Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A few updates

So, I have a half day off work (it would be a full day but I'm building up comptime to take all of Friday off).
What to do now?
I guess it's time to learn to use the free vacuum sealer I got from Diana (hi diana!). The fish bait has gotten hard and rubbery and/or gross and toxic depending on how you look at it. If it works, this could be a great source of barter-able items as well as my own fishbait.

And, the vinegar is not looking fab. The honey keeps separating out. I think my house is too cold. I'm tempted to leave it in the linen cupboard behind the furnace. That should be warm. But, will it make my towels smell like vinegar/rotting fruit? We'll see.

And the post "No Impact Week" assessment.
The first week after I had a bit of a binge week with 2 trips through drivethru's. Though I only got the fries, no drink, etc. And it was a local establishment in Coeur d'Alene which forms burgers from actual...well, burger and packages them in paper. So, it could have been worse.
AND I had a couple of interesting lapses during the week itself. I walked out of helping move some stuff for the radio station and there were free industrial cookies on a table. I thoughtlessly picked one up and started to eat it! The waste...the not homemade. Oh well. At least I noticed. And the week after I also ate too much candy.

On the upside, I developed the habit of turning off the TV/VCR/DVD player via the power strip they are hooked to. This saves the electricity they all pull 24/7/365 to stay warmed up. I also quit using a timer on the living room lamp. It wasn't pulling much power with the low-watt CFL bulb, but still. I have the kitchen radio/CD player unplugged unless I"m using it (easier than putting a power strip on it) and I've always unplugged all kitchen appliances when not in use. I moved the even more water restrictive shower head to the main bathroom (the one where I actually use the shower. It has better power but due to the aeration, the water at the head is HOT and down near one's feet is significantly colder. I can deal with it though. An even bigger savings than just the water restriction feather is the little "shut off" switch on the head so you don't need to keep the shower going the whole time. I did have a 5 minute timer in the shower but it fell in the water. I had plugged the drain while showering to track how much water I was using with the regular low-flow head vs the shut off head (about 4 inches down to 2 inches so...something less than half because of the shape of the tub at that low level). The timer, which was just a passive hourglass with sand, somehow got water INSIDE the hourglass and died. I spent 50cents on that at a thrift store. What a waste. Oh well. As a final shower type savings, I shut off the hotwater heater during the day (I'll quit this once the temperature is below freezing during the not want frozen hot water heater). It's on overnight because I want hot water in the morning for a shower. So far there has been plenty left to do dishes all day.
I don't know if this shutting off the hot water heater during the day will help the electric bill. We'll see at the end of the month hopefully. There is no real reason to maintain the water at exactly 120 degrees all day (or even all night!). I know it heats up in 2 hours so if I could get up at 4am and turn it on, I could avoid running it all night but that ain't gonna happen. If I lived in an area with cheaper electric at night (many areas have this) it would save significantly to do this no matter what. But, here the town buys bulk electricity and it is billed at one rate no matter the time of consumption. I do know that 2 summers ago when I wasn't here as much and shut the water heater off for a day or two at a time, then on for a day (in summer the water stays plenty hot for 2 days with low use), the meter reader came to the door to ask what I was doing to get the usage so low. I was kind of proud of that. I had also gotten a much more efficient and smaller refrigerator.

Other left overs of the No Impact week include a renewed awareness of waste production before the product even gets to me. It's one reason I like to get shoes resoled rather than replace them even if the price of resoling is almost the price of new shoes. There is much less waste. The local guy gets sheets of "soles" and cuts them to fit the show. There is some waste in the production and application, but I suspect no more than the waste of putting the original soles on there. If I bought new shoes there'd be waste for the uppers, the laces, the packaging and the shipping and on and on. I can avoid that.

It also reminds me why I buy cell phone batteries rather than a new cell phone until the phone is non-functional. The battery will be wasted when I replace the phone anyway. And a cell phone produces over 165pounds of waste just being made. A new battery produces less since it is only part of a new cell phone.

I've decreased water use, power use, waste production and increased my awareness of things again so despite some annoyances in how the first No Impact Week was managed (like having online surveys each day that didn't account for those of us already doing low impact things like walk to work), it's helped me refocus a bit and make some progress.

How dull was that?

1 comment:

Fly Right said...

I'm with you on the resoling thing! Plus it helps a local business--not some factory overseas. I am on year 13 with my handmade Aurora shoes! (you'd love them, Jill--they're super dykey and hippy-ish and comfy and unique!)

I totally admire you for all you've done to reduce your footprint. I thought we had done a lot, but then I read your blog. . .