Instead of worrying with the little plastic baggies, just rinse them and put them in with the plastic shopping bags that you can take to a re-cycling center.
I use inexpensive hard plastic sandwich containers and others of different sizes to freeze things in. I use the jars from peanut butter, miracle whip, etc. for storing things in the refrigerator. They have the added advantage of letting you see what is in them plus they are re-usable until you drop one and break it. HA!
I live where potable water is not that easy to keep so we don't waste water on anything that we can take to the recycle bin. When we shower, we get wet, turn off the shower, soap up and wash down, turn on the shower, and rinse.
Another thing, think about those towels you use for drying. Since you have just cleaned yourself, the towels won't get dirty from drying your clean body. We hang them on the porch to dry and use them several times. Each of us has our own color towels.
We use recycled paper towels because washing hand towels uses a lot of water.
By Elaine from Oklahoma
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Actually, there are a lot of dead skin cells on those "clean" towels that come off your body when you dry. Also kids don't always get really clean and that dirt comes off on towels. From a health and sanitation point it is better to use a clean towel.
Good tips! I know I sound so ultra frugal, but I save and dry out my paper towels and twist them up for firestarters for winter. I also save my paper towel and TP rolls for the same. If there is a left over glass of water I use it to water the plants instead of down the drain.
SpookyCat, we spoiled city-slickers could benefit from using your methods. Just for starters, we'd save a lot on water bills and paper towels.
Lilac, color-coded bath towels and washcloths for each family member should lessen sanitation concerns some. When you live where water is scarce, washing a barely-used towel isn't so easy. Makes sense to use each towel at least twice before washing.
I wash and reuse all plastic bags. The few grocery bags that I get (and I don't get many, as I use cloth bags), I use for garbage bags or disposal of things such as kitty litter. Plastic is a non-renewable resource, and we should use each piece as many times as possible before recycling or discarding.
There has been some discussion on here about using paper towels. Again, I only use those for extremely messy or toxic spills. I likely use only one roll every 3 months or so.
It is not necessary to use a clean towel after every bath or shower. Hang them up and dry them, and reuse. The idea that a towel that has been used once or twice to dry a person after a shower is unsanitary is nonsense. Most of the time, changing towels once a week is quite sufficient.
Lilac is right about children not always getting really clean. With patience, guidance and time, they will.
About the dead skin cells... I read that 90% of the dust in the average home was comprised of dead skin cells. When you prepare a sandwich for someone, unless you wear gloves, that person will more than likely ingest at least a few of your skin cells.
I seriously doubt anyone could stay in Lilac's home for an hour without breathing in a few of her dead skin cells. In other words, I don't think dead skin cells are a big issue. We live in a sea of them and they are not pathogens.
One towel for me... one for my hubby. If you're still dirty after taking a shower, then you need to wash better!
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We are seeking to go green, totes, food, and other items. Also really cheap, if not free ways to go solar with our home or wind power. Any suggestions are welcomed. Thank you.
By Kendra Ward from Las Animas, CO
You can make a solar window heater pretty cheap. I've never done one myself because I'm a clueless wonder when it comes to building things. But it doesn't look too complicated. Also maybe get some rain barrels to conserve water. The government is making too much money off the oil companies to get behind solar energy too much. (05/26/2009)
Grow a garden! (05/26/2009)
Think simple! It's amazing how much you can save (in $ too) by just easing consumption. Don't waste money on a hundred different cleaning products when they're all basically detergent anyway. Vinegar and baking soda cost next to nothing and are very green! I buy big bottles of eco-friendly dish washing liquid and use that as a general cleaning soap. A little in a bucket of hot water goes a long way.
Reuse as much as possible. Coffee cans, glass jars, etc. can be used for storage. Worn-out clothes and towels make good rags and replace paper towels. (05/27/2009)
Go to www.motherearthnews.com, and search "storm window solar panels". Actually if you check out the Mother Earth News site, you will find a lot of inexpensive ideas for going green. (05/27/2009)
I have not tried this but plan to this summer, it's called Solar Cooking. I've given the site to go to http://solarcooking.org/plans/ You know I don't know why you couldn't use one of the silver panels that you roll out for your car window. There are also recipes on how to cook with a cardboard box wrapped in foil, like baking a cake. You can also cook in a dutch oven on the outside so that you don't have to heat up your home. In the winter I take the hose away from the dryer that goes outside and close the hole off. On the dryer hose i put a knee high around it with a rubberband that way the heat from the dryer stays in the house and doesn't go outside. The knee high catches any extra lint. Hope some of these ideas help. (05/29/2009)
By Renee Hoy
We use our outdoor clothesline in the spring-fall, and an indoor one in the basement for winter or rainy days. Rarely do I use the dryer.
Garden. Direct your guttering to go into rain barrels to save to water your garden, wash the car.
I have a solar powered battery recharger I got years ago from sharper image. It recharges batteries and my cell phone. I got it to use while camping but now use it all the time. (05/31/2009)
Looking for tips and ideas for living green.
Lilly from Paris, France
I'm surprised no one has talked about buying those organic cotton bags to reuse that grocery stores offer instead of using paper or plastic bags each time you shop; and you can use them to shop anywhere. Other stores like retail stores provide really cute ones.
Then there's also green building. Start from the ground up. Green floors are very popular in homes today. Some examples are cork, bamboo, exotics like coconut, etc. Sites like (http://www.findanyfloor.com) should have more green building ideas. (10/30/2008)
Instead of buying water, purchase a filter, distiller, or RO system. Instead of buying water bottles, purchase Tupperware virtually leak proof tumblers and coffee mugs, they will last for years, and if they break, free replacement. Instead of buying kitchen sponges, buy Tupperware's dish cloth, you can wash it in the dishwasher and washing machine, it does such a good job. If your water spills with ice trays, buy Tupperware ice trays, they are virtually leak proof and do not absorb odors in the freezer. I use them also for freezing lime or lemon juice, great for in drinks. Cook for multiple meals and freeze them in Tupperware containers. You can take certain containers straight from the freezer to the microwave. see www.my.tupperware.com/nickib
Use coffee grinds to freshen up garbage disposals, as well as lemon / lime leftovers. Instead of heating up water on the stove, buy an electric kettle, you can have as much water as you need, and it automatically turns off. It's fast and easy. We have a Melitta Express Kettle and a Toastess Keep Warm Kettle.
Open the blinds/shades to let in the light instead of turning on the lights. Use net curtains to let light in while people can't see in.
Instead of buying those fancy coffee or fruit drinks, purchase in bulk berries, coffee etc and make your own in a blender. There are fabulous recipes and you can be creative. Great for guests and they are as good as the brand name places.
Keep onions fresh longer by using pantyhose to store them, you use a leg and tie it, then allow a space, tie another onion, then leave a space etc. To keep lettuce, veggies, and fruit fresher longer, purchase Tupperware lettuce keepers. My goodness they are awesome! My fresh fruit and vegetables keep so much longer - the containers have guides if you need to have both vents closed, one open, or both open. It's fantastic, my friends all love them too.
Use plastic grocery bags as trash liners. Re-use boxes you get in the mail to send more items. Bank online, pay bills online, only order magazines you will read. Use common household items for cleaning, instead of buying lots of cleaners. Can see DVD's or read books on it - I like HALEY'S HINTS. Awesome!
If you and a friend both want a book or DVD, buy just one and share it. Great excuse to keep in touch and save on the environment. How many people watch the same movie over and over / frequently? If you both like a magazine, share the subscription price then pass it on to one another, especially a neighbor.
Remember how easy and fun a simple dessert is. Clean some strawberries and heat some chocolate for fondue! It costs less than buying a pie or cake, our guests have fun, no obligation to eat a certain amount, and they love it. It's also an interactive family way to have dessert.
Hope these are helpful! (11/08/2008)
I get my cloth/canvas shopping bags at thrift stores. You can find large roomy bags for 50 cents or less.
I use tree branches on some of my windows as curtain rods. I spray painted one white, but left one natural. I found a pair of chocolate colored drapes at a thrift store for $1.00, cut each panel in half lengthwise, hemmed it by hand, tied strips from brown and white material I had, sewed each strip on both sides of drape top and tied to the branch. I was able to cover my 2 LR windows for a $1.00 and they look beautiful. You can also use tablecloths as window valances, by just draping them over a rod.
I buy place mats at the thrift store that catch my eye and sew them back to back, stuff them and have beautiful pillows. I also sew lace, etc. around edges if needed and use permanent sparkle or reg. paint, just to jazz up the pictures on them. (12/18/2008)
By Pat Kelly
When using ice in drinks, instead of tossing them out, you can place them in the animal water bowl or use to water plants.