April 8, 2012

Earth Day ~ Every Day: Week Six

My Week Five Assignment:
I tend to keep a close watch on things around home, like dripping faucets and where our drinking water comes from (I loathe plastic bottles of water piled high and taking an entire aisle at the store), partly because we live within city limits and have to pay for our water here.

I try to go through the entire house, at least twice a year, and check for water leaks, clean the shower heads and faucet screens, and make sure everyone in the household is still "on board" with conserving water (ie: not letting it run while brushing teeth, taking short showers rather than long baths, keeping a container of water in the refrigerator rather than letting water run until it's cold from the faucet, etc).

We're currently preparing to set up a rain barrel at the back corner of the house and alter the eaves-trough to run into it. This will help keep our basement dry and will also be very close to the garden spot I've chosen. The rain water should not be used for drinking (contains pollution) but is excellent for watering plants, rinsing the sidewalk and washing the car. When we have a fish tank, I also use the old water (when cleaning it) to water my plants rather than dumping it out. It's full of nutrients plants love!

My husband and I are also getting ready to install a tank-less water heater we've picked up for under $900. This will not only save on our gas bill, but will heat up water almost instantly without having to run it until it comes out hot for showers, dishes and so forth.

To help prevent further contaminating the water supply, I've been looking into (and trying a few) eco-friendly cleaning products. Some of them aren't worth the bottles they're packaged in (ie: they don't clean very well), but I'm determined to either find or MAKE some that are easy on the environment and actually do a good job. My sister found a recipe for homemade liquid laundry detergent HERE. She has tried this recipe already and really likes the results! The only drawback is the lack of fragrance, but since I grow many herbs already, I can add my favorite scent (Lavender) by utilizing a small bit of my homemade essential oils. 

Recycling Electronics and Other Products
April 8-14, 2012

We've certainly become a "throw-away" society. Many electronic products, including computers, seem to be manufactured with a built-in life expectancy of only a short while, while advancements in technology have us dumping the old and replacing with the newest, coolest items faster than we can learn all the ins and outs of the previously "most current" features.

"E-waste" is considered to be anything that plugs into an electric receptacle or uses batteries. In fact, batteries themselves can be considered "e-waste". So, what do we do with all the outdated (and often power-hungry) appliances, televisions, VCR's, camcorders, toasters, computers, cameras, cell phones and so on?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers a page of resources to help answer some of these questions.

The Assignment for Week Six is to list everything you can think of, within your home, that fits into the category of potentially becoming "e-waste", then search out places you can recycle these, and other "out of the ordinary items" (such as old metal fencing, used motor oil, a junk car, an old tattered sofa). Write about your experiences and share resources for everyone to learn about disposing of any of the above-mentioned items. How much does it cost? Are there services available for the pick up of large, unwanted items (such as rusty, old swing-sets)?

If you haven't joined in with our Earth Day ~ Every Day Campaign: 13 Weeks of Earth-Wise Exploration, it's never too late to begin! Just click the title of the Campaign directly above, read the brief instructions, and enter your blog URL in the comments section. The Earth thanks you for your efforts. ;)
Known in the Pagan Community as the "Green Witch", Polly Taskey is descended from Mary Bradbury (Perkins). She shares her interests through the Pagan by Design Blog and Message Boards. If reprinted, this byline and links shown here must be included.


Autumn Damiana said...

I use Simple Green a lot when cleaning.  It's biodegradable, non-toxic, not tested on animals, pet and septic safe, made in the USA... all that good stuff.   It seems to work really well for me, and you can pick up large jugs of it for pretty cheap and just refill your spray bottle (also eco-friendly that way!)  Just DON'T use it on walls.  I figured out that it also removes latex paint.  Oops.

Polly said...

Oh, we actually have some of that! My husband uses it for whatever he does (fixes computers, electronics, etc) but I haven't really tried it for cleaning household stuff! Thanks! Oh, and I'll be sure not to use it on the painted walls (LOL).

Natasha May said...

This is such a fab read. I'm not from the states so I can't tell you anything useful about the services. :) We have a possibility for a free container for the large pieces like furniture and appliances once a year to be brought to us and then picked up. But you can drive it to the recycling center yourself anytime if you have the ability. And we have recycling bins where we separate plastic, glass, paper, other garbage  and we compost the organic stuff.

We recycle everything. We even save our newspapers for a local animal help group that collects them twice a year and then they sell it to a recycling company and they make money that way for their cause instead of us just putting the paper to a recycling bin.

The batteries are collected in every major store or shopping center. Basically everywhere you can buy batteries there is a container next to them for old, used one. The same with used cell phones. Sometimes companies organize campaigns where they give you a discount on new stuff if you bring the old to them. Mostly appliances.

I thought this was very cool. Sometimes bigger grocery stores give free reusable  shopping bags  from recycled materials. It was something they did when they stopped giving out those small free plastic bags.

Oh, for cleaning stuff. Try putting orange peels in a bottle of vinegar and water. It's supposedly a great cleaner. Experiment with the amount of vinegar so you don't get the smell of it. There might be a recipe on the net somewhere. :) And we use alcohol vinegar as a softener when doing the laundry. You can't smell it, promise. :)

Wow. I have a lot to say, don't I. :) I forgot to say about the printer cartridges. Some stores have the possibility for you to bring your old ones and you can buy the refillable ones cheaper or you can have your own refilled. Ok. I'll shut up now. :))

Polly said...

 Natasha, what a wonderful reply! By all means, share as much as you like! This Campaign is for everyone to share and learn. The posts (including comments) are being included in the "Index to All Posts" Page for anyone to read or participate in whenever they wish.

I'll try the cleaning solution (I love the smell of orange, and lemon). We do many of the things you mentioned are available to you as well, with minor differences. For example, all of our recyclables (except glass) is put into one bin here in my city. Glass can be taken to another location. Our high school has a semi-truck trailer that sits open out behind it for people to bring all their papers to also.

Please share as much as you like! At the end of this project I hope to put together a bit of an e-book (for free) including many of these tips, statistics and resources.

roxie said...

Hi Polly I can't believe I got week six done ! this one I thought I'd have no clue what to write about then bam ! I could've written way more , so many questions to ponder , to look over .
here is the link :

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