By on October 6th, 2008

This is my second post about eco-friendly ways to deal with, ah, shall we say, solid human waste products. Some of you might think that I’m obsessed — stuck in some pseudo-Freudian childhood phase.  But really, I just tend to focus on the unusual “green” topics, on the arcane, rather than the mundane “how to get more miles per gallon” type of stuff.

Anyway, several years ago I travelled to Sydney Australia, a lovely trip full of delightful restaurant meals and beautiful garden tours.  But one thing always stuck in my mind — their toilets.  Down under, each toilet has two buttons — half-flush, for exclusively liquid flushes, and full-flush for more substiantial matters. Or, to put it another way, one for number one, one for number two.  Even that many years ago, I loved this idea and the resulting water savings.  It only added to my enjoyment of Oz.

And now, for quite awhile, these toilets have been available in the good ol’ USA.  For instance, the Toto Aquia Dual-Flush:

At only .9 gallons per 1/2 flush (as opposed to 1.6 gallons for normal, man-sized flush), apparently this baby can save one household up to 7000 gallons of (otherwise clean drinkable) water a year.  How great is that!

If I ever remodel my bathrooms, this will be my commode of choice.

By on May 31st, 2008

We just returned from a trip to Ontario, where I”m proud to report that recycling is in much fuller swing than it is here in the Okanagan. With a house full of B.C. guests, my father was constantly pointing to various containers for this and that type of garbage. One for paper products, one for food waste, one for plastics and one for

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regular garbage. I was impressed how little “garbage” there actually was (and also that it only gets picked up every other week). One of the main items that filled up the actual garbage container (especially while we were there with small kids) was packaging from foods.

I”m not sure about other families, but in our household, breakfast is the main event. We go through a lot of cereal, and while the cardboard boxes are recyclable, the inner best casino bonuses bags generally end up in the trash. To get around this problem I have stopped buying freezer bags and started reusing the bags that hold our kids” favourite cereals. These inner bags are sturdy and large and work well for holding baking and other portioned food for the freezer. And, even though the cardboard is recyclable, I”m trying to teach my kids that it is a good idea to reuse before we recycle. After all, the recycling process from start to finish still requires some major energy sucking. My four year old loves to cut things out, so instead of always buying plastic or stuffed toys of her favourite characters or animals (speaking of excess packaging) we draw the latest Backyardigan or My Little Pony and she colours it, cuts it out, and adds it to her cardboard collection. While this may sound too good to be true, she often takes these lovable friends to Show and Tell with her.

Tomorrow is the last Saturday of the month, and my family will be observing Earth Hour again. In case you”re new to Talk Green, please take a moment to read our monthly plan. We”d love if you would join us in encouraging kids to care for the earth by designating a no power hour in your household at the end of each month. If you”re planning on having an Earth Hour with your kids, ask them to go on a tour of the house with you while you unplug all of the power suckers for the night before putting them to bed.

Next month we will be suggesting some Earth Friendly storybooks for kids.