The biggest no-brainer purchase EVER!

I’m doing a new challenge, one I’ve decided not to blog about until it’s complete.  Well, I guess I’m breaking my own rule here, as the challenge is for 2 months and I haven’t even completed the first month.  The challenge is to buy nothing new.  This excludes groceries and toiletries, of course.  I’m keeping a list of things I would have bought or potentially bought.  In the first 10 days, my imaginary purchases totalled over $500!!!  Seriously.

scotts push mowerYesterday, I made a purchase.  It’s one I’ve been considering for a while.  I bought a lawn mower.  Not just any lawn mower, a manual push mower.  I weighed all the pros and cons, and the answer was clear.  Buy it now.

Pros

  • Save $.  I’m saving $810 a year, as I had a yard service.  I’m not lazy, just busy.  Besides, my yard tools caught on fire several years ago and I just knew that was a sign from God to get a yard guy.  :)
  • Help global warming.  A typical gas-powered mower used for one hour is the same emissions equivalent of driving your car for 100 miles. (about.com)
  • Eco-friendly.  This shocked me.  More gas is spilled refueling mowers each year than the oil spill from the Exxon Valdez.  Wow. (EPA)  Continue reading

I’ve been inspired by packaging [day 28 & 29]

I’ve been inspired to create an art series, or maybe this will be a new addition to my Excessable series.  The extreme disposable excess in packaging baffles me.  In some cases, I understand where they’re coming from, however that equates to about 10% of my understanding.

mens-shirt-blank-canvasMen’s shirts.  I wrote a blog post about the ridiculous amount of packaging in men’s shirts.  It takes a good 10 minutes to take a shirt out of the package.  I’m thinking Whodini wouldn’t even be able to do it much quicker.

My idea is to use the shirt as my canvas.  I’ll attach all of the packaging to it to make info graphics to educate people about the waste.  Why buy a shirt that’s packaged like Fort Knox, using 13 different types plastic, paper and metal when you can just buy one off a hanger?  Then you can give the hanger back to the store for reuse?  Continue reading

Snack packs & disposable stuff I appreciate [day 27]

Honestly?  The challenge isn’t so bed.  Trying to blog it everyday?  That’s the difficult part. I think I need to do my challenges, take notes, then blog about the lifestyle changes.  OR, maybe I just don’t blog everyday.  OR, I micro blog with social media.

Today, I’ll add 3 photos.  It’s like a blog picture book.  I can do pictures.  😉

Here’s a disposable item I like.  Needles and syringes.  My recent trip to the doctors office made me think that there a few things that are good being disposable.

needles and syringes Continue reading

I need a magic pill… bottle [day 25 & 26]

pill-bottle-reuse-recycleI decided to bring my son’s pill bottle back to the pharmacy for a refill.  I had the new prescription, but I certainly didn’t need a new container.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.

When I arrived, I stood in line, not only with the empty pill bottle, but also the little paper bag they put it in.  That’s biodegradable, so I didn’t have to do that.  When I got to the counter, I briefly explained what I was doing and awaited a reply.  The lady working the counter wasn’t sure.  She turned and asked the pharmacist.  He said, “Sure.  We can take the label off and refill it.”  Yes, success!!!  Continue reading

Disposable stuff is art supplies [day 24]

art dumpsterYou know, I can complicate anything.  I didn’t have a blog post yesterday because I had written so much, I didn’t have the time to edit and organize it, much less find images for it.  Today is simple.  How much disposable stuff is imposed on us?  Receipts?  Flyers?  Napkins?  Bags?  Packaging?  Junk mail?  Magazines?  There’s a lot, although many retailers are now asking, “Would you like a receipt?” or “Would you like a bag?”  YES!  They get it.  Continue reading

Cast your vote for good [day 22 & 23]

The purpose of doing a challenge is to stretch our thinking and to initiate lifestyle changes for good purposes.  For that reason, I’m not too legalistic with my rules.  The idea is to make good and logical choices.  I have decided to make a small change in my shopping habits for the remainder of this challenge.

the-shiftThe Shift

I’m adding 100% recyclable packaging to my list of approved things to purchase.  Why?  Because it’s near impossible to live this way.  I could do it, but not with a full-time job and being a full-time single mom.  It’s not sustainable.  There are parts of it that are sustainable though.  This process is all about how to make some simple lifestyle changes that have a positive impact on our lives, the lives of others and our resources.  Continue reading

Random thoughts about disposable stuff [day 20 & 21]

I haven’t had much time to blog, but I have run into many crazy situations and learned a lot over the past few days.  Here are a few random things.

7I’m reading the book 7: Mutiny Against Excess.  (a) I should have written a book about all of my challenges and experiences.  Shane Claibourne is my hero too.  I also think the world will someday be like a scene from the Book of Eli.  (b)  This book very much parallels with this challenge.  It’s a really good read.  It will mess you up, in a good way.

space shipI wonder what the aliens think of us?  We’re a pretty wasteful society.  I guess their thoughts about planet earth may depend on where they land their spaceship.  America?  Africa?  Mexico?  Finland?

the-colony-tv-showA post-apocalyptic world.  My kids have started watching a new show called The Colony.  Yes, I know, 2009 is not new, but it’s new to us. We only have Netflix.  The program follows some people who must survive in a simulated post-apocalyptic environment.  No, I didn’t make them watch it.  They started watching it and insisted I watch it with them.  It’s a good follow-up to MacGyver, Pawn Stars and Mythbusters.  They have to live off waste and old junk.   Continue reading

Back in the day… [day 18 & 19]

On my recent road trip, I found so many interesting things to photograph.  Most of the interesting things were vintage or antique.  What’s the difference?  My boss asked that question on Facebook a few months ago.  Vintage is 7+ years old and antique is 50+ years old.  Just for the record, I’m still vintage.

Life has changed radically over the past few decades.  Here’s a few photos I found interesting.

vw bug slugbugSlug bug!  I just had to stop and take a photo of this VW Bug, sitting in front of an auto salvage yard.  It’s probably out front because people still love these little beauties.  Some turn them into art projects, some restore them and some use them for parts.

This car, brand new, back in 1969 cost about $1,800.  The same car now (44 years later, for those of you who hate math), brand new, costs $19,995 for the basic model.  A restored 1969 model in decent shape is in the $4,000 range.   Continue reading

Fast food without waste? [day 17]

I wonder when the fast food craze will end and the eco food will take over.  What?  It could happen.  Doing this challenge during a road trip was, well, a trip.  2,777 miles in 8 days.

map-start-route-66

I let my kids buy their own snacks and I didn’t make them participate in the challenge.  They did some of the time, and of their own free will, but I didn’t require it.  We mostly stopped at restaurants, not fast food places.  It’s pretty easy to keep with the challenge at sit-down places.  Our last trek home was a long one, and eating in the car was a good plan.   Continue reading

Halfway there and frustrated [day 16]

We’re about to hit the road again.  A challenge to use nothing disposable while travelling is really difficult.  There just aren’t any options for eating on the road.  Eating in the car would require prepackaged food, or having prepared things in advance.  Since this was an unplanned trip, for the most part, it was not on my radar to make travel snacks.

5ba0c05a8d0411e2914322000a1f984e_7My family and I visited my favorite restaurant in Wisconsin, LeDuc’s Custard Shop.  I brought in my supplies, so as not to use anything disposable.  They would not allow me to use any of it.  “Health department regulations.  Sorry, we just can’t do it.”  How does a national chain like Starbucks get away with it then?  They have accommodated every request in every state so far.

I think restaurants could to more to generate less waste.  I think as consumers, we could help the process by asking for alternatives.  If we all, on some small level, chose to not take all of the paper and plastic items when there’s a choice, that would make them rethink what is unnecessary.    Continue reading