Saving Latke Oil

recycleAs Chanukah approaches, many of us are stocking up on oil and are ready (and grudgingly willing) to use much greater amounts of oil than we do all year long. Hey, it’s the holiday!

Just don’t pour your used cooking oil down the drain!

This is a huge problem for city sewer systems (check out fatberg in London) and an equally huge opportunity for bio fuel companies: bring your used cooking oil to a bio fuel pick up location.

As usual, we are very lucky in San Francisco to have several convenient locations — at Rainbow Grocery and some Whole Foods locations, for example. Check out this link from SF Water Power Sewer for details.

And Happy Chanukah! May the holiday lights bring us peace and joy!

Home Again!

It’s been a while since I have written this blog. Lots of excuses, but one major reason is that we moved out of the Eco-Apartment and back into our regular apartment at the end of February.

It was a great year in a lot of ways — we loved many of the green features of the apartment and especially the year of free rent — but we are so happy to be home.

Compost and Recyling Videos from SF Environment

Confused about what goes where? It’s really important to we put compost and recycling in the correct bins because contamination can result in the entire bin going into landfill — exactly what we are trying to avoid.

Here are a couple of videos produced by SF Environment to help you figure it all out..and don’t forget to spread the word to friends and neighbors!

To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade?

This is an issue I struggle with a lot: Keep an old appliance that is working ok, or replace it with a more efficient one. I finally replaced my old toaster oven — it now works better and more efficiently. I am happy with my switch, but for big appliances the issues are more complex. Here’s a great article on determining whether it is better to upgrade or not to upgrade your refrigerator.

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Goodwill and good riddence!

I have to admit that, like millions of other Americans, I participated in the buying frenzy that is known as Black Friday. I was at the first store at 4:09 a.m. (it would have been at 4 exactly but for the frost on my windshield that took time to melt — and in Sacramento, if you can believe it!). After going to 3 stores, we emerged from the craziness of it all at 5:30 a.m. with a new TV, toaster, glass food storage containers, jeans, fleece pajama pants, and a flannel shirt. Got great prices for it all and it was all stuff that we really wanted and/or needed. No impulse buys for us. Actually, there was one impulse buy made later in the day, but we returned it the next day when we got our senses back. Anyway, it is my one day of consumerism all year and it was a success.

I am happy with my new toaster and not having to hold down the toaster button for the duration of toasting (it’s been like that for over a year) and my new TV, which is digital and doesn’t need my converter box. I generally try to get things used when possible, but I somehow find myself in the spirit of Black Friday each year.

I am even happier, however, about our Goodwill Saturday. Now that we have all our new stuff, we had to get rid of the old stuff. I called my local Goodwill donation drop-off center and learned that they will take just about anything — working or not! I brought them our old TV and toaster, along with a bunch of other stuff. They happily took it all off my hands.

So, if you find yourself in the throws of consumerism, and most of us do at some point, don’t forget to properly dispose of what you no longer want or need. It’s always best that the items get continued use, but if that is not possible then recycle properly.

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Table Ring Gone and No Chemicals Used!

I recently had some friends over and noticed a while ring on my table caused by a tea mug. Our table is supposed to be coated with something to prevent rings, but obviously there was tiny cracks in the coating and a white ring formed.

I thought I could live with it, but it’s been bugging me. So, I went to the Internet (which has all the answers in life, as my friend Emily tells me) and found a quick, easy, and chemical-free way to remove the white ring: I covered the ring with a clean towel and rubbed a hot iron over it a few times. Poof — it was gone!