Long time no type

I've been away on holidays! We drove down to East Gippsland for a lovely relaxing holiday, where we didn't do a whole lot except sit around the fire, reading books and bike riding.

I have been working on crossing a fair few items off my Practically Green list - so many, in fact, that I have jumped into number 1 spot for Australia! Wanna know what I have done?

Switched to all-natural sunscreen (Badger)
Switched to all-natural toothpaste (AloeDent)
Switched to all-natural foundation (The Body Shop)
Switched to all-natural powders (The Body Shop)
Switched to all-natural body lotion (Badger)
Switched to all-natural moisturizer (Badger)
Switched to all-natural blush (etsy)
Switched to all-natural eye shadows (etsy)
Switched to reusable utensils for on-the-go dining (etsy)
Switched to reusable sandwich bags (etsy)

I swear there was something else I have done also, but I can't remember what it was. Basically I tackled a lot of the personal care items this month, as I had an urge to shop, and I thought this was the best way to channel my spending. Here are some pics of the goodies I have bought - I can't wait for my letterbox to begin overflowing with these goodies. Then it'll be time to Freecycle all my remaining makeup and body products to new homes.

Practically Green, week 4 (sorta)

So, I've had an off week or two. Off as in lack of motivation, as in super busy with university study, and as in just plain lazy. I didn't achieve most of the goals I set myself, but I did achieve the following:

Switched to a green dry cleaner
Switched to all-natural lip balm (I was actually already using a natural one and didn't realise)
Consistently select two-sided printing when required to print (I hate printing but when I absolutely must, it's always double-sided)
Switch to all-natural conditioner (I was already doing this. Switching shampoos is next)
Switch to a natural toilet bowl cleaner
Switch to organic tea

I swear some of those are new inclusions on the list, because I've never spotted them before. I love the changes to the Practically Green website, it's definitely an improvement. I particularly love the "groups" part - I am third overall in the Australian group, see!! That's very exciting for competitive types like myself. And knowing that cleaning the mold in the house will move me to second place is just the motivation I need.

I trust you all enjoyed your Easter? I spent my extra long Easter weekend pottering around the vegetable garden and Freecycling lots of stuff. I've also decided to sell one of my cars (and it won't be replaced).

Stay green! 

Easter - why must it be so hard?

I ask the same question every year, and every year my family vetoes it - "can we not exchange presents/Easter eggs?" ... "No". I don't mind buying presents or eggs for everyone else, I just don't want to receive them!

This year, I aimed to buy everyone fair trade, organic chocolate eggs without plastic packaging, but apparently that was too much to ask for. I couldn't find any eggs that ticked all three boxes - fair trade in plastic, yes. Organic in plastic, yes. But hardly any eggs with plastic-free packaging.

I ended up settling for Lindt bunnies for everybody - they came without plastic packaging, and my trusty little Ethical Shopper iPhone app told me I can trust Lindt. Next year I aim to buy organic chockie eggs online - have people in the States found green Easter eggs easier to source than I have?

(image from ask.com)

Practically Green, week 3

Ahh, I am behind thanks to being sick Monday and Tuesday this week. So here is a quick catch-up. Last week's challenges were:

Switch to organic chocolate
Install one low-flow faucet
Clean/mitigate any household mold
Track your trash for one week

I did quite poorly this week - I only achieved 2 out of my 4 goals. I switched to organic chocolate (and boy, was that a tasty challenge!), and I tracked my trash for the week. I didn't get around to cleaning my mold or installing a low-flow faucet, so they're rolling over onto this week. I'll also tackle this week:

Get an energy audit
Avoid food packaging and cling wrap containing PVC

My energy provider doesn't offer energy audits, but they have a DIY one on their website, so I will do that myself. And I've already been minimizing our reliance on food with plastic packaging, but I could further.

My carbon footprint

I calculated my carbon footprint over a year ago, but damned if I can remember what I scored. All I remember is that it was much higher than I anticipated - I think I was actually a little offended, to tell you the truth - I thought I wasn't impacting the Earth that much.

So it's time for a new calculation. To tell you the truth, I'm slightly overwhelmed by the number of carbon footprint calculators out there, and how their results all differ! If you think there is a better one out there than the site I've used, please let me know.

I choose the One Degree of Change calculator (it's an Aussie one) and that calculated my carbon footprint to be 21.93 tonnes of CO2!

Well, it was. I say "was" because just last week I signed up to a green power plan with my energy provider, so now 50% of our energy comes from accredited green power sources. We're planning on getting solar panels installed later this year (thanks to a Green loan from our local bank - they offer lower interest rates to help greenify your home.)

So, taking into account my 50% green energy, my footprint is now 12.61 tonnes. Is that a lot? Obviously it's a whole lot better than my earlier footprint, but I need some

Apparently if I make the following small changes, my footprint will drop to 11.09 tonnes.
- install low flow restrictors on taps
- drive 20% less each week by walking, cycling or car pooling.

In an effort to drive less, I have started parking my car a good distance away from work so I can walk in the rest of the way. Last week I walked 15km instead of driving. That's probably about my limit at the moment though, as I have a knee injury.

As for the low flow tap valves - I'm working on it!

Practically Green, week 2

So, I think a catch-up is in order to see what I accomplished in week 1, and to set my new goals for week 2.

Last week I set myself the following challenges:

Sign up for green power from your utility
Watch Annie Leonard's online video, "The Story of Stuff"
Install shower timer or water-monitoring device
Switch to recycled paper tissues
Switch to a recycled plastic toothbrush (I'm actually switching to compostable toothbrushes)

I can safely say I accomplished 4 out of the 5. I watched "The Story of Stuff", and also "The Story of Cosmetics", I signed up for 50% green power from my utility, I bought a shower timer (actually, I swiped it from my parents' place, as they never use theirs), and I switched to compostable toothbrushes.

The only thing I failed on was switching to recycled paper tissues, because I can't find them! I'm beginning to wonder if they even exist in Australia. I will keep hunting though.

So, this week's goals are as follows:

Switch to organic chocolate
Install one low-flow faucet
Clean/mitigate any household mold
Track your trash for one week

Tune in next Monday for my results, and for next week's goals!