Archive for the 'Saving money' Category

What to do with old pantyhose? Recycle them!

OK, ladies, listen up.

For those of you who haven’t found 20 other uses for old pantyhose, here’s an option that you might just like.

If you are like me, you have a drawer full of old hosiery, mismatched knee-hi stockings, and ruined tights that you’ll never wear again and the thought of dumping them into a landfill isn’t appealing.

Here’s how to get that drawer back and do something good for the environment along the way.

No Nonsense wants your old hosiery, any brand, size, type, condition you have.

They’ll ship it to a recycling company which will turn it into all sorts of things from park benches and playground equipment to carpet and toys, according to the company’s Web site.

Download a mailing label, ship them off, and be done with them.

Guess what I’m doing tonight?

– Linda J.

 

Group rates KY 37th in annual energy efficiency report

The non-profit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has released its annual report on states’ energy efficiencies.

While some states, including Nebraska, Alabama and Tennessee have made significant gains, “from transportation to industry to buildings, helping Americans save money and creating new business and employment opportunities across the U.S.”,  KY remains in the lower half, at 37th.

Here’s a link to the ACEEE’s map, showing how states rank, and also a link to Grist.org, which compared that map to the 2008 presidential election map.

Interesting comparison.

– Linda J.

How green are you?

Now that we’ve re-launched the Easy Being Green blog, it’s time to start talking about how green we are, our kids are going to be as they grow up and what that will mean for Kentucky.

If you are just getting started and need some ideas, check out these going green tips.

Start with the first 10 or so, then when you get comfortable, try some more!
Do or have tried all 30 tips?

Well, what more should people know that isn’t in this list?

Tell me and I’ll add them in.

– Linda J.

 

Water and energy audits

Bluegrass PRIDE is offering water usage kits and I’m going to pick one up this week.

We save as much water as we can already:

  • We don’t water the lawn — just the garden that feeds us all year and the trees (which shade the house and would be very expensive to replace).
  • We run full loads of laundry (cold water only).
  • My husband frequently refuses to use the dishwasher and does the dishes by hand. If we are using the dishwasher, which is not energy-efficient, you can bet it’s full before we do.

That all being said, I bet this water-usage kit will help us find more ways to save water and, therefore, money.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

— Linda J.

Recycling report from the Ichthus Music Festival

rEAndy Bathje atop recycled plastic bottles at this year's Ichthus music festival.

Andy Bathje atop recycled plastic bottles at this year

Nancy and Matthew Sleeth, the Wilmore couple whose message is that God wants us to be good environmentalists,  are involved with the growing recycling effort at the annual Ichthus Music Festival.
Some stats from last month’s festival:

  • Over 60,000 beverage containers were collected and saved from landfill.
  • The plastics recycled weighed 1.25 tons, equal to 2 months of county-wide recycling.
  • Over 50 volunteers collected, sorted, and crushed the containers.
  • To help keep concert attendants hydrated with less waste, recyclers also gave away 1,000 gallons of free water to those who reused water bottles.

Here’s the Blessed Earth email about the effort:

Four years ago, recycling was not on the radar at the Ichthus Music Festival, which attracts 20,000 (mostly young) Christians each year. Both Ichthus and Blessed Earth are located in the little town of Wilmore, KY, so it’s not surprising that the two teamed up to start a recycling program.


It began with the Sleeth family and their friend, Andy Bathje, leading an enthusiastic team of Asbury University volunteers, picking cans and bottles from the trash. As the three-day festival progressed, more and more attendees started placing their recyclables in the proper bins. By the end of the festival, some band members were even helping with the sorting and collection process.


Now, four years later, recycling is not only a permanent fixture at Ichthus, but a central part of the festival’s “walk the talk” message. One dad even said that finding bottles to throw into high visibility recycling structure (and competing for prizes) is his son’s favorite part of the whole weekend.


Some stats from the June 2010 festival, courtesy of Andy Bathje, who now leads the recycling effort at Ichthus with the youth volunteers from his ministry, Confrontation Point:

  • Over 60,000 beverage containers were collected and saved from landfill.
  • The plastics recycled weighed 1.25 tons, equal to 2 months of county-wide recycling.
  • Over 50 volunteers collected, sorted, and crushed the containers.
  • To help keep concert attendants hydrated with less waste, recyclers also gave away 1,000 gallons of free water to those who reused water bottles.
Festival-goers were encouraged to write their name and cell number on bottles before throwing them into a twelve-foot high cage. Each evening, an “eco-diver” painted green and wearing a cape drew a winning bottle from the cage, and awarded prizes such as Blessed Earth books and film series, t-shirts, and a guitar signed by all main stage artists.


A couple of years ago in Chicago, Matthew met a man who described a lady picking recyclable bottles out of the trash at Ichthus. Matthew proudly replied, “That was my wife!” The tradition that Blessed Earth helped start lives on, and grows bigger each year.

Going green, top 10 — my findings vs. ask.com’s findings

I recently accepted a challenge from ask.com who saw an earlier blog I did on finding companies that do no harm. They emailed me their “Going Green Top Ten questions” and their answers and suggested I try to find answers, too. So here are my findings and ask.com’s.

1. Why should I recycle?
Me:
More importantly, as my 6-year-old daughter asked the other day, “why don’t people recycle?” The National Recycling Council has its own Top 10 reasons to recycle. Read them here.
Ask.com: Recycling turns materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources.

2. How do hybrid cars work?
Me:
A hybrid car attempts to merge the best of gasoline- and electric-powered vehicles for reduced energy waste, while overcoming the environmental problems of gas and short use span of batteries.
Ask.com: A hybrid car has elements of both gasoline powered engines, and electric powered engines, which are combined in such a way that gas mileage is increased and pollution is decreased.

3. What was the recycled material used to make the 2010 Olympic medals?
Me:
“Each medal was made with a tiny bit of the more than 140,000 tons of e-waste that otherwise would have been sent to Canadian landfills,” according to ScientificAmerican.com.
Ask.com: Olympic medals have been made of gilded silver since the 1912 Games.

4. What is energy conservation?
Me:
Reducing the amount of everything we use because everything takes energy to make, create or build. It takes energy to pull the bauxite out of the ground to make foil, even though foil can be recycled. It’s turning off lights, unplugging things when you aren’t using them, and switching to energy-saving equipment and electronics, if not outright doing without them. And don’t forget the CFL bulbs, washing and cleaning full loads (clothes or dishes) and the like. It takes every piece of that and more to reduce the the energy we use to allow save energy and the environment.
Ask.com: Energy conservation is simply using less energy.

5. Where can I recycle batteries?
Me:
In Kentucky, go to: www.waste.ky.gov for a list of places that take recycled batteries and electronics.
Ask.com: Go to earth911.com to find battery recycling centers in your area.

6. What is the cheapest way to go green?
Me:
Check out the queen of saving money’s suggestions for going green at: Suze Ormans Guide to Making Low Cost eco-upgrades. She makes a lot of sense.
Ask.com: The best way to go green is also the best way to save money — use less!

7. What percent of people recycle?
Me:
According to a 2009 article on 911.com, “While 87 percent of people surveyed say they recycle, the U.S. EPA reports only 33 percent of our waste is diverted from landfills.” Makes me question how much that 87 percent is actually recycling or if they really do recycle. Our garbage has dropped more than 75% between recycling everything we can, composting even more and using fewer things like plastic bottles. Packaging matters.
Ask.com: It is estimated that only 70% of the U.S. population recycles.

8. Which city recycles the most?
Me:
Ok, I wasn’t expecting this: Lexington, Ky. was the only city, of those with more than 100,000 people, to score 5 out of 5 in the recycling/green perspective category of a survey by popsci.com in 2008. “Lexingtonians recycle everything from surplus electronics to scrap metal, and they listed the environment as their third most important concern (behind only employment and public safety) & the highest ranking in our survey.”
Ask.com: San Francisco ranks the highest on many survey-based studies on recycling and sustainability.

9. How does wind power work?
Me:
“Breaking it down to it’s simplest components, a wind turbine operates as follows: the wind turns the blades; the blades spin a shaft; the shaft connects to a generator; the generator produces electricity.” Source: ezinearticles.com.
Ask.com: The wind turns the blades of a turbine, which in turn spin a shaft that is connected to a generator. This produces kinetic energy, which the generator uses to produce electricity.

10. How will future generations be affected if we don’t recycle?
Me:
Read number 1 again and then ponder this: If we don’t recycle, we lose jobs, waste energy, create more pollution, greenhouse gases and more.
Ask.com: Higher fuel prices, increased consumer debt, dirty air, and decreasing wildlife population.

How did we do?

— Linda J.

Habitat for Humanity now recycles paint

Do you have half-empty paint cans taking up valuable space in your basement or garage because you don’t know what to do with them?

Here’s a great, local way to help the environment and a good cause.

Habitat for Humanity will take those latex paint cans and recycle them into new paints for purchase.

Called a “bulking operation”, the non-profit plans to take old paint and mix them into new colors.

The bulking involves “combining different colors of paint, separated into light and dark shades, in a 55-gallon mixing vat. In the beginning, two shades will be created, beige from lighter paint; gray from darker paint. Although each 55-gallon batch is a different tone, the paint is sold in 5 gallon buckets so customers have a significant supply,” according to a release issued Thursday.

Habitat has a tinting machine and will offer more colors down the road.

Latex paint can be dropped off at Habitat ReStore, 451 Southland Dr., or Habitat’s offices, 120 Industry Road.

Paint will be sold at the ReStore only.

Habitat already has some paint to start recycling, between the 30 tons dropped off at the city’s household waste on April 24 and because people have dropped off paint at the Southland Drive store even though Habitat didn’t officially take it before now.

“The ReStore already received a significant amount of donated paint and sold or gave away what we could, despite the fact that we weren’t really equipped to handle it,” said Habitat’s deconstruction manager Bill Wood. “We recognized the need for some better way of dealing with it and to hopefully create a uniform product out of the used paint.”

— Linda J.

Get free trees and grocery bags on Earth Day

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, merchants at Lexington Green will give away either a dogwood or redbud tree seedling with a purchase Thursday, while supplies last. The trees average 12” to 18” tall and come bare-root from the Kentucky Division of Forestry.

Meanwhile, in Versailles, the Woodford County Conservation District will be at Kroger from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., giving away reusable canvas grocery bags. And elementary students have decorated more than 2,000 paper grocery bags that customers can use that day.

There will be other free stuff during the day at the store, including compact fluorescent light bulbs and water gauges.

Latest tips for fast-approaching Earth Day

Tuesday got away from me, so I didn’t have time to post the latest tips. Earth Day 2010 arrives on April 22.

What are you doing to get ready? And do you have an Earth Day event to publicize? Know an out-of-the-box tip that other folks might use? Email your events, suggestions, tips to: ljohnson1@herald-leader.com.

So here’s two for today:

  • Take this test: if a playing card fits the crevice of an outside door or window, you need more weather stripping.  Weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cool air inside in the summer and warm air inside in the winter.
  • Replacing old heating and cooling equipment with Energy Star qualified models can cut annual energy costs by 20%.

Previous tips to date:

1. Evergreens not only beautify your landscape and create oxygen for the atmosphere; they also help reduce home energy costs.  Plant them in a staggered or double line to the northwest of the home.  The U.S. Bureau of Statistics reports that a line of evergreens can reduce heat loss and winter fuel bills by 20%.

2. A refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher and clothes washer can account for up to 20% of a household’s monthly utility bill.  Energy Star qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10-50% less energy than standard models.  Spruce up you kitchen and laundry room and use less water and electricity by purchasing an Energy Star qualified appliance.

3. Use Energy Star qualified lighting in your home.  If every household in the United States changed the lighting in one room of their home to ENERGY STAR qualified lighting, our annual energy savings alone would be equivalent to the annual output of more than 21 power plants.

4. Make sure your home is properly insulated. This will help you conserve electricity and reduce your home’s power demands for air conditioning and heating.

5. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.  An ENERGY STAR qualified light bulb that is used for an average of 4 hours per day will last for more than 4 years before it needs to be changed. If every household replaced five of its most used bulbs with Energy Star rated bulbs, we would prevent more than one trillion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

— Linda J.

Earth Day 2010 is fast approaching

With a little less a month until the 40th anniversary of Earth Day (April 22) and celebrations begin in Kentucky and around the world, I thought it was time to beef up tips and reminders for helping our world survive.

So, thanks to the Kentucky Earth Day Web page and a list of tips, here are a couple of tips to get our list started:
1. Evergreens not only beautify your landscape and create oxygen for the atmosphere; they also help reduce home energy costs. Plant them in a staggered or double line to the northwest of the home. The U.S. Bureau of Statistics reports that a line of evergreens can reduce heat loss and winter fuel bills by 20%.

2. A refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher and clothes washer can account for up to 20% of a household’s monthly utility bill. Energy Star qualified appliances incorporate advanced technologies that use 10-50% less energy than standard models. Spruce up you kitchen and laundry room and use less water and electricity by purchasing an Energy Star qualified appliance.

Have an out-of-the-box tip? An Earth Day event to share? Send them my way ljohnson1@herald-leader.com.

— Linda J.

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