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CarbonfreeDC Newsletter - April Edition

From: user 7.
Sent on: Saturday, April 25, 2009 10:57 AM

CarbonfreeDC Newsletter - April Edition

CarbonfreeDC is all about empowering locals like you to reduce your own carbon footprint. Welcome to our new members who joined at the Green Apple Earth Day event on Sunday. In addition to workshops, our newsletter is just another way to make an eco-difference in your life. If you have questions or comments, please contact us at [address removed].

It's time for spring cleaning, learn how to make safe, non-toxic cleaners with products you already have at home in the "Feature" section below the "Upcoming Events" section


Volunteer for Environmental Awareness Day, April 27: Join CarbonfreeDC and Green DMV at the Jefferson-Houston School for Arts and Academics for Environmental Awareness Day. This school's students are not as exposed to environmental issues, solutions and job opportunities. The Environmental Awareness Day will bring environmental education to Jefferson-Houston students through practical activities that make the connection between the earth and their everyday lives. Learn more about the event and volunteer by contacting [address removed].

Global Warming - Why Meat Matters, Apr 29: It's impossible to have a conversation about reducing your carbon footprint without discussing the impact of meat. The good news for meat-eaters is that you can reduce your carbon contributions without going totally meat-less. Join us on Wednesday, April 29th at 6:30 at Timberlakes (1726 Connecticut Ave NW) for a discussion on meat's hidden costs lead by Nathan Fiala, the author of the Scientific America article, "The Greenhouse Hamburger." RSVP for this Workshop.

Earth Ball 2009, May 1: Dance for the planet at DC's first Earth Awareness Soiree on May 1, from 6:00 to midnight. Earth Ball will highlight major national and local environmental issues while raising funds for urban vegetable gardening programs that benefit low-income residents, specifically those living in Ward 8. For only $25/ticket, you can join other CarbonfreeDC members for food, drinks, music, a Green Exhibit Gallery and an opportunity to meet local environmental leaders. RSVP for the Earth Ball.

Servathon, May 2: Looking for volunteer opportunities for the environment in DC? Servathon is a great chance to join CarbonfreeDC members in the city's biggest volunteer event. We will be working with Washington Parks & People to revitalize the Walter Pierce Park in Adam's Morgan by cleaning up the park, removing brush and pruning bushes. Give back to our DC community with your fellow CarbonfreeDC members. Register for the CarbonfreeDC Servathon Team.

Apartment Composting Tour -- Without Worms!, May 7: At our composting program in March, many attendees asked for composting tours to see real composting in action. This is your chance to tour a local home where a Bokashi composting system is being used. Bokashi bins are a worm-free way to compost in a small apartment without odor or mess. Join the apartment tour on May 7 at 7:00pm. RSVP for this Composting Tour.

Low Carbon Diet - Summer Session, May 17: Losing those last 5,000 pounds is always a pain. Register for the Low Carbon Diet summer session and lose 5,000 pounds of carbon emissions in just 8 weeks. Join a small group of CarbonfreeDC members for 4 meetings in 8 weeks and you'll be lead through an incredibly helpful workbook while having fun with new friends. In the end, you'll see a dramatic difference in your carbon footprint. Register for the Low Carbon Diet Summer Session.

Residential Solar: What Can Work for You, May 18: If you've been aching to harness the sun for renewable energy at home, RSVP for this workshop. Jim Crowley, Chairman of the Region Solar Energy Association, will discuss energy efficiency, solar water heating, solar electric power systems, costs and paybacks. After this workshop, you'll have the information necessary to move forward with solar. The Residential Solar workshop will be held at the MLK Library in Chinatown on May 18 at 6:30. RSVP for this workshop.

Apartment Composting Tour - Aerobic Tumbler Bins, May 20: As part of our composting tour program, Emily will be hosting a tour of her aerobic composting set-up in her home [masked]th St. NW) on May 20 at 7:00. Compost tumblers shorten the life cycle of composting and make it simpler to turn the composted materials. Get a hands-on tour of how aerobic tumbler composting works. RSVP for this Composting Tour.

FEATURE: Spring Clean the Green Way

You can save money by making your own home cleaners. The truth is, most cleaners you find on your grocery store shelf are based on recipes that have been around for a very long time. The manufacturers have just added perfumes, dyes, chemicals and petroleum to make these cleaners cheaper and more marketable.

Under your sink you will probably find all the ingredients you need to make home cleaners that are effective, non-toxic, non-odorous and safe for your family.


  • Baking soda
  • Washing soda
  • White distilled vinegar
  • A good liquid soap or detergent
  • Tea tree oil
  • 6 clean spray bottles
  • 2 glass jars

Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn't leave grit.

Note: Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.


  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • Spray bottle

Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.


  • 1 cup or more baking soda
  • Water
  • A squirt or two of liquid detergent

Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface is totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top. Let the mixture set overnight. You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven. If this recipe doesn't work for you it is probably because you didn't use enough baking soda and/or water.


  • 1/2 teaspoon washing soda
  • A dab of liquid soap
  • 2 cups hot tap water

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.


  • 1/2 teaspoon oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax)
  • 1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice

Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.

Keep a clean spray bottle filled with straight 5 percent vinegar in your kitchen near your cutting board and in your bathroom and use them for cleaning. I often spray the vinegar on our cutting board before going to bed at night, and don't even rinse but let it set overnight. The smell of vinegar dissipates within a few hours. Straight vinegar is also great for cleaning the toilet rim. Just spray it on and wipe off.

Nothing natural works for mold and mildew as well as this spray. I've used it successfully on a moldy ceiling from a leaking roof, on a musty bureau, a musty rug, and a moldy shower curtain. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note that the smell of tea tree oil is very strong, but it will dissipate in a few days.

  • 2 teaspoons tea tree oil
  • 2 cups water

Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse. Makes two cups.


CarbonfreeDC is a grassroots initiative dedicated to mobilizing DC area residents on one goal: dramatically reducing local carbon emissions. We accomplish this by organizing monthly workshops and field trips to help you take significant steps to reducing your carbon footprint.

Learn more and come a member at Membership is free!

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