Green Fatigue?

According to this article in Ad Age, American consumers seem to be suffering from a bit of “green fatigue”. In the past 52 weeks, sales of bottled water ROSE 4% after a steady decline. The purchase of in-home water filtration devices declined in the last quarter. Consumers complained about the noisy compostable SunChips bags until Frito Lay finally decided to do away with them. Clorox Green Works only saw an increase in sales after reducing the prices of its products 17%.  On the other end of the spectrum traditionally green companies such as Method, Seventh Generation, and Mrs. Myers are seeing a slight bump in sales.

The rest of the article deals with the marketing aspect, but it got me to thinking. When I’m in the store, what keep me from buying the “green” product. There are a few things. First and foremost, cost is very important. The next few months are going to be really tight around here and I can’t afford to spend $5 more for less product. I’m sure that I’m  no different than many other Americans.  What seems like just a few bucks adds up and effects my bottom line.

Another issue that I’ve had is when I have bought green cleaning products, they didn’t always work. For instance, the Seventh Generation dish tabs that I bought a few months ago. I had to run my dishwasher 2 and 3 times because they did not dissolve and still were not getting my dishes clean. I still have 2 boxes of them sitting under my sink. It’s a bit more efficient to use the regular cleaners if they’re going to get the job done right the first time. That means less water, less electricity, and just as important less of my time.

Finally, I get confused when I go to the store. How do I know which products are truly green and which ones are just hopping on the bandwagon. I don’t know what chemicals to look for or what is considered toxic. I kind of just have to take their word for it. Which, I don’t really trust doing.

So, in a nutshell I want products that are not overpriced, clean just as well as the other products, and that I can be sure are environmentally safe. That doesn’t really sound like I want too much does it?

In the meantime, I’ve taken to just using less. Washing dishes when I absolutely have to wash them. Full loads of laundry with about half the amount of detergent. Few products to get things clean. That just seems to be the better thing to do at the moment. I buy green when I can, but I think a bit of “reducing” can go a long way, too.

Are you suffering from green fatigue? What are your difficulties when trying to buy green products?

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Quick Programming Note

Hi all! (I say that like there are a ton of readers.) I just wanted to let you know that I am back and apologize for the hiatus. Life sometimes gets in the way. I’ve got some interesting things to talk about and some interesting projects coming up.

So, back to it!

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Go Vote!!

I know I’ve been quiet the past week or so. I’ve been busy taking care of a few things and will be back to regular posting shortly.

Right now, I just want to remind everyone to GO VOTE. I know it’s a bit late but, here in Florida you still have 30 minutes to get to the polls. Those in other time zones have even more time. So, get to it.

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Quick Hit: Don’t Believe the Green

Just a quick post here since things have been “busy” here in GeekGirlLandia.

An article in the Wall Street Journal confirms what I’ve always wondered: Most items claiming to be green contain at least 1 dangerous substance in them. Further, there is no governing body that says what labels may be marked green or eco-friendly.

However, the marketing firm that did the research is a bit suspect. The study was done by two companies that offer “green certification” – TerraChoice and Underwriters Laboratories. It is in their best interest to get consumers to demand some sort of certification or easy way for us to know if a product is green.

What’s the bottom line here? Don’t believe everything you read. Do your homework on products. I’ll admit, that I’m clueless when it comes to what chemicals are good and bad for the environment and which products are actually green. I’ve expressed this here before numerous times.

So, what is the answer here? Do we need a governing body on this? Should it be a private company?

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Quicken for Mac

One thing that many of you might not know about me is that I’m a finance nerd. I love working with my finances and getting the most bang for my buck. I think this is a huge component for those of us that want to find sustainability. No one can be self-sufficient (whatever that means to you) if they are hemorrhaging money. It just does not work.

I’ve used various versions of Quicken over the years and been pretty darn happy with it. When I switched to a Mac, I was faced with the fact that I would have to move to Quicken for Mac. Since my laptop died last week and I really need to pay a bit more attention to my finances, I went ahead and bought Quicken for Mac.

So far, so good. I’m still getting it all setup properly. (I went with a clean install.) I hope to have everything ready to go by the end of the week and to be back to budgeting like I was last year. Though I track everything and make sure all bills are paid and that I’m not incurring any debt, I need to cut my budget way, way back. The spending is getting ridiculous. It’s bloated.

Do you track your finances? Do you use a specific program for this? Do you budget?

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Small Changes: Slow Sundays

In an older article over at the Guardian, Satish Kumar writes about an idea that is not so foreign:  Slow Sundays. The suggestion is just to slow down. Use Sunday (or whatever day you choose) as a day of rest and reflection. The day can be spent with friends and family rather than doing nothing but hitting the malls, running errands, and driving around.

While many would scoff at the idea it’s really not that foreign or revolutionary. Traditionally, Sunday has been a day of rest. Sure there was some church-going thrown in for good measure, but it still was a low key day. There were family picnics, days at the beach, or perhaps just a day spent relaxing.

The reason for his suggestion is two-fold. First, it will lower carbon emissions if everyone just hung out locally (or at least found other means of transportation for the day). Also, it has to be good for the soul to just rejuvenate. Read a book, walk the dog, take some pictures. Just about anything.

Since I have to find a way to get my stress level down and reduce my budget I like the idea. I don’t know if I could do this every week, but I’ll give it a try this Sunday.

Is this something that you already do? Would you be willing to slow down on Sundays?

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Quick Hit: Turning off My AC

I just have to share the fact that it is finally cool enough for Floridians to turn off their air conditioners. Woohoo!!! The past week or so,  it’s been nice and cool early in the mornings. About 70 or so, but heating up to the mid-80’s as the day progresses. I usually would turn off the A/C in the morning and then wind up turning it on that evening since it was just too warm in the house for my taste.

Well, Sunday was the first day that my A/C was off ALL day and  night. It was glorious and the house didn’t get warm at all. We’re actually getting “fall” weather this year. Last year we had a heat wave with temps in the 90’s in December*. Seriously.

The awesome thing is that once it cools off, I don’t use heat or A/C. I could theoretically have 5-6 months of nothing running. It just depends on what type of year we have. (I needed heat last year, but my apartment does not have heat. Yes. It sucked and I thought I was going to die. I did manage to buy a heated blanket to sleep under.)

How is the weather where you are? Still hot? Time to turn on the heater?

* I fully understand that we could still get back up to normal temps. We really should be much warmer and more humid than this.

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