Easy Green Tip of the Week

Since having a kid, it seems our laundry has increased many times over. Which is fine now, but a few months ago, it was driving us crazy! Which leads me to this week’s eco-tip:

Clean Out Your Dryer Vent

Our dryer was broken. Or so we thought. It was taking close to 2 hours to dry a load of wet clothes! It was frustrating to no end.

Then one day I got the bright idea to check the hose. It was fine. But the vent was being choked up by about an inch thick layer of lint. Doh!

Long story short, it took about ten minutes to correct a problem that had been driving us crazy for months. We were just a couple laundry days from going all “Office Space” on that dryer.

Crisis averted. We are no longer wasting loads of energy and loads of time just to dry a load of laundry. You can have all the energy stars you want on your dryer, but if the vent is clogged, it won’t make a lick of difference.

Now that the weather is starting to warm up, take ten minutes to check your dryer vent. It’ll save you energy, time, and potential trips to a psychotherapist.

Easy Green Tip of the Week

Bottled Water? Really?

In my opinion, there is no greater testament to the convenience-oriented, consumeristic society in which we live than bottled water. It’s easy, it’s cheap, it’s disposable, and it’s much better for you than sodas, right?

It’s water, folks!

I will admit, before I give the wrong impression, that if I am out and I get thirsty, I will buy the occasional bottle. But you won’t see my wife and me at the grocery store lugging 24 packs into our cart. Most of the time, the water from your tap is just as clean and filtered, if not more so, than your average bottle of water. In fact, many times it is bottled straight from municipal water sources! These companies are charging literally thousands of times the cost of tap water, for the same product.

Don’t even get me started on the damage done to the water table and the amount of plastic that winds up in the ocean because of the bottled water craze….

In the documentary Tapped, a spokesman for Dasani is interviewed. Coke pumps its water for Dasani straight out of the Atlanta municipal water supply, by the way. This guy is trying to make Coke’s product look better than tap by calling it a “healthy alternative.” I think the average person would interpret that to mean tap water is unhealthy, wouldn’t you?

Long story short: Buy a bottle. Fill up at home. You’ll save $$$$, and you will make less of an impact on the environment.

But what if your tap water does taste weird? Ours does here in Searcy. So we simply bought a Pur water filter that fits right on the faucet. One filter lasts close to three months and costs under about $7. In that same three months, we could have bought a 24 pack of bottled water every week and wasted roughly $50.

It’s a no brainer in my opinion.

Easy Green Tip of the Week

[Insert obligatory reference about Spring here]

Eco-Solutions: Spring Cleaning Edition

My wife is pretty amazing…make that pretty and amazing. She is always looking for ways to save us time and money. Now that we have a little person in our house that can’t read warning labels yet (not to mention two VERY curious cats), she has been finding ways to make our home safer.

So let’s hold on a second before bringing out the big guns for your Spring Cleaning. My wife has recently shared a link on her Facebook page which gives step-by-step instructions on making your own cheap, effective, and non-toxic cleaning kit.

The instructions are provided here at Care2 Make a Difference. You can make your own soft scrub (great in the bathrooms), your own all-purpose spray (awesome at cleaning up messy counter tops), window cleaner, etc.

Now you can freshen up your home without worry. Baking soda, washing soda, vinegar, and dish soap are the main ingredients in most of the products. Completely safe, environmentally friendly, and extremely inexpensive.

Happy cleaning!

Easy Green Tip of the Week

Water-Saving Shower Heads

I love a nice, steamy shower almost any time of the day. However, apartment living has basically forces us to endure small, inefficient water heaters. So a couple weeks ago, we decided to upgrade to this:

It’s the EcoFlow by WaterPik. It has several different settings, including a “Water Saving Trickle,” which actually has more pressure behind it than our old shower head. On the “trickle” setting, it sprays 2.0 gallons per minute (gpm). That’s down from 2.5 gpm with our last one.

It may not seem like that great of a difference, but over a 10 minute shower, you end up saving 5 gallons of water. Since both my wife and I take showers almost every day, that turns into a 10 gallon savings each day. This quickly adds up to 3,650 gallons of water per year! This $20 shower head should pay for itself in no time.

But if you want to save even more on your water and electric bill, there are shower heads that shoot as little as .5 gpm! I haven’t seen a detachable head with that low of a flow, but there are plenty of options out there.

In fact there are so many options available, I don’t know why you wouldn’t choose a low flow shower head! I love it when you can save some green by going green.


Yeah, can you believe someone actually made a movie about dirt? I started watching it the other day, but didn’t have time to finish it. The filmmakers and the interviewees shared some very interesting insights about the ground beneath our feet.

Did you catch the one guy in the trailer who said, “We are dirt”? As a matter of fact, fertile top soil contains pretty much all the building blocks of human life–carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, water, and various other elements and minerals. When any living organism dies, it is broken back down into these fundamental elements to become…dirt.

[This is where I’ll throw in this week’s eco-tip: Composting! Is simple, it’s green, and it will help replenish parched dirt or fertilize your own gardens. For some helpful ways to get started, check out these websiteshowtocompost.orgcomposting101.comcompostguide.com]

When God made humans, Genesis 2:7 says that He formed man out of the dust of the earth. When a person is dead, they are molecularly the same as when they were alive. Yet, the moment their heart stops beating, their bodies begin the decomposition process, which turns them back into dirt. It’s really the breath that makes all the difference.

God formed the first man from the dust of the earth, and then He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Breath. It’s a simple, unconscious action that we take for granted. We can live without water for a few days and without food for a few weeks. Yet we can only live a few minutes without breath. That breath you just took is the most essential thing we take into our bodies.

Okay….duh? So what’s the point?

In nearly every ancient language, be it Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, etc., the word for breath is the same word for spirit. English has two different words – spirit and breath. Yet to ancient peoples, spirit and breath were the same. When a person died, their spirit and their breath had departed from them. We think of it as a double meaning, yet to them, it was the same. It is the spirit that sustains life. Our physical bodies cannot survive apart from our spirits.

So what is it that separates us from dirt? Our spirits. The breath we just took is a taste of the divine, it is a gift from God. It is a physical manifestation of our spiritual reality. Apart from God’s Spirit, we have no true life in our bodies. The same held true in the valley of dry bones found in Ezekiel 37. And again, the same language is used in Acts 2 when the Spirit of God fills the room like a violent wind.

Breath is essential for our bodies to survive. But it is just as essential that our lives be filled with the breath of God. If not, then “all we are is dust in the wind.”

Easy Green Tip of the Week

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)

Over the past couple years, we have been switching out every single incandescent light bulb for the newer, more efficient CFL bulbs. While they do cost a bit more on the front end, the savings in your wallet and in the environment are huge over the long run.

Think about it. A 13 watt CFL produces the same (if not more) light as a 60 watt incandescent. By using 4 CFLs, we are still using less energy than 1 incandescent (13×4=52 watts).

In our apartment right now, we have 16 CFLs between 10 and 13 watts each. That means we are using roughly 200 watts to light up most of our apartment. With traditional bulbs, we would be using 960 watts!

According to cflbulbs.com:

Replacing a 75-watt incandescent bulb with a 20-watt CFL will reduce your consumption of electricity by roughly 550 kilowatt-hours — over the life of that bulb. In relation to a coal-fired power plant, this amounts to nearly 500 pounds of coal (about the size of a couple garbage cans) that didn’t need to be burned to power your bulb. That reduction translates to 1,300 pounds LESS carbon dioxide and 20 pounds LESS sulfur dioxide released into our atmosphere. This is one bulb. Multiply this by all the bulbs in your home, then by all the homes in your neighborhood — think of the savings. You’ll see how small, easy changes, can make a huge difference in the future of our planet.

Hesitant to make the switch? Well, the government is actually following in the footsteps of many European countries by phasing out the production and sales of incandescent light bulbs.


It is important to remember that CFLs are not the savior here. Really, they are just a stepping stone towards the LED bulbs which are even more efficient. LED bulbs can produce the same amount of light on just 2.5 watts! There are still some kinks to be worked out, and they are still extremely pricey (between $20-40 per bulb). But they contain no mercury (one drawback to the CFLs), and they can last for nearly 25 years!

As soon as they come down a bit in price, you can bet we’ll be switching over to LED. But for now, we can do our part by waving good-bye to this Edison-era relic.

Easy Green Tip for the Week

I just want to start off by saying that we are not perfect. I will not judge you if you have not converted to the CFL bulbs or if you don’t compost your dinner scraps.

I want to do these segments just as one family to another. We have been slowly taking steps to become more eco-friendly, which in turn is often bank-account-friendly, too! These are just some easy, simple, inexpensive steps that my family is taking to become more green.

Easy Green Tip for the Week:


I know it’s a bit cliche, but this is one of the easiest things to do! If you can throw garbage in the trash can, you can recycle. If you know the difference between plastic, paper, and metal, you can recycle. If you remove garbage bags from your home on a regular basis, you can recycle.

It’s a good feeling to know that we haven’t thrown a milk jug in the dumpster in over two years. You will be amazed at just the shear volume of garbage you used to throw away. We never realized how much paper and plastic we would go through on a weekly basis.

Recycling is part of the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Reduce the amount you consume in the first place. Reuse packaging when you can (we love reusing glass jars and cardboard boxes). Then recycle the rest.

It does take some commitment, dedication, and intentionality, but it is one of the easiest ways to make a huge impact on the world around you.

(Here’s a cool website if you have more questions. You can recycle things you never thought possible!)