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How to Make your Bathroom More Energy Efficient

As summer has just drawn to a close, utility bills are set to significantly increase as cold weather will take hold over the next few months. Making your home more energy efficient can help to reduce the hefty prices that heat, light and water carry. The autumn and winter months can be particularly tight as Christmas looms, another large expense for many families so saving money on energy bills is particularly important.

Bathrooms are one of the most expensive rooms in the house to run in terms of day-to-day usage. They are responsible for large amounts of water, heat and often light as people wash, use the toilet and generally get ready to go out. Reducing the amount your bathroom is costing you can really help your pocket and the environment. Simple energy efficiency tips should help you see reductions in your energy bills – perfect for the colder months.

Toilets are the most used object in the bathroom and are necessary for good sanitation and hygiene within the home. However, they can also be a major money burner, particularly if they’re an old model. Toilets that are over ten years old won’t be energy efficient and could be wasting gallons of water. The average old toilet uses between 3.5 and 7 gallons of water per flush; whereas newer, energy efficient models use around 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Also, dual flush toilets have an option to flush liquid waste which saves even more water.

Water saving shower heads can be a great way to minimise the amount of water wasted when in the shower. Many people only actually use around half of the water that pours from the shower head, as many people leave the shower running whilst shampooing their hair or washing their body rather than repeatedly turning it on and off. This can waste an incredible amount of water and energy (it’s unlikely you’ll take a cold shower in the winter) which all costs you money to produce. Water saving shower heads control the spray pattern and can save up to half the amount of water of a power shower, whilst still producing the same feel.

Although showers generally consume less water than a bath it can sometimes be necessary to use the bath, particularly for bathing a child. In this case, avoid overfilling the bath with more water than necessary. Another common problem for many homeowners is that the hot water runs out and they begin to use the kettle to fill the bath. A vast amount of energy can be wasted during each repetition of boiling the kettle, making the bathing experience even more costly! If you have small children of a similar age it’s wise to bathe them together, using half the amount of water than if they were to wash separately.

Renewable energy resources can be a great way to significantly reduce energy bills and often have long term investment benefits. Solar PV are becoming increasingly popular as the feed-in tariff rates prove an excellent return on investment whilst free electricity is an attractive prospect as utility bills continually rise. Those who don’t have the money to invest can also get free solar panels installed by sacrificing their feed-in tariff and just reaping the benefits of free electricity.

There are many ways to reduce energy consumption in the bathroom and although applying all of them would return the best results, even a small increase in bathroom efficiency can reduce energy bills whilst helping the environment.

About the Author

Written by Stephanie Staszko on behalf of Solar Choice and Solvis, you can follow her on Twitter @StephStaz for more green posts.

*Image: arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Pack your child’s lunch in an extremely unique, hand-crafted lunchbox made from items that have been thrown away, such as juice containers, rice bags, and even advertising banners! Each creation from Bazura is truly one-of-a-kind, and makes quite the conversation piece! With each purchase, you are helping to provide a job for hundreds of women in the Phillipines who are part of a woman’s co-operative. BaZura.Biz works closely with these women to assist them as they transform garbage into practical, useful items that are used everyday!

More than just lunchboxes are created – the extensive collection from Bazura includes Messenger Bags, Backpacks, Pencil Bags, Diaper Bags, Duffel Bags, and even Bowling Bags! Bright and cheerful, each colorful piece is a work of art! Who knew trash could be this functional!

Mom” received the Lunchbox and Mini Lunchbox to use, and both are sturdy & perfect for keeping everything cool for lunch. With an easy-to-clean foil interior and inside slip pocket, each lunchbox can be packed accordingly – the Mini Lunchbox for snacks after-school, and the regular-sized lunchbox for lunchtime. Each one is available in 6 bold colors, including pink, red, green, blue, purple and orange.

Environmentally-conscious families will adore each and every product Bazura offers, and will love that they are helping to make a difference both locally and globally.

To learn more about Bazura.Biz, or to order your own lunchbox or bag, visit www.bazurashop.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Clogged By Clutter
By Alice Inoue

Where do I place a fountain to bring in more opportunities? Will hanging a crystal enhance my career? Should I paint my room green for better feng shui? These are frequently asked questions, yet small things like this will hardly make much of a difference, and even if they do, their effect will be short-lived. For the long-term, the foundation of your energetic environment will have the greatest impact.

Alice’s Basic Rule #1
So where do you begin? The first thing I say is to minimize your clutter. When I mention this in presentations, some people sigh, others groan, and many nod knowingly. Most everyone relates to clutter, no one seems to like having it, and yet, unless someone is spring cleaning or a move is imminent, it’s rare to get motivated to clear it out.

Everything in our environment is a reflection of what’s going on in our inner environment, and a cluttered home is directly correlated with the mental and emotional clutter we hold inside. You will often hear me say, “clear your clutter, clear your mind.” By sorting out your clutter, you sort out your life, which results in a release and renewal of your own life force.

Why we hold on to clutter
Clutter is woven into our emotional energy and it drains us. It ties us to the past instead of allowing us to live in the present moment, yet we hold on to it for various reasons. How many of these clutter scenarios do you relate to?

Clothes that don’t fit
By keeping clothes that don’t fit, you constantly have a visual reminder that you are not where you once were. If you can accept where you are with your size in the present and let go of the clothes that represent the “old” you, you will have an opportunity to create a “new” you.

Expensive but unused items
Have you ever purchased something that cost “a lot” of money and later realized it wasn’t a wise purchase? Keeping these items constantly reminds you of your “mistake”. Each time it’s in view, you subconsciously judge yourself, which holds you in the past. Let it go.

Keeping things “just in case”
Do you have five umbrellas but only two people in your home? Do you have a closetful of shopping bags that you’ve been saving from years ago? Holding onto everything that comes into your possession shows an anxiety about the future and a lack of trust that the Universe will provide what you need when you need it. When you open up space in your home or office, you open up the possibility that something new can arrive.

Items from a past relationship
Getting rid of possessions after a break-up or a death is always difficult because it means you really have to come to terms with your grief and loss. There is no set time when things “should” be cleared out, but the sooner you are able to clear out possessions associated with a past relationship, the sooner you are able to live in the present moment. It’s fine to keep items to remember the positive aspects of a person’s existence in your life. Clearing out others’ things is for when you need to let go and move on.

A gift you are not fond of
A gift you don’t like from someone you do like is one of the toughest things to deal with gracefully. I always say to honor the intent of the gift and be appreciative of the love that the person has for you, then donate it or give it to someone who likes it and can use it. Feng shui-wise, it doesn’t make sense to keep something that does not resonate with you.

Tied to your clutter
Imagine being tied to everything in your environment by an invisible thread of energy. As such, you are literally tied to your clutter, even if you can’t see it. Can you believe that you drag your clutter around, no matter where you are or what you are doing? You are losing your energy to it!

Clear your clutter
There are many methods to clear clutter but the simplest is using the theory of relativity. It states that whatever is closest to you affects you the most, so start clearing from where you spend the most time. Your bedroom? Your office? Your car?

Mark your calendar
Thinking about clearing your clutter is not effective. Make an appointment with yourself, just like you would with a good friend. It is totally worth it because at the end of the day, you will feel far better than if you spent it at the spa or out on the golf course.

About the Author

Alice Inoue is a life guide that uses the modalities of feng shui, astrology and spirituality in her work. Her offerings include award-winning, mind-body-spirit themed books, as well as a series of feng shui instructional DVD’s. For more information visit www.aliceinspired.com. Sign up for her newsletter to receive monthly articles on feng shui, astrology and life wisdom.

Eco-Friendly Apps for Your iPad

Whether you are trying to save on gas, promote less paper waste, or find a fun way to help your kids understand their role in our ecosystem, you can do it all conveniently from your iPad. Many applications make going green both engaging and convenient at a couple dollars per app or often for free. With several new apps on the market you’ll want to know which ones are eco-friendly and available.

1. My Recycle List (free) allows you to locate the position of places where you can recycle specific items you may choose from a list. If you find a location you like and want to return to it, there is a function that allows you to save and organize several recycling locations. This app is especially helpful if you have many items that you need to take outside of your home to recycle. It allows you to find the locations and areas where you can recycle the majority of your materials without driving all over town and adding to atmospheric vehicle emissions.

2. iBooks (free) is a great application for avid readers. Whether you are standing in line, sitting in a waiting room, or on a lunch break, iBooks will give you access to your entire library of full downloaded books. Are you a student that wants to take notes in the margins? This app allows you to take notes, highlight, and locate specific passages. If you’re tired of contributing to paper consumption and carrying or storing volumes of books, this is a great app for you.

3. Crazy Weather ($1.99) engages your children in an educational and interactive story which teaches valuable lessons on climate change. This app is perfect for the parent on the go who wants to give their child a sense of their part in climate change at an early age. It is sure to be a fun and educational journey and at the same time, appropriate for smaller children.

4. iGrowIt ($0.99) is the ideal app for aspiring gardeners and horticulturalists. If spring has sprung and you are wondering which vegetables you can plant, look no further. When you select the “What can I grow today?” button, you get a list of which vegetables are appropriate for the current month. Also available are instructions on how to plant and harvest your vegetables with recipe ideas as an added bonus.

5. SoundPaper ($4.99) is another great app for anyone who needs to take notes. Using the touch-screen keyboard, you type in notes as though you were on your laptop or desktop computer. What SoundPaper has that your personal computer may not, is the ability to draw sketches and record audio bits at the tap of a finger. This app would be especially convenient for students or business professionals. Save paper while combing three different types of note-taking modalities with SoundPaper.

6. Route4me (free) if you have a job or personal life which takes you all over town, Route4Me can get you there by navigating in the most timely and effective manner. Especially for people whose career is based in driving goods or people to various destinations, time is money and this app will save both along with miles and emissions by optimizing your trip route.

About the Author

Sarah Danielson writes for BluWiki where you can find Subway Coupons and Fiber One Cereal Coupons.

It may almost be March, but cold & flu season is not over just yet! Keeping little hands from touching runny noses is Sniffle Buddies – ingenious little cuffs that can be worn to tend to itches, sniffles, and tickles. These ultra-soft, washable wristbands teach young children “mindful” wiping by keeping germ-ridden hands away from their noses, eyes and mouths. Rather than running after your tot during playtime with a tissue to catch every drip and drop, you can redirect their hands and sleeves by having them wear one of these extremely handy wristbands.

Made in the USA of eco-friendly bamboo & organic cotton, Sniffle Buddies reduce paper waste and as they say, “help to lighten the load of our landfills one sniffle at a time!” This is such a smart idea – “Mom” loves that she can send her daughter off to play with ease, knowing that she is not constantly wiping her nose with the back of her hand when she has the sniffles. In addition to being used for colds and allergies, Sniffle Buddies can be used by those with Special Needs to tend to drool, or they can be used as a sweatband for biking, hiking, running, or skiing.

Sniffle Buddies are available in both children’s and adult’s sizes in a wide variety of colors, as well as a dye-free, natural wristband for those with extra sensitivities. To order, visit www.snifflebuddies.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

The treasure troves of home decorating have long existed inside of stores such as Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Costco. If one was looking to be cost efficient, the online world of Amazon & EBay changed the frontier of home goods shopping. But this isn’t where it ends anymore.

With the trend of being green/eco-friendly exploding in every aspect of living, including the way we shape our homes, folks around the country are implementing ideas, stores, and websites who cater to that trend in their home revamping plans.

But how far do they really go? Well, Diggerslist.com offers home shoppers a chance to not only recycle their own goods, but to indulge in the old adage “one person’s junk is another person’s treasure”. But why should one, with all of the brand-new, perfectly packaged items sitting on shelves, partake in sprucing up their home with reused and recycled items?

One Person’s Junk is Another Person’s Treasure

1. It Cuts Down on the Waste

a. The EPA estimated that 160 million tons of construction and building material ends up in landfills each year; it wouldn’t hurt to take some of that off their hands for a smaller price than the store and save some space in the Earth

b. It lessens the amount of materials sitting in storage, in one’s garage, or cluttering up the basement just wasting space and money

c. The amount of packaging materials used with new products compared to used ones is almost diminished. Since less new products need to be produced, packaged and shipped, there’s an enormous opportunity for a substantial reduction in the overall environmental footprint that is left from home improvement projects

2. Saves YOU Money

a. You can purchase reusable materials for more than ½ what you’d pay for in a store

b. You don’t spend time or gas driving from store to store, comparing prices and products; you look online in the comfort of your house and get the product

c. You have the chance to re-do an entire room, or even house, on the same budget you’d only get a handful of things from a store

3. Opens Opportunity

a. Think of the things you see in your friends storage spaces; the kooky, off-the-wall décor you think you’d only find digging through piles at vintage stores or getting lucky at a yard sale. Now think of the opportunity that lies in a world where people are selling those eccentric and original objects- that’s an opportunity to spice up your space with things that you couldn’t track down at your everyday decoration outlet.

*Article provided by Diggerslist.com for Tiny Green Mom. Image found on Earth911.com*

Although recycling is one of the best ways to keep garbage from building up in landfills, saving our environment, it should actually only be used as a last resort once you’ve already reused old containers and products until they’ve worn out. But one of the biggest amounts of waste that we generate through our daily lives is paper. From bags to toilet paper rolls to egg cartons, we recycle a lot of paper that could be used for other purposes before we throw it in the recycle bin. Here are a few ideas to help you reuse old paper products before you recycle.

How to Reuse Old Paper Products to Save Money and the Environment

Toilet Paper, Paper Towel, and Wrapping Paper Rolls

These little rolls of cardboard may seem pretty useless, but they can actually come in handy—and not just as pretend swords for your kids to play with.

  • Cord keeper: Fold up electrical and appliance cords and stuff them into a toilet paper roll, keeping your cords out of the way.
  • String/yarn winder: Use old paper rolls for wrapping string and yarn around. The next time you’re looking for the end of the string, you won’t have to dig through a bundle of loose knots; it will be organized and clean.
  • Document roll: If you have important documents you want to keep crease-free and safe, roll them up and put them inside a roll. Then you can label the outside of the roll so you know what’s in each one.
  • Kazoo: You can teach your kids to reuse and have fun at the same time by making kazoos. All you need is a toilet paper roll, some wax paper, and a rubber band. Check out this tutorial video to learn more.

Paper Bags

You may think that getting paper instead of plastic at the grocery store is being environmentally friendly because you can recycle the paper, right? But, actually, the process of making paper bags releases more toxins into the environment than does making plastic bags. But don’t feel bad, here are some ways you can put those bags to use for good.

  • Book covers: Whether you want to cover your kids’ textbooks or simply protect your own hard covers from damage, use your old grocery store paper bags to create covers you and your kids can decorate together. Here’s a wonderful tutorial.
  • Remove wax from carpet: Did you accidentally drip candle wax on the family room carpet? Place a non-dyed piece of paper bag over the wax and lightly apply heat with an iron. Keep moving the paper around to absorb the wax as it heats up, as shown in this tutorial.
  • Keep bread fresh: Did you know that your bread will stay fresher stored inside a paper bag than inside a plastic one? Putting your bread in a paper bag lets the bread “breathe,” allowing the crust to stay crisp and the center to stay moist.
  • Carry and store items: It’s a bag, why not just use it as it was meant to be used—to carry and store items.

Egg Cartons

These oddly shaped containers come in handy for a number of different uses.

  • Trash bag reinforcement: Placing an open egg carton at the bottom of your trash bag will help keep it from getting punctured or breaking.
  • Organizer: Those little egg compartments are great for organizing and storing small items from paper clips to screws and nuts to jewelry, doll accessories, and more.
  • Packaging: Although shipping your niece’s Christmas presents off in an egg carton might seem odd, old egg cartons actually make a great substitute for packing peanuts. And because they are lightweight, they’ll add little, if any, charge to your shipping costs.

Remember, it’s better to reuse than to recycle. And now, with these tips, you can reuse your paper products until they really need to head to the recycle bin.

*Gunter Jameson writes about several topics including travel, minimalism and Online Schools.*

Mom” had the distinct opportunity to interview Peggy Cross, the entrepreneur behind EcoTensil, a company on a mission to reduce the amount of “one-taste waste.” Peggy is an inspiration to us all to think about each action we make, even the seemingly small ones, and how they do add up to the bigger picture.

Tell us about your eco-inspired company.

Our new Ultra-green tasting spoon, EcoTaster Mini, is made from a silky smooth paperboard (feels like a milk carton). One easy fold creates a sturdy and fun spoon. It’s 100% biodegradable, renewable, recyclable, and composts in just a few weeks (while we love all biodegradable utensils, others can take over 6 months to biodegrade). EcoTasters are great at in-store samplings, events, trade shows, etc. Our full-sized EcoTensil is great for serving up anything from a big bowl of yogurt or frozen yogurt to a hot cup of chili. SpoonLidz comes attached to the top of single-serve cups, like yogurt. Great for lunch packing!


How do you choose to go green in your own life?

Since my business has become a huge part of my family’s life, we hope to replace the tons of plastic used for one bite, then lives for centuries in our oceans and landfills.

Besides this, we’re avid recycler/composters. At events I am the recycling maniac who puts the big “Recycle please” sign on the paper bag to try to get everyone to put their cups and forks in it!

Guilty green pleasure?

How can something green be guilty?!

Can you offer any encouraging words for those with a small sustainable business?

Stick to your green guns. Persevere. We are trailblazing and frequently we are pushing against the current, but the currents are shifting our way, and we are helping make that happen!

*Image courtesy of EcoTensil.*

Reduce, reuse, recycle! With the miSwivel™ Feeding Chair, you can reduce the amount of large items needed for your child right from birth! With so many products to choose from, it can be challenging for new parents to know what is going to be a sensible purchase on some of the larger yet necessary items, such as a glider, crib, high chair, or car seat. The First Years, the makers of the miSwivel™ Feeding Chair, have addressed this issue by designing a high chair that actually grows with your little one. This smart, practical high chair can be used from infancy through toddlerhood and up to age 4, and is available at an affordable price for eco-conscious AND budget-conscious families.

The miSwivel™ Feeding Chair features five recline and seven swivel positions, which means parents no longer have to manuever and angle their chair when feeding baby! The miSwivel™ Feeding Chair also includes a 5 point harness (which converts to 3 point), 2 dishwasher safe trays, 2 height adjustments; and a full size, reversible, washable pad. In addition, the seat easily converts to a completely finished and fully padded booster seat for toddlers.

To view a complete demonstration of the miSwivel™ Feeding Chair, please watch the following video clip.

Priced reasonably at $59.99, the miSwivel™ Feeding Chair comes in super cute designs, such as the Dot-to-Dot Print or an Owl Print. The miSwivel can be purchased at Wal-Mart stores nationwide and online at Walmart.com.

*Company generously provided a sample and images for this review.*

CoverMate® Food Covers are an ingenious new solution for those seeking to cover their food, but feel guilty every time they reach for the plastic wrap, which is next to impossible to recycle and may possibly seep harmful chemicals into the food, especially when heated! These stretch-to-fit food covers are BPA-free and PVC-free, and come conveniently packaged with 4 different sizes to suit your needs. From the tiny dessert plate holding a coveted piece of flourless chocolate cake to the larger dinner plate only half eaten, CoverMate® has you covered – no pun intended!

Made in the USA of FDA compliant food safe materials, CoverMate® Food Covers are reusable, and can be cleaned by hand or placed in the dishwasher. The stretchy material allows them to fit any dish, plate or bowl, and makes it super simple to cover or uncover with ease.

CoverMate® Food Covers cost $3.95, and can be found at national or local retailers, such as Target, or purchased online at www.trycovermate.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*