Tag Archives: recycle

Eco-Friendly Friday! – COFFEE

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Coffee time with my awesome Grumpy Cat mug 🙂

This is the first of a weekly series where every Friday I’ll share a tip for being eco-friendly or some environmental news. Whether it’s a DIY project or something you can do in your home I’m hoping these posts will help in simplifying and greening up your life.

Today’s eco-friendly tip:

Swap out your coffee maker to a non-electric appliance. I’m a huge fan of the French press! Most of us leave coffee makers plugged in and turned on all the time. Especially when they have a clock on them or a timer so that it makes coffee for you on schedule. I agree it does sound totally amaaaazing to wake up to fresh brewed coffee everyday but this can waste a lot of electricity. Electricity that’s not going into heating the water for your coffee. If you want to keep your old machine you could unplug it after every use. It would be better but traditional coffee makers also use paper filters and most have a heating pad underneath to keep coffee warm (another energy waster). Swapping it out completely, I think, is the most environmentally friendly choice.

Some people think that the single serving coffee makers are better since they only heat up enough for one cup but most models on the market are meant to be left on and do keep the water warm at all times. Plus don’t get me started on those disposable cups.. Worst invention ever. I recently read an article on Treehuger.com that showed that even when those little cups are recyclable (which most aren’t) most recycling centers aren’t equipped to keep them from going to the trash (due to their small size). As well as another more in depth article called Waste: The Dark Side of the New Coffee Craze. If you do opt for the single serving machines or already own one there are reusable cups available made out of wire mesh and if you always remember to turn off and unplug the machine it may be better than a regular coffee machine. 

Now onto my pick. The French Press. With a French Press the only energy required is to heat up the water, which can be done in a kettle or on the stove. It has a mesh wire strainer that separates the grinds from the coffee, no paper filters required. Plus they look so fancy! The only issue I’ve had with my French Press is due to the fact that I usually buy whole beans which means I grind them at home with my magic bullet.. A technique which is far from perfect at getting a consistent grind. I normally end up with sediment in my coffee due to some of the beans having a more fine powder-like grind than others. Once I run out of the coffee beans I have on stock I want to try grinding it at the store to see if that makes a difference.  

Tip: Only heat up the amount of water you need instead of wasting energy heating the full kettle.    

I own the Bodum Chambord. I bought it last year and it’s still going strong even after being knocked over a couple times.

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My French Press. You can see me and Shadoe in the reflection lol

There are also other options like this beautiful Chemex:

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photo from Chemexcoffeemaker.com

Also when selecting coffee beans try to buy as local as possible, even if that just means locally roasted and fair trade!  I love Kicking Horse coffee. They use fair-trade, organic, shade-grown and bird friendly (insert many other environmentally friendly sounding terms, just kidding..) sources for their beans. It’s roasted here in canada and they support the Nature Conservatory of Canada. Yay. Plus it’s delicious.

 

Hope you all have a wonderful Friday and pre-Halloween weekend!  

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10 Tips for going green in the New Year!

Here’s my 10 tips for going green in the New Year! We started out slow, making changes as we could. In the end it’s all about doing things that you’re comfortable with and that you’ll actually commit to doing long term!

1) Don’t use disposable items! This one is huge, and can make a big difference. This one also covers a lot of bases. By disposable items I mean plastic grocery bags, paper/Styrofoam coffee cups (both from shops and at work), bottled water, coffee filters, feminine products, etc. Instead invest in some quality reusable items, maybe a couple of each if you think you won’t remember to bring them with you. One for at work or stashed in your car and one at home!  After a while it becomes second nature to always have these things on you.  Some reusable items I like to use: A good metal water canteen, canvas grocery bags (there are some really cute ones on Etsy and I also have compact bag I keep in my purse at all times for general shopping), a travel mug / thermos, for feminine products check out the Diva cup and cloth liners.

2) Buy local, organic, non processed food! Sign up for a food delivery service if available. Buying local not only helps the economy it’s also great for the environment seeing how your food isn’t being shipped around the world. Buying organic food is important for reducing not only the toxins in your body but also reduces the amount of pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers being used. If you can’t afford to buy all organic produce print out a wallet sized copy of “the dirty dozen”, a list of the foods with the highest and lowest concentrations of pesticide.  Buying non-processed foods with minimal ingredients is also important not only for your health but also the environment. The plants producing these foods use up a lot of resources, energy and normally use GMO corn and soy, which has had few, if any independent food safety studies.

3) EAT LESS MEAT! This is seriously so important. On so many levels.. The environmental impact of the meat industry is insane, (click here to read an article in scientific american). Not to mention most of the meat on the market is produced inhumanely, full of hormones and antibiotics. Reducing your meat consumption is probably the number one way to make an impact on the environment and it’s healthier for you! I’ll be posting lots of yummy vegetarian recipes throughout the year so hopefully you and your family can commit to at the very least Meatless Mondays!

4) Stop buying everything brand new. This one is also great for your wallet! Check kijiji, craigslist, freecycle, or any other local website that allows users to sell, swap, or give away items! I also like to frequent local thrift stores whenever there is something I need. If I can find it at the thrift store I usually save at least half the cost.

5) Obviously follow reduce, reuse, recycle! I try to reduce waste by buying products with minimal packaging and I don’t use those plastic produce bags for my produce (I never really understood them anyways). I also try to buy products in glass containers over plastic ones so I’ll be able to reuse them in my pantry. I also wash any yogurt or other plastic containers and keep them for storing stuff later. Finally Recycle. Set up bags for recyclables, compost, and bottles to be returned for cash. It’s really not that much extra work once you get in the habit and as a bonus you won’t need to change your garbage as frequently.

6) Stop throwing away all your old items. Someone else may have a use for that old toaster, or your unwanted clothes. Instead donate them to a local secondhand store, as long as it’s in decent condition they’ll be happy to take it off your hands and it saves these items from the landfill.

7) Invest in quality items. When you’re purchasing things for your home, or clothes, shoes etc make sure you’re buying good quality products. They last longer, can be repaired instead of thrown away, and in the long run replacing cheap items will actually cost you more than investing in more expensive ones. Also, if possible try to shop more locally, at little shops in your town rather than big chains. Or look on Etsy! You can find some great homemade products there!

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps! They also make all kinds of other great bath products.

8) Use environmentally friendly products in your home! For cleaning supplies I started making my own using simple ingredients like vinegar, essential oils, borax and Dr. Bronner’s magic soaps.  I even made my own laundry and bath soap, so much cheaper! If you’re not into making your own soaps there are lots of other environmentally friendly options. Just check at your local “green” store. I also love Lush soaps but they’re pretty pricey!

9) Try to stop using energy draining appliances like dishwashers and dryers. I find dishwashers never really get dishes as clean as hand washing anyways. Instead just hand wash all your dishes and let them air dry. If there are lots of people in your family take turns or have one person wash and one dry after meals. Instead of drying your clothes set up a clothesline or dryer rack. Clothes smell amazing after being dried outside in the summer and for the winter months I set up a clothesline in my basement.

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The first seedling to appear in my garden last summer!

10) Start a garden! Planting a garden is so rewarding! Yeah it’s a lot of work, but when you get to eat free food that you produced it’s totally worth it! Plus now you have somewhere to use all your compost and you’re helping produce oxygen! Win win!

Hopefully these tips will help you start making little changes in your life in order to live more sustainably! Let me know what other tips/tricks you’ve picked up along the way =)