Here in Pittsburgh, we're having a challenge to reduce consumption of single-use plastic (SUP) products. If you live somewhere else, launch a challenge in your area! Even if you make it just your personal challenge to use fewer SUPs yourself and to ask the stores and restaurants you visit to stop pushing so many SUPs on … Continue reading Go Green in 2019: Cut Back on Single-Use Plastic!
Happy new year! This is a great time to start a new habit to make a little less garbage, use a little less energy, or otherwise reduce your environmental impact. I made my new year's resolution on a sudden whim when I was in the supermarket on December 30, stocking up on fresh produce after … Continue reading Go Green in 2018: Try Something New!
Did you make a new year's resolution to "eat better" without defining specifically what you meant? or did you try to start the new year choosing all the healthiest, most responsible foods, and now you're reeling at the difficulty of changing too many habits at once? Sometimes it's best to make one change at a … Continue reading Go Green in 2017: Drink Better Milk
Photographs by Nicholas Efran This is a handy tip I learned as a Girl Scout that I still use in my home today. It's a great project for Girl Scouts (or any group of kids) as a follow-up to soap carving: kids can put their soap scraps in the Soap Saver and then add any … Continue reading Make a Soap Saver: neat, clean bar soap with no waste!
I've explained how we buy many of our groceries from bulk bins in the food co-op store, dispensing the amount we want to buy into containers we got by buying (and using) foods that came in them. Usually, when a jar has a label that can be removed, we soak it off so that … Continue reading Bulk Food in Reused Containers in the Microwave: A Cautionary Tale
Did you make a new year's resolution to waste less food, to do more cooking from scratch, or to buy less over-packaged food? If you did, or if you have ever bought a canister of ready-to-use breadcrumbs, this article is for YOU! And if you don't fit into any of those categories, but you do … Continue reading Get FREE Breadcrumbs for All Your Recipe Needs!
WARNING: People who are offended by graphic discussion of menstruation should go read something else. I first tried a reusable menstrual cup in 1997 and reusable cloth menstrual pads in 2001. Over the years, I've tried a number of different brands, and I've written about why these alternatives are better than disposable pads and tampons … Continue reading Sckoon Menstrual Cup and Cloth Pad Review
This tip is a real winner: You can make your own foaming soap in about one minute by mixing just two ingredients. Foaming soap will save you a lot of money because you'll need less soap to get clean. Refilling your foamer will save even more money and reduce the packaging you discard. You can … Continue reading Make Your Own Foaming Hand Soap!
Back in 2007, I wrote about the little tree Daniel and I, with the help of former housemate Bill, made for our first Christmas together, back in 1996. Made mostly of repurposed materials, this is a great alternative to cutting down a real tree or using a factory-made artificial tree. It's still going strong! I'm finally … Continue reading Our Green Christmas Tree (now with photos!)
Our first child was already out of diapers when I wrote about why we use cloth diapers and all the details of our cloth diapering equipment and procedures. Some of the specific products we'd used were no longer being made even when I wrote the articles, and others have changed or become unavailable since then. … Continue reading Cloth Diapers: What Works for Our Family
It's back-to-school season! If your child brings a lunch to school, now is the time to think about how to pack that lunch. If you bring your lunch to work, this is a great time of year to rethink what you're packing, too. Choosing the right lunch-packing habits can make a big difference in how … Continue reading 5 Tips for Green Lunch Packing
Want to decorate your home for a party? You could buy a bunch of bright-colored paper streamers or rubber balloons that you inflate with air. These things are inexpensive, but they're typically made in China by exploited workers in polluting factories and then shipped halfway around the world to you, wasting a bunch of fossil … Continue reading FREE Earth-friendly Party Decorations!
Many of the foods my family eats most are purchased from the bulk section of the East End Food Co-op, our local health-food supermarket in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You do not have to buy a membership to shop at this co-op, but members get a discount in exchange for a one-time payment, which is a pretty … Continue reading Buying Bulk Food in Reused Containers
I am excited to be a contributing writer in the Green in 365 series at Live Renewed! Check out my article on how to use cloth wipes instead of paper tissues to save trees, reduce pollution, save money, and just have a better experience in so many ways. I mean, look, aren't they pretty? I've … Continue reading Cloth Wipes for Bedroom, Bathroom, and More!
My dishwashing method gets most food to wipe right off the dishes, but some things still need to be scrubbed--tea and coffee stains in mugs, blueberry-juice stains in bowls, and bits of pasta that stuck to the pot, for example. I also like to scrub the cutting board really thoroughly after chopping onions. Baking soda … Continue reading Cute and Thrifty Kitchen Scouring Powder
You know those metallized plastic bags that are often used to package coffee? Those have been bothering me for years: They're not recyclable and not biodegradable, so when I throw them in the trash I know they'll be in the landfill forever. And Daniel and I drink a lot of coffee! [UPDATE: We changed to … Continue reading Coffee Bags as Raw Material for Tote Bags
This is a project similar to our recipe binder, using reused materials to make something that does not look perfectly polished but is cheerful and works well for our household's specific needs. One difference is that this project started with a purchase of something specifically for the project: I bought this nylon thingy (specifically marketed … Continue reading My Coupon Organizer
I've had some shoe trouble in the past couple of years, since Keen stopped making that style I raved about. All I want is a pair of black leather shoes that are comfortable for walking, don't smash my high arches, look good with skirts or jeans, and don't have Velcro. (I hate that ripping sound … Continue reading Great Shoes at a Fraction of the Price!
In my article on line-drying laundry, I verbally described these handy clothesline hangers that can be made out of scrap lumber and installed in any place that has exposed rafters/joists in the ceiling. I finally decided to share some photos of them, since this is the kind of thing that really is easier to understand … Continue reading Clothesline Hangers for Basement or Porch
Our seven-year-old Nicholas recently had a party. He also has attended several kids' parties this year and has come home from every one of them with a bag or bucket of items that he considers treasures and his parents consider crap--you know, cheap plastic toys made in China and low-quality, over-packaged candy and gum. We … Continue reading A Different Party Favor–thrifty and earth-friendly!