Burning bright…and clean

Did you know that traditional paraffin wax candles release the equivalent of diesel exhaust when they are burned?? I certainly didn’t…nor did I realize that the crude oil used to make a 16 oz paraffin candle contains enough energy to power a 60 watt light bulb for 100 hours!! I am now in the process of phasing out our current candles (I don’t want to just throw them away…that seems counterproductive) and slowly replacing them with beeswax and soy candles. They are made from renewable resources, and they burn 90 percent cleaner and 50 percent longer than their paraffin counterparts. So you are being greener on both ends! My trusty little green book assures me that if 100 households replaced just one 8 oz petroleum-based candle with a beeswax or soy candle, the energy saved could keep the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lit 24/7 from Thanksgiving until the 4th of July!!

Now for my March challenge and February challenge update. My goal of using reusable bags for all shopping did not go as well as I had hoped. I am doing much better now-we are on vacation, and I don’t have my reusable bags, so when we went to the grocery store today I bought a 99 cent one to use for the trip. However, during the month of February I did not have my bags with me, and used plastic frequently. I did attempt to decrease the effect of this by shoving as much into one bag as possible, declining bags if I only had a few things, and recycling the plastic bags I did take. I am looking forward to getting back into the habit of making that the exception though!

For March, I have a new goal-eliminating paper towels from my daily life! They are handy little tools I admit…but there are other options. I stopped using paper towels to clean the house a while ago-I use rags now. I am also going to start using cloth napkins (which means I get to buy some fun ones-bonus!), and using the sponge for daily cleaning around the kitchen. Can anyone think of other ways to reduce their paper towel use? If you need some motivation, how about this: if every household in the US reduced their paper towel use by three rolls per year, it would save 120,000 tons of waste, and $4.1 million in landfill dumping fees. That’s a lot of benefit for very little effort!

Has anyone else made any changes recently to decrease their carbon footprint? Let us know how you are doing!

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3 Responses to Burning bright…and clean

  1. Dad says:

    Very cool Dawn, I didn’t know any of that info. I did ask for paper at the grocery store several time this month. Also I forgot to ask several times. It’s a senior thing.

  2. Kelly says:

    NOOOOOOO!!!!! I heard sponges are very bad…..unless of course you wash them in the dishwasher or washing machine after each use….I also think you can put them in the microwave. No exactly sure if is this accurate but I am pretty sure. We are inserviced on infection control every year at the group home and we are absolutely not allowed to use sponges for cleaning. I hardly ever buy paper towels. I invested in kitchen wash cloths and that is what i use. I just throw them in the laundry when I am done.

    I too have been bad when it comes to the recyclable plastic bags. I did get a recycle bin yesterday so I hope that will help me get on the greener side of life.

    • Dawn Whiting says:

      You are absolutely right…sponges have been found to carry a lot of bacteria. I have tried anti-bacterial sponges…I have no idea if they actually work or not, but it makes me feel better. I am actually a fan of dish rags too. That’s great that you got a recycling bin! Are the kids on board?

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