What a great idea, a reuseable Dryer Sheet!  I wonder if it really lasts for hundreds of loads….

Static Eliminator Re-Usable Dryer Sheet 2 Count

9 Problem-Solving Products Reusable Dryer Sheet Real Simple

Everywhere there are signs and promotions for the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on 4/22.  To celebrate, my favorite magazine Body & Soul is hosting a Q&A; session with Mindy Pennybacker on WholeLiving.com.  She is answering question until tomorrow, 4/8.  Mindy is a green-living expert and the author of the bestselling book  “Do One Green Thing.”

Check out my question about finding local meat here: Ask Mindy: Your Green-Living Questions Answered.
I checked out the link for Eating Wild and got a listing of many meat producing farms in my area.  I had no idea there were so many.  Many of the farms offer grass-fed beef, pasture raised animals, and cage-free birds.  The prices listed at many of the farms are incredibly low, considering all the work that goes into raising these animals.  The list also includes some local dairy farms, for those of you wanting the milk man to come to your door.
Let me know if you submit a question, or ask one here!

We have an abundance of lemons in our fridge, but they are naked.  My husband is on a quest to make the perfect limoncello, so our lemons are now naked without their flavorful rind. After making frozen lemon juice cubes with the first batch of naked lemons, I decided to branch out and use these perfectly good lemons for cleaning.  I always read about using lemons as kitchen cleaning helpers, but I usually don’t have leftovers, nor do I want to buy them just for cleaning.  They are expensive, especially after the cold Florida winter. (except at Trader Joe’s, where they were only $.39/each!)
I tested the cleaning power of lemons by experimenting with my greasy microwave.  It needed a good cleaning, so I sliced up one lemon, squeezed the juice into a bowl, added the slices, and covered with water. I microwaved it to the point of boiling, and then let it sit and steam for 5 mins.  It worked quite well.  The top portion of grease did not come off as easily as I would have liked, so I dipped my rag (a square from a favorite pair of sweat pants past their prime) into the lemon juice. Voila, the grease came right off with no extra elbow grease.  Overall, it was a success. The used lemons made their final contribution to cleaning by freshing up the garbage disposal.

I have more lemons to use…what is your favorite way to use lemons to clean?

I finally got back on my bike today after a two year hiatus.  I used to compete in triathlons and had a pretty good bike split.  When I got pregnant, I was told to stop biking.  I missed it terribly, but I was just happy being pregnant.  Somehow I missed last year’s season too.  If I wasn’t at work, I wanted to spend every minute with my little one.
Today was the big return.  My husband continued to bike during my absence, and has gotten faster than I remember.  I was surprised at how strong I felt once I got through the first mile warm up.  Today’s loop was about 12 miles and sweeps through some quiet country roads. We got to view the flooded roads, swelled rivers and lakes in front lawns from our bikes.
As communities are more mindful of air pollution from excessive driving, I hope bike riding increasing.  It is on the upswing after the $4/gallon gas surprised us all. Yet, there are still so many people that hop into their car to grab a coffee less than a mile away.  I do the same thing myself sometimes, but I am going to try and be more mindful go forward of my mode of transportation.
Today was a reminder that taking time for myself to exercise and enjoy the fresh air makes me a better person.  I am more relaxed, yet energized.  Despite my rusty legs, it all came back to me quick.  It really is as easy as just riding a bike.

Just a quick note about how to recycle some of the packaging for disposable diapers.  I got a very quick response from Pampers when I asked about their packaging.  Here is how it breaks down:

For the wipes:

Tubs:  Plastic (polypropylene). Recycle code #5.
Recycling symbol and number is under the label on the bottom in the corner.

Refills:  No specific plastic. Recycle code #7.

Clear Overwrap on Tubs:  Low density polyethelene.
Recycle code #4.

For the diapers:

Plastic Bag:  Plastic (polyethelene). Recycle code: #4 LDPE.

Cardboard Cases:  Corrugated cardboard

Please let me know if you have any questions about the codes above.  At least I can recycle some of the packaging that I didn’t know about before.

Over the weekend, I was able to get outside for some much needed fresh air.  I had a number of errands to run on Saturday, so my husband and I bundled up our daughter in her stroller for a walk into town.  While it wasn’t that warm outside of Boston, at least the sun was out.  We made our rounds and hit the post office, the jewelers, and did some window shopping.  It made me stop and think about how important it is not to use something, like a car, in our quest to be more eco conscious.  I am guilty of always thinking about using the newest green product instead of first thinking about what I don’t need to use at all.  Not only was I enjoying the fresh air, but I was saving gas and getting exercise too.  Just a nice reminder that sometimes all we need to go green is our own two feet.

The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science, and Literature of Pedestrianism

There are a lot of books in my life.  Parenting books, book-club books, beach reads, and more.  Our library shelves are getting full, and I want to send the old books to a good home.  I discovered Better World Books, which is doing just that.  The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) just awarded them the 2009 WasteWise Gold Award for their efforts in reducing waste.  The company conducts book drives to gather and resell used book, and they take library discards as well.  Here are some impressive numbers from their company site, We have diverted more than 32 million books from landfills while raising $7.6 million in funding for literacy and education initiatives worldwide through the sale of those books.”

What can you do?  Buy your books from this site and help keep them out of landfills.  Better World Books has a wide variety of titles, and the best part is, ready…shipping is free!  You are doing something good for the planet, and your wallet.

So next month at your book club, share this post with friends and feel better about your purchases. This is now my go-to place for book shopping.

Soles 4 Souls is a great organization, sending gently used sneakers to people in need.  They also work with footwear companies to relieve them of extra stock and by sending them to over 125 countries.

There are drop boxes in many locations, click here to find one near you.
Here is a great opportunity to send your used sneakers to a good home, and make room for a new pair to start the spring season!

Here is a new drop off location in the Boston area.

Soles4Souls Running Shoes Donation!
March 17th-April 19th
lululemon athletica Natick Collection
It’s the time of year to break in your new running shoes! Why not give your old ones to someone in need? Soles4Souls donates shoes to 125 countries on 5 continents. From now until April 19th(Marathon Monday!) we’ll have a Soles4Souls donation box right here in our store. Did you know that over 1.5 billion shoes lay idle in American closets? Bring us your old sneakers next time you come in – they’ll be new to someone else!

Ask anyone and they will tell you I am a magazine hound.  My reading list includes Body & Soul, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, Fast Company and I could go on and on. Every couple of months, I sort through my piles of magazines, usually because my husband reminds me.  I get paper bags and fill them up with the magazines to be recycled.  A friend in the magazine business told me that a large majority of magazines are not being recycled.  This is a major hurdle we all can help overcome.  Magazines can get recycled in any general paper bin, either in your home or office.  This includes catalogs, and everyone gets too many of those!  While many major magazines are using recycled paper, it’s just as important for us, the readers, to properly recycle them when we are finished.

A new opportunity to further reduce magazine paper use is to consider e-magazine subscriptions. As e-readers become more popular, digital magazine subscriptions are more readily accessible. Check out Zinio to see if your favorite subscription is available.  There are free samples to see if it works for you.  Have an Iphone, get a Zinio app and read your magazine while waiting at the doctor’s office or on the soccer field.  Happy Reading…

Mine does, but apparently not many others.  Some sad statistics were presented today by the Boston Globe, noting that there has been very little improvement in the rate of recycling in Mass in the past 10 year.  Some people feel it’s not worth the effort, while others don’t have easy access to recycling facilities.  The article discusses what motivates people to recycle more, and what happens if they don’t.
Here is a link to their article: Boston Globe

Check out the interactive map that shares the historical recycling rates of your town.  I’m proud to say my town, Needham, has increased it’s recycling rates each year, and is quite high at 67% in 2008 vs 37% in 1998.  I believe that when a town charges money for each bag of garbage, it is a great motivator to increase your recycling habits.  Our town also participates in single-stream recycling, which means we don’t have to sort our glass/aluminum/plastic into separate bins.  (Needham still lags behind in my mind since I can’t recycle #4 and #5 plastics at the RTS.)  I know that when we moved here, we had to buy a stacked 3 tier bin to accomodate all the items we started to recycle.  Sorting our paper and recyclables into the bins is part of our life now, and hopefully our town’s rate will continue to increase as more people become aware of the necessity to reuse every day items. 

If you want to learn more about every day items that can be recycled, and general rules of recycling, I like the Earth911 website.  It is a great resource and offers information for your town or city. 

How is your town doing in the race to recycle?  Ask your DPW managers for recycling rates to get a gauge of how much progress is being had in your area.  If you recycle, and your friends do not, share with them your system to help spread the word.  As schools recycle more, children are bringing home recycling ideas to share with their parents.  Hopefully when this study is done again, we will see more progress across the state.