Tag Archives: green

Proctor & Gambling

You could call me a mommy blogger. After all, I did put Mama in the name of my blog. But I don’t do some of the things many mommy bloggers do. For instance, I generally don’t do product promotions and giveaways on this blog. I’ve considered it, but most of the time, the promotions offered by the companies are for things I simply don’t use, or even that I would feel uncomfortable using.

I’m also not really into buying Stuff, or promoting the buying of Stuff. I’m more likely to buy used, buy local, make my own, etc.

However, when BlogHer offered me a Proctor & Gamble promotion, I decided to give it a try. They sent me a $25 Kroger gift card, with which I was to buy any four Proctor & Gamble products, and then write about the experience as a comment on a BlogHer post.

Proctor & Gamble makes a lot of different products. I figured I could find something useful to buy. Actually, what I thought was “Proctor & Gamble must have some ‘green’ products — I can buy those and report back on my blog!”

So I signed up for the promotion, and meanwhile went to the Proctor & Gamble website to see what “green” products they had available.

And the answer is? They don’t. While many companies have developed “green” product lines in recent years, Proctor & Gamble says that instead they have been working on “greening” their overall operations. Here’s their overall sustainability vision:

As part of our strategy to grow responsibly, we will work toward a long-term environmental sustainability vision that includes:

    • Powering our plants with 100% renewable energy
    • Using 100% renewable or recycled materials for all products and packaging
    • Having zero consumer and manufacturing waste go to landfills
    • Designing products that delight consumers while maximizing our conservation of resources

I’m actually intrigued by this. Could this actually be more effective than “greenwashing” by developing a so-called “green” product line? Or is it just another form of “greenwashing?”

Proctor & Gamble acknowledges that this is a very long-term vision, which may take decades to reach. But according to their own statistics, they have made progress — for instance, they claim that 30% of their plants are now powered by renewable energy.  They also claim to have reduced energy usage at their plants by 50% since 2002, and to have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 53%. And GreenBiz.com points out other areas in which Proctor & Gamble is walking the green talk.

Now, there’s also the issue of whether Proctor & Gamble products contain chemicals that could be harmful to humans and/or animals. There’s a lot of information on the company website about this, too. Basically, they say that they work hard and do the science to make sure their products are safe to use, even if they do contain unpronounceable chemicals. And they have a last-resort policy on animal testing — they use other methods like computer modeling first.  And I’m not totally against chemicals; I think they have their place. Which brings me to my actual purchases!

I ended up buying Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubbers, because our bathtub needs help. I prefer more natural products (and re-usable cloths) for everyday cleaning, but sometimes you need a chemical intervention. I also got a roll of Bounty Basic paper towels; we don’t use paper towels on an everyday basis, but we do need them for things like sopping up bacon grease.  And I got a package of Duracell batteries and a bottle of Pantene shampoo/conditioner for curly hair.

I didn’t buy the Mr. Clean all-purpose cleaner, even though we needed some, because I couldn’t remember what sodium hydroxide was (it’s just lye, d’oh!). I actually picked up a concentrated cleaner from the natural foods aisle which I can dilute to make ELEVEN bottles of all-purpose cleaner. I often just use vinegar and water, but my husband likes to have something more official around. And the concentrate only cost $5.99.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the experience. I didn’t buy anything we don’t ordinarily use (yes, even the bathtub scrubber; I’m OK with occasional interventions like this), I got free products, and I don’t feel dirty about it.

By the way, BlogHer is giving away more $25 Kroger gift cards; to enter the drawing, just comment on their blog post about this promotion.

Disclaimer: Yes, as you’ve already noted, I did receive a free $25 Kroger gift card as part of this promotion. I wasn’t required to write this blog post in exchange, but I did anyway because I found the experience interesting)

Re-Purposing Old Computer Cords

I complained only yesterday that I have a drawer full of old cords and power adapters at work, which I can’t really use for anything. So of course today, I read on Mother Jones that I can re-use those cords — as coasters!

Blogger Kiera Butler posted complete instructions for coiling an old power cord into a coaster. It’s from a book called 62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer: (And Other Discarded Electronics). Yes, seriously. Other projects include the Scanner Compost Bin, the Walkman Soap Dish and the Power Strip Bird Feeder.

Sure, you could just turn it all in to your local electronics recycler, but where’s the fun in that?

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Disclosure: Yes, if you click on one of my Amazon links and buy something, I will get a tiny commission! Thank you for supporting this site.

Earthtechling Covers the Green Technology News

I was intrigued when I read about Earthtechling on the Silicon Florist blog.

If there’s one thing we like in Portland, it’s the whole sustainable and green movement. If there’s another thing we like, it’s the whole shiny technology object thing. So why hasn’t anyone around here had the gumption to marry those two oh so Portlandy things into one great “you got your techie peanut butter in my green chocolate; you got your green chocolate in my techie peanut butter” you might ask?

That would be Earthtechling. Sounds like a good match for someone who dubbed herself TechnoEarthMama, yes?

EarthTechling, the place where Earthlings come to learn about green consumer technology, is a destination for readers seeking to better their lives and the world around them through the use of green technology

Do they deliver?  For starters, Earthtechling is a WordPress site. As a proud WordPress user and coordinator of the Portland WordPress User Group, I approve wholeheartedly.

On the front page are several feature articles and section links for Buying Guides, Previews, Interviews and How-To. There’s also a section of Recent Reviews and Latest News.  Recently reviewed products include the Vers 2X (a green iPod speaker system) and The Little Green Genie (a software program that is supposed to help offset your computer’s carbon footprint). Latest news stories cover electric bikes and the Water Cube building designed for the 2012 World Expo.

Not all of the gadgets and software programs covered are actually useful to the average person. I’m not likely to buy a Tesla car, and we don’t buy each other stuff for Valentine’s Day, even if it is green stuff. However, there are some really interesting products and companies, such as Green Plug, which is developing smart power adapters. Green Plug is working on adapters that would use less energy, but that would also be universal and could be used by multiple electronic items and appliances. This would eliminate a great deal of electronic waste; I know I’ve got a drawer full of power adapters at work that work fine but don’t go with anything we’re currently using.

Earthtechling looks like a great way to keep up on green technology news, even if you’re not in the market for new gadgets.

Cloth Diapering: Looking Back

We’re almost done with toilet training. Hopefully I didn’t jinx it by saying that! Our youngest, at four,  is pretty much accident free in the daytime; she’s still wearing cotton training pants, but that’s it. And she’s wearing disposable training pants at night because I have yet to find cloth training pants that work for nighttime and that kids will actually wear without crying.

But all this time, almost ten years now, we’ve been using cloth diapers and training pants. We started with our eldest before it was even trendy among the green set. My mom had used cloth diapers, and I saw no reason why we couldn’t do it, too.  I didn’t have any other fancy reason for it; it just seemed instinctively the right thing to do.

There weren’t any fancy velcro-fastening diapers and diaper covers when I was a kid, so I didn’t realize they existed at first. I planned to get plain white Gerber diapers and plastic pants.  We looked into a diaper service too, and since we were living in an apartment that seemed like a good way to start. My parents gave us the first month of diaper service.

Suzy came early, so we didn’t have the diaper service delivery yet. We used up the pack of disposable diapers from the hospital, and started with the Gerber diapers. I was amazed when she wet right through them, constantly and completely. And when we got the diaper service diapers, they were thicker, but she still went through those quickly – and we had the added challenge of pinning through the thick diapers. Fortunately, the diaper service also offered diaper cover rental – the kind that fasten with velcro, and we soon switched to those.

As time went on, we learned about different kinds of diaper covers, Snappis, fitted diapers, and all-in-one diapers. For our second baby, we bought some of these, and they did make diapering easier and more fun, with pretty patterns and designs.  We restocked for our third too, as some of the older diapers began to move on to their second life as cleaning rags.

Now many people, including celebrities, use cloth diapers, and you can find hundreds, perhaps thousands, of fabrics and styles on the internet.  And we’re moving on from baby and toddlerhood, which is a little sad.

But we’ve gained a lot from our time with cloth diapers. We’ve saved money not buying disposables. We also became connected to a whole movement of people seeking greener lifestyles. Through the cloth diapering community, we learned about living a less disposable lifestyle in general. We now also use cloth napkins, cloth kitchen towels, and cloth cleaning rags. I use a wet washcloth on my Swiffer instead of a disposable wet wipe. We have reusable containers instead of plastic bags.

We’re not fanatical about it. And we haven’t gone as far as using cloth toilet wipes for the whole family, which some people do. But I think we’re living better now, all because of that choice we made ten years ago to use cloth diapers.

Cloth Diapering Resources

http://diaperpin.com

http://thediaperhyena.com

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/naturalmom/ / CC BY 2.0

Sustainability Links

Right now, I’m breathing in the scent of fresh applesauce made from 15+ pounds of Liepold Farms apples.  That’s my contribution to sustainability for today.  Here are links to some other people’s stories:

From the Oregonian:  Sure, you want it, but do you need it? This article profiles several households living simply and buying less — and still sounding like they have great lives.

Renee from Enviromom is making the move to growing food in the front yard!  They’re actually converting part of the lawn for this purpose.

Colin Beavan, AKA No Impact Man, is planning to expand his blog to include other writers.  He’s looking for writers who are “interested in individual and societal approaches to improving our lives and our habitat through novel ideas in the management of trash and materials, food production, transportation and land use, consumption, spiritual and humanist approaches to environmentalism, water use, energy production and efficiency, and offline and virtual activism.”

Crunchy Chicken is starting a new Freeze Yer Buns Challenge for 2008.  Participants are challenged to turn the thermostat down, or to use less fuel to heat their homes.  The Chicken herself is planning to set the thermostat for only 62 during the day and 55 at night.  How low can you go?  I’m not having much luck with this so far.  My husband cannot deal with keeping the thermostat down, and insists it really doesn’t matter.  We do have programmable thermostats, though, so I can at least make sure he doesn’t leave the heat on all day when no one’s here.

If you’re a bus rider, you may want to find out more about the PDX Bus iPhone app over at TriMetiquette.

Bicycle Commuting and Clothes

Today was the first day of school for kids, so I actually had to appear presentable (even though I had no classes in the computer lab today).

I can still dress fairly casually, so I didn’t worry too much about clothing for cycling.  I also don’t bike too far to work — a little over two miles.  I simply changed my shirt when I got to work (my back gets sweaty).

Madewithyarn points out correctly, however, that for many people clothing is a barrier to bicycle commuting.  They may have a longer commute (thereby getting more sweaty), or they might have to dress more formally for the office.  She suggests that employers should provide shower facilities to encourage bicycle commuting.

I have another suggestion:  Is it possible that we could change our standards of dress?  I mean, really, why do we need to wear business attire?  Yes, I know, it’s all about impressing other people and fitting in.  But what if we as a society decided to value what we do over what we look like?

We might have to wait a while for that.  Meanwhile, check out this robotic bike parking facility in Tokyo!