Monthly Archives: August 2012

Starting the Week Off Right- GGG 1st Giveaway!

In addition to sharing green tips, I’m now in a fun place where I can share some of my favorite green items! We’re starting off small, but have even more great green gifts coming down the line this fall.

For our first giveaway we have two sets (2 in each set) of awesome on-the-go alternatives to paper towels, PeopleTowels.

I use mine ALL the time, as a place to dry my hands in the kitchen, bathroom at work, and as a napkin/spill remedy (I spill a lot…).

PeopleTowels are not only absorbant, convenient, and colorful, they are also 100% Organic cotton (thus compostable) and Fair Trade Certified (my favorite certification!). I am giving away two of these PeopleTowels 2 Packs (in Sustain, Not a Tree, Blue, and Celebrate Earth Day Everyday prints).

To enter: tweet this article and let me know the one simple step you are going to take this September to be green. Make sure to cc @Gudergoesgreen! No Twitter? Then post a comment with your simple green step below.  I’ll announce a winner by Sept. 1!

A Move Made Green

We have moved, yet again. This time (luckily) we only moved across town, instead of across the country. While I have no tips for moving across country except to not ship anything breakable, ever, I do have some easy ways to stay green if you’re moving somewhere close by.

First, you do not need bubble wrap, newspaper, or any packaging materials that will just end up in the trash. Use your clothes instead! I wrapped every glass, dish, picture frame, and even Nana’s china platters in clothes, towels, and sheets that were already coming along. It saves you a ton of excess material waste and cost, is easier, and as long as you are not shipping the boxes (nothing survives shipping no matter how you wrap it), it stays safe. 100% of the items we moved across town wrapped in clothes made it perfectly intact. To wrap a glass, I like to use a T-shirt. I stick one sleeve inside the glass, then roll the it up. I put jeans or pants in the bottom and top of the box with layers of these T-shirted dishes inside.






We also buy bankers boxes that can be reused over and over again instead of shipping boxes. While the previous bankers boxes didn’t make it across country (you can’t ship them because of the handles/top), we used our last ones for 3 moves and storage and know we’ll get a lot of use out of these new ones too. They are 65% post-consumer recycled (the good kind remember!) at Staples. We also labeled them generically as ‘bathroom, bedroom, living room, storage, or kitchen’ as there is almost no chance next time you move you’ll put the same exact things in each box, but you can easily put items from the same room in each box. If you’re moving across town or driving to another state you don’t really need to know what exactly is in each box, only where you should put it. The bankers boxes also fold and unfold for easy storage. We also used reusable bags, boxes, and suitcases that we had around the house and are proud to say we only used 1 garbage bag (I’ve seen some people move with ALL garbage bags) that we then promptly put into our garbage bin to reuse!

Moving is also a perfect time for purging and donating what you don’t need to your local reuse center – in our case GoodWill. Those pants you’re saving to wear for that one special occasion that hasn’t happened in 3 years, the shoes that don’t go with anything, and even that frying pan that you bought at Target for $10 but don’t use because you were given really nice pans as a gift – they all will be put to great use by others!

Finally day-of details. Instead of borrowing friends cars and moving things piecemeal, we rented a UHaul for $20 and moved everything in one shot (less gas = less pollution = less GHGs). We also hired day laborers from SF Day Labor, a worker-led nonprofit that allows those with barriers to employment (language, education, prior life choices, etc) a place to come together and organize. The nonprofit pays the workers 100% of the dollars we gave them (they keep themselves afloat through grants and private funding), and the workers were fantastic (and cheap!). Two movers for 3 hours each was only $100 total and it felt great to be able to employ a fellow San Franciscan who really wanted to work. Check into these type of organizations (another larger one in SF is Delancy Street which employees only ex-convicts), as you get really reliable people trying to turn their lives around. What better way to support the sustainability of your city or town?

A Leg-Powered Vacation

I’m going to skip the ‘sorry I took a few months off to travel, get engaged, get a new job, get a new apartment, etc post’ and just jump right back in. Here’s hoping you will too!

My (now) fiancee and I have been dating for 3.5 years and until just a few weeks ago, we had never been on vacation. This was primarily due to him starting a company and me going to grad school (thus one of us was always super poor), but also because we did long distance for almost 3 of those years. Since we were always hoping a bus (and then later a plane) to visit each other, going elsewhere wasn’t in the cards. Due to the lack of fun trips together, we knew we had to really kick vacation’s ass, and we wanted it to have an eco-component.

Well, our vacation kicked our ass (literally and otherwise), but it was truly awesome. We decided to bicycle our way through Tuscany Italy for an 8 day leg-powered adventure! We used a company a friend had recommended, EcoRent, who rented us the bicycles, helped plan our route, and even set up hotels, villas, and farmhouses in each destination spot. We started in Calci and made our way to Casciana Terme, Volterra (no vampires encountered), Pomarance, Castagneto Carducci, Pomaia, and Pisa – and lots of towns in between!

We biked about 40 miles per day through medieval villages, vineyards, farmland, 10 person towns, and fell in love with the wine, the pizza, the people, the riding, and even more with each other. Experiencing a country on bike is really beyond words. You don’t have a car window to block out the sounds, the smells, the HEAT, but you can still cover so much ground in a day. You truly get to SEE and FEEL the place you are visiting. We got to stop and do both an olive oil tasting and wine tasting at local farms! Due to the 90 degree days we had to wake up and get on the road by 6am, and were usually finished with the ride by noon. While much of the trip was simply magical, I did have two breakdowns – one of which resulted in a lot of tears and throwing my bike into the woods, and the other resulted in me calling Ecorent to come bring me up the last 9km hill 🙂 I think that’s fair though given the conditions.

I would definitely do it again (although not in the heat of summer!) because it left me feeling so proud of my body. Our legs, lungs, hearts, and attitudes got us so far each day. It was also an incredible team-building activity as we learned the right ways to encourage and push each other; this definitely took a few days to figure out. Each morning it was me, my fiancee, two bikes, and a map and we had to get ourselves from A to B. It really felt like survival training as we had to focus on making sure we had enough food, water, and shelter when it became too hot.

While it wasn’t completely energy-free (a diesel van moved our luggage from point to point along with other bikers’ things doing similar trips), we ate extremely local, reused what we could, used the sun to dry out our laundry, and tried to keep our waste to a minimum. One of the best parts of Tuscany is that everything you find to eat is local. I did end up eating meat (and now I remember how good salami is!), cheese, and bread – three things I don’t normally eat, as there wasn’t much of an option in the small towns (tofu does not exist there ha). But, it was delicious, and fresh, from the butcher down the street, and I felt good to be supporting the local economy. Since returning to SF I have also returned to vegetarianism but it was quite fun to eat like a local, I’ll admit.

Biking through Toscana!

More summer stories coming soon 🙂

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