reduce

Save razors, money, and the whales with the RazorPit

razor_pit_obrazek2

Nowhere is the absurdity of how our world works more apparent than the ubiquitous disposable razor ad. As slick and serious as an ad for a personal spaceship, these commercials offer the promise of a better life, right around the corner, attainable only by buying the newest 17-blade wonder.

Such banalities are normal now, and best ignored, but a man still has to get the hair off of his face. Especially this man, for whom Movember is just a month to get through (37 years old, still can’t grow a full beard. Don't mock my pain!). So I’m happy that I noticed a little display in the Save-On-Foods pharmacy last year. It was for the RazorPit, a simple silicon (I think) block that makes a disposable razor blade last for months. 

RazorPit

The RazorPit disposable razor blade sharpener.

I started using it in late November: after every shave I add a tiny drop of shaving lotion to the surface of the block, and then I pass the blade over it about 10 times (The process works by cleaning and sharpening your blade with the friction of the silicon). That’s it. It’s seen three months of daily use now, and my 50-cent razor felt as sharp as ever this morning. 

At this rate, the bag of 50 razors that I bought at Costco in October will last about 16 years. Saving resources and money, two things that make me feel good.

In other shaving news, I use also save the whales/spotted owls/children by using a lotion from Earth’s General Store instead of one of those nasty shaving cream bombs that they sell.

mint-shaving-cream

This small plastic container of Kiss My Face shaving lotion is 30% less evil than a can of shaving cream.

I guess the ultimate solution would be to use a straight razor to shave with, but I don’t know anything about that. The RazorPit totally works. I recommend that you pick one up at Save-On-Foods. Also remember that the black ones don’t work for women!

RazorPitPink

Using What You've Got: Recycling Renovation Waste

In October of last year we bought our first house in Edmonton--and we've been renovating ever since.  Sound familiar?

Our initial attraction to the property was it's three-fold potential:

•  Potential to make this old house (1942) into a energy-efficient family home (hopefully for many years to come);

•  Potential to make this huge double lot (8000+ square feet) into a more environmentally sensitive/edible landscape (we love growing our own food); and finally,

•  The potential (and challenge) of being good neighbors/citizens in an older and struggling North Edmonton community (Build better communities, stop urban-sprawl, "improve, don't move", etc.).

 

Idealistic? Yes, whatever...

One of the biggest challenges to renovations and landscaping we are constantly up against is cost. Not making a lot of money, the cost of creating a space we can enjoy without guilt has called for some genuine creative thinking... and I hope some of the ideas we've come up with will be of interest to readers who can relate.  read more... »

Appliances - Range

image

image from sears.ca

One of the the underappreciated marvels of the modern age is the cooking appliance. The ability to so accurately channel energy to enable perfect cooking is a vast improvement over how we used to cook (I’m thinking open fire here, but there were probably some cultures that came up with more ingenious methods). I often find myself marveling at how effortless and clean it is to cook food these days.

Replacing or Buying New

Here are some questions, thoughts and consuming strategies when it comes to ranges and stovetops:

  • Do you really need a new range? Ovens and stovetops have barely increased in fuel efficiency over the past 50 years. After all, wasted energy is usually lost as heat, which in this case is obviously not a waste at all. Consider just keeping using your old range or having it repaired.
  • Can you buy a used range? Used appliances are a dime a dozen, and while I would almost never encourage buying a used fridge (old ones are way less efficient), a used range is probably as energy efficient as a new one.
  • Consider gas. A gas range is much more efficient than an electric one because of the massive energy losses (covered here in regard to ground source heat pumps) involved in converting coal and natural gas to electricity.
  • Buy the most energy efficient model. Let the range’s Energuide Rating be your guide.

Conservation

All of the following reduce coal burning:

  • Use a toaster oven. Because they’re so much smaller, toaster ovens use less energy to bake any given thing.
  • Use a pressure cooker and/or thermal cooker.
  • Cook with the sun.
  • Turn off the stovetop a few minutes before you’re done cooking. The thermal inertia of the pan or pot that you’re using will keep the food cooking for a while after the burner is turned off.

Home Re-use-ables

IMG_1099

Embodied Energy

    the available energy that was used in the work of making a product (from Wikipedia)

Once we use energy to make something, we should keep using that thing as long as possible. It provides a service to us, and once we stop using it to provide that service we generally need to spend more energy to create whatever replaces it. Home Re-use-ables exists to extend the life of building products – to maximize the value that we get from their embodied energy.

IMG_1100

 

This is Sherry at Home Re-use-ables. It’s located at 8832 62 Avenue, and it may just have what you’re looking for for our next renovation project.  read more... »