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Author Topic: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living  (Read 47377 times)

Offline enigmacat

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Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2007, 12:08:00 PM »
creative re-use also interests me- using an old item otherwise destined for trash/recycling for something other than its original purpose.

Offline Leezichka1

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Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2007, 12:26:23 PM »
Hi all-
I love this topic and wanted to contribute something I'm doing to compost houshold waste---vermicomposting.  Basically, I use red wiggler worms in a container, along with newspaper/grass clippings/paper towels or plant matter as bedding, and add my vegetable wastes.  The worms will eat their weight in scraps every 2 days and their castings...erm...waste product, is an amazing black compost suitable for house or outdoor plants.  It sounds a little wacky I know, but the worm bin can be hidden under a sink and, if done correctly, produces no smell or tellttale odors. 

Here's a great website about how to get started [http://www.nyccompost.org/how/wormbin.html].

Also, in season, meaning when it's not too cold outside for them to bring the worms to Union Square,  there is an organization in NYC that will sell you the worms you'll need.  They set up a booth there and have lots of information available.

Lower East Side Ecology Center
P.O. Box 20488
New York, NY 10009
phone: (212) 477-4022
e-mail: oreinc@earthlink.net

If anyone is interested, I can also offer help or advice.

Leezichka

Offline Leezichka1

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Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2007, 12:29:27 PM »
Oh, and I forgot....I have an old pushmower that I use in my backyard if anyone needs to borrow it:)

Anyone have a ladder they wouldn't mind offering for sharing?

Leezichka

Offline enigmacat

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Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2007, 12:47:40 PM »
I was reading some information on composting yesterday and I'm wondering if I can talk my roommate into letting me put a bin under the sink :)

Leezichka, do you have a lid on your bin or is it open? And what do you use for the bin?

I was annoyed at the amount of junk mail (mostly credit card offers) that I threw away yesterday while going through the mail and I remembered that lanseaux posted a link to a site with information about getting on "do not email" lists. here it is:

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/optoutalrt.htm

Offline wasabisam

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Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2007, 12:51:49 PM »
Reusable containers - was reminded that lately I've been saving our glass containers (vegenaise jars, artichoke heart jars, salsa jars, etc.) and using them for dry food items. Great way to store things, plus not throwing all the glass items away in the recycling bin.

Hmmm... I also have been trying to get away from using plastic sandwich bags quite so much when preparing my lunches. Am now trying to use our tupperware for nearly everything I take.

Another thing is that I have been buying castile soap for my body wash which is a lot better for the environment. It is expensive but if you dilute it it can go a long way. I'm also reusing old body wash bottles when I'm diluting.

For work - I have my own mug instead of using the paper cups. It's amazing how much paper waste offices go through!

If I think of more things I'll add them. :)
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Offline Melee

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Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2007, 01:07:13 PM »
Daisy - I have had one problem only with my CFLs, which was that my loungeroom has this weird lighting set up where 6 bulbs are needed. When all 6 were CFLS, I got buzzing and some of the blinking you describe. I replaced a single one with an incandescent, and the problem disappeared. I think its just shonky wiring, which I can't do much about but its a bizarre problem, considering the much lower CFL wattage. Still, a single incandescent won't hurt. Similarly, my bedroom light fitting has trouble (alarming popping noises) with all three spots taken by CFLs - here I solved it by just using only two - I don't need that much light in the bedroom! I think CFLs have come a really long way in the past few years. The type I got are 'soft white' which are wonderful, and have none of the 'harsh' light that people have complained about tube flourescents for. My mother is one of the haters, but when she came to stay, became a total convert to the new bulbs. I've also heard people say that a good way to solve the light quality thing is to put them behind slightly yellow shades or glass - while I'm not sure this is necessary with the new ones, many of mine are behind that type of glass - in the kitchen and hallway particuarly, and if you're sensitive, it might be a good solution. Oh, you can't 'dim' them - but I really don't mind that!

Leezichka - thank you so much! I was just about to ask about worm farms here!

Another good idea for vegie scraps, prior to their placement in a worm farm, is to put the scraps in a container and freeze. Once you have two large containers (I use the gladware ones), put them in a pot, cover with water, bring to boil, then simmer for a couple hours. Strain, reserve liquid, and freeze - you now have home-made vegie stock, for use in risottos, soups, etc. Saves you buying stock and gets the most out of your vegies.

I also love the Thrift store shopping ideas, but am terrible at ever finding anything I like at these places, or even finding good thrift stores at all. Does anyone have recommendations for places to go??

I know someone mentioned a community garden in Astoria a while back, but when I went to check it out I was very disappointed. It'd be nice to have a community vegetable-growing garden, which could use donated compost.

Offline enigmacat

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Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2007, 01:22:45 PM »
If you're talking about ARROW, i think they do grow veggies. I shared a plot there a couple of years ago, and we grew radishes and spinach.

As far as thrift stores, I have had good luck with the store on 30th Avenue across from Trade Fair (near the subway). Unfortunately they have no dressing rooms, but I've had some great finds there. There's also a good place on Ditmars -  a few blocks toward Steinway from 31st, don't remember the cross streets.

I also like Jayme's idea of buying things that will last and are responsibly produced, even if you buy them new.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2007, 01:30:43 PM by enigmacat »

Offline Melee

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Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2007, 01:30:04 PM »
That was what I meant - perhaps I got it wrong, but I cycled down to check it out, and it seemed to be a mostly paved area for kids to play in with just an itty bitty strip of sad looking plants. Did I go to the wrong place?


Offline enigmacat

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Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2007, 01:34:22 PM »
Nope, that's it. I know what you mean, though. I had the same initial impression when I first saw it.

I found out later that ARROW made the decision to convert part of their garden space into a play area because they felt it the playground was a very important contribution to the community - and everytime you go there you see kids playing, so I guess it is.

The plots are small but you can still get a lot of veggies in there. If you are interested, I think I still have the contact information.

If I had access to a rooftop I would be interested in container gardening like wasabisam mentioned.

Offline Melee

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Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2007, 01:44:00 PM »
Ah there's another question I have - rooftop access in my building is super-easy, its a large flat space, it has an edge on it that's about my chest height, so um - 4 feet? The only break in this barrier is for a fire escape ladder at the back, although I think it varies in height somewhat. There's no real lock on the access door, just a kind of hook. When I first went up there, a couple summers ago (and left an incriminating trail of bottletops back to my door, cos I had a few too many), my old crazy greek landlady told me it was illegal to go up there and I wasn't allowed. When the new company took over, and a much nicer landlord came in, he told me we couldn't use it because it did not have a high enough barrier surrounding it and they were liable should a child or someone go up there and then fall off. This strikes me as nonsense for two reasons: 1) the barrier is 4 foot! it seems high enough to me! 2) there's no serious lock on that door. How on earth does a couple of plant pots make it more likely a child will go careening off the roof?? It is, incidentally, 6-unit building, with no children.

Is there any way to resolve this? I like my landlord and don't want to be nasty, but also really, really want a garden/outdoor space.

Offline enigmacat

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Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2007, 02:13:20 PM »
are any other tenants interested in a rooftop gardening space? maybe you could approach him together.

If he is concerned about a lawsuit, I wonder if some kind of signed waiver absolving him of any responsibility in the event of an accident would address his concerns?

Offline Leezichka1

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Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2007, 02:46:43 PM »
Enigmacat-
You definitely need a lid on your bin....worms like it moist and dark.  I tried to attach a picture of my bin but the file's too large and my computer keeps hanging up when I try to send it.  I got mine on Ebay for $40---search "White cedar worm bin" on Ebay and you can find one just like it (it's fancier than it needs to be because I didn't have room under my sink so I wanted it to blend into my kitchen).  If you want to pm me and give me your email address, I can send you pictures of mine in action.

You can use anything for a bin, though, and most people just use one of those blue recycling bins.

Melee, that's a real drag about your landlord--my friends have the same trouble with their building.

Leezichka

Offline jayme

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Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2007, 03:50:59 PM »
I am definitely interested in worm bin and fire escape garden!

My building DOES have a small backyard and I'd like to talk to my landlord about gardening -- but also composting.  Does anyone know if there are any incentives to landlords providing compost areas?

And re: saving jars
Save them for canning!  Often glass jars have a standard lid size that ball mason jar tops will fit on.  Saves you the expense of buying jars when it comes time to can.  Just buy lids.

I'll do some canning parties when summer comes back.  You can make fantastic things with seasonal veg!

cheers,
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Offline enigmacat

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Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2007, 05:41:30 PM »
Ah, canning. *That* brings back memories.

I'm sure I could get my mom's recipe for bread and butter pickles and the famous family picante sauce.

Fire escape garden? That could work... Also wondering if I could rig up flower boxes outside some of the windows.

Offline megc

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Re: Ethical Consumerism and Green Living
« Reply #29 on: February 11, 2007, 06:09:38 PM »
I'll do some canning parties when summer comes back.  You can make fantastic things with seasonal veg!

jayme, I would love to learn from you about canning.  I know I could probably figure it out, but having someone who's been doing it for a while show examples would be very cool and super helpful. 

Have you ever made preserved lemons?  I know it's not canning (they can be left in the fridge), but though you might know about it.



 

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