31 Mar 2017

Before recycling toner/ink cartridges

Just because the indicator on your printer or copier says "low toner/ink" doesn't mean it is time to put in a new cartridge.  My workplace sent out an email out to the staff today explaining what this is about and how it works.  I have included it below with permission.  Thanks, David!
toner, ink cartridge, tj's green adventure
ink cartridges (source)
This environmental tip is the best kind.  It not only helps to reduce waste and strain on the environment, it saves the company money!

 It’s time to talk about printer/copier toner/ink and when is it REALLY time to recycle it and when can you squeeze a little more life out of it.

 This question usually revolves around that “helpful” little indicator that tells you that it’s time to change your cartridge. Sometimes that indicator is a little warning light, sometimes it’s an annoying pop-up every time you print.  Although it may seem helpful, the only person that indicator is really helping is the manufacturer.

 The truth is, the ‘low toner/ink’ indicator is actually a VERY rough guide.  Your printer/copier has no accurate way of telling how much toner/ink is left in your cartridge and is only going off your page print count. So – if you print pages with not much ink on them – or even those pages that print accidentally that come out blank – they all count towards the page count of the life of your toner/ink cartridge.  Once a set number of pages has been printed, the warning indicator will fire off and encourage you to change toner/ink although you could still have a ¾ full cartridge.

 The ONLY thing that’s a good indicator of a low toner is fading and/or streaking on the page. Even when you start to get streaking, you can take the toner out and rock it from side to side and STILL get dozens if not hundreds of pages from that toner.

 So – please consider ignoring the little indicator next time it goes off.  Now you’ll know when you’re running out and you can help save the company some money and save the planet at the same time.

Green highlights:
  • use less toner/ink cartridges 
  • save money (those cartridges are expensive!)
  • less waste
Will you use your toner/ink cartridges to the max?

25 Mar 2017

It's tax time!

I stumbled on an unexpected way to have zero waste.  I was getting ready to do my taxes, but didn't have the program yet to do it on my computer.  I took a look online to see what store had the best price for the program I use and came across a download version that is exactly the same as the one I purchase at the store each year.  The great thing about the online version is that there is no box, no CD and no sleeve.  Which also means no clutter and zero waste! 
zero waste, TurboTax, online downloads, tj's green adventure
last year's tax program waste
This is a great way to consider the environment.  There are no emissions to manufacture the CD's and packaging, no emissions to transport the product to stores, no emissions to go to the store to buy the product and nothing will end up in the landfill.  It was easy to do and the email with the download link was in my inbox by the time I finished the purchase.

Here are links to some websites where you can download a tax program for yourself.
Green Highlights:
  • no emissions
  • zero waste
  • nothing will go to the landfill
Will you try a download instead of purchasing a CD?

8 Mar 2017

Zero waste at Bulk Barn

I've been thinking more about zero waste since my daughter sent me this article Bulk Barn Has Embraced the Zero Waste Movement.  This is exciting!!! Starting February 24th, 2017, Bulk Barn now allows you to bring in your clean, reusable containers at all their stores across Canada.  I have been looking at their website to see what products I can buy there in bulk so I can use my own containers instead of buying prepackaged and then throwing out the package.
 zero waste, bulk barn, reusable container, tj's green adventure
This past weekend, I went on an adventure with my daughter to Bulk Barn for our first zero waste shopping trip.  I took along an assortment of jar sizes and packed them in a cardboard box that has handles cut in the sides.  The box was just the right size to fit in the shopping cart.
  • 1 cup x 6
  • 2 cup x 6
  • 4 cup x 3
  • 6 cup x 1
Knowing how many cups each jar holds was helpful so I had an idea of how much I was buying.  I am very particular about the chocolate chips I buy for baking and only buy one brand.  I would prefer to buy them without packaging, so I bought just enough to make a batch of cookies and I will have a taste test.  I also took along the Tupperware container I keep my oats in and bought just the amount I wanted.  

I took along some empty jam jars to reuse.  Because they had some glue on the outside from the labels, I was unable to refill them.  I like that they are uniform and all weigh the same which should make shopping easier, so I'll have to get the glue off for my next trip.
  mason jar, tupperware, zero waste, tj's green adventure
I was surprised at what all you could buy bulk.  They even had Epsom salts!  Buying bulk could even help with your weight.  If you enjoy having chips for a treat, you could buy a small jar full of corn chips, cheese sticks or cheese cruncheez for just one portion instead of buying a whole bag which will inevitably get eaten.

Let's support this great initiative and hopefully more stores will go zero waste too.  It's time to rethink how we shop.  

Green highlights:
  •  reusing containers
  • reducing the amount of garbage going to landfills
  • reducing emissions from manufacturing

26 Aug 2016

My gun is ready to caulk

I have this mysterious water leak in my basement laundry room and just when I think I have found the source and fixed it, I find water on the floor again.  The exterior wall where the water seems to be coming in is on the side of the house where the rain usually hits.  It is also the wall with the electric meter, dryer vent, a window and other entry points for wiring.  We have already caulked around the dryer vent and around the electric meter where the concrete had crumbled and was no longer doing its job.  I took a good look at that wall and noticed a gap in the window sill mortar joint.
window sill, concrete caulking, water leak, tj's green adventure
To fix the gap, I bought some silicone caulking that is for concrete.  The kind I bought has a 30 minute rain ready time, which was good because we have been having a lot of rain.  I checked all the window sills and found a couple more that needed repair that I took care of as well.
caulking, window sill, concrete caulking, tj's green adventure
This caulking does not clean up nice with water and I found my hands were covered in a sticky film.  I rubbed some sand on my hands and that got rid of the stickiness.

I also have a crack in the garage floor where moisture seeps up into the garage.  Since I have almost a full tube of caulking left, I will use it to fill that crack too.

Green highlights:
  •  preventing water damage 
Have checked your window sills lately to see if there are any cracks and gaps?

20 Aug 2016

Keep your cracked teacups!

It's been a while since I have posted here.  This is a quick life update.  Things have been pretty crazy with one daughter that got married 2 weeks ago, my other daughter expecting my first grandchild and some surgery and recovery thrown in the mix.  I still have to finish writing about "The Project" that we started some time ago and I have a couple more things to do before the room is finally done, but I will get there!

I have been looking for ways to store my costume jewelry so that it is on display to make it easy to find something to go with what I am wearing.

I found this neat idea when I was searching online and that is to use teacups.  I have  a collection of teacups that look so pretty in my china cabinet.  I even have one that was passed down to me from my mother that once belonged to my great-grandmother.  I also have some teacups that are now cracked.  They are so pretty that I haven't thrown them out, but they are no longer useful for drinking tea out of. 
teacup, china, jewelry storage
Instead, you can use them to store and display jewelry.  You could have them sitting out on your dresser or bathroom counter or put them in a drawer so that every time you open the drawer you see something pretty.  Earring with hooks can be hung on the cup and other types of earrings can go inside the cup.  You can put necklaces, bracelets and pins in the saucers.
pathos, china saucer, teacup, pothos

You could also put the saucers under a potted plant like I have with this air cleaning Pathos that I started from a cutting.

Green Highlights
  •  reuse cracked teacups
  •  reducing waste
Have you found another use for cracked teacups?


23 Apr 2016

Cream ready to expire

I came across an almost full container of half and half cream in someone's fridge that was about to expire.  They were not going to be able to use it up, so instead of leaving it there to be dumped down the drain, I said I would bring it home and make ice cream.  Since it will be frozen, it will keep past the expiry date.
ice cream, half and half cream, tj's green adventure
Home made ice cream
I already had a full day planned for today, so I wanted to make this quick and easy.  I used a no cook vanilla ice cream recipe and added cocoa powder to make it chocolate.  Here's the adapted version of the recipe I used.  

Chocolate Ice Cream

2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
almost 1 litre half and half cream (10%)
add enough milk to cream make 2 4 cups
2 tsp vanilla

Beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and cream-coloured.  Add cocoa and mix in slowly.  Add cream milk mixture and vanilla.  Mix well.  Follow directions on your ice cream maker.

 Green highlights
  • reduce waste
Do you look for ways to use something up instead of throwing it away?


20 Mar 2016

My first LED light bulb

I bought my very first LED bulb, which was for a nightlight, quite a while ago not realizing there had been  change in light bulb technology.  We keep a nightlight on at night near the bedrooms so that if someone gets up, they don't bump into walls.  The light bulbs I used were about 6 or 7 watts.  When I went to buy replacement bulbs I found some that were LED  and only used 0.6 watts so I decided to give them a try.  LED's also have a long lifespan, which will mean less waste going to the landfill.  
LED, low energy, energy conservation, tj's green adventure
low energy LED light bulb
It wasn't until recently, when I was talking with a coworker, that I discovered that a low energy light bulb had come on the market that was better the CFL curly fluorescent bulbs.  I bought some CFL's when they first come out but I found them to be expensive, they didn't always last as long as advertised and some brands gave off a dim light.  For these reasons, I went back to buying incandescent bulbs.

Now there is a whole array of low energy, long lasting LED bulbs and I am in the process of converting my light fixtures to LED.  The LED equivalent of a regular 60w light bulb uses around 9 watts.  I even saw LED replacements for fluorescent tubes.  I am not going to throw away perfectly good light bulbs, even if they are incandescent,  so as my incandescent bulbs burn out, I am replacing them with LED's.  I can also give some of my incandescents to my children who are living in apartments.  They don't pay for electricity and since these LED bulbs aren't cheap, why spend the money to leave them behind when you move out?  For money saving coupons, go to Save On Energy.

Green Highlights:
  • reducing energy consumption
  • sending less to the landfill
Have you started switching your light bulbs to LED?