What do you do that saves you money AND is kind to nature?

netlaSeptember 8, 2003

This was inspired by the plastic bag discussion on the "Have you ever done something..." thread.

I don't use plastic wrap - I keep my leftovers in glass containers with plastic lids. They are a bit more expensive than plastic containers but last much, much longer.

I bought a Keeper - it lasts for 10 years, cost about the same as 2 year's worth of sanitary napkins/tampons - which I don't pollute nature with anymore because of the Keeper.

What are your nature friendly money saving efforts?

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Bought a Jeep Wrangler instead of a larger or more gas-guzzling SUV. I needed something that would get me through MD winters no matter what, so something with good ground clearance and 4WD was a must. The soft top was purely for fun. Actually, I don't have AC in the Jeep, so that saves on fuel efficiency. I get about 25 mpg, keeping the tires properly inflated and the Jeep tuned up. And Jeeps cost less than most other SUVs. Now that I live in NC, my next vehicle will most likely be a hybrid, but that will wait another 5 years or so. We keep our cars for at least 10 years.

When I dust, I use only a damp rag, no dusting stuff. It doesn't make a difference either way, so why waste the bottle of stinky dusting spray?

Buy the 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke and use it to refill a cup from an amusement park at work. Much cheaper than buying the 20 oz bottles, and with the quantity of DC I drink, I've probably saved about 10 acres of landfill by now.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2003 at 10:19PM
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Very good thread. Each person saves in their own way.

ALL paper products (except tp and tissues) are shredded and composted--this means I don't have to buy petrochemical based fertilizers and plastic weed matting. It means that less water is used on vegetables and landscaping.

I try to grow everything I can from saved seeds from this years crop and things bought and ate from the grocery store. Most recent success: jerusalem artichoke--use it as water chestnuts (more nutty tasting)in stir fries. Can you grow your groceries for free? Yes! Trade for what you don't have.

All edible waste goes to the chickens who turn that into eggs. Chicken waste becomes garden fertilizer.

Water barrels catch rain for the garden.

Other things:
-Old clothes, sheets, towels are cut up and used for rags (no paper towels)
-Water saved while waiting for hot water to come out of the tap and water from bucket kept in shower are used to flush toilet or water garden.
-Never use dryer sheets.
-Large Mayo jars used instead of rubbermaid or tupperware.
-Old nylons are washed and used for tying up vegetables in garden and for bouquet garni.
-Leftover oatmeal is used in oatmeal bread, cookies or muffins next day.
- ends of celery saved for making broth.
-Chicken bones used for making broth.
-Grocery bags used for trash bags.
-Never use coffee filters- have a gold filter.
-Save inside of cereal boxes wax paper (cut open) washed and used instead of waxed paper. Great for cleaning up messy bread dough kneading or pie crust making.
-Never buy mixes for things like tacos or flavored coffee--easier to make yourself.
-Dollar store shampoo makes cheaper liquid hand soap.

Thanks, and keep it coming...

    Bookmark   September 9, 2003 at 9:08PM
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I use the 10% ethanol gas. It is a higher octane, better for the environment, a by product of corn, cheaper and my car seems to run better on it. For the life of me, I can't understand why people in my own home state do not use this.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2003 at 5:43PM
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that 10% ethanol is 10% less that we have to depend on foreign fuel.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2003 at 5:44PM
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Hi NebrJewel,

We don't mind selling you Canadian petroleum (to be crude about it).

But - we've been using petroleum for 75 years or so: the amount used before that you could stick in your eye. It took millions of years to produce. They are now searching in distant and difficult (e.g. undersea) places. Where will they find supplies in 50 years - let alone 200?

We need to learn from aboriginal people to evaluate our actions from the point of view of multiple generations, hundreds of years.

Ethanol is renewable.

Though a case can be made against using valuable farmland meeded to produce food for people for such a lower-priority use. The same argument applies against using shelled corn, wheat or rye to heat your home, in a stove with a number of improvements that my friend developed and builds. Cheaper heat than any but wood that you cut yourself - and few have the necesasary equipment or the inclination (it heats you about 8 times between standing tree and throwing into the stove).

I hear that ethanol cleans the carbon out of your engine - cleaner motor oil. I think that one gets slightly reduced gas (ahem! fuel) mileage, though.

If you can catch'em before they put it into the gas - you can even drink it.

But ... don't drive for a while afterwards, if you don't mind.

Good wishes to you and yours,

joyful guy

    Bookmark   September 15, 2003 at 2:49AM
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Last Fall I let the town where I live dump 16 large truckloads of collected leaves on a lot behind my house. Now that they've started decomposing they make a great mulch for all of my plant beds. The leftovers will be spread over my vegetable garden to enrich the soil. It's all free and the leaves grow back every year - unlike the bark that was harvested from a tree that had been cut down. I'm going to do it again this year.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2003 at 7:06PM
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I don't use paper towels either. Never could see wasting the money for them.
I usually hang clothes to dry so don't need dryer sheets.
Almost 50 so the Keeper would not save me too much money - lol! Good thread! Kathy_PA

    Bookmark   September 28, 2003 at 9:27AM
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Use paper towels only at the sink. Never for cleaning,etc.

All food scraps and peelings go back into the ground

Use the dryer as little as possible

I bought several bottles of water with the sports cap a long time ago and refill them over and over with our own water.

I use the cleaner (ammonia, alcohol, DW det) recommended on the Cleaning Forum instead of buying cleaner.

Swap plants with friends and relatives

Turn off lights when I leave a room.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2003 at 7:48PM
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Keep advertising flyers printed only one side using typewriter paper to use to write notes, make calculations, etc.

The ones written on both sides I save in a grocery bag to put in the recycle bin for fine paper.

Got a heavy paper/card flyer, regular office size from a local deli in the mail today - will punch holes in it and use it for subject divider in ring binder. When I get their flyers half that size, glue a store flyer printed one side to them - then can use it to write material that I want to use frequently (e.g. phone numbers, listing of area codes, frequently used web site, e-mail addresses, etc.) on that blank sheet.

Newspapers saved in different bundle.

Use large sheet of scrap cardboard to build open-top box to organize magazines that I wish to save for future reference, to stand up on bookshelf. Cardboard pie boxes will do the job, as well - but they don't stand alone as well. Need to cover plastic window on inside so doesn't catch on mags with a sheet of (used) printer paper, held in place with a dollop or so of glue.

We just had a shot of snow this morning - much earlier than usual. Brrr-r-r-r.

With electric baseboard heating (and inadequate insulation in this rented townhouse), I can adjust heat room by room, so keep heat level low in kitchen, where I'm usually moving around.

Turned heat up in bathroom yesterday.

Keep it rather low in office, as well.

Put on winter underwear this morning.

When it gets cold I wear a sweater, batting-insulated vest and light jacket. Wear a hat to cover my head (only lightly insulated by hair).

Get along O.K. until fingers get cold.

My 22 year old Ford van has couple of leaks in roof, small holes in body and major hole in floor. Am getting some body metal, pop rivets to secure pieces that I've cut and shaped, tar to coat the outside under floorboard, fender, etc. and body paste to smooth over new metal to blend in with current body, then can sand and paint. Retrieved several spray cans with a dab of paint left from garbage, a couple of years ago. Several colours - but I plan to use only black and white, thank you.

Not really a hard job. Should cost approximately $50.

Better than scrapping the vehicle - which looks rather scruffy and some said that I should do four years ago when I did last body job.

Takes a lot of materials and energy to build a new vehicle - so I say it's best to run the old ones into the ground.

There are some rust spots on the hatch at the back of the 13 year old car, so need to use wire brush in electric drill to clean off rust, then smooth out with body paste, and paint with primer and finish coat. (Don't have right colour paint on hand).

If I don't do it soon - I'll have rust holes to deal with. Much more effort required, then.

Annual insurance (I don't carry collision coverage, of course) on both costs about 150% of what I paid for the van, 13 years ago. It had around 150,000 mi. on it then - about 190,000 now. Originally used it to deliver corn-fired heating stoves that I used to sell.

Anyone know where I can find some hot air?

Surely not produced by anyone around here!

joyful guy

    Bookmark   October 3, 2003 at 2:08AM
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Joyful, I too am driving around an older car. Mine is a VW with rust...it's going to get fixed eventually. The car runs wells and doesn't owe me a cent. I do get comments about "when you gonna replace that old thing" (l988 model)..but I will run this car until it falls apart and then plant flowers around it I tell everyone. People make comments but they sure don't mind riding in the baby when they have car trouble and need a ride. Even an old rust bucket does well enough then. I don't mean my car is unsafe or anything....it just doesn't look real pretty...but that is too bad it doesn't hurt my eyes at all. Bud. have a good day.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2003 at 10:06AM
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I just found some melon scented kids bubble bath at the dollar store ($1) the other day. So far I filled 2 soap dispensers and have over half the bottle left. I agree about the used cars - our newest is a '97. The oldest is a Toyota Van we have driven for 17 years!!! We paid $8500 for it and replaced the motor at 50,000 miles when the timing chain broke. It has over 200,000 miles on it now and takes hubby to work every morning. Kathy_PA

    Bookmark   October 5, 2003 at 6:21PM
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Kathy: You can use what you have left in the bubble bath to hand wash lingerie. I add soap slivers to the liquid soap dispensers and they just dissolve.

I've eliminated most cleaning products and use vinegar, baking soda and elbow grease.

No longer use dryer sheets or fabric softener. I read that a balled up piece of aluminum foil in the dryer prevents static electricity.

As soon as my lines are up, I'll do more line drying of clothes.

I hand wash dishes (dry them in the dishwasher) and use the water for washing and rinsing on the garden (the diluted soap helps with bugs and is a fertilizer) I have great plants. BTW I save about eleven gallons of water per day this way and don't waste what we do use. If I don't save the water it takes as much time as the dishwasher (because you have to scrape/rinse the dishes anyway).

Our many houseplants are improving our indoor air quality.

I use damp rags instead of swiffers.

I reuse coffee grounds (add a little new to the old if I'm making a second pot).

Use food coloring (one package lasts years) for coloring easter eggs instead of those expensive packages.

Try to use the car and do many errands at once so we don't waste gas.

Use the library for books and videos instead of renting.

Save bread ends that are stale for making egg casseroles and casserole cheesy toppings.

Bake several things at the same time.

Turn on the shower when getting wet and rinsing (working on this one).

Give produce away.

Keep em coming....

    Bookmark   October 6, 2003 at 9:25AM
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I have a kitchen drawer full of those cheap kitchen hand towels. I use them all the time instead of napkins. When they start looking ratty they become cleaning rags.
Also making the switch to natural home cleaners...starting with vinegar.
Use the library religiously.
Shop in charity shops (absolutely love and meet many nice folk).
Dilute fabric softener (use very little).
Grow plants from seeds, propagate plants, shrubs, trees for garden. Lots of fun.
Cook in bulk and freeze in dinner portions.
Purchase in bulk ONLY things that I HONESTLY use on a regular basis when they are on sale.
Turn off lights, TV etc when leaving room.
Use more elbow grease, let things soak in hot water to make cleaning easier...clean as I go.
Empty vacuum cleaner bag often to ensure full power when in use.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2003 at 1:19AM
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Is that "elbow grease" that you guys talk about ... expensive?

Do you figure that it's rare enough to be considered an "endangered species"?


    Bookmark   October 27, 2003 at 1:31AM
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