999 bottles

We all know how bad bottled water is, right? Here’s a little reminder

  • In 2006 the global consumption of bottled water was 177 BILLION liters.
  • At 42 billion liters, the U.S. accounted for about 23% of that.
  • It takes two to three liters of water to produce and distribute one liter of bottled water
  • For most of us, bottled water is of no better quality than our tap water (which is more highly regulated and monitored).
  • In the U.S. alone we use more than 17 million barrels of oil to create those disposable bottles (this does not account for the fuel used to ship bottled water across the globe)

I’m sure you “recycle” your water bottle, but look at how wasteful it is to simply produce that bottle… 2-3 liters of water is used to make 1 liter for you to drink, and 17 million barrels of oil is used to create the bottle. (That means you’re drinking out of a container made from oil. Yuck!)

Why not choose a reusable bottle instead? 999Bottles is a cool project that helps you track how many resources you’re saving each time you refill the reusable stainless steel bottle. You advance the counter each time you refill, and you can use an app or the website to find out how much you’ve saved. If you refill just 8 times, you’ve paid for the bottle; 15 refills is a stack as tall as a giraffe. “At 147, the bottles you non-consumed have saved you $326 and 7 gallons of oil.”

The 999Bottles is currently a Kickstarter project so you can’t buy the bottle in stores yet. They need to raise about $47,000 in order to start production. You can follow 999Bottles on Facebook or contribute to their Kickstarter goal.

– Artefact

 

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Summer fun at Crown Point

Crown Point Ecology Center, our local CSA, is hosting some great events in May.

IMG_7811Rain barrel workshop, May 12

The rain barrel workshop is Saturday, May 12, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. You can make your own rain barrel and learn about water resources. Registration deadline is April 30. (You know how much I love rain barrels, right?)

Organic plant sale, May 19, 20

The Crown Point organic plant sale is Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20. You’ll find the area’s largest selection of organic plants, along with activities for families.

The Crown Point calendar has all the details.

New (to me) sink

For at least 5 years, the hot water in my bathroom has leaked. So, I just turned it off to save water. But that means I haven’t had hot water for washing my hands and face for 5 years! That’s a long time. I’ve replaced gaskets, seals, and rings, and cleaned every piece of the faucet. Nothing helped.

A few months ago, I decided to end this self-inflicted torture and install a new faucet. I got a cute little faucet from a big box store, which I am no longer patronizing (they know what they did). The faucet reminds me of a bird. It’s so cute. Anyway, the previous homeowner did things his own way, so nothing is standard and I couldn’t replace the faucet myself. Around this same time, I realized that sinks and pedestals are not that expensive. Our sink was gargantuan and our bathroom is tiny. It just didn’t work. So, I decided that I needed a new sink. Hey, it’ll go with the faucet and make the bathroom look normal.

New sinkDetermined not to buy a sink from a big box store, we started looking at the local retailers. Trumbull Supply had a beautiful sink that I really loved, but it was more than $150 and I wasn’t confident that I could install it myself. I kept looking, and finally found one at West Hill Hardware. It’s a used sink, but basically, the homeowner had it installed and decided they didn’t like it, so they sold it to West Hill Hardware. It’s an American Standard sink and it cost me only $60. Woohoo! It really pays to be green, and to reduce/reuse.

Our favorite plumbers, Walter Plumbing, installed the sink and faucet for us. It wasn’t cheap, but they’ve helped us in the past, and the owner is an active member of Plumbers without Borders, so we like to give them our business.

So, my new (to me) sink project was pretty successful. We now have hot water, a reused sink, and we supported local businesses.

Guest post: Collecting rain, if and when it comes

Guest post from Annie at Dough, Dirt & Dye. Annie writes about baking, gardening, and living green in Oklahoma. And she makes fabulous greeting cards for her Etsy store, Empty on the Inside

It’s difficult not to be dreaming about water during this record-breaking summer in Oklahoma. Rain has been practically non-existent and there hasn’t been a single day this July below 100 for the high. The grass is brittle, the garden (not to mention the dog) is panting, the ground is cracking and even well-established trees are drooping with the heat and lack of water.

Which makes the fact that just this past spring my partner, Kel and I, finally installed a rain-water collection barrel, ironic. We’d talked about it a few times over the preceding 3 and half years – years with plentiful rainfall – but as with many of our projects, it got pushed aside for other seemingly more pressing things. The rain barrel now sits empty – dry as a bone. But it’s good to know it’s there when and if the rains return to this part of the state.

When I say it was a fairly simple project to complete, I mean that it was a lot of work for Kel, but not so much for me. I like to think of myself as the idea and encouragement person. He’s the hands-on person. The first thing we had to do to get our contraption up and running was to install gutters on one side of our work shed. We’d seen rain gushing off of the roof so many times that we knew we’d get a good amount of water off of it. Kel did the math and it turns out that collecting half of the rain run-off from our shed – a 20’ x 25’ building – would yield approximately 125 gallons of water (calculating that we’d lose about 20%) during a storm that dropped approximately 1” (figure this amount by putting up a rain gauge) – and again, that’s just for the half of the roof we guttered. If your math skills, like mine, are stuck somewhere in the third grade, you can find a good rain collection calculator here:http://www.csgnetwork.com/rwcollectioncalc.html. 125 gallons was enough to have us eyeing the house (already guttered) as well as the other big rain run-off roof: our 60’ x 40’ barn – but those projects will remain on the “to do” part of the list for a little while yet.

After we installed gutters on the shed (which also put an end to the battering the flowers alongside the wall were taking each time it rained), we hauled out from the barn one of four 275-gallon containers we bought locally through craigslist. These containers can be found all over Oklahoma (and probably elsewhere) and go pretty cheap if you keep your eyes open and are willing to bargain. Ours had been filled with mineral oil – so the water we collect will be safe on plants, but of course, we wouldn’t drink from it. Once the container was in place – elevated with some wooden pallets we’d inherited from the previous owners of our ranch – it was ready for a hose to be attached to the spigot. The hose and coupler are a bit out of the ordinary, but easily obtained online or through a farm supply company.

Now all we need is a long, soaking rain to refresh the pastures, the flowers, vegetables and trees – and to fill up that thirsty rain barrel for the next dry spell.

Reuse dehumidifier water

Lily

If you’re like me, you’ve been running at least one dehumidifier in your house for months. And, like me, you’ve been pouring the water down the drain. Clean, fresh water. Down the drain. There’s got to be a better way.

Idea of the day: instead of dumping the dehumidifier water down the drain, use it in the garden! Water saved, plants nourished. Pour it straight onto the grass, into pots, or store it in your watering can for the days when we don’t see 5 inches overnight.

You probably thought of this years ago.

Fresh water in a reusable water bottle

I love my reusable water bottles. I use the stainless steel kind that can be found inexpensively just about anywhere. Some people notice a metal taste to their water that turns them off the reusable water bottle. I notice a detestable plastic taste from plastic water bottles. We’re all different. Here are a few solutions:

To get rid of the metallic taste:

  • Rinse your water bottle with vinegar and water. Or let it soak with vinegar and water overnight. Then, rinse with clean water. Ready to go.
  • If it still tastes like metal, put baking soda in the bottle and add just a splash of vinegar. When it settles down, add water and shake it up. Give it a good rinse… ready to go.
  • See more from the source
  • Other info about metal water bottles, from SIGG.

Water Bobble

Alternatives to metal bottles:

  • Nalgene plastic water bottles. They’ve removed the BPA lining so they’re save and stylish. People swear by them. (I don’t have a dishwasher and I notice a little pond-water taste after a while, so I prefer the metal bottles)
  • Glass water bottles. These are intriguing. I think they would be heavy, but reviewers say nay. You could turn glass jars (from peanut butter, brown rice syrup, whatev) into drinking jars. If this is too hippy for your style, check out some of these different styles. I’ve seen these plastic-wrapped glass jars at Home Goods.
  • Bobble. It’s a plastic bottle, made from recycled plastic. It has a filter between the mouthpiece and the water so you get fresh, clean water every time. The bobble is my favorite for days when I’m on campus all day. It’s light and I can fill it up at the drinking fountain and the filter will take away the drinking fountain and plastic flavors. It’s cute, and you can get it just about anywhere. Winner!

Retrospective

I thought it would be fun to start the official relaunch/comeback with a look back at some posts from the past few years. I hope you find something that inspires you.

(Some of the links in these posts may have expired. Sorry about that.)

LEED Metro Building Open for Tours

The Metro Parks, Serving Summit County building is having an open house June 21-22 from 1-4 p.m. each day. This building was recently renovated, and includes these wonderful, sustainable features:

  • geothermal heating
  • waterless toilets
  • solar panels
  • a green roof
  • lumber from downed trees
  • recycled carpet, furniture and cabinetry
  • porous pavement to let rainwater through
  • a rain garden
  • rain barrels
  • and native landscaping.

If you want to tour the Metro building, you can pick up a shuttle at the Metro RTA Park-and-Ride lot at 530 Ghent Road, or you can park along the path and walk. The building is located on the corner of Sand Run and Revere Road.

The cost of the environmentally sustainable features cost an extra 15%, but that will be recouped by energy savings throughout the year, as the building won’t have to pay for their energy use. Most of that extra cost is also paid for through grants and donations. It really makes a lot of sense for public buildings (including college and university) to become more environmentally sustainable.

Akron Beacon Journal

Voice Yourself

Woody Harrelson has been inspired to start a site called Voice Yourself, aimed at encouraging people to learn more about getting off the grid, growing and eating organic food, and taking our planet back. Why?

Our mission at Voice Yourself is to connect you with others, to share information about alternatives biodiesel, sustainable clothing companies (i.e. hemp, organic cotton and bamboo) and to get clean and natural cleansers into your hands and homes this is only the beginning.

Woody was also inspired by Ted Danson (together, they’re Sam and Woody from possibly the best tv show ever – Cheers). Ted Danson does a lot of work for American Oceans Campaign, educating people about the atrocities of drift-netting, ocean trolling, and all the pollutants that are dumped into the ocean.

When you have little extra time on your hands, check out Voice Yourself, and learn more about some easy and fun ways to reduce your impact on the planet. Please don’t miss Woody’s Thoughts from Within. Even if you’re not a big fan of poetry, it’s truly moving.