30 Apr 2015

TJ's "Series of unfortunte events"

I've have my hands full the last couple of weeks.  Two Saturdays ago, the washing machine was making a strange noise and when I went down to check on it, the laundry room was full of smoke.  Time to buy a new washer.  I spent the next week researching laundry pairs and updating myself on the new technology.

Last Friday night, just as we were getting ready to go to bed, the water heater gave way and the basement was flooded.  We were up until 2 in the morning cleaning up and Saturday was spent doing damage control.  Sunday, Bentley tried to escape out the front door.  As he flew past me, I lost my balance and hit the large window beside the front door.  Of course, it shattered.

My original plan for the weekend was to go to my Mom's Saturday morning to do the wash, then head out and buy a new washer and dryer.  That plan had to be revised and plan B was to finish the wash on Sunday and go buy a washer and dryer.  That didn't happen either.  I like Sundays to be a day of rest, but there are times when you have to bend a little.

I still haven't been able to go shopping because there have been tradesmen here after work every day to take care of the stuff that needs to be done.   That included the phone guy because our phone went dead and a chimney guy because our chimney was no longer up to code. My whole house has been turned upside down and I have to get out to buy the washer and dryer.

Once things have settled down around here, I'll be back to regular posting and I'll fill you in with the details.  So, stay tuned for the green side of these adventures...

16 Apr 2015

The Project - Part 3 - Panelled Walls

What to do with the panelled walls

One of the reasons we have left the panelling is because, as far as panelling goes, it is nice panelling.  The problem in this basement room is that the panelling makes it dark.  We had a couple of options. 
panelling, tj's green adventure
Option One:
Remove the panelling and and install drywall.  This would be costly buying panelling and we would need help installing it.  We would list the panelling on Kijiji to try to sell it, but if there are no takers then it would most likely end up in the landfill.     

Option Two:
Paint the panelling.  Painting the panelling is something I hadn't wanted to do because it is nice panelling, but this is a cost effective option.

Our Choice:
We chose option two and painted the panelling.  The cost and labour savings and the fact that there was no waste generated made this our first choice.  My daughter chose a soft grey paint from Benjamin Moore called "bunny grey" in a pearl finish.  We discovered that the lines in the panelling and the knots had to be painted individually before using the paint roller.  That took extra time to do, but then the rolling went quickly.
painting panelling, voc's, tj's green adventure
The paint we bought at Benjamin Moore is low VOC (volatile organic compound).  When I first heard about low VOC paint, it was promoted as having little or no odour.  I didn't think the odour was a big deal and we could always open the windows.  I have since learned that they are harmful and contribute to air pollution.  I like to reduce or eliminate VOC's in my home where I can, so we now use only low/no VOC paint.

Environment Canada has information on VOC's that you can check out at Volatile Organic Compounds.

We love the way the walls turned out.  You can see the wood grain and that gives it a homey feel.  The light colour and pearl finish of the paint really brighten up the room.  We were thrilled with how much brighter the room is now.
painted panelling, low voc paint, tj's green adventure
Green Highlights:
  • panelling did not end up in a landfill site
  • used low VOC paint
  • brighter room means less electricity needed for lighting
Have you ever painted panelling?


13 Apr 2015

Ontario cap and trade

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was to sign an agreement today joining Quebec in a cap and trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Check out what CBC News has to say in this article Ontario To Sign Cap And Trade Agreement With Quebec To Cut Carbon Emissions.

It is everyone's responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, whether you are a big corporate industry or one individual.  Something as simple as not idling your vehicle will reduce carbon emissions.  Putting a system in place that will require companies to reduce their carbon footprint is a must.  I'm just not convinced that a cap and trade system is the best way to accomplish this.

It doesn't make sense to me for one company to reduce their emissions then turn around and sell their credits to another company that hasn't reduced theirs.  Does it make sense to sell credits to California?  Don't they have a smog problem there?  How is this going to improve their air quality?  All companies should be required to reduce their emissions with all emission levels declining.  Having a cap on the amount of pollution allowed in each sector of the economy is a good idea.  Some industries will need to be much more creative and really work at thinking outside the box to make it happen, but it is not impossible. 

Something needs to be done.  There needs to be controls and regulations.  I'm just not convinced that cap and trade is the way to go. 

Green Highlights
  • reducing emissions
Do you think cap and trade will reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

9 Apr 2015

Thinking outside the box... and bag!

When it comes to recycling, most of us are familiar with putting things like pop cans, plastic water bottles, boxes, tin cans and paper in the blue box, but why not take it a step further.  If we think outside of the box, and bag, we will discover even more that can be recycled. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Paper Packaging for: recycling paper, paper bag, paper packaging, tj's green adventure
  • flour
  • sugar
  • potatoes
  • cereal box liners (ie Weetabix)
 Plastic Bag Packaging for: 
recycling plastic bags, plastic packaging, tj's green adventure
  • bagels
  • bread
  • English muffins
  • apples
  • peppers
  • carrots
  • toilet paper

The paper packaging can go in the blue box.  Give it a good shake to get out as much of the product as you can.  You will want to make sure the paper isn't coated with wax or plastic.  The plastic bags can be collected to take with you to a local store that collects them for recycling like the Real Canadian Superstore or Walmart.  Shake out any  little bits that may still be inside and turn them inside out to dry if they have any moisture in them.

I found some interesting links that you might want to check out.  Check out this Stores Collecting Bags link to find a handy tool that lets you check out where you can take plastic bags for recycling by store, city and province.  Just change the search criteria for your area or for the store you are wondering about.

Check out this My Waste Tool on the city of London website that allows you to enter the type of waste you have and it will tell you if it is recyclable and where you can recycle it.

Do you have any more ideas for paper and plastic bags that can be recycled?


2 Apr 2015

The Project - Part 2 - The Demo

Getting rid of carpet without it going into a landfill.
Some of the less becoming features of the family room are the carpeting which consisted of 4 different sized pieces and the popcorn ceiling.  There is also the panelling, but we will cover that in a later post. 
I posted the carpet on Kijiji to give away for free.  I had 2 people wanting it in less than 15 minutes after posting the ad and many more after that.  I suggested that it could be used under a drum kit or for a child's play area.  It wouldn't be a big deal if the child spilled on it or drew on it with crayon like one of my youngsters had done in the past. 
reuse carpet, landfill, Kijiji, TJ's green adventure
Once we rolled up the carpet, I noticed a stain on the underside of one of the pieces that I wasn't aware of before then.  The first couple people saw the stain and walked away without taking the carpet.  When I contacted the next person that was interested, I mentioned that there was a stain on the back before they came to look at it and they took it no problem.  I have found that when I post ads on Kijiji, it is best to mention a flaw in the item before they come and then they aren't taken by surprise.

I am pleased that someone else could make use of the carpet we no longer needed and that it didn't go to the landfill.

Popcorn Ceiling 
Our family room is in the basement and has a 7' ceiling.  The popcorn made it shadowy, not helping to brighten the room and it turns out it wasn't even white, but a grey colour.

There was a time when popcorn ceilings were made with asbestos.  In the late 1970's, it was banned in popcorn ceilings, but if the product had already been purchased it was grandfathered in and was allowed to still be used.  So ceilings installed up into the mid 1980's could still contain asbestos. 
popcorn ceiling, renovation, TJ's green adventure

I was pretty sure ours did not contain asbestos, but to be on the safe side, we had it tested.  I sent a sample, along with a cheque for $25 plus tax, in the mail to LCS Laboratory Inc in London.  I had the results in a matter of days - and we were asbestos free!  We wrapped bandannas on our heads and we covered our faces with a mask or bandanna and away we went.  We sprayed water on the popcorn and then used a putty knife to scrape it off.  I was surprised at the amount of dust that had collected on the ceiling and we didn't even know it.  When we ran the putty knife across the ceiling, the popcorn would hang down on the dust.  Now that the popcorn is gone, the room feels less closed in and looks much better.

Green Highlights:
  • carpet was given away on Kijiji
  • kept the existing ceiling
  • popcorn ceiling was asbestos free
Have you ever removed a popcorn ceiling?