Thursday, 29 October 2009

It's coming....

Even though it is still October, (just), you cannot fail to have noticed that Christmas is everywhere - in the shops, in magazines, on the tv and also in blogland too. Everyone is starting to think about the festive season. I recently bought this book, "A Greener Christmas", and it has really encouraged me to try even harder to make our Christmas this year that little bit greener. Some of the facts in the book are quite shocking - for instance, in the intro, it reads:-

"Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are now widely recognized as the two most polluting days of the year: the equivalent of three weeks of carbon dioxide emissions and three billion tons of extra garbage are generated worldwide over this short period. Much of the extra trash collected contains discarded gifts, most of which will end up in landfill sites. Container ships are also now carrying record volumes of cheap Christmas consumer goods from china - all of which are expected to have a life span of less than four months."

So, next week we shall be starting our Countdown to a Greener Christmas and we really hope you'll join in too. We're going to start with gifts. Obviously, we're not asking you to blog about specific gifts you'll be giving - we don't want to spoil any surprises! - but rather, do you have a "policy" when it comes to gift giving? Are you making any of your own gifts or do you make a point of buying only handmade or eco-friendly gifts? Do you have any arrangements with family & friends about the type of gifts you give each other? Are there people in your family who are particularly difficult to buy for and you're stuck for ideas? Do you love the thrill of Christmas shopping in a big shopping centre, or do you do it all online? Do you have any favourite websites for eco-friendly gifts? Let us know!

Til next week!
Rachel & Emma xx

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

TLBG Wednesday - Water Conservation - Rachel

Firstly, thanks to Emma for choosing this week's topic. This is definitely something that we should all be concerned about as water is so vital and without it - well, we die! We have made some changes in the Contented household over the last few years - apparently, here in the South East there is less water available per person than in Sudan & Syria! These are the changes we've made so far:

* Not leaving the tap running whilst brushing teeth
* Also not leaving the tap running when washing the dishes - I used to have the tap running the whole time so I could rinse things before putting them on the drainer! I dread to think how much water was wasted over the years! Now, I only turn on the tap to rinse specific items (like glasses or cups - if you've ever poured yourself a glass of water and taken a swig that tastes of washing up liquid, you'll know what I mean!)
* Only using the washing machine on a full load
* Only filling the kettle with the amount of water needed
* We have a water bag in the toilet cistern
* This next one might be a step too far for some people, but I'm going to put my neck on the line and tell you that - we don't flush the toilet after every use! Have you heard the little rhyme? If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down! Well, that's kind of what we do. We don't leave it all day, but instead only flush, maybe once every three uses? Obviously, anything unpleasant does get flushed straight down, and if there are guests in the house I do flush it every time as well, but we must have saved an enormous amount of water by doing this. The trick, I think, is to keep the loo spotlessly clean (no mean feat with three males in the house!) and to keep the lid shut too.
* Taking short, sharp showers. I'm pretty quick in the shower and I'm also trying to get into the habit of not shaving my legs in there either - it's more convenient than using a basin full of water but think how much water is just pouring down the plughole while you're doing it?

I also think it's really important to think about what we put INTO our water as well. The more "contaminated" our water is when it goes down the drain, the more treatment is required to make it clean and usable again and the more risk there is of that "contamination" escaping into the eco-system and harming our wildlife, or even of being pumped out of a sewage overflow pipe and onto our beaches. So we're back to the subject of using eco friendly products (shampoo, shower gel, washing powder, washing up liquid, toilet cleaner etc) again! Don't pour cooking oil (whether it's from frying or from a tin of tuna) down the drain either - although it's a food product, it can really damage wildlife if it gets into our rivers. (What do you do with it then? Good question. Our local council recommended that we collect it in an old bottle then wrap the bottle in a plastic bag and dispose of it in the household rubbish. I'd love to know if there's a better solution). Ok, gone slightly off at a tangent there, but you get the picture!

On the Act On CO2 website there's a great little gizmo to calculate how much water you could save if you made some simple changes. So, how much can you save?

Rachel x

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

TLBG Wednesday - "Change how the story ends"

Since this ad campaign has been causing quite a stir in the media I thought this week on TLBG we could cover Water conservation. The advert features a Dad telling the little girl a bed time story about what happens to the world due to climate change.....Act on co2 is the message and the website was launched this earlier this year.

Check out the website, you can find out all the facts about Climate change, what you can do, what the government is doing and there is even a co2 calculator where you can find out how much carbon emissions your household produces and tips on how you can do your bit.

They have a section specifically for water conservation......the shocking facts are:

That in the UK we actually use 150 litres of water a day on average. This is the equivalent of 317 pints of milk being left on your doorstep. One fifth of a households carbon footprint comes from just heating water for baths, showers and washing up.

Its been estimated that we waste the equivalent of four months output of a typical power station , just by boiling too much water in the kettle. Millions of pounds are wasted every year by boiling water we don't need.

Try filling your cup/s with water then empty into the kettle this way you are only boiling what you are going to use.

Stick a post it note of your cupboard door reminding yourself not to over fill the kettle.

There are so many more ways to save water on their website. For readers outside the UK try your local government website for more information on climate change and co2 emissions.

So for this weeks TLBG post we want to hear ways in which you try to save water, do you watch how much water you use or is it something that you never really think of? Do you teach your children not to leave the tap running when they are brushing their teeth? If you do have little ones are you concerned that their future lies in the hands of co2 emissions? And do you try to teach them how to be more Eco conscious. Do you think that the governments are doing enough?

Don't forget to pop back and post your link.....and if you are in the UK please feel free to link to the act on co2 website.

Looking forward to reading your posts.....

Emma &Rachel xxx

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Morsbags in the Spotlight - Round up

I'd like to start this weeks round up post by sending big hugs to both Rachel (my partner in the fight towards making the world thatlittlebitgreener) and dotsorstripes who have been feeling quite under the weather. Hope you are feeling better soon!!

So lets get back to rounding up....well again members you haven't disappointed. I love the fact that not only have some of you posted about Morsbags but you're also getting involved :D great stuff!!

Marmaladekiss, we love reading your TLBG posts, you are soooo inspiring, your posts are always thought provoking and packed full of great quotes and facts. This week Marmaladekiss talks about the concept behind Morsbags and goes ever further to talk about what we put in our shopping you shop ethically? Looks like we may delve into this subject in another Wednesday topic, its definitely something that we need to cover.

Alex posted about her friend Josie who is an expert at making Morsbags, 81 is her total to date...WAY TO GO JOSIE!! Check out Alex's and Josie's posts, her bags are fab.

Sweetmyrtle showed us her Morsbag and tells us how easy it is to get in there and get involved. She has also been very generous to make 5 and give them away....go and check it out. Thanks Ginny, its great to see you guys getting really involved and PIF. You all make Rachel and I very proud.

I had not heard of Morsbags before Rachel suggested we do a Spotlight post on them, I'm so pleased we did, even though I have used re-usable bags for a long time its been so nice to get others on board too. Hopefully through our posting this week we have raised awareness for and even inspired people to make some and stop using plastic carriers.......

Its times like these that you think supermarket chains would get involved in this its all well and good offering re-usable bags to buy in the stores but the amount it costs them to make all these plastic bags surely they could offer free ones!?!?!? And if not then they should be charged a penalty for all these bags ending up in our rivers, seas, beaches and landfills!! Tesco's, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons are you listening!!! You could target the masses. If we continue to pollute our land and water with hideous and harmful plastic bags, then one day you wont have any customers to fill your lovely, well lit, plastic bag churning stores!!

Members please don't forget to post your links, Jo kindly pointed us in the direction of mrlinky (thank you Jo), so if you check at the bottom of Wednesdays post you will see a little box, enter your name and your link to your TLBG post and you'll be added to the list at the bottom of the post here so that we can all see what you have written.

Thanks again for another week of great posts and if you have any other organisations that you would like us to put in the spotlight then get in touch.

Emma & Rachel xxx