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What are you doing to make your lifestyle more sustainable

Ghislaine
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Joined: Feb 15 2008
 

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Ghislaine
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Joined: Feb 15 2008
With the current discussions in the 'Greensumption' and 'Rise in the Price of Flour' threads, I thought I would start a thread about improving sustainability.

Obviously the situation is reaching crisis level and we are all going to seriously alter our lifestyles for a sustainable future.

So, what are babblers doing?

I will start. I did everything I could to find a job in walking distance to my house. This took months and I know this is a privilege, but I no longer drive.

I have begun buying my veggies and meat solely from Island producers, organically. Yes, this time of year, this involves lots of cabbage, potatoes, turnip and carrots. I miss avocado and sweet potatoes terribly, but I could no longer justify buying things that have to travel so far, with so many emissions.

A few generations ago, this type of living was fine for a our ancestors so I am trying to rationalize it that way.

I am also trying to rarely use the dryer and dry my clothes outside whenever possible and use a clothes rack indooors.

Does anyone have any more ideas/suggestions or things they are doing in their own lives?


ElizaQ
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Joined: May 27 2005
Well if you've read my post in the Greensumption thread you'll probably gather that I have a big interest in food.

I found myself in a situation where I had the opportunity to move out of the city to a small piece of property so I can work at growing my own. While still in the city I did put work into local food issues...community gardens, small space gardening...balcony farming etc etc and though now in a rule area I still plan to do things with an urban environment in mind because I know it's not realistic that everyone can just suddenly move out of the cities.

I have and still do cut down on the number of 'things' I have overall.

I always ask is this a need or a want. With the things I do buy I try to buy second hand, I keep local in mind where ever possible and try to buy 'quality'. I do try to buy 'green' for things I actually need. Now one of the critiques of green consumer goods is that they tend to be more expensive so are only accessible to people that have money, but in my experience (and believe me I don't have much)I haven't found much difference in overall outlay because I've cut down consumption overall and it seems to be balancing out.

Over the next few years, when money allows, we have to reno and fix our house so material wise I'm focusing on eco-alternatives like low voc paints and general eco building materials. I also am a scrounger in this regard and have been known to visit salvage places, construction sites and yes dumps. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img] Auctions are also great for getting things.
I've also psychologically worked on myself to get rid of the 'need' to live in a perfect pretty home RIGHT NOW so yes...I'm okay with bare drywall and plywood floors. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

I compost, recycle what I can and pay attention to packaging in the first place. There's some things I just now refuse to buy because of overpackaging.

I bought a re-charagable electric mower so I will have the option at some point of using a solar cell
to charge it if I ever get the money to buy one of those Canadian Tire ones.

I make my own cleaning supplies with things like, vinegar, baking soda and salt.

I've started to learn how to preserve food, canning and drying so I can get it in season, from either my own garden or local markets and keep it over the winter.

I only grow heirloom seeds and avoid 'corporate' and patented seeds like they were the plague.

I don't flush everytime I go number one. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

Since I live outside of town and it's too far to walk I don't have a choice and have to drive so I make sure I try to arrange things so I can get everything done in the least amount of trips as possible.

The water where we are isn't potable right now, even for showering and I know this might sound weird but I actually got used to using couple of basin, the sink and cloths to the point where even now when I'm in place I could shower everyday I don't unless I have to wash my hair. In the summer we actually set up one of those camp showers on our deck and I totally plan on using it again next year even though we will have good water by then. It was really neat...and yes quite liberating. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]
Because of our water situation I became so much more conscious of water usage overall and realized how much of it I was actually wasting when I could just turn on the tap. I was forced to change my habits and many of them are just sticking. This was more a 'greening' by force situation then by choice...but hey whatever works.


Ghislaine
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Joined: Feb 15 2008
That is all very inspiring Eliza [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

That is very interesting in regards to showering, as that is another area where there is so much opportunity to cut back.

Think of how many people in North America shower every single day - do they really need to? Do you really get that dirty after one day? Our grandparents certainly didn't bathe this often.

Preparing my own preserves and canning is something I really want to start trying this year, beginning with planting a garden this spring.

Your emphasis on needs vs wants is very important I think, especially in light of all the 'green consumerism' and hollywood people claiming to be green because their massive houses have efficient light bulbs and organic shampoo.


ElizaQ
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Joined: May 27 2005
quote:Originally posted by Ghislaine:
That is all very inspiring Eliza [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

That is very interesting in regards to showering, as that is another area where there is so much opportunity to cut back.

Think of how many people in North America shower every single day - do they really need to? Do you really get that dirty after one day? Our grandparents certainly didn't bathe this often.

Preparing my own preserves and canning is something I really want to start trying this year, beginning with planting a garden this spring.

Your emphasis on needs vs wants is very important I think, especially in light of all the 'green consumerism' and hollywood people claiming to be green because their massive houses have efficient light bulbs and organic shampoo.

Well I do find that when I'm in the city I do feel 'dirtier' I expect that pollutants play a part in that. Don't get me wrong though I still wash everyday just not in shower. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

I'll make a suggestion about canning and preserving it can be a lot of work and get quite tedious. Find a friend or a few that might be interested as well and make it a social event. It's much more fun. I've also come across a couple of different groups that do this and work with seniors. Many seniors grew up doing this sort of thing and have the knowledge but perhaps not the where with all to do it any more, or at least in large quantities. Work, knowledge and the products are shared. Win win for all imo.

I also have found the whole 'needs and wants' thing as a very long process for me. It doesn't happen overnight. It's taken years to 'loose' myself from the system particularly because the push to buy buy buy surrounds us daily.


M. Spector
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Joined: Feb 19 2005
If anyone is ever tempted to feel smug about reducing their personal "carbon footprint", they should reflect on how their heroic efforts and those of millions of other well-meaning consumers are being cancelled out many times over by the unchecked emissions from huge megaprojects over which they have no control.

Think of the Alberta tar sands, for example. Besides the other devastating environmental effects of stripmining for oil, (depletion of water and natural gas stocks, water pollution, boreal forest destruction, non-greenhouse emissions like sulphur dioxide, etc.) the CO2 emissions alone from the tar sands are at 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) every year, and growing.

On top of these carbon emissons generated in the extraction of the crude oil out of the ground, there are also the emissions associated with its transportation and refining. Then there are the greenhouse effects of the consumption of the more than 1.1 million barrels of crude oil currently produced out of the tar sands every day. Each barrel of crude will result in about 300 kg. of CO2 emissions when its refined fuel components are burned by the end users. That's 330,000 tonnes of CO2 per day - over 100 million tonnes a year.

Or consider the Iraq war. The war is responsible for emitting at least 141 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent over the last five years. If the war were ranked as a country in terms of annual emissions, it would emit more CO2 each year than 60% of all countries on the planet. So you'd think that ending the war would go a long way towards the US and UK meeting emissions reduction targets under Kyoto, for example.

You'd be wrong. The stunning fact is, the emissions associated with the war in Iraq go literally unreported. Military emissions abroad are not captured in the national greenhouse gas inventories that are reported under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Iraq war emissions are on top of what has already been reported and officially acknowledged.

The above are only two of thousands of examples of massive emission sources that can be shut down with concerted political action.

This kind of puts into context the nine or ten tonnes of annual CO2 emissions produced by each Canadian. Buying local food and using compact fluorescents will make us all feel righteous, but if we really want to do something to save the planet we have to go beyond that.

Way beyond that.


Sven
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Joined: Jul 22 2005
M. Spector, you’re not, by any chance, the "potential buyer" that this Monaco company is negotiating with, are you??

Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004
(moved to end of thread)

[ 31 March 2008: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]


Boom Boom
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quote:Originally posted by M. Spector:
If anyone is ever tempted to feel smug about reducing their personal "carbon footprint", they should reflect on how their heroic efforts and those of millions of other well-meaning consumers are being cancelled out many times over by the unchecked emissions from huge megaprojects over which they have no control.

I agree 100% - I've been making this argument for years. But I still like to keep my hydro bills as low as popssible - I'm on a fixed pension.


ElizaQ
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Joined: May 27 2005
quote:Originally posted by M. Spector:
If anyone is ever tempted to feel smug about reducing their personal "carbon footprint", they should reflect on how [b]their heroic efforts and those of millions of other well-meaning consumers are being cancelled out many times over by the unchecked emissions from huge megaprojects over which they have no control.
[/b]

So you're suggesting that people are being smug by being smug. At least that's how this statement reads to me and as well as lecturing. This is the wrong way of looking at the 'whole' systematic problem. These 'heroic' efforts are not 'cancelled out.' That term is erroneous and not logical. At least is you're looking at the whole thing. A reduction is a reduction in the entire equation.
Simplistically if A = individual total 'carbon footprint' and B='megaproject' equals total carbon footprint and A + B = C or 'overall' total 'carbon footprint'. The goal is a reduction in the 'overall' total. If you see some reduction in A it's still a reduction to C 'overall.'

Now I'm not arguing at all with your overall point though. I totally agree. If A=100 and B=100,000 then reducing A by 10 and not doing anything about B isn't going to effect the overall a whole lot.

If B is increasing by more then A is decreasing then yes B looks as if it's cancelling out the efforts of A. It's not though because it's the overall total that matters.
... A in effect is still reducing the overall total if it continues to decrease because if A continues to increase as well as B then the overall total just continues to increase with both A and B participating.

That's what bugs me about this type of argument. That A doesn't matter so why bother. What difference does it make. It ALL matters in reference to the overall total. Whether it matters enough to make a difference in staving off the ramifications and consequences of the overall total in the short term is valid and should be pointed out, but not in the context that none of the other stuff going on with A is pointless and smug.
It's all connected.

It's correct in stating that a concerted and unified effort to deal with B is needed. That's a given. Where is that effort going to come from though. It's from the A side in this equation. If you constantly telling A that they're just being smug and it's all pointless, that the small things on and individual level are pointless and will make no difference to B, then you're likely to get a bunch of A's just saying...yeah...you're right it's a lost cause. That's human nature.

I would argue that you're more likely to get a bunch of A's who are working at understanding what 'consuming' things means in an ecological sense making the jump to dealing with the B side BECAUSE of the effort they're making on an individual level to understand what 'sustainable' actually means. The patterns are the same at micro level as they are at the meta level. Micro patterns are easier to learn and understand and get you're head around. Especially for people that are essentially going through a process of de-programing from all that they knew before and learning a different way of seeing and looking at things. It's not an easy process on and individual level, take that to a societal level and it's even more difficult. People are in different stages of understanding.

There's just no way I'm going to sit back and pass overall judgment on a person who say goes to the store and decides, maybe for the first time that buying local is better is better, or chooses a different bottle of kitchen cleaner that has less or none of the harmful chemicals then the mainstream bottle has or decides to take transit once a week instead of driving. It's a small thing yes, but at least lets recognize it for what it is.

I say that's great! Now lets look a little deeper into whether that's a good choice, lets look at the why and then when we're done lets look at another issue or another issue. Not, 'well that's great and all, but really not worthwhile in the whole scheme of things, you just really don't get it, what's wrong with you.'


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004
Over the years I've noticed most people I visit - and it has been a lot of visits, all over the USA, Canada, England and Wales - I'd say 80% of those people have their hot water tanks at the highest setting.
Why? Why is it necessary to have boiling water on tap 24 hours a day?

I have had my hot water tank at the lowest setting since I moved into this house in July 2006.

If I need boiling water to sterilize my dishes or anything else (like tea or instant coffee), my kettle provides enough boiling water in two minutes.

My hydro bills are less than $100/month, and I use electric heaters all winter. My hydro charges are so low because I keep the hot water tank at the lowest possible setting - which is perfect for showers and baths. I never have to use any cold water in a bath or shower. [img]cool.gif" border="0[/img]


farnival
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Joined: Jul 9 2004
uh, double post. [img]redface.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 31 March 2008: Message edited by: farnival ]


farnival
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Joined: Jul 9 2004
quote:This kind of puts into context the nine or ten tonnes of annual CO2 emissions produced by each Canadian. Buying local food and using compact fluorescents will make us all feel righteous, but if we really want to do something to save the planet we have to go beyond that.

Way beyond that.


well put M. Spector.

1. i don't eat meat, and haven't by choice for 20 years. the previous 18 i had to be pretty crafty about it!


2. i have been using my bicycle as primary transport for my whole life, but for the past 20 years a dedicated year round commuter in Winnipeg and now for the past 7, in Toronto. this spring i'm going to finally treat myself to a trailer, which means i can properly go to farmer's markets to grocery shop, and stop having to hitch a ride or call a taxi to get down to our marina with more gear than i can carry on my back. since moving to t.o. i no longer drive, as i let my licence lapse in the first year. i'm thinking of getting it back as it would allow me to rent a vehicle occasionally, but the bus or train usually works just fine to get out to the country. now if they'd only create bike rack/storage on VIA/Go/Greyhound, that would be serious progress.

3. i mentioned marina. if someone told me 8 years ago i'd be moving to toronto, i'd have laughed (recall that everyone hates toronto!). if they told me i'd be sailing every day from april to november i would have laughed even harder. well, that's the case. my buddy scored a 22 foot sailboat 5 years ago for under $2000, and we sail the hell out of it. the marina is 15 min by bike from my place in east t.o. we all ride to it. the outboard is a 4 stroke honda, same year as the boat-1983, and uses about $30 gas all season, as it's only for in and out of the dock (haha, we push that too, sails up by the end of the slips!) so it's hardly used, and i'm actively searching for an electric (rechargeable) replacement. they aren't quite there yet, but here's hoping!. for supplies we use biodegradeable products and use capsicum bottom paint (not cheap but less toxic). all in all, cheaper than driving in Ontario. but as a recreational activity, virtually emission/energy free.

4. all house lights are compact flourecents, and i can't wait for LED replacements. they are coming. i just know it! plus all electronics are clustered on power bars so they are easy to shut down when not home, eliminating 'phantom power' useage.

5. use clothes and material objects until they wear out. kind of an obvious one.

but as M. Spector has pointed out, pretty much a hill of beans, so....

5. FIGHTING THE PORTLANDS ENERGY CENTRE.

the Liberal Ontario government talks a good game, but they have built a 500Mw gas fired powerplant no-one wants, right on our waterfront, ignoring renewable/conservation/reduction options. plus they have:

1-barred OPG from owning or operating renewable energy generation, effectively diverting any wind/solar/geothermal etc to the for profit private sector basically making any conservation/demand reduction efforts impossible (you can't tell a for profit company to make less product, now can you?)

2-exempted any new generation with a private ownership component from a full environmental assesment.

3-the OPA recommended in the fall that all new generation be private. so...no conservation, no public ownership of renewables, ergo no conservation

4-has committed OPG to focus on it's current generation with a strong focus on nuclear. yay!

Myself, along with many others involved alot longer that me, have been fighting the PEC for the past 3 years. It's a "peak load" plant, meaning it's specifically built to provide power at the peak of summer usage, basically air conditioners, and is precisely for the reason we are fighting climate change. wasteful energy consumption. It's is built now and will come on line June 2008 and start spewing NOx into our neighbourhoods and 1000's of litres of chlorinated cooling water into the Outer Harbour in toronto, directly adjacent to Tommy Thompson Park (aka the Leslie Spit) which is an internationally recognised bird sanctuary, and Cherry Beach, which is one of the cleanest on Lake Ontario.

yes, it's built but we're still fighting it. technically, we can KEEP IT OFF if we reduce our electricity useage. so the above may be a hill of beans, but if we all do a bit in the GTA, it might amount to a giant pot of chilli, and we can keep the damn thing shuttered. they get paid regardless of it ever starting. let's all try to make sure they never do.

to note, the efforts so far netted a $400,000 "penalty payment" for air quality negatively affected by the plant, paid for by PEC. the money is being managed by the Toronto Atmospheric Fund for the Toronto Board of Health, and is being used to start a domestic solar hot water program that will be rolled out across the city eventually.

i have suggested at the meetings that there be a community notification process for when the PEC is going to start up, essentially when we are nearing 'peak load', so non-homeowners can participate by reducing or deferring their power useage to non-peak times. not sure how to do this so if any babblers have any suggestions that would be great. It was very positively recieved at the last meeting so there's hope yet!

do all you can by using as little as you can!

[ 31 March 2008: Message edited by: farnival ]


The Wizard of S...
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Joined: Jul 27 2002
I'm thinking of getting back into vinyl. Maybe putting together a a collection of all my favourite 80s albums. Re-building a once proud civilization of upbeat music with it's original warm and fuzzy logic sound. That's recycling, isn't it?

Noise
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Joined: May 16 2006
Ghislane:

quote: That is very interesting in regards to showering, as that is another area where there is so much opportunity to cut back.

Think of how many people in North America shower every single day - do they really need to? Do you really get that dirty after one day? Our grandparents certainly didn't bathe this often.

I have a couple plumber friends (commercial plumbing, meaning they wear coveralls to cover those cracks) that I've been discussing the feasibility of capturing shower (or 'grey water') to re-use for flushing purposes. Only seems possible when you have room for storage and the toilet being flushed isn't too far away (atleast from a simpe setup would go).

Is anyone aware of 'grey water' re-use to this extent? It would be much more feasible to setup in a house pre-construction than it would be to re-fit older ones.


MSpector: Do we lose the morale high-ground on something such as the oil sands if we're busily consuming the products from the oilsands while we're critisizing their production?

That said, you are completely right with this:

quote: The above are only two of thousands of examples of massive emission sources that can be shut down with concerted political action.

This kind of puts into context the nine or ten tonnes of annual CO2 emissions produced by each Canadian. Buying local food and using compact fluorescents will make us all feel righteous, but if we really want to do something to save the planet we have to go beyond that.

Way beyond that.

Ultimately, the recent Earth Hour did little to nothing as far as actual conservation when considering all of our consumption... The awareness, along with discovering the number of people that want to do something, was priceless.


Boom Boom
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I wash my dishes in a plastic tub in the kitchen sink at the end of the day or the next morning. I then use that water to flush the toilet. It only takes a minute to carry the tub to the washroom, and I've been doing this since I moved into this house in 2006. I rinse the tub briefly before using it again.

ElizaQ
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Joined: May 27 2005
quote:Originally posted by Noise:
I have a couple plumber friends (commercial plumbing, meaning they wear coveralls to cover those cracks) that I've been discussing the feasibility of capturing shower (or 'grey water') to re-use for flushing purposes. Only seems possible when you have room for storage and the toilet being flushed isn't too far away (atleast from a simpe setup would go).

Is anyone aware of 'grey water' re-use to this extent? It would be much more feasible to setup in a house pre-construction than it would be to re-fit older ones.

There are lots of options out there for grey water systems more seem to appear everyday. It's definitely easier to design a comprehensive system at the initial construction stage most eco-design is. More and more though things are being designed for retro-fitting. It's just a matter of doing research on what might work for a particular situation. There are examples of lots of techno products as well as very low tech DIY solutions, like Boom Booms.
For example these systems would be easy enough to install in a lot of houses.
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/10/watersaver_tech.php
http://www.grey-water-recycling.co.uk/

Honestly just google 'greywater shower toilet' and you'll find numerous links talking about different problems, issues and solutions.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks against the use of grey water though are building and health codes. It's totally possible to design and retro-fit a system from a simple DIY perspective, lots of info out there on this but getting an 'official' go ahead is another story in many jurisdictions. It appears that many areas are imo simply behind the time in this area, especially in comparison to other countries. In many cases it actually takes political effort to get the codes changed on local levels, though once it's been done in one jurisdiction it becomes easier and easier in other places.
Where I am right now it would actually be a fight to put in a comprehensive system. I know people that have simply done it, even though it's 'illegal.' We're probably going to be putting in semi outdoor shower this year, where the water simply runs into some garden beds. It's simple and it works.

In my personal opinion ready-made technologies like that sink/toilet setup help with the whole 'code' thing, in that it becomes more 'politically' feasible to agree to these things, but on the other hand I've seen it become a, 'well we'll approve it but only if it's an pre-approved industry tested blah blah" and the DIY systems are sh*t out of luck , but that's my own bias playing in there.
Ironically there are anal retentives out there that would probably have a problem with Boom Booms method.


Noise
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Joined: May 16 2006
Heh, thats fantastic Boom Boom... You can stash a tub in the shower and pick off some of the shower run off too. The bonus there being the shower runoff is in the bathroom and you don't have to transport water from the kitchen sink.

Thanks for the links ElizaQ, I'll have to do some reading.

quote:One of the biggest stumbling blocks against the use of grey water though are building and health codes.

The friends pointed out that one quickly... I guess theres a big issue with storing grey water in a tank in your home.

Seeing how much a tank fills after a shower helps you realize how much water a 30 min shower goes through.

[ 31 March 2008: Message edited by: Noise ]


Boom Boom
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quote:Originally posted by Noise:
Seeing how much a tank fills after a shower helps you realize how much water a 30 min shower goes through.

Thirty minute shower??? I've never heard of such a thing before. My showers are four minutes, max.

By the way, I don't have a shower in the bathroom; just a bathrub - I built a shower stall in my bedroom.

That tub of water from washing the dishes is only good for one flush, by the way. I don't let anything accumulate in the toilet - rather, I set the tub on the floor ready to use when the toilet is used first thing in the morning.

I'm out in the sticks where we use septic tanks, and it's never a good idea to conserve too much water, because septic tanks need water to flush their systems (I don't know how to explain this better...).


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002
It is easy to go through a thirty-minute shower if you wash, condition and detangle your hair under the showerhead.

I wash, condition and detangle my hair over my kitchen sink (fully dressed, as I'd be too cold to do it in the nood with the shower turned off) but I know some people might be grossed out by that although I always carefully wash and wipe the sink before using it for food prep.

If you ever take baths, you can save that water too. I know baths use more water than four-minute showers, but occasionally I take a bath rather than a shower if my joints are hurting a lot.

Would the small amount of soap used in a bath (not talking hair shampoo or gunk, just body soap) be harmful to house plants?

I do eat some poultry and fish - I don't do well on a vegetarian diet, as I can't always digest legumes. Not huge amounts though.


ElizaQ
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quote:Originally posted by lagatta:
Would the small amount of soap used in a bath (not talking hair shampoo or gunk, just body soap) be harmful to house plants?

Depends on the soap. I doubt even the ones filled with chemical perfumes and dyes would be 'harmful' in that they would die but you're still putting junk into the soil. Usually when you have a greywater system you move to biodegrable phosphate free soaps and such that don't have a lot of extraneous junk that doesn't break down. Most basic dish soap is safe for instance. Laundry soap is more tricky but there are options there. Even with shampoos and other gunk it's a lot easier to find products now that are chemical, dye and junk free.
Or for the more industrious its quite simple to make you're own out of common non-toxic soap and other things.


lagatta
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I try to buy unperfumed soap as much as possible, and buy as earth-friendly as I can afford in terms of other products.

It would be complicated with hair conditioner - even if it is "natural", I'd think it would contain some kind of oil, which I wouldn't really want in my plants. Shea butter is about the most natural. I have very curly hair with a definite kink, and can't untangle it without some kind of gunk.


Martha (but not...
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quote:Originally posted by lagatta:
It would be complicated with hair conditioner - ... I have very curly hair with a definite kink, and can't untangle it without some kind of gunk.

I suppose that the greenest thing would be for everyone to keep their hair very short.


Boom Boom
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quote:Originally posted by Martha (but not Stewart):

I suppose that the greenest thing would be for everyone to keep their hair very short.

I'm not completely bald, but mostly bald. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002
Yeah, that's all the environmental movement needs - convincing people that they are going to put us in a prison camp and chop off all our hair.

I look like hell with short hair. In general, the "gamine" type of woman (think Audreys Hepburn or Tautou) looks really attractive with that type of cut.


ElizaQ
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Joined: May 27 2005
Well this blog has sucked some my time away this am. I'm always trying to find ways of reusing things that can't be recycled easily or have the potential use beyond their original purpose. When I do buy things I always consider things like packaging and whether I really need it in the first place but beyond that there are just some things that are more difficult to get away from right now. Thought some here might be interested as well.
How Can I Recycle This? Creative ideas for reusing and recycling random stuff

Some random stuff...
Bread Tags
Tic Tac Boxes
Subway or Bus Tickets
Old Cake

[ 01 April 2008: Message edited by: ElizaQ ]


ElizaQ
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quote:Originally posted by lagatta:
I try to buy unperfumed soap as much as possible, and buy as earth-friendly as I can afford in terms of other products.

It would be complicated with hair conditioner - even if it is "natural", I'd think it would contain some kind of oil, which I wouldn't really want in my plants. Shea butter is about the most natural. I have very curly hair with a definite kink, and can't untangle it without some kind of gunk.

Your comment has got my brain working. Good questions there. I've been doing some research this am and think I now know more about hair conditioners and 'conditioning' and it's relation to grey water then I thought I ever would. :-)

So far this is what I have found out.
I haven't found any really good sources that have all the information centralized. So it's gleaning info from all over the place from both commercial and non-commercial sites.
There are ready-made products that are 100% biodegradable and claim to be safe for grey water and plants.
Like here: http://www.biome.com.au/guide_grey_water_safe.php

Grey water must be a thing in Australia or something because there seems to be a lot of sites touting products that aren't only 'natural' but 'grey water' safe.

Of course I'm not going to take everything a commercial site says at face value because of the whole 'greenwashing' thing.

So from other non-commercial sites I've discovered, that many non-petro chemically based oils aren't a problem because they do biodegrade but it depends on how fast the particular product/ingredient biodegrades.

There is a lot of science to wade through to understand and be able to be sure that the 'claims' being made on the commercial end are valid.

Some ingredients apparently can actually be good for plants, the problem is that they didn't get into detail of what they are. Interesting concept though..at least I found it interesting...that you could get double use as a 'people care' thing and fertilize your plants at the same time.

There isn't a lot of info specifically on houseplants and what does exist is conflicting. Some say it's alright, some say no because they can't 'flush' like outside plants do.

So where does that leave me? With a lot of time an effort spent pondering a bottle of 'hair conditioner' and no real concrete answers. (which I find really amusing)
I am a geek about these things though, as well as a 'plant' person so now I'm on a quest to figure it out. Since I use conditioner all the time...long hair...I'm actually going to try it out.


Ghislaine
Offline
Joined: Feb 15 2008
I was absolutely in love with Nature's Gate Original Herbal conditioner. The ingredients were all herbs and water and it worked very well on my frizzy hair.

they have stopped making this product and you cannot find it anywhere now [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]


ElizaQ
Offline
Joined: May 27 2005
quote:Originally posted by Ghislaine:
I was absolutely in love with Nature's Gate Original Herbal conditioner. The ingredients were all herbs and water and it worked very well on my frizzy hair.

they have stopped making this product and you cannot find it anywhere now [img]frown.gif" border="0[/img]

It looks like you can still find it online.


lagatta
Online
Joined: Apr 17 2002
Well, it is fairly obvious why Australia would take the lead on grey water, since it has always been a dryish country overall and has been experiencing severe droughts with global warming.

They also have the same problem we do, since the car came into general use, of thinking they had the luxury of spreading their small population across a huge expanse - but here that means wastefulness in terms of heating and transport, there in terms of cooling and transport. Don't know if Australians still attempt to have British/Irish lawns...

At least they voted out that climate-change-denying arsetle, John Howard.


The Wizard of S...
Offline
Joined: Jul 27 2002
I find the idea of re-using "grey" water disgusting and repugnant. We didn't win WWII for the europeans just to end up drinking toilet water. BUT, if somebody out there thinks there's a value to it, then I say fine. Let's export it at fair market value and let them do whatever they want with it. Then we take the profits and re-invest it in our own municipal water sysmems so that someday I can quit buying the bottled stuff a quart at a time and drink it from the tap. Regina water sucks. It always has. During the early eighties there was talk about building a pipeline to Lake Diefenbaker and bringing in some potable water, but it never came to anything. "Good water means jobs" they used to say. We were in the middle of a recession then, and IPSCO could have used the work building the pipes. That was back when Joe "747" Adams was Quarterback for the Riders. It was a very disappointing time on many levels.

[ 01 April 2008: Message edited by: The Wizard of Socialism ]


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