Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - What would you change?

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:


Last week was fun! We considered an area which most people don't think about ... cocktails. It turns out that there are quite a few ways to "green" our libations. I was surprised to learn that beer in cans has a lower carbon footprint than glass bottles. Thanks to a question by Aimee, I discovered a site, CorkWatch, which lists wines with natural corks. Several sites discussed using local fruits and herbs to make drinks and others talked about "green" snacks to complete our home bars. Whether we are enjoying a drink at home or serving cocktails to guests, we learned how to make the experience both enjoyable and Eco-friendly!

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

In I’m dreaming of a green Christmas…, Mrs. Green talks about how she and her family celebrate the season. Of course, we'd expect no less than a green holiday from Mrs. Green and she does talk about ways to keep things earth friendly, but you might be surprised to learn that she and her family celebrate the shortest day of the year rather than Christmas! I love her reasons for doing so!

A holiday without a tipple or two? Argentum Vulgaris says "Bah Humbug" to that! In Change the World Wednesday – 19th Nov he talks about the libations he'll be including in his celebrations. He brings up some interesting points about beer in cans and boxed wine ... and why he avoids both!

Lois isn't serving adult beverages this year but in Change the World Wednesday, Plus Keeping Warm she discusses the operating costs of an ice machine. It's a surprising amount!

Aimee stopped by and shared this: "Most excellent topic! However I'm curious, how do you know if the wine you are buying has a natural vs synthetic cork until you open it? Speaking of corks, when we went to wine country, one of the smaller vineyards uses glass corks - so awesome as we now use that cork to keep our other wines fresh after opening them as it has a better seal than using the original or those rubber things. Anyhoo - we are not doing any entertaining this year, just keeping things quiet and intimate as our first holiday as married folk :) For Thanksgiving I am going to make a turkey (local pasture-raised organic) and a pumpkin made from one we grew in our garden, and for Christmas we'll just make something simple on Eve and for Day we're going for Chinese at our favorite (yes, and organic!) restaurant downtown. For the occasional winter cocktail we love ginger toddies, with Draper Girls local organic unpasteurized cider and New Deal's organic ginger liqueur (http://www.newdealdistillery.com/our-products/ginger-liqueur/) made here in Portland. SOOO good!"

Clare did a great rundown of her home bar. In Christmas Cocktails -The Green and Eco Friendly Way! she talks about her beverage of choice, what's available in her area, and recycling containers.

"Save Our Planet, For 'tis The Only One With Beer!" That saying was shared by Randy who offers us another package option for his favorite libation ... a growler. Ever heard of one? Randy tells us all about it in A Growler For The Environment #CTWW.

Ann shared our CTWW banner in Save the world: emergency survival sleeping bag.

Mary dropped by and shared this: "This is a great challenge! You don't usually think about being green with alcohol, so this is great, especially with simple facts that wine is the greenest! Thanks for sharing this!"

The The Green Daily mentioned a CTWW article ... was it yours?

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @GreenQueenofMod
- Holiday libations go #green. Take the challenge: ow.ly/ExMZY I infused local #vodka with basil!

From @fruitsherbrooke
- we infuse our #vodka with chocolatecherry jelly #yeglocal cherries

From @lbpaints
- Reused glass containers. bit.ly/WiIHb5 pic.twitter.com/vgUHGo5PMu
- Soda pop glasses bit.ly/WiIHb5 pic.twitter.com/dkrI0BPpNB
- Cut and melted wine glasses. bit.ly/WiIHb5 pic.twitter.com/1YxyqB37FQ
- Glassware made from recycled car windshields! ;-) bit.ly/WiIHb5 pic.twitter.com/vFntt7nV5M

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@allcollegeplan @almosttruth @andreaptak
@artbysandra @bates232russ @beatepdx
@blaucube @cannyhighlander @cathycelt
@cellomomoncars @collegegogreen @corneliagracchi
@ecoexpert1 @envirobooty @factorydpromos
@familyfocusblog @fleurdeb @foggybottomgal
@forloveofadog @freshcleanersaz @fruitsherbrooke
@ginavalley @givetreegifts @greenageworld
@greenglobaltrvl @greenqueenofmod @groovygreenlivi
@helalraghda @herbgir1972 @jnaquins
@juanithecrazy @justanotherhat @kaitlingarder
@kayhahn1 @kriswetherbee @krmbalclothing
@laalicia @ladyjcmuses @laurelhounslow
@lbpaints @leslieveg @lilmissscooter
@lioncontainers @lumleysplacebnb @luthienthye
@mamasmoney @marjoriemcatee @marylolagouge
@museumoflitter @myzerowaste @nolafusion
@pedalgadgets @rckayla @rckweddings
@realityarts @robinjfarr @romerojewelers
@ruralmoms @sfcouncil @smallbits
@spafloating @temilarashy @theworld4realz
@treesgroup @turningclockbac @urban_mining
@wasteeguru @wastejobs @wencdj
@xasozeculano

My Final Thoughts:

This challenge, like so many others that we've tackled, points out that green living is about everything we do. It also reminds us to be diligent in our choices and to always think about the bigger picture. Everything, from the type of fruits or grains used to make adult beverages to the distillation process to the recyclability of the packaging ... it all matters. This challenge also shows us how easy it is to green up any activity. To that I say, "Cheers"!

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - What would you change?
How can we improve?
This is our FINAL CHALLENGE OF 2014. I will be taking a break from blogging beginning November 27th, returning on January 19, 2015. I would like to thank each and every one of you for your CTWW participation. You have truly made a difference in our world.

Here's your challenge ...


Using the comments below, please answer this question:

What would you like to see on Reduce Footprints in 2015?

I'd like to know if there's anything you'd like us to add, delete, or change. How can we improve? Does Meet & Greet work for you? Do you find guest posts valuable and, if so, what topics would you like to see? Can we improve upon the Recipes, Reviews, and Special Offers pages? All suggestions are welcome so ... the sky is the limit ... consider this your "wish list" for a new Reduce Footprints blog!

Are you up for helping me improve Reduce Footprints? I know that you are!

See you in January! Until then ...

WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!





Monday, November 24, 2014

Skip Black Friday and go Eco-Friendly Instead

This post introduces the companies listed on our Special Offers Page. I received no compensation for this post ... I simply want to introduce you to companies doing their best to operate in an earth-friendly manner.

Every year, I hear about "Black Friday". Not about great bargains or companies offering folks a helping hand, but rather about customers physically fighting over a limited quantity of this year's "hyped" toy or people battling for position in lines, waiting for stores to open. Stories tell of greed and selfishness ... all for the sake of "stuff".

Ironically, this happens right after Thanksgiving, a day for family and gratitude.

I propose that we take a new approach and think outside of the box.

Gifts aren't always necessary

  • Give the gift of time. Arrange a visit with your loved ones or spend an afternoon with nursing home residents who may not have family. Listen to an elderly person's stories of the past or take a walk with someone who doesn't get out much. Time is so much more precious than stuff.
  • Invite your friends and family over for meal ... or prepare a meal for a person or family in need.
  • Give a service. Offer to clean house, wash a car, or do the laundry for a loved one.

Create gifts with recycled materials

  • Fill your mason jars with ingredients for a delicious soup, stew, chilli, etc. Don't forget to include cooking instructions.
  • Use old jewelry to create unique Christmas tree ornaments or beautiful memento boxes.
  • Turn scrap material into a lovely quilt.

Buy Eco-friendly gifts

  • Look for items made with earth-friendly materials and minimal packaging.
  • Shop locally.
  • Buy quality items which will last.

Support Eco-friendly vendors


Special Offers and Discounts from Eco-friendly Vendors
Click on image for exclusive offers
and discounts on Eco-friendly products.

By supporting companies who are trying to operate in an Eco-friendly way, we encourage all entrepaneurs to adopt "green" standards. To make that a bit easier, the following companies are offering Reduce Footprints' readers special deals on their products and services:



For details and discount codes, please visit the SPECIAL OFFERS page.

This holiday season, let's say no to Black Friday and make our gift giving truly thoughtful ... to those we love and to the planet.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Cheers

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:


Last week we examined all of our purchases to ensure that they don't include "extras", items which are unnecessary and make an otherwise good product, less so. This was an interesting exercise, especially since stores are now trying to entice consumers to buy gifts for the holiday season. The store isles are full of products which have free samples taped to the package. While consumers may think that they are getting a bargain and stretching their dollar, the truth is that most "freebies" come in plastic. When we consider the cost of producing that package and the affect it has on our environment, that sample doesn't look like such a bargain. I turned my attention to groceries. Some products which should be natural and healthy, like fruit juices or preserves, include dangerous additives like high fructose corn syrup. Labels which read "all natural" are not necessarily so. It truly is a "buyer beware" world.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

Andie accepted the challenge and shared this: "Now I need to check ALL my lip balms! Luckily, Seattle has the Puget Consumers Co-op which does a great job of offering only products that are eco-friendly. With 11 stores in the Puget Sound region, they have a lot of members who are also diligent and call them out whenever they think a product is not up to snuff. It sure makes shopping easier when I can trust the store to watch out for me AND the environment."

What does a "jacket potato" and me (lurking behind Mrs. Green's sofa) have to do with unnecessary things? Find out in How a jacket potato almost ruined the world.

Nancy shared this via Google+: "So important to read ALL labels, even if you have used the product for years. Things can change. To be safe rather than sorry, each consumer needs to accept responsibility for what they do or don't do."

Lois wrote a terrific post in support of this challenge. In it, she lists several companies who sold out to mega-corporations making their products suspect. Are any of your favorites listed in Change the World Wednesday, Those Extras. In a reply to my comment, she said "You are so right, Small Footprints, those freebies taped to the packaging are cheap and short lived ending up in the landfills so quickly. After writing this I realized there was one freebie I used to take for granted as being in the package yet hated getting each time I bought the product and that is the measuring scoop in the laundry detergent. For a while I was able to give these to the kids as toys but after a while what do you do with them?"

Beautifying the bar next door, plastic milk shakers on Ovalmatine, and frozen Paella. Those are just a few things you'll read about in Argentum Vulgaris's Change the World Wednesday – 12th Nov.

Aimee joined us and shared this: "Good reminder! Our news station just aired a story about the Good Guide app which you can put on your phone to scan UPC codes of cosmetics, lotions and other items to see where they rank on the eco-friendly/toxicity list. Regarding the task at hand, for me since going off dairy, it's forced me to be a lot more creative for how I flavor my food. While Daiya is available (the only shredded fake cheese that's not chocked full of soy), it still has a lot of ingredients just to mimic the taste and consistency of cheese. So I've made it similar to tropical fruits that aren't obviously local, in that they are now considered "delicacy" products that I only buy on special occasions. Otherwise I think we're doing pretty well in the food area, and since I don't wear makeup, our main consideration is figuring out what kind of body butter we're going to invest in since I'm about to scrape out the last bits of Yancy Lael's homemade vanilla/coconut butter!"

Green Girl stopped by. Here are her comments: "I try to stick with 'one ingredient, whole, local, organic foods' as much as reasonably possible, with a few exceptions. I got tired of reading labels and seeing false claims, and I'm concerned that too much of our food system is coming from corporations and chemistry labs instead of small, sustainable farmers. I also buy all my personal care items from companies who ONLY make healthy products. Like you, I am getting tired of the eco- and health-conscious companies getting bought out by corporations who put profit over people and planet. I even started selling eco-friendly, organic skin care myself to help educate people and spread the word while making a little extra income." By the way, Green Girl recently wrote an interesting post about climate change and weight loss ... check it out ... it's fascinating!

Ann included our banner in this post entitled How to stop ants from getting into your sugar canister. Save the world. If you're bothered by ants, her post offers an Eco-friendly way to keep them under control.

Randy joined us and shared this: "I can't think of the last time I enjoyed a canned meal; after you've gotten into the habit of setting up the crockpot, anything from a can is just overprocessed, oversalted bleh. Plus, since my crockpot is "Rival" brand, I get that song from Rocky going in my head". He wrote Facing Up to The #CTWW Challenge Of Our Rival Brand Crock-Pot and shares his way of avoiding "extras" in commercial or restaurant foods. His method comes with a warning, though ... be sure to read it at the end of the post!

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@89linz @allcollegeplan @almosttruth
@andriyanifafa @artbysandra @beatepdx
@bethcooperart @cannyhighlander @charismayoonyh
@collegegogreen @corneliagracchi @eco_novice
@ecoexpert1 @envirobooty @environmentguru
@erinhitchcock8 @factorydpromos @familyfocusblog
@fleurdeb @foggybottomgal @forloveofadog
@freshcleanersaz @fruitsherbrooke @garry_rogers
@ginavalley @givetreegifts @greenageworld
@greenqueenofmod @groovygreenlivi @helalraghda
@herbgir1972 @jnaquins @justanotherhat
@kaitlingarder @kayhahn1 @kriswetherbee
@krmbalclothing @laalicia @ladyjcmuses
@laurelhounslow @lbpaints @lumleysplacebnb
@luthienthye @mamasmoney @marylolagouge
@momfindsout @momsmadhousex6 @museumoflitter
@mzazeela @nestfullofnew @nolafusion
@pedalgadgets @piaktw @rainbojangles
@rckayla @rckweddings @realityarts
@romerojewelers @ruralmoms @sfcouncil
@smallbits @spafloating @temilarashy
@thewoodgraingal @theworld4realz @treesgroup
@turningclockbac @urban_mining @wencdj
@wimpyvegetarian @withuvip

My Final Thoughts:

Eliminating the unnecessary leaves room for the valuable. Think about it ... if we eliminate unhealthy ingredients from food, we make way for delicious nutrition and improve our health. Get rid of unnecessary fillers, brighteners, and fragrances in cleaning products and we get a bottle full of safe solutions that work. Refuse free samples and more of our land can be used as natural spaces rather than receptacles for garbage. I want to add value to my life ... I'm greedy that way. I don't have room for the unnecessary! How about you?

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Cheers
Serve cocktails with cloth napkins
During this time of year, many of us host parties and serve alcoholic beverages.

To make life convenient, items like plastic glasses & straws, mixers, and exotic fruits are available to help you set up your home bar. And, all manner of "spirits" are available ... some which travel from the far reaches of the earth to arrive at your liquor store.

Here's your challenge ...


If you are planning to entertain friends and family this season, and plan to serve "adult" beverages, do a little research and plan an Eco-friendly bar. Here are some things to consider:
  • Wine is the most Eco-friendly alcoholic beverage. Choose organic varieties which don't include preservatives. While boxed wine may not look classy, it is the most earth-friendly of wine packaging options. Glass bottles would be the next choice.
  • If you're serving beer, cans are better than bottles because they weigh less which gives them a lower carbon footprint.
  • Opt for liquors and wine with natural cork instead of synthetic corks or metal tops.
  • Avoid frosted bottles. Chemicals are used to create them.
  • Look for beverages which are distilled locally and check that the company uses minimal energy and water to create their libations.
  • Serve drinks in glass rather than plastic and use glass straws.
  • Use cloth cocktail napkins instead of paper.
  • Use local, organic fruits and herbs in mixed drinks. And don't forget organic "munchies" to go along with the cocktails.
  • Make ice in an ice tray rather than use the automatic ice maker in the refrigerator. You'll use less energy.
The idea, this week, is to plan ahead to ensure that your home bar is "green".

OR ...

If you aren't including alcohol in your celebrations, make plans to "green" any get-togethers you are hosting or attending. Consider local, organic foods and reusable serving pieces. If you are traveling to an event, share a ride with others. Use natural elements to decorate. Supply visitors with comfy slippers or socks so that they will feel comfortable to remove their shoes at the door.

OR ...

If you'll be spending quiet time at home this season, plan to make the experience green. Use all the ideas above, on a smaller scale, to make your personal time fun and Eco-friendly.

Are you ready for a "green" celebration? I know that you are!

Until next time ...

WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!