Friday, December 23, 2011

Have a Happy Green Holiday Season!

Remember to recycle all the gift boxes you receive this holiday season, and check with your local authority to see if they recycle gift wrap. A lot of wrap that isn’t laminated and doesn’t contain sparkles or other non-paper add-ons can be recycled with your cardboard! And remember to have a Happy Green Holiday Season!
Warm Wishes,
The Happy Green Life Family

Our families carbon footprint update

It’s time to update you on my families progress in lowering our carbon footprint. Our family has been trying all kinds of new ways to save energy and lower our toxic output. One of my teachers introduced me to a great site
This site allows you to not only input your gas and energy consumption but lets you list the foods that your household eats, where you get your food, how much your shop, what type of car you have and how often your drive.
So, our family is doing a little better but we are still making more of a footprint then we would like. We are currently releasing 32.6 tons of carbon per year!
Another cool aspect of this website is that they give you suggestions how to change your footprint. Our household eats a lot of meat so it suggests that we cut down our consumption by half. If every American did this they would save 645 million global acres of land (that is 484 million football fields!). It suggests that we use public transportation to get to work at least one day. If every American did this we would save over 352 million global acres! Another major contributor to our footprint is my husband commuting to work. If my husband were to carpool half of the month we would save $832 a year and save 1.517 pounds of co2. If everyone were to do this it would be a saving of $83,200,000,000 and 151,700,000 pounds of co2. WOW that is an amazing savings!
We are definitely going to implement these changes; I will update you guys on our progress after the new year!
**Update: After viewing this post Kristin asked, “Why would eating meat reduce your carbon footprint?” Such a great question!! Cattle are a huge producer of methane which is one of the top greenhouse gasses responsible for climate change. So, less meat consumption means less gas in the atmosphere. It is obviously a naturally occurring gas that has been around since the beginning of time. But the last hundred years or so as the demand for meat has increased the gas has too. Plus cattle are responsible for the increase of top soil loss and deforestation.  BUT, meat taste great and is a staple in many of our family’s diets. So if you don’t want to go vegetarian eat your meat responsibly. Try to cut one meat mean out of your weak and buy your meat locally.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Moving is EXPENSIVE! There are so many costs associated with moving and they add up quick! We recently moved and I found a great way to save money and be more GREEN!

Moving boxes are one of the biggest costs of moving! At you can enter in the size of your house, years lived there and the number of adults to calculate how many boxes you will need to move. I used this tool and it suggests that we will need approximately 35 boxes of various sizes. (Although it did not take into account the mass quantity of books we own which took about 35 small book boxes alone!) There are many places you can purchase boxes from including: home improvement stores, moving truck rental locations and even storage facilities. To purchase a moving box kit of 35 boxes from one of these sources it would cost between $75-$100! WOW that is a lot of money!

So, how can you save money and the environment but still pack your house? Find boxes for FREE! I was able to find enough boxes through a couple of different sources. I discovered that many people post boxes for free on (this is also what I did after we were all moved in). This is the BEST idea I found! Simply type ‘moving boxes’ into the search engine and you will find many results, most of which will be free to pickup! Another way of course is to save the boxes you receive packages in. (I found that the post office flat rate boxes I received from deliveries came in very handy for packing books which can get too heavy very quickly!) Also, many retail, grocery and restaurants receive TONS of boxes in daily. It is possible to contact these local places and ask for boxes. I didn’t spend ANY money on boxes during our move – which saved us about $100. And when we finished unpacking the house, I listed the boxes on craigslist again.

Happy Green Moving!


Sunday, December 18, 2011


Ever wonder about what type of toxins are found in the area you live? You need to check out This is an amazing website that allows you to enter your zip code and then provides you with the toxin, air, water, and environmental justice facts for your community.
I put in the zip code for my neighborhood and found out that my county was ranked one of the dirties/worst 10% of all counties in the U.S. The site even provides you with a list of the top polluters in your community, the top polluter in my community released 63,620 lbs of hydrochloric acid into our community (this toxin creates acid rain and smog).
Looking at the site for my community I found that three of the top polluting companies had toxic spills that contaminated our local water ways-this is scary. It is especially scary because I didn’t know about this. I find that this is a major problem, people are not aware of the environmental problems in their communities. If we want to take care of our planet we all need to educate ourselves and become involved. I implore all of our readers to check out the site and find out how your community ranks, if you don’t like what you read take some action. Write your local governments about your concerns, if we don’t take action things will never change.


Saturday, December 17, 2011


We are so excited to start a compost pile! We have built our compost enclosure and started to add a mixture of things to it to get it started. Composting is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint, create incredibly rich soil for your garden and help you live your happy green life!

Starting a compost is simple by following these easy steps:

Size: A compost pile should be a minimum of 10 feet around and 3-5 feet tall. This allows it to have enough room to decompose properly by creating the proper temperature and air flow.

Location: This is very important! Make sure to pick a good location for your compost pile – away from common areas and play areas. Compost will have a mixture of decaying materials in it and will have that ‘compost’ smell – so you will want to put it somewhere out of whiff.

Materials: There are numerous ways you can create a compost area. You can simply start a neat pile and leave it as is to rotate and maintain. If you want to create a more defined area for it you can build one from plastic fencing or wood. You can also purchase a composting bin at your local hardware store.

What to Compost: Vegetation, grass clippings, leaves, fruits and veggies, paper, coffee grounds, and egg shells all add value to your compost pile. These items will lead to a nutrient rich soil to plant your garden in. Make sure to follow a ratio of 1:1 brown vegetation to green vegetation when creating your compost. Brown materials include leaves, manure, newspaper, cardboard. Green materials include hedge and grass clippings, coffee grounds and fruit and vegetable peals.

What NOT to Compost: Meat, dairy, eggs, pet feces. These items can attract rodents to your pile and will not add to your piles nutrients.

After you get your pile started you let it sit. It will get hot – between 90 and 140 degrees - and you should see steam coming from it! It is very important to turn your compost pile every 4-7 days.

Now that we have started our pile we are excited to see it work! We will update on the progress as it starts cooking and starts the magic of turning into dirt!
Happy Green Composting!

- Kristin