Whether you are in city in a Seattle neighborhood, or in the Seattle suburbs, here is your guide to all things about being green in Seattle!

Being more green can save you money on top of being good for Seattle! I have a lot of good ideas about living green in the Puget Sound, but I know that I got many of them from my friends, family, and clients. I can recall on many occasions exactly where some of these ideas were stolen from. For instance, I know for a fact that I should be bringing my own take out containers to restaurants that I frequent thanks to S&E.

?????S&E’s take out container idea: One day we went to lunch with S&E and after the meal they whipped old containers straight out of their canvas bag and started passing them around the table for us to scrape our left overs into. At first I honestly thought that they were crazy, but I complied and took my left over Phad Thai home in an old washed up cream cheese tub. I started thinking about the Styrofoam take out containers from most of the Thai places that I have been to and realized that S&E had it right, although they looked a bit hippy doing it. We can have a big impact on the environment by following their lead. So five stars to S&E for this one – it can really add up! (BTW, S&E also drive a hybrid car, use florescent lighting, and walk to the local farmer’s market to buy their organic groceries. They are a very good example for me to aspire to.)

I sent out the following email to many friends and clients:

I am doing a series on Going Green in Seattle online – I would love your tips and advice to include if you have time.  My clients and friends have always been so “in the know” about these things and I strive to put that good advice to use!  If you get a minute, I would love your top five ways to go green so that I can include them in the series?

Here are some of the basics in my own home that we strive for:

  • Recycle like crazy and reuse as much as possible (instead of recycling cardboard box use it to send something out). I honestly believe that recycling is the very basic thing that all earthlings should do. I was surprised to find while visiting another state that there are places that actually do not recycle their cans, bottles, paper, etc. To me this is such a foreign concept. Every household should recycle at the very least. Even hazardous waste should be disposed of properly and there are places that do this. Recently our yard waste containers are now able to have food scraps in them and that has seriously cut down on our garbage output – things like pizza boxes and paper napkins can go in there, but I also like the idea of composting in Seattle!Seattle recycling info, Seattle hazardous waste disposal info, King County Hazardous Waste info, Snohomish County Hazardous Waste info, Snohomish County recycling info
  • Less usage
    Turn the lights off if you aren’t using them and don’t use them as often as you think you might need to. Purchase the more efficient florescent bulbs for all your lighting fixtures – these come in an array of forms now and they actually look good now. We have been replacing all of our canned lights with the canned version of fluorescence over the last year. It is making a difference already in our bill and energy use. The only thing with these is to make sure proper disposal occurs because of mercury content. The hazardous waste sites take them and properly dispose of them.
    Lower the thermostat a degree or two in the winter for increased savings. Raise it a few degrees in summer if you need to use an air conditioner. I also use my curtains to help control the temperature in the house. Shorter showers (showers instead of baths), rain water to water plants outside – Less toilet flushes, never leave faucet running, Energy efficient appliances, hanging clothing out to dry in summer and washing clothing less (wear it a couple times at least if it is still clean…)
  • Less driving/more efficient cars I have a large family and need a bigger car, but I was still able to find a Flex Fuel version of the car. Driving a Hybrid makes a difference and I plan on purchasing a Hybrid car in the next year. In the mean time, I try to drive less and do more work over the computer. I am able to sign my clients electronically to save energy and also add convenience to them. I use the fax and internet more and more to save gas! I also clump my trips together so that I am doing a big circle errand and hitting all my stops at once rather than driving to each one individually. A little extra planning really helps cut down on wasteful driving time.
  • No Toxins in the house!!!
    Toxins in the house eventually reach our groundwater and streams….
    No chemicals in the lawn: We used to have a lawns service keep our lawn nice and green and it occurred to me one day that they were saturating my property with poisons that my children walk on and my dogs play in. I now have a patchy at best lawn full of moss here and there and bits of clover, but it is not leaching toxins into the groundwater. I occasionally will go outside with a tip from my hubby’s grandmother. She said to spray the dandelions at the base of the plant with a bit of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. It actually works like magic! They brown up in a couple days and go away for a while before I am out there with another spray bottle.No toxic cleaners…
    OK, I still have a few, but I am down to mostly Mrs. Meyers products and Method products. They work great, smell great, are better for the environment, and keep things tidy.

    No parabens – This one will probably make me look like a complete nut, but I do not allow products with parabens in my home AT ALL. No exceptions. Parabens are known to be endocrine disrupters and are found in just about everything – shampoos, lotions, make up, etc. – even found some in Huggie’s baby wipes! There have even been studies to suggest that they can cause breast cancer and low sperm count in men – just saying… So you rub the Body Shoppe Body Butter on your skin and shower it off into our water supply. Do some more research if you think I am off my rocker on this one, but I personally think parabens have a huge impact on our environmental health as well as our personal health. Products that I have found to be safe and paraben free: Oil Of Olay beauty fluid (just the basic stuff – I have seen parabens in their other products), Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Shampoo, Burts Bees – all products I have seen so far!

  • Eat local and organic food! If it is local then it didn’t cost a lot of energy to get here. If it is organic then less impact on the earth went into producing it – no pesticides! S (of the S&E take out idea above) recently sent me info on a pesticide study done on Mercer Island children… The study showed that the pesticides are definitely getting into our kids’ bodies, but that they quickly were rid of pesticides once they began eating organic foods only.

OK – On to some of the ideas from you guys so far (keep them coming by the way):

  • Jen says her cloth baby diaper service is awesome and she also uses canvas grocery bags. Here is a link to a Seattle cloth baby diaper service. There are pros and cons, but each site is very informative.
  • I noticed that Animal Care Center (one of the best vets in Seattle is Tracy Tomlinson) in Mountlake Terrace has some interesting posters up about Dog waste pollution and its impact on the environment. My friend recently mentioned buying or making a dog waste solution for her back yard.
  • I got flush the toilet less from both Rob & M – I would also add that buying a low flow toilet or dual flush model could go a long way. I personally have to recommend the Toto brand
  • Rob says cloth diapers, solar panels, fluorescent light bulbs and less toilet flushing. I also saw recently that REI among others are selling cool solar chargers for cell phones, etc.
  • Kathi likes rain barrels and I have to get at least two! Here is some info on attaching a rain barrel to your gutter system in Seattle. There are tons of Seattle rain barrel sources!

Look for more in upcoming segments – and please comment! Let me know what your amazing eco-ideas are for Seattle!

Courtney Cooper ….For all your Seattle Washington Real Estate Needs! Seattle Area Real Estate Agent: Broker and Realtor serving North King & South Snohomish County.  Seattle Real Estate and Seattle Suburbs!  Cooper Jacobs Real Estate Services:   Experienced REALTOR with a background in accounting – I love my clients and work hard for them! Please call me if you are looking for a home or investment property (including short sales, preforeclosures, foreclosures, and REO properties) in Seattle (Ballard, Crown Hill, Phinney, Ravenna, Maple Leaf, Greenlake, Greenwood, Northgate, Lake City,University, Sand Point, Laurelhurst, Windermere, Fremont, Wallingford, Queen Anne, Westlake, Eastlake, Lake Union, Downtown, Madison Park), Shoreline, Edmonds, Brier, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Lake Forest Park, Bothell, Mill Creek, Everett, or other Seattle Suburbs

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