Monday, November 21, 2011

Electronics Recycling

Here's your chance. If you have used electronics items around, here is a chance to get rid of them.

All of the information is on the flyer, left.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Guest Bloggers Wanted

I would like to add guest bloggers. If you would like to share a product, service, or experience with other readers, please send your idea or blog entry to

This is an ad-free blog, so I don't make any money on it. Therefore, I am not in a position to pay for your posts. However, this is a good forum to share things you are doing to live more sustainably or to advertise your product or service to interested people.

I reserve the right to decide whether or not your post is appropriate and the time frame for posting.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

America Recycles Day

November 15 is America Recycles Day. The day focuses on the recycling portion of the "reduce, reuse, recycle" trio.

Although few are happy with the state of recycling in Wichita Falls, you can recycle more than you think you can. Anything organic can go into your city composting bin if you don't compost yourself: cardboard, paper, magazines, newspapers, garbage, yard waste, etc. I put out our compost bin almost every week there is a pick up. I put out regular trash perhaps once a month.

Of course, we drop off glass behind United Market Street and take aluminum cans to a recycler for a little extra money.

However, preventing waste to start with is important. I do look for less packaging. I choose glass containers over plastic, since we don't have a good plastics recycling option in our community and plastics contain a lot of crap I just don't want to deal with. Consider cooking more from scratch--you would be amazed how much trash you will cut out and how much less salt, sugar and other chemicals (such as BPA) you'll put into your body. Change  your newspaper subscription to the e-edition. No more black fingers, and it saves a few dollars a month too.

You can repurpose your waste by trying to do something else with it before discarding. I am not very crafty this way, but my husband found some free plastic barrels that were someone else's trash and made me some compost bins and a rainwater harvesting system--things we wanted and for a lot less money. He also tears apart old/broken wooden items and creates new things such as planters, etc. from the pieces.

Post good items to Craig's list for giveaway or for a low price. Give things to Goodwill or the Salvation Army if they are in good shape instead of throwing them away. Shop for used items--I buy most of my books used and also pick up some nice clothes and household items from thrift stores and resale shops. Anything we can get one more use out of reduces the amount of things that end up in the landfill.

Take cloth bags to the store instead of having them drop it in a plastic bag. If you have plastic bags, reuse them at least once more. Ban plastic water bottles from your house if there isn't a health reason to avoid your tap or well water (and if you get your water from the City of Wichita Falls, there isn't one.)

Here are some additional resources for you to consider:
Recycling Glass and Paper in Wichita Falls


I know...for some of us, thinking can be dangerous. I am thinking about adding a Living Green in Wichita Falls page to Facebook. It might encourage more interaction and spread the word faster than this blog, although I plan to continue to do the blog. Some subjects are too long for Facebook. Anyway, let me know what you think. I want to decide before the end of the year--thinking of kicking it off on New Year, as people make their resolutions for 2012.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

First Fruits From the Garden

Although my husband got a bunch of radishes from our fall garden earlier, this year I tackled some of the things I thought would likely get bit by frost soon. We have been covering the garden the nights when frost has been predicted, but we'll get caught one of these days.

So today I put up basil, parsley and kale. I still have one basil plant in a pot in the house, but now I have some in the freezer too.

It feels good to have home grown food in the freezer. I know no one has sprayed anything on it I don't want in my body and since it went from garden to freezer in a matter of minutes, I am sure the plants are full of flavor and vitamins.

There are still a lot of plants out there--we'll see how it goes.

Even if you don't have room for a big garden, consider growing some food in pots, mixed in your flower beds or even on your window sill.

Friday, November 11, 2011

E-reader or Books?

In August 2010 my husband got me an e-reader for my birthday. Before that I was opposed to an e-reader because I like the aesthetics of holding and smelling a book. But truth be known, I read a LOT of books and although the local library has a good selection of fiction, their non-fiction selections just don't match my interests. Consequently, I have well over 1000 books, which take up a lot of room in our house. This was what prompted my husband to buy an e-reader for me.

I have to admit, there is much I like about the e-reader, not the least of which is the ability to carry around a lot of books on a little tablet when I travel. Since the books also download to my laptop, I can access them there as well. E-books are not less expensive than books at the store. I thought they would be without the expense of  printing and shipping. I can get printed books more cheaply (except for the classics in the Google library and downloads from the local library.)

So my question was: environmentally, which is better? An e-reader or a printed book? Apparently, I am not the only person to wonder. I discovered an article on the Conservation Magazine website that looks at just this issue. Since I have nearly 200 books on my e-reader today, the pendulum has swung to the e-reader side of the environmental balance scale. However, don't look for me to give up my printed books any time soon.

Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Publishing is a small company that publishes the kinds of books the people who read this blog would be interested in. They have a lot of great titles on sale now, and they're running a special promotion now for 25% off their books--just in time for holiday shopping. I give a lot of books for Christmas, don't you? Why not save some money? Enter promotion code WE10 at checkout to receive the discount.

Next EcoFair Meeting

The next EcoFair committee meeting is Friday, December 2, noon, at River Bend Nature Center. Planning is behind for an April event, so the more people who are interested and can attend, the better.

Welcoming Reptiles and Amphibians to Your Yard

As mentioned many times, I am working on improving my yard as a wildlife habitat.  I came across some resources today you may enjoy. North Carolina recently published an 8-page booklet on encouraging Reptiles and Amphibians in your backyard habitat. There is also a nice 2-page document previously published. Although focused on North Carolina, where they get a lot more rain than we do, the hints are applicable everywhere.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Adult Baby Food

Photo of crispy chicken strips by FotoosVanRobin, Netherlands/Wikimedia Commons

I came across this article, "Less Chewing Equals More Eating (And Other Food Industry Secrets)" shared on Facebook today and thought it appropriate to share on this forum.

One more reason to cook from scratch at home (I love to eat out, so it's not as if I am sinless, but I at least eat more sit-down food than fast food.) I especially like the comment in the article that processed food is "adult baby food." I have noticed (once it was pointed out to me in the article) that I do tend to chew less when eating out (especially at fast food places). I have also noticed (all on my own this time) that I tend to eat a lot more when I am eating at a restaurant than I do when I eat at home. My smaller portions at home are more satisfying, and my food goes further.

I will certainly never get to the point that I don't eat out at all (good news for the local restaurant industry), but this does argue again to eat less processed food. If you eat out a nice roast chicken is probably a better option than chicken strips--my taste buds tell me that.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Giving Trees

Pine sapling photo courtesy of John Dalton, Wikimedia Commons

My daughter subscribes to Scholastic Parent & Child magazine. In the November 2011 issue, the Hands On column is about Giving Trees. It is a craft project for children to give trees as gifts. I think this is a great idea. Unfortunately, the article is not posted online. However, since it is mostly decorating a container and putting a small tree in it, I am sure people interested in the idea can improvise successfully.

An interesting reference of the column is the meaning of various trees. I don't know how valid this is or where the meanings came from, but I thought I would share. Not all of the plants listed are actually trees, but nothing says we have to be literal.

This could be a low-cost, meaningful gift for the holidays (yes, it's that time already!)