Saturday, June 26, 2010

How To Recycle Old Fishing Line

Fishing line can be a mess to get caught in, and it is disastrous to wildlife.   Many states are putting collection boxes for old fishing line near popular fishing areas.  If you don't live in a state that does this, you can still recycle your old fishing line.  Berkley's conservation department will recycle fishing line and turn it into fish habitat structures.  Send your old fishing line to the address below:

Berkley Recycling
1900 18th Street
Spirit Lake, IA 51360

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Green Shipping and Mailing

Shipping items is taxing on the environment, but there are ways to reduce your impact on the environment when sending things to friends, family, and customers. Start by recycling a box. Most of us have boxes laying around. If it has printing or labels on it, flip it inside out and re-tape it. Write the address right on the package, there is no need to use a label. For delicate items, use newspaper as a cushion instead of styrofoam packing peanuts (it's much better for the environment). Encourage the recipient to recycle the box and packaging.

When you receive a package, make sure to recycle the box and all packaging materials. If your package included styrofoam packaging peanuts you can take them to a pack and ship store to be reused.

When taking a trip to the post office, consider walking or biking.

**image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Best Time to Pick Fruits and Vegetables

When deciding when to pick fruits or vegetables from your garden it's best to do it in the morning. In the early morning hours plants absorb cool dew, hydrating your fruits and vegetables. Better yet, pick them the morning after it rains!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sustainable Green Travel Location: Star Island Bahamas

Looking for a green travel destination? Check out Star Island Resort in the Bahamas. This resort is off the grid, creating its own power through solar panels and wind turbines. The island grows its own food so there is no energy needed to transport food there. Check out their website.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

List of Uses For Baking Soda

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is commonly found in refrigerators and cupboards of our homes. But many young people don't know that baking soda has so many other practical uses that can save you money on expensive cleaners and products. In addition to saving money, using baking soda for other uses is also much more environmentally friendly. Here are a list of uses for baking soda:

Deodorizing/Cleaning
  1. Use in fridge or cupboards to deodorize
  2. Sprinkle on carpets prior to vacuuming to eliminate odors
  3. Add into dishwasher before running to freshen up the smell
  4. Put a box on a closet shelf to keep the closet smelling fresh
  5. Sprinkle in shoes to freshen up odor, shake out before wearing
  6. Pour into sink and tub drains and garbage disposals, followed by vinegar, to unclog and freshen smells in drains
  7. Mix into water to form a paste that can be used to polish and clean silverware and jewelry
  8. Sprinkle on clothes before hunting to mask your odor
  9. Add to laundry loads to boost your detergent, leaving your clothes smelling cleaner
  10. Sprinkle on sponges and squeeze out in hot water to freshen sponges
  11. Mix with water to make a watery paste that can be used like Soft Scrub, to clean any surface in your home
  12. Soak soiled pots and pans in water and baking soda and the burnt food will come right off

Personal Care
  1. Mix with warm water to soak feet, deodorizing and softening your feet
  2. Mix into paste that can be applied to bug bites/stings, sunburns, and poison ivy rashes
  3. Rub under arms to use as a deodorant
  4. Mix with water to make a facial and body scrub that is safe for daily use
  5. Soak dentures, retainers, mouthguards, and other dental items in a mixture of baking soda/water to cleanse
  6. Combine with conditioner to cleanse and condition your hair at the same time without leaving residue behind that shampoo does
  7. Combine with water to make a paste that can be applied to gums around a toothache
  8. Add a teaspoon to acidic foods to prevent heartburn and acid indigestion
  9. Make a paste with water that can be applied to diaper rashes
WARNING: There are many sources on the internet stating that baking soda can be used as toothpaste or mouthwash.  I do not recommend this.  I have an older relative who did this and it rotted his teeth even though he brushed 3 times a day.  Baking soda is abrasive and will wear down the enamel on your teeth!

Pet Care 
  1. Use a paste of baking soda and water to scrub pet stains out and deodorize carpet
  2. Use a water and baking soda mix to clean pet toys, cages, water bowl, and other supplies instead of using chemicals
  3. Use a half teaspoon of baking soda in your fish aquarium to raise the pH, let it sit for 24 hours and test again


Outdoors
  1. Use to raise pH in pools
  2. Dump on grease stains, let sit, work into stain with a broom, and sweep up
  3. Sprinkle on crabgrass to kill crabgrass without harming lawn
  4. Mix with water to make a great auto cleaner that doesn't leave behind residue

There are so many other uses too!  Feel free to comment and add your own!

Friday, June 18, 2010

How To Make A Rain Barrel

I enjoy keeping a garden full of vegetables every summer. I could spend loads of money and use thousands of gallons of water every year, but I don't. Instead, I made a rain barrel out of some old materials I had laying around. I haven't turned on our faucet outside in years. I use the rain water to water my garden and also for houseplants and other odd jobs that I need water for.

Here are a couple videos that may help you plan a rain barrel for your home.

Tip: I recommend substituting flexible rubber tubing for the PVC. It's not as bad as PVC for the environment.