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Sunday
Jul132008

Cha-ching! The $ound of Tra$h


WAIT! Don't throw that out! It could be worth money!

This is the new saying in my house. This past spring I participated in my neighborhood yard sale and made about $200. And now I take a second (and third) look at just about everything to determine if it has any value.
That old toddler swing? Sold on CraigsList for $10.
The Little Tykes playhouse...brought me $100, cold, hard cash. I didn't even have to help take it apart. (Little Green Tip: do a little research before you post your stuff. I included photos, and retail pricing so potential buyers could see the savings right on my post).

But sites like eBay, CraigsList, and others aren't just making people money (and conversely getting people deals), they are helping people to reduce, reuse and recycle that valuable thing called stuff.

And a really cool place for stuff that doesn't sell is Freecycle.org
I'm almost shocked at the stuff people have taken from my driveway.

Old broken fishing rods? Someone else wanted to fix them. A baby swing that only moves back and forth? One lucky person got that and I threw in the batteries too!

I didn't make money on these items (on Freecycle everything is free). And yet I was grateful that I didn't have to experience the green guilt that comes with putting stuff out in the trash.

So next time you tackle that garage, attic, or closet, don't be so quick to toss things in the trash. Consider that someone may just want what you don't...and they may be willing to pay for it.

Janine

Saturday
Jul122008

I Drive 55


I consider myself a New Yorker. I haven't actually lived in NY, but I grew up in Connecticut and NYC was what I referred to as "The City". I now live outside of Washington, DC but "The City" will always be New York City to me. DC is DC.

That said, I drive like a New Yorker...at least compared to people around here. I plow up to the front of a merge lane and push my way in. I peel out from a light and slam on my breaks at the next light. I weave in and out of traffic trying to find the best lane of the beltway...much to my husband's dismay.

That all came to a screeching halt when gas hit the $4 mark.

I decided I'd try driving the speed limit on the highway just to see if it made a difference.
(Lil Green Tip: ease into this. you'll go nuts driving 55 if you're used to doing 75-80 on the highway. Start at 70. Next week set your cruise control at 65. The following week go to 60 mph. You've got to give yourself a chance to get used to people passing you. Deep breathing, Howard Stern, or books on tape are good distractions.)

And as uncomfortable as I was having everyone pass me by, I did notice a tank of gas was lasting longer!

Of course I started doing a few other recommended things:

1. I've started easing out of a stop instead of gunning it.
2. I drive close to the speed limit even on back roads.
3. I combine trips as much as possible.
4. I try to telecommute for work an extra day a week.

And the result is for the past 3 weeks a tank of gas has lasted me one, whole week*!

So another Little Green pat on the back for me for having the patience to slow down.

Janine

*note: I don't drive on the highway everyday and I don't have a long commute.

Friday
Jul112008

Rain, rain, stay and play!

In the past few years in the DC area we've had periods of tremendous rain in the spring, followed by periods of drought in the summer.

I've experimented with ways to collect the rain we DO get during those droughts and for all my efforts the only thing I collected, in any large quantity, was funny looks from my neighbors (and guffaws from my husband) as I run around my house with trash cans and a baby pool in the middle of a storm.

And so one of my first real efforts at turning a little MORE green will be installing a rain barrel.

Rain barrels have been around for ages and if you're like me, you mi
ght think of the old western movies where the bad guys fall (butt first for laughs) into a wooden barrel filled with water.

Well rain barrels have come a long way. Just see these rain barrels!

I'm just trying to decide if my less-than-green husband will help me, or if I should just pay someone. I'm also wondering if my home owners association will care.

So if you have tips, tricks, or connections to a discount rain barrel guy, let me know! (Rain barrels cost anywhere from about $150-$300 depending on the size you want.)

Janine

Thursday
Jul102008

Ban the sandwich bag.

When my twins started preschool, I started making lunches.
At first it was just 2 days a week. Last year it was 5 days
a week and if it weren't for pizza Fridays I would've had a nervous breakdown trying to come up with a variety of foods that were nutritious, fun, and can hold up in a lunch box.

I also started to feel a sharp pang of guilt every time I grabbed another one of those plastic baggies which seemed so perfect for sandwiches, crackers, cookies, veggies and everything that I wanted to pack separately.

And then I found Glad and Ziploc containers in a variety of sizes that not only fit in a lunch box, but also open up my food options to include hummus, salad, and dip for their veggies.


They even make these little ones that I can use for yogurt and applesauce. That means I get a little green pat on the back because I buy larger containers of yogurt and applesauce which cuts down on packaging thus reducing waste. And not to mention the number of baggies that will stay out of a landfill.

Janine

Wednesday
Jul092008

In Case of Emergency...

I know what I want for Christmas.

It's a portable (you can fit it on your back) solar power pack that would be great to have when the power goes out. A little "ray of light" on a dark night...and green to boot!



In a pinch I bet it would run a space heater in the winter, charge a laptop, charge a cell phone, maybe even run a portable DVD player for my kids the next time my car breaks down on the Jersey Turnpike (cause you know I'm not lucky enough for that to only happen once!).

I've read the folks at National Geographic took it with them on an expedition - so it's got to be good, right?

Anyone else want one? Maybe we can get a group discount! Although $419 seems like a small price to pay for a little piece of green that can help in an emergency.

Janine