Monday, January 14, 2008

Ziploc Bags and Straws

We use a lot of Ziploc bags, so it makes sense for me to wash them out after using them. I'm happy to say that we reuse each bag about 10-20 times before it wears out. And even Jenny has started to wash and reuse them!

The kids also drink using straws, so I wash them out every time they use them. Again, I can make a bag of 100 straws last about 2 years, so that saves us money, too.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Top 10: What I've Noticed

During this holiday season, we've visited quite a number of people's homes. Here's what I've noticed:

1) Television - Everyone has 2 or more flat-screen televisions - From what I've read, the newer TVs use quite a bit more electicity than older CRT TVs. My household is the only one I've seen that has only 1 TV. And ours is about 20 years old. The remote control barely functions.

2) Lights - Most people like to keep the lights on throughout the house. We rarely keep more than 2 sets of room lights going at once. That;s one reason why our electric bill averages $20 per month year-round.

3) Heating - We set our thermostat to no more than 65F during the day, and 63F at night. I usually see 68F in most houses.

4) Electronics - Ours is virtually the only house without a video game console. And the only one without a high-end stereo/video system. One family we know doesn't have a video game console (they have girls).

5) Cars - Most families we know have minivans or large SUVs, and more than 2 cars. We don't have a minivan, and could probably drop our 2nd car (see communting strategy below).

6) Toys - Most families we know have a huge amount of toys. Our boys have relatively little.

7) Wal-Mart - Few people we know will admit to shopping at Wal-Mart as we do. Instead, most people seem to prefer Costco. I prefer Wal-Mart because I don't like buying huge amounts of stuff that we don't need. Plus Jenny tends to cook our meals from scratch, rather than heat-and-serve dishes so common at Costco.

8) Computers - Most people we know have more than one up-to-date computer. I usually buy a computer once every 5 years, the cheapest model from either Dell or HP.

9) Home Office - Ours is the only home without a separate home/office room. Our desk sits in the living room, with the laptop in a drawer. We don't have WiFi, or wireless internet.

10) Blog - I'm the only one with a blog. Three of them, in all!

UPDATE - Did I mention that we are the only ones I know without an Ipod in the house?

Take Out Containers

I've finally got Jenny hooked on those GLAD reusable food containers. For the past 3 restaurant visits, I've brought these plastic food containers for our leftovers (along with a plastic bag). I'm all for the upcoming ban on take-out styrofoam containers.

From the Alameda Journal:

Soon, restaurant owners in Alameda may not have a choice about what kind of containers they use for their food. The city is considering a ban on polystyrene food containers, and it may happen as early as next month.

A meeting to discuss the proposed ban and get public input will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave. Prohibited items would include take-out food containers, bowls, plates, trays, cartons and cups, according to a press release the city issued last week.

In addition, restaurants, food vendors and city facilities will be required to use containers that can break down in nature, unless an affordable alternative is not available. The city has suggested that restaurants and food vendors could charge a "take-out fee" to customers to cover the cost difference for purchasing the alternative product.
I do wish they would also consider giving people like me a 10 or 25 cent credit for bringing in my own containers.