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Below are the 15 most recent journal entries recorded in Tips for a sustainable lifestyle's LiveJournal:

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010
7:18 pm
Some uses for old T-shirts
- Make a tote bag out of your old shirt, instructions and a video can be found here: http://www.marthastewart.com/article/good-thing-t-shirt-bag
- Cut them up and make handkerchiefs, rags, or toilet paper strips out of them:

I had been holding onto the shirt pictured above for over 10 years now, even though I hadn't worn it since middle school. It was too big for me to wear, and I considered selling it on eBay but I don't think anyone would have bought it, especially in the frayed state it was in. Now that I use it as a handkerchief I get to see the photo on it when I eat lunch. Much better than using disposable napkins and storing my shirt in a box!
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009
3:29 pm
General Household/Kitchen:
- If you don't have the time or space to compost, try throwing your compostable trash in a small patch of grass or dirt near your home. (I would do this daily outside of my condo and I threw out too little for anyone to really notice. Most of my scraps were gone by the next day, anyway.) Be aware that this may attract ants or other animals.

- When vacationing, consider a train or bus over a plane or car. Greyhound.com sometimes has very good deals if you purchase 7-21 days in advance. Both Greyhound and Amtrak offer special passes if you plan on traveling for 7-60 days. Amtrak Rail Passes and Greyhound Discovery Passes
- Take lengthy vacations instead of numerous shorter ones if the distance is far.

Another good website to rid yourself of junkmail
Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
12:16 pm
Electricity/Gas Savings
- Try washing clothes in cold water; soaking them the night before may help fight stains.
- Dishes can also be washed in cold water, although greasy dishes might need hot water to be cleaned properly. Again, soaking pots and pans before washing will help (you can use run-off water from washing smaller dishes to soak.)
- Turn off the oven or stove 2-5 minutes before your food is finished cooking, and keep the food inside the oven or on the burner.
- When in the market for a new refrigerator, buy the smallest one that fits your needs.
- If you're in the market for a new computer, consider a laptop instead of a desktop as they consume much less electricity (although keep in mind that laptops are much more expensive to fix if a part needs to be replaced.)
- Use a dark or black background for your desktop screen.
Sunday, December 28th, 2008
11:45 am
Heat travels from high to low concentrations, unless something is in its way. A good way of saving energy is to trap heat when you want to keep something warm and to prevent it from coming in when you want to keep something cool. Here are a few ways to do that:

- When the option is available, use revolving doors instead of normal ones.
- Let hot foods cool off before putting them in the fridge.
- Thaw in the refrigerator instead of on the counter.
- Make sure your refrigerator seals properly.
- Keep your fridge away from sources of heat (oven, sunlight, etc.)
- Don't unnecessarily open the oven to check on your food.
- Cover your pots when cooking.
- Consider installing double pane windows.
Thursday, July 10th, 2008
3:22 pm
- Think about the sports you play, and how wasteful they may be. Golf, ice hockey in the summer, swimming in pools. These could be substituted for more eco-friendly sports like basketball, soccer, tennis, etc., or altered so that they are not as wasteful (virtual golf or putt-putt, street hockey when it's warm outside, swimming in rivers or lakes).
- In case you haven't made the switch yet, consider buying MP3s instead of CDs. Do you really need the liner notes and chunky plastic cases? (Although even I make exceptions for a few of my favorite groups... Ok, just the Spice Girls)
- If you're going out to eat, bring your own tupperware for the leftovers. If you're going somewhere that uses disposable cups or utensils, bring reusable ones and take them home with you afterward.

- Here are some more gift ideas, this time they're from Ideal Bite:
* A class on wine, cooking, yoga, dancing, bartending, or kayaking
* A gift certificate to a spa, restaurant, or coffeehouse
* A membership to Netflix, a theater or arts organization (ballet, symphony, etc.), a museum, or a park/conservation organization.
* A homemade gift certificate to help moms and dads with chores like changing the oil, doing the dishes, or weeding the garden.

- http://www.compostthis.co.uk/ A comprehensive list of what to compost and what not to compost.
- http://www.recyclethis.co.uk/ A blog of questions asking how to reuse certain items and comments filled with suggestions. Most of the ideas are for crafts, but it's worth looking at.
Thursday, June 5th, 2008
4:21 pm
SoyQuick Automatic Soymilk Maker
I bought a SoyQuick machine about a year ago, I read good reviews about it so I got one. I found a similar Chinese soymilk machine online for about $80; SoyQuick honored their price match guarantee and let me purchase their machine for the same price. (Sorry, I lost the link to the Chinese machine).

Read reviewCollapse )

Overall I give this product a 9.5/10. Even though there are a number of cons, the advantages are very strong ones. Just the same, you may want to look into buying a soymilk machine that does not require that the beans be pre-soaked, and/or a machine that lot leave pulp behind as the cleanup would likely be faster.
Thursday, April 3rd, 2008
11:54 pm
General Household:
- Loanables.com is a great idea, but it's still in its early stages. If you're looking to borrow something, or would like to loan something out, this is a good site to visit. I just discovered it the other day and haven't used it yet. I need to look around the house for things I'd be willing to loan out (right now all I can think of is my kids size dinosaur costume, haha).

- If you'd like to eat organic and/or local food but it's a bit out of your price range, look into volunteering at your local co-op. There are perks like food credit per hour volunteering, or free produce at the end of the day.

- If it's only a few flights, take stairs instead of the elevator; you get some exercise in the process. Please know your limits, I once went downstairs from the 14th floor and regretted it around the 5th :|

Note: I've been thinking of doing a few product reviews in the future. I know, it seems contradictory, but there are a few things I use that help me lead a sustainable lifestyle. Keep an eye out, and of course anyone else is welcome to post a product review on here as well.
Monday, March 3rd, 2008
10:38 pm
Plarn tutorial!
Not that it's very tricky, but I hadn't seen a video out there on making plastic yarn from shopping bags yet, so I made one.

Check it out on the art blog.
Thursday, November 15th, 2007
11:07 am
General Household:
- If possible, switch your electricity plan to one that uses only renewable energy (even if it costs a little more). I've heard some bad things about Green Mountain, and I stayed away from them because they wanted a huge deposit, but I've been using Reliant Energy's Basic Flex Wind plan and I love it. Just to give you an idea: I pay 16.2 cents per kWh and it comes out to an average of $12 a month since I don't use much electricity.

I got the following quotes from http://www.seql.org/100ways.cfm (from a poor_skills link a few months back) and added some comments
- "Rent or borrow items like ladders, chain saws, party decorations and others that are seldom used." Could also work for luggage
- "Copy and print on both sides of paper" Be careful, though. I tried this once with the laser printer at work and it caused a big paperjam.
- "Reuse items like envelopes, folders and paper clips."
- "Use discarded paper for scrap paper"

- Make your own shampoo. I made some out of castile soap and it didn't take too long and came out great. Here's the recipe I usedCollapse )
- Cut up old t-shirts, etc for reusable toilet paper strips. I was a bit grossed out by this idea at first, but decided to give it a try for pee and I've been saving so much toilet paper since I did so. I put my used strips in an air-tight plastic bag, and when I'm ready to do a load of laundry I stick them in a mesh bag and toss them with the rest of my clothes. Then I put a little bit of vinegar in the plastic bag to clean it. I just figured if I reuse underwear why not try this?

- Look into alternative/preventative medicine rather than pills. Sometimes just eating the right foods will do wonders

- http://www.sustainabletable.org/shop/eatseasonal/
I found the link I was looking for in the last post :)
- http://www.localharvest.org/
A similar link, but this one helps you locate local farmers markets and co-ops

- http://www.optoutprescreen.com
You can permanently remove your name from credit card mail solicitations! I wish this existed for all junk mail
- http://www.newdream.org/junkmail/
Let your politicians know you're fed up with junk mail and that action needs to take place. It only takes a minute to do so.
Wednesday, September 12th, 2007
1:34 pm
Staying Cool / Keeping Warm Links

I found these a while ago but forgot to post them
How to cool yourself without a/c
How to stay warm without a heater

I also found a really good link that listed local produce by state and time of year, but I lost it :(
If anyone has a link to something like that could you please post it? Thanks!
Thursday, August 23rd, 2007
11:17 am
An overdue long post
- Use bar soap instead of body wash. There's less packaging, which means less dumpster waste (or recycling energy). Furthermore, less energy is required to transport a year's worth of bars of soap than bulky containers of body wash.

- Cut that sponge in half!
- Use a toaster oven or microwave instead of a conventional oven, if possible.
- When washing dishes, start with the smaller, easier to clean items like silverwear and glasses, and let the rinse water pour into a pot or pan that needs to be soaked.

- Reuse old notebooks that haven't been completely filled. I got the idea from my friend and I'm currently finishing up a Pre-Cal notebook from 10th grade.
- If you're bored and don't mind the putrid smell of trash in exchange for a few free things you can dumpster dive. It's cheaper than thrift stores and saves landfill space
- Otherwise, Freecycle is quite good :)

Babies (or not):
- This one is a bit scandalous, but I highly advocate using the "Ovulation Method" of birth control (ONLY if your periods are regular, otherwise it probably won't work). This, coupled with pulling out, has worked for me for over 3 years. I had heard that pre-ejaculate contains sperm, but apparently this is only after ejaculation has recently occurred. If you're concerned about STDs or cannot risk getting pregnant please use a condom or abstain from having sex.
- There is no question that breast milk is best for babies. You can use a breast pump and store the milk in bottles if you're hesitant about the act of breastfeeding.
- Use cloth diapers instead of disposable ones.
- Aside from shopping at thrift stores, you can make children's toys out of "trash". Toddlers especially love things like the inner cardboard from toilet paper rolls, small boxes, etc. Just make sure it's nothing that can hurt them (plastic bags, small pieces).

General Household:
- Avoid phantom loads by unplugging devices that aren't being used (ex: blenders, computers, stereos). If this is inconvenient you can use a surge protector and turn it off when the appliances are not in use.
- Haven't got around to fixing that leak yet? Put a plastic container under it and reuse the water for soaking dishes, watering plants, or whatever else you need water for.
- Consider living with roommates. A 3-bedroom apartment usually takes up less space than 3 1-bedrooms and the cost of rent per person should go down. Living with roommates can possibly create problems that wouldn't happen if living alone, but at the same time if you lock yourself out or need a favor it's nice to have someone nearby who can help you out or just keep you company. It's always a good idea to know what you can and cannot tolerate and discuss this with your potential roommates to try to prevent any problems from occurring.
- Gardening fruits and vegetables means eventually free (organic) food and no pollutant transportation involved in getting that food to you. You can use pots if you don't have a yard.
- Working from home can eliminate the transportation involved in getting to work. With cellphones and email you might be able to pull off working from home at least one day a week.
- Keep your inside doors open in the summer to facilitate the flow of air. Likewise, keep the doors closed in the winter to prevent heat from escaping (particularly in the bedroom).
Monday, June 4th, 2007
1:20 pm
- Buy local. Instead of getting those Chilean grapes in the winter, try a jar of grape preserves or raisins, or get something different all together. Eat local nuts instead of ones from the other side of the world (ie: Cashews seemingly only grow in Brazil, India, and Vietnam). This goes for non-food items as well: Just because something is from half-way around the world shouldn't make it more luxurious

- Sick of all that annoying junk mail? Calling and asking to be removed from their mailing list usually does not work, so if that fails you can always Issue a prohibitory order against the sender.
Friday, June 1st, 2007
2:41 pm
Tree-friendly tips
- Think twice before buying that book, newspaper, or magazine. The library might have what you're looking for, if not your local one then maybe one that's a busride away. Perhaps it's available online. If your friend has what you want to read, ask him if you can borrow it. Otherwise, opt for buying it used.

- Request paperless statements from your banks, light company, phone company, etc. Just make sure you remember to pay on time! They should send you an email reminder to pay your bill before it is due.
Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007
1:26 pm
Bathroom/General Household:
- Baking soda is the best deodorant in existence. Put a little bit in the palm of your hand, sprinkle with a few drops of water until it becomes paste-like, and rub under your armpits. Baking soda is also a great household cleaner; use with vinegar to scrub the bathtub.

General Household:
- Use rechargable batteries instead of disposable ones. They will go a very long way, especially if you take them out when you aren't using them (ex: taking the batteries out of your digital camera when not in use [they last months longer this way])

- When getting a gift for someone, consider something that will make little to no impact on the environment. Ex: A homemade meal or dessert, tickets to a sports event or concert, skydiving hang-gliding gift certificate, donation to favorite charity.
Saturday, December 23rd, 2006
10:51 am
First Entry
We've all heard the tired "Save the Earth" phrases: Recycle!, Buy organic!,  Drive a hybrid!
I made this list because there are a lot of things I think people are  overlooking. I strive for a future where humans make little to no negative  impact on the environment. Just about all of these tips should also save you  money, so you've got nothing to lose.

- While brushing your teeth, turn the faucet off when you aren't using the  water
- Only a "pea-sized" amount of toothpaste is needed per brush
- Throw toilet paper away in a waste basket and use minimal water when  flushing, or do not flush if there is just pee in the toilet. You can close  the toilet lid to block the smell, if any. This should save many gallons of  water per day
- If you don't feel particularly dirty, don't shower. Or just wash your  armpits with soap and water
- When showering, rinse yourself and then turn off the water while shampooing  and scrubbing, turning it back on to rinse yourself off
- Women: Consider reusable or biodegradable alternatives to pads. OB tampons  have minimal packaging and no applicator

- Never use disposable products. So wasteful!
- When washing dishes, try not to use a lot of water. You can keep the water  running low and/or turn it off when scrubbing dishes.
- If you are using a dishwasher, wait until it is filled with dirty dishes  before running it
- Use cut up old terrycloth towels as rags rather than paper towels, if  possible. They can be washed and reused and are generally more absorbent than  paper towels
- Use handkerchiefs instead of napkins
- Compost your (compostable) food scraps and toilet paper/paper towels
- If you still have trash to throw out, reuse any plastic bags you have  rather than buying garbage bags
- Keep the coils behind your refrigerator as clean as possible by vacuuming  around them or cleaning them with a rag. This should cut down on energy  consumption
- Make sure the temperature in your refrigerator and freezer is not lower  than it needs to be
- Do not aimlessly open the refrigerator or freezer to browse for food. If  you know you are going to do this anyway consider buying plastic slit  coverings that professionals use to keep freezer storage rooms cold (they are  available for normal sized refrigerators, too)
- Generally, you should be able to reuse cooking oil (or at least olive oil)  a few times
- Make your own meals, juices and desserts rather than buying them  prepackaged. This not only helps the environment but it should save you  plenty of money
- It is an overall concensus that a vegan diet is not only better for your  body but for the environment as well. Try avoiding meat and animal products

- Rewear clothing until it is truly dirty
- Do not wash until you can fill the washer with dirty clothes
- Hang your clothes dry rather than throwing them in the dryer. This will  require a little fabric softener in your wash but it should save you a lot of  energy consumption

- Consider a <b>good quality</b> air mattress as opposed to a traditional  one. I find them more comfortable than regular mattresses, and although they  do require a little electricity to refill them with air (about once a week),  they should last a lifetime, meaning they generate no waste. They are also  handy when it comes time to move or when you have guests over.

General Household:
- Opt for a small apartment as opposed to a stand-alone house, as well as  city rather than suburb (or living close to where you work). You'd be amazed  how little space you actually need, and how much stress is relieved by a  shorter commute
- If you aren't using the computer/television/light/etc turn it off!
- Utilize natural light from windows instead of light bulbs
- When needed, use low-energy florescent bulbs instead of traditional ones.  They last for about 5 years and consume a fraction of the energy of normal  bulbs
- In the summer, if you are out of the house or a certain room, make sure  that the windows are covered sufficiently (perhaps with cardboard spray  painted black). The more unwanted sun you block out of it the cooler it will  be
- In the summer, open a window to get a breeze in rather than turning the air  conditioning on
- In the winter, put a robe or other warm clothing on rather than turning on  the heat
- If needed, use small fans, ceiling fans, or space heaters instead of  turning the AC or heat on. Chances are you don't need every room in your home  cooled or heated at the same time
- If you still insist on using AC, regularly clean your filter and ducts to  allow a smooth flow of air. Buy the reusable air filters rather than the  disposable ones.
- Instead of throwing things away, consider repairing them, reusing them for  something other than their intended purpose, or donating them to a second  hand store (if in good condition)
- Consider solar and wind energy for your home and/or appliances

- Don't buy things you don't need, especially if they aren't second hand.  Embrace the minimalist lifestyle
- Opt for used items as opposed to new ones. Shopping at thrift stores may  require patience, but you can usually find unique items at incredible prices
- Always bring your own bag when shopping, be it a backpack, tote, canvas  bag, or reused plastic bag
- If they are still clean, reuse the clear bags for fruits and vegetables at  the grocery store, making sure any old barcode stickers are removed prior to  check out
- Buy a water filter or refill gallons of water at those machines available  in most grocery stores
- Generally, buying in bulk saves packaging and money. But don't take this  phrase too literally... buying a 24 pack of Coke cans is not better than  buying a few 2-liter bottles (or skipping the Coke altogether and drinking  water)
- Buy the "ultra" versions of dishwashing liquid and detergent and use as  little as possible
- Again: Make your own meals, juices and desserts rather than buying them  prepackaged. This not only helps the environment but it should save you  plenty of money

- Walk, bike, skateboard, rollerblade, or scooter (the non-powered kind)  rather than drive. You can take a backpack or rolling luggage with you, as  well as a small umbrella. You'll be amazed at the money you save as well as  the weight you'll most likely lose in the process. Be sure to wear a helmet  for the latter 4
- Take public transportation if the distance is too long to walk or bike. You  can probably use the time on the bus to read, write, or just relax. A nice  change from driving

- Have one or no children. There are too many humans on the planet as is and  positive growth rates are far from sustainable. There are always children in  need of a home, so consider adoption if you want a big family.
- Teach your children the importance of sustainability
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