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Public Green Blog

Eco-Friendly Grilling

With the 4th of July upon us, many will be grilling for the holiday. Here’s a few things to keep in mind to keep your grilling practices as green as possible:

  • Gas and propane grills are the cleanest burning grills. Natural charcoal burns dirty and emit greenhouse gases.
  • Grills made of stainless steel and cast iron are the safest as they do not emit toxins in to the air.
  • Use a charcoal chimney instead of lighter fluid if you are using a natural charcoal grill. Lighter fluid also releases toxins.
  • Make sure your grill is the right size for your needs. One that is too large takes longer to heat up and wastes energy and produces excess heat.
  • When cleaning your grill, make sure you use a natural grill cleaner.
  • Consider grilling less meat or all vegetables. Try to purchase organic/locally grown meats and vegetables.
By julie collins on June 30, 2012 Categories: Consumer Choices, Holidays

Considering Purchasing a New Car?

Are you in the market for a new car? Have you considered an electric vehicle, or a hybrid? Check out this article from Earth911 to determine which one is right for you: Buying an Electric Vehicle.

By julie collins on May 18, 2012 Categories: Consumer Choices

Green Holiday Gift Ideas

Looking to purchase green gifts for your friends or family this holiday season? For ideas, check out the websites listed in this brief article from Consumer Reports Greener Choices.

By julie collins on February 25, 2012 Categories: Consumer Choices, Holidays

Kill A Watt Meters

The Mount Prospect Public Library is now offering Kill A Watt Meters for checkout at the Reference Desk on the second floor. These devices can be used to monitor the electricity consumed by household appliances and electronics on a daily basis. ComEd provided 2 of these meters to the library. Please ask for assistance at the Reference Desk. Loan periods are for one week.

By julie collins on Categories: Consumer Choices, Electronics, Energy

Winterize Your Home

As the seasons begin to change your family migrates indoors for the winter, a lot of energy can be wasted to keep your family and your home comfortable. Between 40 and 70% of all home energy is wasted, but we could save about half of that by buying efficient appliances and taking energy-saving measures.

Cover your air conditioner: If you can’t remove your window unit, consider covering it both inside and out. Besides protecting your air-conditioning unit, these covers also help keep cold air from entering your home through the space around the air-conditioner and can be a great way to lower utility bills.

Caulk it: Small spaces and gaps around windows and pipes and wires entering the home create create energy wasting drafts that can cut the efficiency of your heating system. Most caulking products cost under $10; rope caulk, one of the easiest types to apply, sells for about
$4 for 40 or 50 feet.

Block drafts: Draft blockers are foam plates that fit behind light switches and electrical outlets to reduce drafts that enter through those spaces. You can get a packet of 10 for about $3 and they’re easy to install with just a screwdriver.

Upgrade your thermostat: Changing your thermostat to a programmable one allows you to control the temperature in your home at different times of the day without you being home. Keep the heat off when you’re out of the house and set it to turn back up before you get home. Some also have a second set of settings for weekends, when people usually spend more time at home. The thermostats range from $90 to $175, but can save 12% or more on your energy bill and pay for itself within three years.

By julie collins on Categories: Cold Weather, Consumer Choices, Energy

Have a Green Halloween

Illustration of a haunted houseMake your own costume from things around the 
        house – old clothes, game pieces, sport team items, something from the 
        recycling bin, etc., or purchase items from a resale shop.  
 If make-up is used instead of a mask, purchase non-toxic or 
        hypoallergenic cosmetics.  
 When buying candy, look for treats with minimal packaging – or give 
        pencils, erasers or money.  
 Send your children out with a reusable bucket, canvas bag or pillowcase.  
 Don’t be a litter bug, dispose of candy wrappers in your bags, buckets or 
        trash cans along the way.  
 Stay local to trick-or-treat, bike, wagon or carpool.  
 Use rechargeable batteries in your flashlight for trick-or-treating.  
 Don’t throw away the pumpkin seeds – bake and eat, or put outdoors for 
        the birds and animals.  
 As your pumpkin grows old, put in your yard for animals to eat, or put 
        into compost pile.    
 Keep Halloween decorations from year to year so you don’t need to 
        purchase new ones each season.  
 If you are hosting a Halloween party, used reusable dishes, tableware, 
        cups napkins, etc.  Instead of paper invitations, send an electronic 
        invite to your guests.

By MPPL on October 21, 2011 Categories: Consumer Choices, Holidays

Green Your Spring Cleaning

Do you dread spring cleaning because of the harsh chemicals and overpowering smells given off by your average cleaning products? Then consider trying to green your spring cleaning choices this year. Consumer Reports recently tested various green cleaners, including all purpose cleaners, dishwasher detergents with low phosphates, dishwashing liquids, laundry liquids and powders, and shower cleaners. Check out which products fared best at Consumer Reports Green Product Watch: Best Spring Cleaners.

Did you know you can also create your own cleaners from some basic ingredients you may already have in your home? Consumer Reports has also created a list basic ingredients and homemade household cleaner recipes. Check them out at Homemade Household Cleaners: Best Recipes.

Do you have a tried and true recipe for your own green cleaner, or did you try one of the recipes suggested by Consumer Reports? If so, please feel free to share your results by posting a comment!

By MPPL on March 7, 2011 Categories: Consumer Choices, Household Products

Use Better De-icers

Steer clear of rock salt (sodium chloride) and urea-based de-icers. Not only can they pollute habitats with plant-killing runoff, but they can also corrode concrete, destroy your lawn (even a snow-covered one), and contaminate water supplies. Better bets? Sand, which provides traction without damaging salt-sensitive landscapes, and calcium chloride, which may still hurt vegetation, but is free of the cyanide present in rock salt.  For more green winter tips see:

By MPPL on February 18, 2011 Categories: Cold Weather, Consumer Choices

Seeds, Seeds, Seeds!

Are you looking for some new seeds to grow in your garden this year? Have you heard about Seed Savers Exchange, which is a non-profit organization that “saves and shares the heirloom seeds of our garden heritage” in hopes of saving some endangered seeds from being lost to future generations. Through Seed Savers Exchange you can order seeds for a variety of different plants including vegetables (check out the tomoatoes!), herbs, and flowers. Some of the seeds are even certified USDA Organic! Interested in visiting the farm, located near Decorah, Iowa? Visitors are welcome April through October.
For more information on ordering seeds or visiting the farm, visit Seed Savers Exchange

By MPPL on January 21, 2011 Categories: Consumer Choices, Gardening

Green “Wrapping” Ideas

Do you still have gifts to wrap before the holidays? Before buying anymore gift wrap, consider some alternatives that are more environmentally friendly:
*Giving clothes or blankets as a gift? Consider also using these items to wrap gifts for the same person.
*Reuse paperbags to wrap gifts. You can even make the brown paper more festive by drawing on it.
*Place gifts in a reuseable shopping bag, so the bag becomes part of the gift.
*Reuse comics as wrapping or newspaper to protect breakable items.
*Sew your own gift bags using left over fabric scraps and let the receiver keep the bag as part of their gift.
*Use reuseable gift bags and encourage your giftees to reuse the bag as well.
*Use clean recycled aluminium foil to wrap gifts.
*Wrap gifts in old road maps.
*Ask friends and family members to try not to tear the wrapping paper so that it can be reused next year.
*Have large cans to recycle? Clean and dry them thoroughly, place gifts inside and cover with shredded paper, fabric or yarn scraps.
*Save the cards you receive and reuse them by cutting them apart and using the picture as a gift tag.

Want to do away with wrapping completely? Inform your friends and family that you will not be wrapping gifts in an effort to reduce your footprint. Use the money you save to upgrade their gift or donate the money to your choice of charity. Or purchase your gift online and have it sent directly to the recipient’s home.

By MPPL on December 17, 2010 Categories: Consumer Choices, Holidays