Category Archives: Green Home

10 Ways to Save Water When You’re Already Hard Core About Reducing Your Water Consumption

Here are 10 tips that can save between 5,000 to 50,000 gallons of water a year even if you’re already conscientious about reducing your water consumption.

You use low flush toilets, turn off the tap when you brush your teeth, water the yard in the early morning and use a low-flow showerhead—just to name a handful of the wonderful things you do to conserve water. Kudos to you! You’re already doing everything you can to reduce your water consumption. There’s nothing left to do!

I thought the same thing myself until our kitchen sink got clogged. When you have to bail your own sink, you quickly realize just how much water you’re using to wash a few dishes and how little you can actually get by with. Living in California (now in its second year of a severe drought), I knew I could do better so I challenged myself to conserve even more water.

We’d already done the obvious things, so I had to get creative to come up with more ways to reduce my water consumption. Admittedly, it takes more effort and it does cramp your lifestyle a little bit. However, you won’t need to abstain from showering so you won’t be walking around covered in dirt and smelling like ripe summer ;).

WARNING: These tips ain’t for Eco-posers! While I don’t find them onerous at all, the average person probably wouldn’t bother. However, if you’re reading this article, you’re probably not average! Heck, you may even have better tips than me for saving water! And if you do, please share them in the comments below.

1. Turn Off the Shower

Water Saved Per Year: 1,825 to 43,880 gallons

save water in the shower

Forget the 5-minute shower. If you’ve got hair, that’s not possible. Instead, you can spend as long as you want in the shower. The catch? You can’t have the water running the whole time. Turn it off when you’re soaping up, shampooing, conditioning and/or shaving. Only turn it on to rinse. That’ll get a 5-minute shower down to three minutes of running water.

A low-flow showerhead cuts your water consumption to 2.5 gallons per minute as opposed to the usual 5 to 10 gallons. If you take a 10-minute shower, that’s 25 gallons. If you take a 5-minute shower, that’s 12.5 gallons. If you take a 3-minute shower, you are rockin’ it at 7.5 gallons per shower. Assuming one shower per day, that’s a savings of 1,825 gallons per year. Water savings are much more if you have a regular showerhead. For example, if you normally take a 15-minute shower at 10 gallons per minute, you’ll save 120 gallons per shower or a whopping 43,800 per year!

2. Capture Your Shower Water

Water Saved Per Year: 365 to 730 gallons

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There’s another way to save water in the shower. Keep a rustproof watering can in your shower. While you’re waiting for the water to warm up, fill up the watering can and use this to water plants or even wash your car with one bucket of water (see #9 below).

Even if your watering can holds just one gallon of water, you’ll save 365 gallons a year. Stick a 2-gallon container in the shower and you’ll save 730 gallons!

3. One Pot of Water for Dishes

Water Saved Per Year: 730 gallons

save water when washing dishes

Try the “One Pot Challenge” for washing dishes. When you think you’re using very little water to wash dishes, this challenge is an eye-opener. Often, you’ll use several times the volume of what your washing to actually wash it.

Place a large pot under the tap and try to wash all your dishes without filling the pot. When you capture the water run off in a pot, you’ll be surprised to see how much water is actually running down the drain. Make it a game to wash a load of dishes without filling your pot full.

You’ll likely reduce your water consumption to at least a third of what you were using before. That’s a potential savings of at least 2 gallons a day and probably much more.

4. Reuse the Rinse Water

Water Saved Per Year: 182.5 gallons

how to save water at home

Keep a flower vase next to the kitchen sink. As you rinse your dishes, capture the “clean” rinse water into the vase. By clean, I mean the water without chunks of food. It can either be clear rinse water or sudsy water. Then, when you have pots or pans to soak, you can use the water from the vase.

Assuming an average of one pot or pan to soak per day (this is a very conservative estimate), you’ll save at least a half gallon per day for a savings of 182.5 gallons a year.

5. Stretch out the Dishwasher

Water Saved Per Year: 243 to 365 gallons

low water dishwasher

Okay, the debate is on whether a dishwasher saves water. If you’re doing the “One Pot Challenge” wash, then it’s probably not efficient to use the dishwasher. However, if you’ve got a family and lots of dishes, you’re very likely tempted to use the dishwasher.

If that’s the case, you can stretch out how often you run the dishwasher by washing the occasional glass or dish. When you look at your dishwasher rack, you’ll see that it actually doesn’t hold that much. By washing dishes by hand occasionally (using very little water), you can probably skip a day of turning on your dishwasher.

If you run your dishwasher every other day, skipping a day will let you run it every three days, a reduction of 50%. A typical dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water per cycle whereas the average Energy Star dishwasher uses about 4 gallons per cycle. If you cut your use to once every three days, you’ll be running it 121.67 times per year vs. 182.5.

That’s a reduction of 60.83 cycles per year or a savings between 243 and 365 gallons per year depending on how much your dishwasher uses per cycle.

6. The No Flush Toilet

Water Saved Per Year: 1,401 to 7,665 gallons

low flow toilet

Flush for #2 and don’t flush for #1. Hey, I did tell you this wasn’t for Eco-posers. Have a box of baking soda handy and sprinkle it in the bowl and keep the lid closed to take care of odours.

If your water has a high mineral content, you may get a mineral build-up ring in your toilet bowl that is a bitch to scrape off. You can either vigorously scrub regularly or ignore it. If it does build up, you can remove it by placing toilet paper soaked in CLR on the ring for the time directed in the instructions. This will help to remove the ring.

Let’s assume you pee three times a day.

Older toilets can use 3.5, 5, or even up to 7 gallons of water with every flush. Federal plumbing standards now specify that new toilets can only use up to 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF), and there are high efficiency toilets that use up to 1.28 GPF.” (Source: conserveh2o.org)

That means you’re saving between 1.28 gallons to 7 gallons per flush for a total savings between 1,401 to 7,665 gallons per year.

7. Wash Your Hands With a Drizzle

Water Saved Per Year: 383 to 602 gallons

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When you soap up your hands, turn the tap off. While you rinse, turn on a trickle of water as opposed to your usual amount. How much water you save will depend on the flow rate of your tap. The standard water flow  is 2.2 gallons per minute or 1.5 gallons if you use a WaterSense labelled faucet.

This means if you turn the tap to only half the regular flow, you’ll save between 0.7 gallons to 1.1 gallons per minute. Assuming you wash your hands three times a day at 30 seconds each wash, that’s a savings of 383 to 602 gallons per year.

8. Use a Smaller Glass for Brushing Your Teeth

Water Saved Per Year: 28 gallons

save water in bathroom

Many people use big plastic cups to hold their toothbrushes and then fill the cups up with water when brushing their teeth. And, of course, they don’t use all of the water in the cup to rinse, just a fraction of it and the rest goes down the drain.

If you use a smaller glass, you’ll fill it up less by default. That’s less water going down the drain. Assuming you brush your teeth at least twice a day and you reduce the water going down the drain by 10oz/day, that’s 28 gallons per year, the equivalent of about 5 to 7 dishwasher loads.

9. The One Bucket Car Wash

Water Saved Per Year: 105 to 621 gallons

use less water when washing car

If you don’t have a car all, good for you. You probably don’t have kids or you live in an urban environment with fantastic public transportation. For everyone else, you can save gallons of water a year by washing your car yourself with just one bucket of water.

  1. Give your car a 10-second misting so that the surface is wet.
  2. Then pour some eco-friendly car detergent into a bucket as directed. Add water to the bucket, filling it just under half full (about 2 gallons).
  3. Dip the mitt into the soapy water and use the mitt to hand scrub your car.
  4. For hubcaps, do those last. Dip a small scrubbing brush into the water and use a little elbow grease to scrub your rims. Rinse with a blast of water for 5 seconds per hubcap.
  5. When you have finished scrubbing your entire car, give it a quick 10-second rinse with the hose.

In total, you’ll only use the water in the bucket and the amount that you sprayed on the car. You can get fancy to calculate how much water flows through your hose or guesstimate an average flow rate of 10 gallons per minute. If you follow the above directions, that’s about 40 seconds of water flow for a total of 6 gallons, plus 2 gallons in the bucket, for a total of 8 gallons of water.

Whoa! Quite a lot of water to wash a car even if you’re a Scrooge about it. That’s why you can also reduce how often you wash your car to about once a month. Not that attractive, but it’ll suffice.

However, compared to taking your car to the car wash, you’re saving anywhere from 26 to 112 gallons per wash. See the stats below:

Some friction in-bay automatic systems use approximately 35 gallons per vehicle, and a high-volume in-bay site could average 100 cars a day. Other in-bay automatics, employing the high-pressure touchless method, use 70 gallons per vehicle. A tunnel car wash with a moderate amount of high-pressure applications could use 120 gallons of water per vehicle.” (Source: Auto Laundry News)

Let’s assume you only wash your car 6 times a year. With the numbers from above, you’ll save 105 to 621 gallons per year.

10. Refuse the Water at Restaurants

Water Saved Per Year: 3 gallons

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In the interest of service, many restaurant servers will bring you a giant glass of water. If you ask them not to fill your glass or to bring you water, you’ll save about 1 glass per restaurant visit. Let’s say you eat out once a week. That’s 52 glasses a year or about 3 gallons per year.

Okay, admittedly this one doesn’t save that much water, but when you’re already a water saving superstar, every extra drop counts. The value in this is actually in sharing water saving with others.

When your friends, family or the server sees you doing this, you can open up the conversation to talk about water conservation and share some of your fave tips for reducing water use. It’s the power of the multiplier effect that will ultimately make the biggest difference in reducing water consumption. You can help start the conversation and encourage people to save water right now by clicking one of the buttons below to share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or more. Mother Earth thanks you!

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5 Eco-Friendly Cat Beds That Your Cat Will Love

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly cat bed for your cat, here are five pawsome and attractive cat beds made from everything from recycled wine barrels to organic cotton cat beds.

Finicky felines often turn their noses up at fancy cat beds, but they sure do love sleeping in cardboard boxes. Have you ever considered that your cat may find the off-gassing smells of synthetic fabrics simply off-putting? It’s like the new car smell, only your cat is supposed to sleep in it. No wonder she prefers the box!

Years ago, I wrote a post on eco-friendly cat beds and was hard-pressed to find any specifically designed for cats. Thank goodness times have changed. Now, you can find a wide assortment of eco-friendly cat beds from country cozy to fancy stlyin’ in a mix of materials and sizes. Here are 5 eco-friendly cat beds that your feline friend will love.

1. Recycled Wine Barrel Cat Bed

recycled wine barrel cat bed
Handmade from a retired wine barrel, this cozy casket is a perfect place for your cat to curl up and nap. It’s a one-of-a-kind find as each barrel is unique in size and color. The wine barrel pet bed also comes with a comfy cushion sized to fit the barrel. Find it and other wine barrel creations at WineyGuys.

2. Rescue Wool Felt Cat Bed Area Rug

When it comes to green cred, this cat bed area rug isn’t pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes. This 100% wool cat mat is made from wool that has been sourced from from animal rescue sanctuaries or family farms in the United States.

organic wool cat bed

Because the wool comes from rescue sheep, it’s a unique melange of all types of wool including romney wool, merino wool, churro wool, wool locks, white wool, brown wool, black wool, grey wool, and organic wool. The great thing about wool is it helps keep pets cool in the summer and warm in the winter, plus it naturally has antibacterial properties.

While it doesn’t look like a typical cat mat, if you imagine you’re a cat, this is a dream bed. Find it at FeltBetter’s Etsy shop.

3. Organic Hemp Cat Bed

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This natural and organic cat bed is made from 100% organic cotton and hemp. Not only is the removable cover eco-friendly, the padding is also natural. The bed is filled with natural fibres from kapok trees.

This organic hemp pet bed can be found on DebBedOrganics Etsy shop, where you can also find organic hemp and cotton pet duvets.

4. Organic Cotton Cat Mat

organic cat matThis organic cat mat is made from 100% organic cotton canvas, which provides a super soft surface for your cat to nap on. The bottom surface is made from eco-twill which is a blend of organic cotton and recycled polyester. You can choose this design or custom order a cat mat at Kentucky Bluebird’s Etsy store.

5. West Paw Design Eco Nap Cat Mat

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The Eco Nap Cat mat is handcrafted in the USA by West Paw Design. It comes in a rainbow of colours and is made from IntelliLoft® both inside and out. This eco-friendly fiber is derived entirely from recycled plastic bottles. It’s comfy and easy to care for. Simply throw it in the wash. Visit Amazon to order your Eco Nap Cat mat
.

Cat-Shaped Bamboo Cutting Board

Here’s something for the green cat lover. If you love cats and want a whimsical way to show off your love of cats, this cat-shaped bamboo cutting board from A Pet Project, will make a purrfect statement in your kitchen.

Made from eco-friendly bamboo, this cat silhouette cutting board is a convenient medium-sized cutting board that would be great for serving cheese or chopping up veggie sticks.

CatBambooCuttingBoard

Did you know that bamboo cutting boards are actually harder than most wood cutting boards? I’ve been using bamboo cutting boards for years and I find even the sharpest knifes will not cut deeply into the board. However, despite being so durable, bamboo cutting boards tend to be lighter and thinner than traditional wood chopping blocks.

If you’re a dog lover, A Pet Project also offers six dog-friendly styles too. From cartoon dog silhouettes to breed specific designs, and even a cute dog bone, you’re sure to find a homey addition for your eco-friendly kitchen.

To check out all of their cat and dog-shaped bamboo cutting boards, you can find them on Amazon.com. They’re a great deal at under $10 each!

Published: • More Like This: Green Home

Did You Know You Can Compost Cat Litter?

I bought a home composter a couple of years ago and part of what I had to mix in with the compost included wood pellets. They looked suspiciously a lot like the organic wheatgrass cat litter I used to buy, so it got me wondering if it was the same thing. Can you use compost cat litter?

Well, I found out the answer to this question when I received a recent press release about Swheat Scoop® Natural Clumping Litter. Similar to wood pellets, Swheat Scoop is made from a renewable, biodegradable, plant-based resource—namely wheat.

The folks at Swheat Scoop included a few tips on how to compost cat litter, so I thought I’d share them with you. Here they are:

1. Clean the litter box regularly

  • It’s recommended that you scoop twice a day to encourage your cat to use the box regularly and also to keep  the remaining, non-soiled litter clean and fresh.
  • When it’s time to replace the litter (it’s recommended that the litter box be fully emptied, cleaned and refilled once a month), the residual litter can be added to the compost pile meant for enriching decorative gardens with flowers, shrubs, trees and other plants not intended for consumption. DON’T USE the cat litter compost  in vegetable gardens.

2. Sort your waste

  • To yield the most successful compost, you must have the right “ingredients.” If you’re composting indoors you’ll want a compost bin, which may require you to add water periodically. An outdoor compost pile will naturally receive the appropriate amount of moisture from the ground and the rain.
  • Materials you can add to the compost pile or container include:
    • Non-protein food scraps
    • Plant, vegetable, fruit or grass cuttings
    • Eggshells
    • Grains
    • Coffee grains (this balances the compost’s pH levels, which helps manage odors and encourages a faster compost cycle)
  • Items to sift or discard from your compost are:
    • Meat or fish
    • Dairy
    • Grease
    • Plastics or plastic-coated paper products

3. Maintain and enjoy the spoils, literally

  • Add your “ingredients” as they become available and turn your compost pile regularly (once a day is recommended). Over time, the materials will break down and begin to look like rough-textured soil, that’s when it’s ready to add to your ornamental gardens!

Based on these recommendations on composting cat litter, it occurred to me that I don’t need to bother buying wood pellets to mix with my compost. All I need to do is add cat litter and I could probably use clean litter straight out of the bag. Happy composting with cat litter!

Scientists: Ubiquitous Household Chemical Could Be Killing Cats

For your cat’s health and happiness, please go as green as you can. I recently came across this article about a government study that found a “significant association” between hyperthyroidism in cats and certain flame retardants.

Basically, the flame retardant that’s sprayed on your furniture, carpet and CHILDREN’S CLOTHING is linked to the death of cats from thyroid issues.

To learn more, read the article on Komonews.com, Scientists: Ubiquitous Household Chemical Could Be Killing Cats.

I know it’s tricky and sometimes even overwhelming to be green and find what’s best for you and your pet. Let’s face it. No matter what chemical cesspool may be lurking in our homes, it’s simply not realistic or feasible to toss out the sofa or rip out all the carpet.

So instead of feeling overwhelmed and doing nothing, what I recommend is to start making small changes so that you can find a balance that works for both you and your cat. For some great greening ideas, check out my 30-Day Green Cat Challenge.

Win a Joe Jacket Reusable Coffee Cup and Beverage Sleeve

Joe Jacket ReviewIt seems fitting that I’m writing this post while sitting in a coffee shop. Of course, I’ve got my reusable travel mug beside me. And it’s the reason why I originally declined an offer from Joe Jacket to review their reusable beverage sleeve. However, when they asked again, I suggested I would give it to a friend to try out and they sent me one of their adorable Pet Couture sleeves with a darling kitty print.

The Joe Jacket is a reusable beverage sleeve that comes in a cat or paw-print design. It’s made out of neoprene, which helps to insulate hot cups, ceramic and steel tumblers, and cold drinks, including plastic tumblers and sports drinks. Using a reusable sleeve can help save our landfills from billions of pounds of trash from traditional throw away paper cup sleeves.

I have something to confess. I kept the sleeve and I’ll tell you why. Right after I said I didn’t need one, I found myself at the coffee shop twice in a month, needing a tea, but I had forgotten my travel mug. Let’s face it, that big steel tumbler is not the most convenient thing to tote around. Luckily, I had my Joe Jacket reusable sleeve handy. It’s small and stores flat, so it fits easily into a glove box, a purse or the pouch of a backpack.

When I used the sleeve for the first time, the barrista exclaimed, “Oh it has cats on it!” Yes, the sleeve is THAT cute — and now you have a chance to win one!

How to Enter the Giveaway

  1. Like our Facebook page
  2. Leave a comment under the Joe Jacket picture at the top. Tell us which design you prefer (the cat print or the paw print) and why.

When you leave a comment, Facebook lets me get in touch via the the thread and that’s how I’ll be able to get in touch with the winner. One person will be chosen by random as the winner by March 15, 2013. Please note that you do need to live in the U.S. or Canada to be eligible to win.



CLICK HERE TO LIKE OUR PAGE

Stacking Up Catty Stacks: Eco-Friendly Cat Furniture That Looks Good Too!

Green Little Cat recently had the opportunity to review Catty Stacks, stackable, eco-friendly cat furniture. We were lucky to get the inside scoop from Catty Stacks’ creator, Frank Callari.

Furball loves cardboard boxes as much as any cat–and so does my preschooler. Boxes are cozy, great for hide-and-seek and basically, you can imagine them to be whatever you want. So what’s not to love?

Well, they’re butt ugly for one thing. When we were in full-on box mode, my living room looked like the packing department for Amazon. I once had someone ask me when I was moving, that’s how bad it was.

When guests came over, I’d frantically grab all the boxes and stack them in a corner. I couldn’t throw them out because my kid would notice if even one out of the ten boxes went missing.

Frank Callari, creator of Catty Stacks eco-friendly cat furniture, experienced some of the same frustrations when he got the idea for making Catty Stacks. In his words:

“The idea for Catty Stacks was born out of necessity. I am very particular with aesthetics, so I wanted to find something that would not be an eye-sore in my living room. I set out to find the most beautiful cat furniture on the market and was very disappointed in just about all of my options. Not only are most cat trees ugly, but they are also bulky, heavy, and expensive.”

It was during the holiday season that Frank noticed that his cats, Tito and Stains, loved all of the big boxes that arrived when he was buying gifts. As a result, he got crafty, cut doors, started stacking and built a kitty castle. But, he still had a few problems.

Frank said, “My cats were thrilled, but there remained several fundamental problems with what I was doing. First, regular boxes and duct tape remained ugly and was nothing that I cared to display in my living room. Next, the whole process of cutting, stacking, and securing was very time consuming. Lastly, most of the regular boxes that I was using would not last very long, as they would eventually collapse from the big boy jumping up and down while chasing his smaller sister.”

Over a couple of years, Frank created many prototypes until the final Catty Stacks eco-friendly furniture was born. He created sturdy, modular, easy-to-assemble boxes that could be stacked in a multitude of ways and rearranged whenever your cat (or you) got bored.

Most importantly, Catty Stacks are damn fine looking. They blend attractively with your decor, without making your living room look like the loading dock at UPS. Catty Stacks are also eco-friendly. They’re made with post-consumer recycled fiber, printed with vegetable-based inks and they’re 100% recyclable.

Frank was kind enough to offer to send us a couple of Catty Stacks to review. When I told him my kid would probably fight with the cat to play with them, Frank generously sent an additional two boxes for my son.

My preschooler was enthralled with Catty Stacks

When the Catty Stacks arrived, both Furball and my son were so excited. Assembly was a breeze, even with a “helpful” preschooler. As I predicted, my son hogged the box for a few hours before Furball finally got a turn to play. In terms of the fuzzy review of Catty Stacks, let’s just say Furball loved his Catty Stacks. The box was a safe little cocoon for him to hide in and when I poked a wand toy inside, he was in kitty heaven.

Furball finally gets his turn and loves it inside the Catty Stack

Most importantly, I can proudly display the eco-friendly Catty Stacks in full view without upsetting my sense of design aesthetics. Now, if only there was something that could make the children’s toys scattered all over the living room look good…

Catty Stacks are available in five fashionable and eco-friendly colours including Sky Blue, Chocolate Brown, Snow White, Pistachio Green, and Tickled Pink. And, you can buy them individually so that you can create the purrfect cat home in your home. You can find Catty Stack on Amazon for under $15.

Disclosure: The link to Amazon is an affiliate link. If you choose to make a purchase, I will receive a teeny tiny commission of about 60 cents. I’m sharing this link not because of the commission, but because Catty Stacks are an awesome eco-friendly alternative to ugly boxes and overpriced “Made in China” cat furniture. Your support also helps me to continue growing this site and sharing eco-friendly news and ideas with the world. Thank you.

How to Create a Homemade Holiday Card From Old Greeting Cards

Transform an old Christmas card into a holiday scene of a cat or dog eagerly awaiting the treats inside their stocking. Here’s how to make your own homemade greeting card.

What You’ll Need:

  • A blank greeting card made from recycled paper OR old cardstock OR an old file folder or something similar
  • An old Christmas card
  • Scissors
  • A tiny square of corrugated cardboard
  • Non-toxic glue or tape
  • Scissors
  • Marker or pen

1. Create Your Canvas
Use a blank greeting card made from recycled paper as your creative canvas. I’ve found them at Michael’s. For the card featured here, I used some old cardstock that my mother-in-law was saving for my nieces for arts and crafts projects. You can also make your own card blank by cutting an old file folder into a the shape of a card.

2. Make a Colourful Rug
make homemade greeting cardMeasure the width of your blank card and use this measurement to cut out a trapezoid from an old Christmas card. You can also cut one out of old wrapping paper. Why a trapezoid and not a rectangle? The angle will help to create more movement and interest in your final design.

3. Make a Stocking
A simple sock-shape can be turned into a stocking. Feel free to cut one out freehand or if you’d prefer, draw an outline on the back of the old Christmas card for you to cut out. Just remember that the finished stocking will be a reverse image from what you draw.

4. Make a Pet Silhouette in Duplicate
To create your cat, do an online search for “cat sitting silhouette.” Alternately, if you want to feature fido, search for “dog sitting silhouette.” Trace or print the silhouette onto a sheet of paper and then use this as a pattern to cut out TWO shapes.

I held up the paper to my computer screen and traced the outline using a washable marker. DON’T DO THIS AT HOME unless you are sure that you won’t dent your screen by pressing too hard with the marker AND you’re also sure that the marker will not bleed through the paper onto your screen. If you’re not sure, just print it out.

Use your tracing to draw and cut out TWO identical cat shapes (or dog shapes if you’re making a dog card).

5. Arrange Your Holiday Scene

Before pasting anything down, arrange your shapes on your card so that your cat (or dog) is sitting on the rug and looking at the stocking. Paste down the rug, the stocking and ONE cat (or dog). You should still have one pet outline remaining.

6. Make it Pop Out in 3D

how to make a homemade greeting cardTo create a 3D effect of your cat (or dog) ready to jump off the card, cut out a tiny square of corrugated cardboard. This you can definitely find by raiding your recycling bin. My mother-in-law’s happened to be empty, so I cut a sliver off the inside of the box she used for storing old Christmas cards and you can’t even notice it’s gone. That’s how small this piece should be. You will affix this to the back of the remaining pet silhouette.

Now paste the second cat (or dog) on top of the previous. Place it just a smidge offside of the original to create the 3D effect.

7. Add a Holiday Greeting
Use the marker or pen to add a holiday greeting to the front of card. Lay it out in your mind’s eye first so that there’s enough room to write your entire greeting. Note: Some markers may smudge or not write well on the cardstock. If you think that might be the case, simply skip the greeting on the front of the card and start writing your words of love inside your homemade greeting card.

A Delightfully Creative Way to Upcycle

Green Little Cat reader, Laurie, sent us this picture of her cats’ newest pawsome hangout. She used her creative flair to transform an old speaker into a fun place for her cats to play and catch a catnap. Check out how much her cats are enjoying their new space.

Here’s what Laurie had to share about upcycling:

I used a very old and not working speaker….you know those coffee table size ones. I took the speakers out of the box, cleaned it up a bit, then used some extra carpet and wrapped it around the outside of the box. The holes the where the speakers were are great for playing hide and seak or to just curl up for a catnap.

The possibilities are endless with the different size and shapes of the old speakers. I can vision a whole wall of them attached with some old lumber…like a walking plank from one to another and zig zag up a wall.

Want 15 minutes of fame for your kitty?

Let’s shine the spotlight on your cat—she/he deserves it! Simply send us your creative green tip and a photo of your cat(s) to furball [at] greenlittlecat.com. We’ll publish all the pawsome ideas that we receive.

Published: • More Like This: Green Home

Where to Recycle Stuff

Eco-friendly cat
I always find that the new year is the perfect time for reflection and new beginnings. In fact, it was on New Year’s Day 2009 that I decided to make a gift to the planet by challenging myself to find one new way each day for 30 days to make my cat’s lifestyle just a little bit greener.

The kick-off of my 30-Day Green Cat Challenge really helped to launch GreenLittleCat.com and promote greener living for cats and cat lovers around the world.  This year, I wanted to share some of my favourite ways to help you de-clutter your home and welcome 2012 with fresh and open energy.

While this list for where to give away and recycle stuff is mainly geared for us humans, I hope you’ll find it useful for starting your new year off on a green foot.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Your Stuff Here:

1. Cat Food

  • If the food hasn’t expired and hasn’t been opened, do a web search for a “pet food bank” in your town or city.  They’ve been popping up all over the country in recent years as people ride out the economic shifts.
  • If you have a large bag of opened dry food that your cat won’t eat, that’s a little trickier to give away. Many people would recommend not giving it away, but there are people out there who don’t have the money to feed their cats and would welcome the food. If you do decide to give the food away, there always seems to be someone on Craigslist who will gladly take just about anything you have to give away.

2. Old Towels and Blankets

  • Contact your local animal shelter to donate your old towels and blankets.  They’ll use them as bedding or to wrap animals up to keep them warm and comfortable.

 3. Where to Donate Used Books

  • Some libraries will accept used books.
  • If you have paperbacks, try posting them on PaperBackSwap.com.  It’s like a giant online book swap meet.
  • Gently used books for young children are welcomed by Project Night Night, which gives books, blankets and stuffed animals to homeless children.
  • Women’s shelters that support families are also a good place to donate books for kids of all ages.

4. Old DVDs and CDs

  • SwapaCD and SwapaDVD are sister sites for PaperBackSwap.com.
  • Children’s DVDs can be donated to Kid Flicks.  They’ll take the DVDs that your kids have outgrown to creates movie libraries for children’s hospitals and pediatric wards across the U.S.

5. Stuffed Animals

  • While we’re on the topic of kid’s stuff, gently used stuffed animals can be given to Stuffed Animals For Emergencies (SAFE).  SAFE gives your stuffed animals to children during emergency situations such as fires, illness, accidents, neglect, abuse, homelessness and even weather emergencies.  They’ll take your baby blankets too.
  • A local women’s shelter may also be a good place to donate stuffed animals.  I was making a donation of household goods and had a bag of stuffed animals in my car to drop off at Goodwill.  When the women’s shelter worker saw the stuffed animals, she was so happy to scoop them up and told me that they give them to children and to rape victims to help comfort them.

 6. Where to Recycle Cell Phones and MP3 Players

  • Target stores have recycling stations for used cell phones and MP3 players.  They’ll also take your inkjet cartridges, but I like taking mine to Staples (see below).

7. What to Do With Your Used Inkjet Cartridges

  • Inkjet cartridges are worth money to you if you take them to your local Staples store.  When you join their rewards program, Staples will give you 2 Staples rewards dollars for each inkjet cartridge you bring in (up to a maximum of 10 cartridges a month).

8. Where to Recycle Used Brita Filters and Number 5 Plastics

  • Look for a “Preserve” recycling bin at any Whole Foods to drop off your Brita filters and number 5 plastics.

9. Produce from Your Backyard

  • When your friends and relatives start crying, “No, thank you” to that second bag of tomatoes, check out AmpleHarvest.org to get connected with a local food bank in search of fresh produce.
  • In Northern California, if you’ve got fruit trees, Village Harvest will send out volunteers to pick your trees and will donate any excess fruit that you don’t want.

10. Office and School Supplies

  • iLoveSchools.com has a donor board where you can post books, computers and home office equipment, electronics, and office supplies.  Teachers login to the site and check the board for stuff they can use in their classrooms.

11. Odds and Ends

  • Freecycle.org is my go to place for giving away stuff I no longer need (e.g. IKEA lamps, extra tealight candles, tire chains, etc.).  They have local chapters so you know that people aren’t driving 50 miles to pick up your 5 issues of Bicycling magazine.
  • Here are a couple Freecycle tips:  First, give your stuff to the person who writes a friendly and articulate email to you, not the first person to say, “I want it.”  The polite people are the ones who show up on time to pick up your stuff.  Second, leave the stuff outside of your door with a note on it so that people can pick it up at their convenience (and yours too).
  • If no one on Freecycle wants your cat drinking fountain, there’s always Craigslist!

So, there you have my best recycling, give away and donation suggestions for 2012.  You’re ready to start your clean sweep for the new year!

Wishing you a happy, healthy and abundant 2012,

Holly and Furball


Green Little Cat is the only blog that's all about eco-friendly ideas for cats and cat lovers. This blog is a labor of love, created by Holly Tse, author of Make Your Own Cat Toys.
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