipe and posted the results, along with her own enhancements, HERE. Her post made me hungry! Thanks, MM!
Our friend, Ann, stopped by. She left a comment about another kind of detergent ... dish detergent. She mixes a small amount of detergent with vinegar and baking soda ... this makes the detergent last longer and gets her dishes squeaky clean. Thanks for the tip, Ann!
Mysticle joined us. She uses Eco-friendly laundry and dish detergents ... and never uses dryer sheets. She plans to investigate the "vinegar in the rinse cycle" trick. Thanks for joining in, Mysticle ... let us know what you think of the vinegar idea.
Our challenge was once again featured in the Shopping Charity Daily. Be sure to browse around this interesting publication ... lots of great topics are included each day. Thanks, so much, to @shoppingcharity for including us!
Sometimes, what we discover while attempting a challenge is as important as the challenge itself. That's the case, this week, for our friend REWinn. He wrote this POST about all the things he learned while trying to find "washing soda", one of the ingredients in several homemade laundry soap recipes. It's an excellent piece! Thanks, REWinn!
Our #CTWW Gang talked about our challenge on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're on twitter, these are great folks to follow:
Thanks to everyone who participated this week. If you wrote an article, I've Stumbled, Tweeted and Facebooked it.
Let's talk about a new challenge. Our friend Amy (aka @Waylandcook) sent in an interesting idea. Her husband has been cooking outside over a few pieces of wood (read all about it in a December Post by Amy). So she suggests that it might be a good challenge for us. My first concern was whether or not burning wood is environmentally sound. I went to Wikipedia and found this ARTICLE on the subject. The references for that piece included the EPA, Science Direct ... among others. And the consensus seems to be that IF the wood is obtained in an Eco-friendly way and IF one sets a "clean" fire, the smoke produced by the wood is no different than the emissions released from naturally decaying wood in the forest. So, it is considered carbon-neutral.
My next concern, being that it's cold outside, is that ... well ... it's cold outside. For some of us, it would mean going to a park or campsite where outdoor fires are permitted. In freezing temperatures, I would be reluctant to head out for a winter picnic. So, I've added to Amy's challenge to, hopefully, give us all an opportunity to expand our "green" minds. Here it is:
This week, if possible, try cooking a meal outside over a clean, Eco-friendly fire.
If you are unable to cook outside, or if it's just too cold, please cook at least one day's meals using energy-efficient methods (table top appliances such as crock-pots, electric skillets, etc.). Do not use the stove or oven.
If you are already cooking meals in an energy-efficient way, please share information and suggestions on how we all can do better.
I'd like to thank Amy for this idea ... I think it's going to be an interesting week!
Okay ... ready for our mantra? Here it is:
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~What an awesome challenge! I'm ready and it's been semi-wet weather lately I'll see what I can find out about open fires in my city. I love what Kelly said about uses manual labor to cook! It's amazing how much money people spend on these "quick" gadgets! I love to chop onions by hand or peel potatoes by just boiling them. That's what makes cooking fun!
Little M loves to get in on all the action and I've noticed Baby M wants to get her hands in as well. My birthday is coming up and I want to make myself a Organic (Trade-Free) Double Layer Cake! What do you think? Maybe I'll try to convince Hubs to have a camp-out and cook out!
I also remember when we were little that we use to go over to my uncles (he's very greeny) for camp-outs and he'd make a fire and we'd enjoy roasted veggies and the occassional SMORE! Yummm!
Here are some tips on how you can cook/bake/BBQ Eco-Friendly:
- Use Organic/Local ingredients
- Don't buy plastic bowls, Stick with glass (much prettier too)
- Use manual labor (hand to mix or knife to chop)
- Buy a bread machine
- Have a Crock-pot/Grill Day at least once a week
- Sit at the family table (turn off the TV)
- Have an outdoor candle lit dinner!