Posts Tagged ‘money saving’

Recycling your Christmas tree

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

If like me, you obsess about what you can and can’t recycle then you might be pleased to know you can recycle your Christmas tree – that is as long as it is a real one.

However we do suggest if it is a real one and still in a pot that you plant it somewhere. If you bought your tree from the side of the road or even better from Mount Gabriel that take it to them and they will chip it and spread it over their field before planting new trees.

Mount Gabriel has drop off points at Drury, Mangere Bridge and Tamahere in Hamilton. You can phone them 294 6177 or 07 856 8003 to find out the opening hours.

Next year if you want a superb tree take the kids and visit one of their sites and choose the type and size of tree you want. Make it an experience they won’t forget-  it can be as much fun as decorating the tree!

Polluting the recycling blue bin

Monday, December 28th, 2009

It’s rubbish day in our neighbourhood and as  I Cityhop in my car share car around the streets I reckon 1 in 3 recycling blue bins will end up contaminating the truck. 

It makes me wonder why we all bother to do the right thing.

So I decided to see how easy Auckland City makes it to find out what can and can’t go in the blue bin. On the Auckland City website there is a  great A to Z list of items with information on how to dispose of it. However perhaps rather than saying put in your kerbside recycling maybe they could add put in your blue bin. Everyone knows what this means. Maybe also put in bold plastic bags don’t go in blue bins or they contaminate the whole truck of recycling.  It’s a  New Year shortly so perhaps the Council could do a refresher flier to residents reminding them how valuable it is that we recycle, how it saves us on rates, the less we put in landfills means the less we have to pay to dispose of rubbish. BUT  we all have to play our part and put the right stuff in the bin.  If you aren’t sure and you don’t want to check the plastic number on the container then put it in the red bin! Easy as. 

10 sustainable gift ideas for Christmas

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Here are 10 ideas for all you last minute shoppers to show you to do care and you have been thinking – thinking about doing your bit for the Planet.  Don’t just give sustainable gifts to the greenies in your life – give a present that won’t end up in a rubbish dump!. Many of the ideas below, suggested by Cityhop car share CEO and obsessive recycler, Victoria Carter won’t break your budget either.

For those who truly do believe in recycling and high fashion have a look at the new Vivienne Westwood shoe –made out of tube seat  fabric! Talk about making public transport more acceptable!

Here are ten ideas that should sort everyone on your list-  from your mum to your boss!

1. For a man or teenager: package up a bowl (The Warehouse has some attractive bowls) with all the ingredients and recipe for a yummy curry or a pasta dish. Fill it with pasta, a sauce, some herbs, a wooden spoon and of course a recipe!

2. Give a magazine subscription – this is a great gift for mums – no one ever said no thanks to a women’s, interiors or gardening magazine.

3. Make your own voucher – cut out a range of concert adverts from the newspaper or of the net and invite the recipient to name their show  - offer to buy one or two tickets for the recipient.

4.  For teenagers, Victoria says she knows plenty, who would be pleased to get a book of vouchers for some driving lessons or even cooking lessons!

 5. For a teenage girl get a basket and fill it with a loofah, nail file, some nail polish, varnish remover, nice soap, hair ties –things you always need but often run out of!

6. If you really are on a budget then what about buying some nice homemade soaps off trade me and putting them into cloth bags to ward off moths and keep wardrobes smelling nice. Even if you aren’t on a budget getting something thoughtful like this is always appreciated.

7 Encourage someone in your family to grow their own –buy a pot and pop a tomato  and stake into it for a lasting gift.

8. Okay, so your boss might not appreciate any of the above, but they will appreciate some gourmet treats like homemade jam, relish or homemade biscuits. It shows you have taken the time, gone to some trouble and no one will even think you are on a budget. Wrap in a tea towel for added effect.

9. “ If any kids are reading this, especially mine,” says Victoria, “ there is no mum or dad that wouldn’t say thank to a car wash or  horrible job to be done voucher!”

10 Lastly, a fun thing to do with your small children the night before Christmas. Mix some glitter into porridge oats and water and let your small children sprinkle  it in the garden so Santa’s reindeer can have a feast when they deliver presents!


5 more sustainable gifts to give

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Here at cityhop we think a lot about trying to encourage people out of their cars and into a more sustainable lifestyle.

Cityhop CEO Victoria Carter  has shared some ideas for sustainable gift giving. Well now she has found a new website with heaps more ideas that she wants to share!

But first, check this out- 

a pair of Vivienne Westwood shoes made out of tube carpet! How  to make recycling and re – use cool.

If you visit The Rubbish Diet you’ll find loads of ideas on sustainable gift giving. There is a link to lots of websites ( sadly all in the UK) with tips on great gift giving without spending the earth, but more importantly all the gifts save the earth!

There are ideas like packaging up a gift box with the ingredients and recipe for a yummy curry or pasta dish – this is an idea for a man or teenagers! Giving magazine subscriptions, public transport tickets, a voucher for a driving lesson or even a cooking class, tickets to a show.

Is she practising what she preaches, her friends are getting homemade soap in velvet bags to ward off moths and keep clothes smelling nice; some family members are getting treat food parcels; others are getting tickets to shows or concerts ( thank goodness the young ones want Big Day out tickets and Gisborne R & V).

What did she ask for, plants and pots!

Watch out for tips on how to go almost zero waste next year. If an average mum can do it in a village in the UK (all she threw away was a plaster) then we reckon we can all put a little less out. But it requires a fair bit of thinking and planning. More on this next year! Plenty of time to get ready and make it a new year resolution!

Rubbish update! Seen a cityhop bag lady?

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Okay, I must be crazy! Guess what I found when I walked the dog tonight – and worse how many people had walked past exactly the same scene and just pretended it wasn’t there.

If I had my wits about me and thought here’s a blog to write about, you would have a picture. It’s only 2 hours later, that I have reflected that, this is an example of how people are afraid of what others might think which has resulted in the rubbish and a supermarket trolley being left for at least 18 hours in a beautiful green space.

Ok, what picture – a supermarket trolley ( one of the new ones from what was Foodtown but is now Countdown Greenlane). There it was lying on its side like an elephant graveyard - silver trolleys are quite noticeable in a park!

I groaned internally, what should I do.  Pretend like everyone else it wasn’t there or it was someone else’s job?

As I got closer there was a large supermarket plastic bag; two packets of chips, some sweet wrappers and three plastic strawberry and bun packets lying abandoned along with one Country Road  sandal!

So I picked it all up. But what about the trolley. How would I explain to the Countdown answerphone person exactly where this trolley was down  under a tree in a quiet part of Pohutakwa Drive -they would never see it from the road.

So hoping I didn’t look like a bag lady ( arguable tonight!!) I pushed it up to Pohutakawa Drive, beside the park ranger’s gate. Some chinese girls walking along did start to snigger and I hoped they thought what a good citizen ( or not!).

I took the shopping bag of dumped half eaten groceries and put them in the rubbish bin; went home and rang Countdown to tell them where to locate trolley 21787 ( I made that number up!).

As I walked back, with my SPCA special dog, I found the other sandal  in the bushes where the derelicts live  – so maybe they had a Christmas party last night? So I walked over to their picnic area and got the other shoe and went and placed it beside the other one – so at least the derelict’s friend had her shoes.

Please don’t litter!

Climate changing gift ideas for the ‘greenie’ in your life

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Getting the perfect gift for your friends and family at Christmas requires a lot of thinking about what each person is interested in. Victoria Carter, CEO of car share company, Cityhop offers some ideas. We liked the range of practical and not so practical ideas to make the planet a cleaner, greener place! We’re not sure how many people would thank you for this but they will never forget the year you bought them some carbon credits!  Go to Terrapass, buy some carbon credits and give them to your friends and family. Tell them you are so committed to changing thinking you want them to have these carbon credits. They will never forget your gift but it might get them thinking!

Number 2 green gift – give a worm farm. A bit more pricey but oh so practical and with so many people getting into gardens these days it makes great fertiliser for the garden. Much easier to maintain than a compost and great way to use up all your kitchen vege and fruit scraps.  Number 3 green gift – here’s a practical present and probably the most cost effective. Make your own pomanders – scent bags to put amongst your wardrobe and stop moths. Buy some velvet or cloth bags ( try the Warehouse or Spotlight) and get some handcrafted soaps proudly made in NZ. We bought from Lizzie Bee some heavenly cinnamon and clove soaps  that we unwrapped and popped into the bags. Average price $5 –the look & feel is triple that!

 Number 4 green gift – depending on your budget get a plastic, terracotta or smarter pot; fill with soil and pop some lettuce seedlings into it (The Warehouse has 3 punnets of 6 plants for $10. Again for around $15 you can give a useful and handy gift that after the lettuces have been eaten can have another life. No one ever turned down a small  freshly planted herb garden either if the lettuces look too pathetic in time for Christmas!

  Finally,  the most sustainable green gift  has to be  a cityhop car share membership. For $75 you can join someone up to the cityhop club with cars in Auckland and Wellington CBD. Then they can have access to the cityhop cars for one year’s driving. Join up this week (ends December 18) and you’ll get 3 free driving hours with it. Perfect present for a student or someone on a budget. They can sell their car and use a car when they need it from $15 an hour or $75 for 24 hours. There’s a special overnight rate of $30 too.

Now if we haven’t given you enough ideas, go to the greenlist for a directory of  New Zealand sustainable business and services.  

10 eco-driving tips

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Transport produces some of the worst numbers in terms of carbon footprints and results in serious environmental destruction. Ironically by making different transport choices  you can reduce pollution, congestion,  improve health and fitness, save money, reduce accidents and create a more sustainable city.

Acrual car numbers outnumber drivers in America. We’re not far behind per capita with our  high numbers of cars and drivers. So given transport produces nearly a quarter of greenhouse gases what can we do individually? Here’s a list of 10 ideas.

1. Plan better – ask yourself do I really need to make this trip? Is there an alternative mode? That is what cityhop members do!

2. Could you walk? It’s amazing how much really is within walking distance of your house.  Not only will you get your errands done but you’ll be doing your body a favour. People who bike or walk more are often less stressed and happier than those who drive!

3. What about car share? Do you really need more than 1 car in your household? Could you get by with one car and get a car share membership for those trips when you really need a car? You’ll save money, see cityhop

4. Buy a cleaner car – no not less dirty – but look for a smaller engine, perhaps a hybrid, at least one with low fuel consumption.

5. What about a manual car? They use less fuel and put less pressure on the brakes which means fewer particulates going into the air and waterways, the fish will thank you!

6. Slow down! Not only does it save fuel it’s safer! Aggressive driving will only get you to your destination a few minutes quicker! Is it worth it?

7. Keep your tyres inflated to the right pressure and keep your car serviced regularly – it saves fuel and lengthens the life of your car.

8. Travel light – Do you really need to carry your golf clubs, and all the other junk in your boot?  What about your roof rack? Take it off until you need it. This will conserve fuel.

9.  Start slowly and anticipate stops – yes you might feel like a  granny but if we all did not only would the roads be safer, you won’t waste fuel or waste your brakes  which means less pollution.

10. How about going car free one day? Try the bus, the train or see if someone from your office lives nearby so you can slowly start to change your habits.

Finally, if you have to have a car buy the most fuel efficient model you can afford, practice some of the eco-driving tips, and when you can think about having a car less day!