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When is using a space heater green?

Space heaters eco-friendlyA lot of times you hear about how using electric space heaters wastes a lot of energy.  But, what about those in-between times of the year where you're not sure you need to heat up your entire house but it's too cold to comfortably sit and read a book in your living room?  What is more energy efficient:  using a space heater to just heat the room you're in for a short period of time, or to tur... read more

10 Green New Year's Resolutions

Green ResolutionsThe year end is a good opportunity to think about new ways to go green.  Whether you've been a greenie for a long time, a green newbie, or if you're somewhere in between, it's the perfect time to make some green resolutions for 2015.  

Here are some ideas for green resolutions.  I see them as small, attainable goals that can help the environment if everyone does their part. Here's to a Keener and Greener 2015!

1.  Remember to bring my reusable shopping bags everywhere.  I now remember to bring them to the grocery store almost each time, but frequently I forget when clothes shopping, going to the pharmacy, etc.  

2.  Bringing a reusable coffee cup is a great resolution but I challenge you take it a step further and bring your own reusable food containers to restaurants in case you need a doggie bag.  

3.  If you work outside of the home, pick one day a week to walk, bike, take public transit, or carpool.... read more

Go Green and Reuse Your Gift Boxes

People are going green with all aspects of their lives. Work, home and even play time have people more aware of their environment and what they can do to help preserve it. There are a variety of ways you can go green in all you do including your gift giving. You can use many different ways to recycle your gift wrapping options and stay green in all areas of your life. There are several ways you can be eco-friendly with your shopping and here are a few to keep in mind.

First, consider reusing gift bags that have been given to you. Many people use bags as a way to package gifts because they are beautiful and can easily fit any shape packaged. There are a wide variety of designs, themes and colors of bags. You can choose them to even fit a child's birthday party theme. The options are endless. If a bag is given to you and is not damaged in any way, then it is a great idea to use it for your next gift giving item. You can use them for holidays, anniversaries and birthdays alike. They are a wonderful way to go green and accommodate your package no matter how odd the shape may be.

 


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The Downside of Ice Melt

This blog post was originally published on Keen For Green in February 2011, but it's such useful information that we like to repost it every winter.

http://www.analogphotography.comI don't know about the rest of you, but I can tell you that we in the Midwest have had the snowiest, iciest, coldest winter in decades, and it's really gotten me thinking. Since I became a dog mom in January of 2002 I've heard that ice melt is bad for dogs. This has led me to always keep a mat at my front door and religiously take off my shoes the moment I enter the house. I've also stopped using any ice melting product in the back yard, my dog's domain. But is there any truth to this ice melt rumor? If so, what exactly can ice melt to do a dog? 

According to the ASPCA, it is the sodium chloride and calcium chloride in the most common ice melts that is potentially damaging to the puppy in your life. If your dog walks on an ice melt containing one of these chemicals, her paws can become dry and cracked. And if she licks her paws or eats the ice melt (the ASPCA cautions that she can also ingest it by drinking from a puddle of melted snow containing ice melt), her problems can get worse. The ASPCA lists symptoms from as mild as excessive drooling and loss of appetite to as severe as decreased muscle function, coma, and death. ... read more

Keeping Your Drafty House Warm - On a Budget

insulating a house in the winter on a budgetI live in an area where most of the houses are about 100 years old - ours is 140 years old!  A lot of us battle drafty windows and doorways, but doing renovations are not always in the budget.  

Before you get started, look into state programs that help make costly energy efficient renovations more reasonable.  I live in Massachusetts, so we have the Mass Save program which offers loans and rebates.  Check your area to see what's available.

If renovations are still too costly, if your area doesn't offer incentives, or if you rent your home, there are still lots of ways to make your house a little warmer.  My tips are cheap, easy, and quick!

Before we talk about drafts, my first recommendation is to buy a programmable thermostat.  Set it so that the heat goes down during the day when nobody's home and at night when you're sleeping.  This doesn't help with drafts, but it will help with heating costs and wasted energy.  In the past few years, there have been some awesome developments in programmable thermostats.  There are a new type called "smart thermostats" which have wifi capability so you can adjust them from your phone, tablet, or computer.  They're a little more expensive than your average thermostat but you will save money on your heating bills.  ... read more

Are Gift Cards Recyclable?

Every holiday season, you're bound to end up with a few gift cards.  The gift card market is a multi-billion dollar industry, with sales expected to climb to $52.2 billion by 2012!  That's a lot of gift cards that need to be disposed of properly.  

Unfortunately, gift cards are often made of PVC.  PVC is toxic to produce and seldom accepted through curbside recycling plans.  Because of this, I was surprised to see gift cards listed as the greenest gift choice in Country Homes Magazine.  ... read more

Keen For Green Holiday Gift Guide

20 more shopping days 'til Christmas!   I’m sure there are many of you who barely started your shopping.  (Like me!) Stumped on what to get friends and family?  I’m here to help!  Here are some of my favorite green gift ideas:

eco-lovers tea cupFor the coffee lover:

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Real vs. Fake Christmas Trees & the Environment

real vs. fake christmas treesWho is planning to deck the halls this weekend?

You might be wondering what the most eco-friendly solution is in terms of buying a Christmas tree.  Is buying a real Christmas tree bad for the environment?  Or what about the fake ones?  What are your options to keep your Christmas tree, well, green?... read more

Environmentally Friendly Wrapping Paper Options

'Tis the season to start Christmas shopping! There are plenty of ways to keep your holiday shopping green, but how can you wrap your gifts in a festive way that is also eco-friendly?

A lot of times typical wrapping paper is not recyclable, especially if it has tape on it, so be aware of that before wrapping your gifts in that. There are lots of recycled and sustainable giftwrap options out there, so if you like the traditional look of wrapping paper, go that route! ... read more

Make Black Friday a Little Greener

Black Friday a.k.a. the day after Thanksgiving a.k.a. one of the biggest shopping days of the year.  Stampedes, traffic jams in parking lots, and BIG sales.  I've never been one to brave the shopping crowds; I always devoted the day after Turkey Day to alternating between stuffing my face with leftovers and lying on the couch in a carb and tryptophan coma, but Black Friday is incredibly popular.  Over recent years, there's been a Black Friday backlash and Adbusters dubbed the day Buy Nothing Day

Obviously, shopping on Black Friday is not the eco-friendliest way to spend a day.  But, let's say you wake up the morning after Thanksgiving, pumped up on adrenaline and ready to shop 'til you drop, that's cool, too.   How can you make your Black Friday shopping spree a little greener?

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