Planet Wise wet bags for about a year to tote wet bathing suits around after every swimming lesson or pool event. The voting is unanimous. My wife, who usually doesn’t like more “stuff” thinks they are great. They are reusable and long lasting, and come in 14 color styles
Since these came out, there are many other companies getting into the game, all with fashion forward colors and designs, which make this item a good gift and accessory. I just got an 11X14 bag from Itzy Ritzy which is big enough to handle my suit and sun shirt.
There are now a lot of manufacturers making these, but these are two we’ve used and they are worth the $12-15 for storing wet suits, diapers, even leaky food items.
Both of these are well-made with PVC-free waterproof liners and locking zippers. I even saw a demo with the Planet Wise filled with water and it didn’t even leak through the zipper.
We’ve been in France this week and I’ve been chasing my kids around in the house where we’re staying to get them to turn off the lights as they go in and out of rooms. While French kids, like kids everywhere, are lazy about recycling and other conservation moves, for some reason, everyone here treats electricity like a running faucet. They just wouldn’t leave a room without turning the light off. My kids keep all the lights on everywhere as if we were in the middle of a night game at Yankee Stadium.
No amount of haranguing to them, or my wife, seems to make any difference. They just say, “yes, Dad” and move on to the next brilliantly lit room.
Here’s an idea some PR flack sent me this morning though and it’s a good enough idea to pass on, playing as it does on dad’s desire to cut back on costs and energy waste, teach good habits, and involve the kids.
“Moolah Maker” is the name of website with a tool to help you set a family goal for energy savings. By entering your energy bills, the site sets a family goal and creates a contract between you and your kids. Apparently, the kids/parents interface is a little hokey with a lot of “hey dude” lingo, but the idea is a good one since kids always want to earn some cash and this doesn’t take a lot of energy they could be using to swing the Wii controller. This project might make getting the monthly utility bill a family bonding experience.
[From the Energy Circle Moolah Maker website:
Kids are the greatest power source on the planet.
Unleash that force, save the earth and reap some profit. It’s easier than you think, and more important than ever. Together, kids and parents across North America are making a deal to use less and save more. Go ahead, shake on it.
The site lists a bunch of tips for energy savings:
Tips for Saving (and making more $) fast:
* Get an Electricity Monitor. There’s no better way to save than to see your usage in real time.
* Use smart strips. Slay the entertainment center and computer vampires. Smart Strips rock.
* Ditch your incandescent bulbs (say it isn’t so… still have some? Not good.)
* Hang a clothesline. (big savings, and excellent fodder for neighbors). Dryers eat Benjamins.
* Use low-flow showerheads. Hot water takes heat. Kids like long showers. Use less.
* Fill up the dishwasher. (Hallelujah! It uses less hot water than hand-washing)
* Chill out with fans, not the AC. A little breeze makes it feel 4-8 degrees cooler.
Tips for Going Deeper
* Figure out your baseload—the stuff that’s on 24/7. Does it all need to be? Find out.
* Hire a Certified Professional Energy Auditor. And take notes. Find out how to lower energy costs quickly and efficiently.
* Get programmable thermostats and compromise a degree or two (way easy, double smart)
Here are some unconventional ideas for the green dad on your list. For some dads, of course, a home improvement gift is a bit like getting a mixer for mom’s day, but, just like a primo Kitchen Aid mixer is a great gift for a baking mom, these gifts can be killer choices for dads who love to tinker and save.
Here’s a cool toy for the energy sleuth on your list:
Kill a Watt Electricity Monitor. Monitoring systems for gauging energy use usually require pro installation, but this small device lets you see the effect of plugging in and unplugging appliances right away. A small LCD screen shows you electricity usage, cost, and projections over weeks, month and year so you can decide if it’s time to upgrade that old fridge.
One thing you might find in your sleuthing is that many “always on” appliances are eating significant amounts of juice. Now there are a number of power strips on the market that turn these off on a Timer. Of course, you don’t want your Tivo or your clock radio off at 3 AM, but maybe your living room receiver or rec room TV. Consider the GE Power Strip Timer. $20 on Amazon.
The Eyemax WB radio receives AM, FM, and the US/Canada Weather Band, and acts as a speaker system for your iPod/MP3 player. It has both a solar panel and the ability to power it yourself when needed. It also includes an integrated LED flashlight. The Eyemax WB 2009 is a radio that you and your family can depend on, anytime, anywhere, any weather. Freeplay Solar Radio Eyemax Weather Band • $80.00 at www.SustainStores.com.
A truly easy, convenient way to compost. Just place your organic waste in the drum, spin every so often, and soon you have amazingly rich and garden-growing compost. A perfect choice for those not interested in an open compost pile–more discreet and no smell. The Envirocycle produces two excellent compost fertilizers, both solid and liquid. Comes with complete instructions. This item ships directly from the manufacturer via Standard Ground Shipping only. Envirocycle Composter • $140There is an additional shipping and handling charge of $30.00 at www.SustainStores.com.
Just let the worms do their work in their Worm Farm inside or outside and at the bottom you’ll get worm tea, perfect for enriching the soil of your garden and create super-growing plants. Use Red Wiggler Worms, which are not included. First fill your Worm Farm with bedding: leaves, shredded paper and dirt, for example. After the worms have moved in, start feeding them you all your organic kitchen waste like coffee grounds, leafy green trimmings and eggshells. Soon you’ll have worm castings (otherwise known as “black gold” for gardens) in the bottom of the bin. Collect, and watch your plants act like they’re on steroids, completely naturally. Lid keeps worms covered, maintaining the dry bedding they thrive in, yet roof is ventilated for worm comfort. High Strength. 4 Trays. Made from recycled material. This item ships directly from the manufacturer via Standard Ground Shipping only. Guasanito 4-Tray Worm Composter • $68.95 at www.SustainStores.com
For other green dad gift ideas, check out www.SustainStores.com. Use discount code “sustain” in the keycode section of the checkout form for a 20% discount off everything (the discount will be confirmed in an email after the order is processed.) This code expires June 21, Father’s Day.
The Holiday Season is upon us! It’s a time when families and friends get together to enjoy tasty
treats and exchange gifts. Here are some green tips to help you get through this season.
With all the gatherings and parties going on, cleaning is a big concern. Here is a link to a very
practical 4-minute video that demonstrates inexpensive non-toxic household cleaning practices.
Made by Jeanne McLaughlin, a graduate of the Institute for Bau-Biologie in Florida.
If you are seeking BPA- phthlate- and lead-free gifts, check out GoodGuide.com, a BETA-version
website being developed to rank “safe, healthy & green” toys and personal care products.
For some creative ideas about making your holiday season greener, check out the tips in The
Mommy Files compiled by Amy Graff in her blog.
For San Francisco residents only:
When it’s time to purge the big stuff that cannot be reused or recycled, San Francisco residents can
call SF Recycling / Sunset Scavenger. They offer to collect up to 10 bulky items for free, twice a
year. Broken furniture, appliances, old TVs — check their website for what’s allowed, or give them a
call at 415 331-1300 for details.
There are active ways to go green, and then there are things you can just set up. Growing plants and trees is a good way to help clean the air.
Some plants are excellent at cleaning pollution from indoor air. Which ones do the best job? Dr. Bill Wolverton has published the efforts of his team of researchers at NASA to answer that question. His inexpensive, well-illustrated, and extremely practical book is called “How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office.”
These plants absorb toxic chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene which are commonly used in the production of clothing, furniture, mattresses, carpets, plastics, and printing.
One healthy plant can clean a 100 sq ft room of 87% of these contaminants in 24 hours. (Hint: the Rubber Plant and Peace Lily are star performers.)
Get more context with these links: