Category Archives: Homes

Five easy ways to be greener in 2011

Reflecting on being greener

Preserve our beautiful planet by adopting a green lifestyle

Here we are one month into 2011; have you kept your New Year’s resolutions?

Here’s an easy way to keep a resolution to yourself and to the planet with my
five (5) easy ways to be greener and I’m not talking about giving up your car. They’re what I consider the basics for green living and you’ll even save money.

  1. Reduce your waste – I’m not talking about recycling, I’m talking about reducing the need for a product to be disposed of in the first place, i.e. not consumed. For example, choose bar soap, over liquid soap (eliminate the plastic bottle), choose filtered water from home (transported in stainless steel containers) instead of bottled water or choose unpackaged fruits and veggies at the grocery store. Simple gestures like these add up and equal a lot less waste in our landfills.
  2. Upgrade to environmentally-friendly cleaning products – Finish up the current ones you have but replace them one-by-one with green cleaning products. These days, there are tons of brands available that are high-performing, grease-cutting, non-toxic and biodegradable so there’s no excuse not to use them. If you wouldn’t pour your conventional cleaning soaps into a lake when camping, why is it ok in the city? It ends up in our lakes and oceans anyways and slowly degrades aquatic life. Upgrade your dishwashing liquid, dishwasher soap, laundry detergent, all purpose spray (citrasolv is great) and use vinegar for windows and hardwood floors.
  3. Start composting – Composting is the best thing I have done in a long time. I have reduced my waste by 70%. Lots of alternatives exist from buying a composter for the backyard to municipal pick-ups. Call your city to see what your options are.
  4. Bring your lunch to work – So much of the daily waste we throw away is directly related to our food. Instead of throwing out plastic or Styrofoam containers from your lunch, plan your weekly meals out Sunday night and bring the leftovers to work in “glass” Tupperware. Important to use glass as it doesn’t leach pthalates (hormones disruptor’s found in plastics). And for those days when you didn’t prepare anything the night before, keep a Tupperware container in your drawer at work to take to your nearest café/restaurant so at least there’s no waste. No joke, I actually do this!
  5. Participate in Meatless Mondays – Reducing your meat consumption 1 day a week is a great  way to lower your eco-footprint. Consider this, you will save more water by not eating a pound of beef, than by not showering for 6 months! Regular meat eaters who cut out meat one day a week reduce their carbon footprint by 28.5% and according to Nancy Callan, a board member of Earthsave, “More greenhouse gasses can be prevented by going meatless one day a week than by eating locally seven days a week.” Pledge to reduce your meat consumption by participating in Meatless Monday USA or Meatless Monday Canada and see how good (and less bloated) you will feel!

How to reduce your eco-footprint, air pollution and waste by composting

Urban Green Girl with her compost bin

Me with my compost bin after the first week of composting

Happiness has arrived, I can finally compost at home. Since I started blogging back in 2008, I have wanted to start composting but since I didn’t have access to a garden, my options were limited.

I later discovered the Nature Mill indoor composter which composts the material automatically without having to stir it. But, I was still left not knowing what to do with it once it turned into actual compost, ready for the outdoors.

A few areas in my neighbourhood were able to participate in a test project, run in partnership with the city, but I lived two streets out of the test area.

Well, to my surprise, I found out that there is actually a local, private company called Compost Montreal (the first of it’s kind in North America) that actually picks up compost from residences and businesses in Montreal for $5 a week (cost for residences). Continue reading

How to stop receiving junk mail!

Fed up of junk mail? I am! Here's how you can reduce it!

When the bulk of your mail is junk, it makes you question how many trees were cut down just to be thrown out.  And to make matters worse, my mail box is not only filled with my junk mail, but that for the previous two tenants despite efforts to “return to sender”.

In order to help you go green and stop the insanity that is junk mail, here are some quick and easy steps you can take.

First things first, we need to make a distinction about the 2 types of junk mail; addressed and unaddressed.  Addressed mail (admail as referred to by direct marketers) is addressed to you with your name and address. This is because you appear on a mailing list somewhere.  Unaddressed mail, is pure junk, usually in the form of grocery store flyers, flyers from realtors and anything else that is unsolicited.

Continue reading

How to stop receiving the Yellow Pages

How to stop receiving the Yellow Pages

How to stop receiving the Yellow Pages in Canada and the United States

When was the last time you actually picked up the Yellow Pages to find a company? I think the last time I used it was like 15 years ago to order pizza. Nowadays, you probably use their service online.

So, if you’re annoyed like me every time the Yellow Pages gets delivered to your home, do what I did and get off their mailing list.

In Canada:

In United States:

Go digital; use them online or download the Yellow Pages app to your smart phone and start saving trees!

How to get rid of pantry and flour moths

Cupboard and pantries are homes to moths

Cupboard and pantries are homes to pantry moths, flour weevils and maggots

If you’re like me, it’s seems that every time you dare to cook a meal from scratch, you end up having to throw one of the ingredients (i.e. brown rice or flour) out and run back to the corner store to buy a new bag because those damn, pesky pantry moths were living in them. We’ve all seem them in our cupboards. Continue reading

Top 10 eco mistakes stupid boyfriends make!

Letting the water run while doing the dishes

Letting the water run while doing the dishes drives me mad

Of course, women make these mistakes too, but since I am a woman and well, this is my blog, I’m talking about my experience!  And before you “stupid boyfriends” get mad at me, I don’t actually think you’re stupid, I just think you need a little whip in the green direction. 😉

Let’s face it, relationships are hard. When things can already seem tumultuous, having a partner that’s not as “green” as you can drive you over the edge for something as menial as letting the water run. It shouldn’t be a deal breaker but rather a chance to teach someone about your values and how they can make a difference in the world.

So I’ve rallied up my past experience and that of my girlfriends to compile this list of 10 things partners do that drive us mad. Continue reading

Can baking soda really clean your oven?

So after my oven caught fire and an embarrassing run-in with the firemen, I decided to clean my oven.

Dirty oven about to be cleaned with baking soda

Dirty oven about to be cleaned with baking soda

But over my dead body would i use those toxic oven cleaning foams. Environmental toxicity and aerosol can aside, I’m fricking worried about the health side-effects.  I once borrowed a can from a neighbour and 24hrs later, I could still smell the toxic odour in my kitchen. I couldn’t help but wonder if it would be contaminating my food, or worse, could the leftover fumes explode with the heat in the oven? I have read in the past that a simple baking soda paste (baking soda + water) could do the trick if you let it soak overnight. So I decided to give it a try… Continue reading

Spring clean your wardrobe and get free clothes by hosting a clothing exchange party

Green fashion tips with clothing exchange parties

Host a clothing exchange party with friends

Have you ever  heard the saying that if you haven’t worn something in the last year, you probably won’t wear it ever again? So why not spring clean your wardrobe?  Clear out those drawers of shirts that pinch under your arms and jeans that hug inappropriately tightly.  Empty the closets of scarves, gloves and jackets that looked great in the store but never worked right when you got them home.  Gather them all up and throw yourself a clothing exchange party. Continue reading

Three green tips to reduce TV e-waste during the switch to digital broadcasting

TV kicked to the curb admist digital switch

How many TV 's will be kicked to the curb following the switch to digital?

You are probably already aware that as of February 17th, some US TV stations will switch from analog to digital broadcasting. Although the benefits are obvious in terms of better picture quality, where does this leave all the old CRT and analog TVs, when e-waste is already a mounting problem in United States?

Well, don’t fear as Urban Green Girl has brought you three (3) solutions  to deal with the switch:

To learn about these three green solutions, check out my guest post entitled How to deal with the digital switch like a green girl at Iamthatgirl.com.

Top household cleansers to be sued for non disclosure of chemicals used

Common household cleaners

Common household cleaners that could be dangerous to our health

I’ve talked countless times on here about the health and environmental dangers from using mainstream household cleansers due to their chemical ingredients that often go untested. In how to start your green life I explain some of the dangers and solutions. Well, I am very proud to announce that I am not the only person worried about these products and the effects they have on our eco-system. Environmentalists are sueing for the disclosure of chemicals in cleaning products that we all have in our houses. According to the LA Time’s Greenspace: Continue reading