Combine errands to reduce fuel emission

You know how it goes: You need two things from the grocery store a mile away, and then, in the opposite direction, a book from the library, and also a prescription from the pharmacy in the next neighborhood. All on different days.

Today’s challenge is more of this week’s challenge. Plan ahead as best you can to avoid taking several short trips for small things.

Can those two grocery items wait until you’re heading that way for something else? Can someone grab the library book on his or her commute to work?  Is it possible to save your errands and run them all at once?

According to ecomodder, chaining errands, which warms up your car, is more fuel efficient than several short trips, particularly in cold weather. (The ecomodder link also includes a whole bunch of hypermiling tips you might be interested in).

This week, try to merge outings as much as you can.

Photo: Courtesy of George

Read about the slow fashion movement

Photo: Glen Scott

This one is hard for us. We love clothes and get bored easily. But we’re going to try embracing slow fashion as much as possible and hope you will, too.

Slow fashion has different meanings to different people, but in general, slow fashion is defined as buying fewer items of clothing that are better made than, say, H&M or Target items. They are manufactured more carefully, with knowledge of the supply chain. Often, these clothes are created environmentally responsibly as well, with organic or sustainable textiles.

Your challenge today is to read up on slow fashion.

NPR: Slow Fashion Shows Consumers What it’s Made of

Digiday: WTF is Slow Fashion?

Crain’s: How to Live a Slow Fashion Life

If you need new shoes, check out these recycled options

There’s always time for shoe shopping. Especially when the shoes are crafted largely, or better yet, entirely, from post-consumer recycled materials. In addition, style is a necessity. The canvassy, hempy look is fine sometimes, but we really like that these featured shoes don’t necessarily conjure the smell of patchouli.

If you’re in the market for new shoes anyway, look into cool kicks from companies that strive to make environmentally responsible footwear.

Rothy’s 3D prints its adorable flats out of recycled water bottles.

Po-Zu, a British company, uses natural fibers like spider silk, pineapple leaf fibers, and cork, among other innovative materials, to create its sole-ful shoes.

Simple shoes incorporates recycled materials in all of its shoes.

The People’s Movement, in their own words, “creates eco-hip footwear and accessories that stand for reduction of single-use plastic”.

El Naturalista manufactures some super fun shoes and their eco-innovation is admirable as well.

Use cloth napkins instead of paper

If you’re looking to go greener in your home, cloth napkins handily beat out paper napkins. Treehugger does a great analysis on why cloth is more environmentally friendly.

Today, if you have cloth napkins, pull them out and start using them. If you don’t yet own any, try to buy organic cotton napkins, linen (which is made from flax and doesn’t require as much energy to grow as cotton), or hemp.

Here are a few purchasing options:

Reuseit Cloth Napkins

Crate and Barrel Linen Napkins

Set of 4 Berry Hemp + Organic Cotton Napkins

If you’re crafty, you can also make your own napkins out of fabric scraps.

And, remember, when its time to launder those napkins, wash them in cold water.



Wash your laundry in cold water

Did you know that 85% of the energy used for washing clothes and household linens comes from heating water? That’s right. Running the actual washing machine uses only 15% (or less) of the power necessary to launder your stuff.

Terrapass says that a switch of all U.S. washers to cold water would mean a savings of about 3o million tons of CO2 a year. That’s a lot of CO2.

Some detergents (powders) don’t work as well in cold water, so check into cold water detergent. Or just make sure to use a liquid.

CNET has a cool post on how detergents work, if you’re interested.

So, that laundry you’re going to muddle through today or this weekend, wash it in cold water rather than warm or hot – it’ll save energy and prolong the life of your clothes.

If you drive, do not let your car idle today

Idling cars produce the same exhaust that driving cars do. If you’re stopped for more than 10 seconds (other than at a stop light or bumper-to-bumper traffic), turn off the engine. That’s right, crank that key to the left or push the button and let your motor rest. The Environmental Defense Fund says that for every 10 minutes your car is off, you prevent one pound of carbon dioxide from being released into the air.

Here’s more from EDF about idling and why it’s no good.

So, at least for today, don’t let your engine run unless absolutely necessary.

Mend something instead of tossing it

Your challenge for today is to mend an article of clothing you would have otherwise thrown out. Here’s a video tutorial that shows two different ways to mend a small t-shirt tear. This technique can be applied to similar cotton or cotton blend fabrics as well. (Be careful using a hot iron on fabrics made mostly of synthetics.)

Also, here’s a post with several tutorials for different types of stitches.

If you don’t own the supplies to mend, use this opportunity to gather them. It doesn’t cost a lot to assemble a basic sewing kit. (Add various small spools of different colors of thread to this). And then you will have it for the next time something inevitably, but not irreparably, rips.