domingo, 31 de mayo de 2015

Getting your shower green

Hello everyone. Here is how to better your shower: some tips ad some anecdotes...

I do short showers. Yes, it is better to keep it short ad sweet. You get to use less water and for those like me who like a warm shower, it keeps the electricity bill decent.

I shower every other day. At the beginning of this experiment when I had shower-time I was showering as if I came back from wrestling. Then I noticed I should relax because I was not dirtier then before. But off course some days I had to do some exceptions and shower.
I am aware that weather in the Tropics can make you sweat but I wouldn´t say this is always the case especially if you sit all day. There is off course the "cat wash" which everybody can customize according to its needs.
The skin doesn't need to be exposed to soaps and hot water every day then it looses their natural lipid coat and dries. By the way, Leonardo Di Caprio does this too.

I prefer soap bars than shower gel. I avoid the plastic of the shower gel container.

I use environmentally friendly shampoo and rinse. If you start reading the contents of your cosmetics you will come to a huge lists of ingredients among them parabens(1),(2) which are petroleum derivatives that are endocrine disrupters. Cosmetics have a lot of ingredients that shouldn't come in contact with our skin. Therefore look for environmentally friendly ones and read the labels. Remember that "Natural" when it comes to buying products doesn't mean environmentally friendly neither organic ingredients...It doesn't even mean that all ingredients in that product are natural.

I skip scrubs with microplastic. Yes plastic in our scrubs, toothpastes and other cosmetics.
These are the ingredients to avoid:

Polyethylene   (Note: Polyethylene isn't the same as polyethylene glycol.)
Polymethyl methacrylate 

More info about microbeads here:

I reuse my towels. I don't change them every time I use them. I change them at the end of the week. Less washing, less soap, more time for other stoff. : )


Microbeads: Plastic bits for our skin and mouth

Well, we definetely dont need this ingredient in our daily care products. They are used mostly in scrubs and toothpastes. As you can imagine they pollute everything.

How do I tell if my products contain microbeads?

On the list of ingredients look for:
Polyethylene   (Note: Polyethylene isn't the same as polyethylene glycol.)
Polymethyl methacrylate

I reccommend to read this informative article about it. It also has a list of plastic free products.

If you want a good home made face scrub I have tried these 3 easy recipes:

1. Brown sugar and a bit of water
2. Pure honey
3. Yogurt and oats. 
 For other body parts you could also try sea salt and olive oil or another vegetal oil of your choice.

Let's get clean!

jueves, 28 de mayo de 2015

Bienvenidos a VERDE The Experiment

VERDE The Experiment es una colección de ideas prácticas para aquellos que quieren cambiar sus hábitos de consumo y proteger el ambiente diariamente. Consta de este blog y de la Guía para ser un mejor terrícola, que puede ser bajada gratis acá.

Gracias a la invitación de Fundacion TEOR/éTica, VERDE The Experiment es parte de Exploring Utopia, un proyecto de Arts Collaboratory.

Pero esto no termina ahí… Nosotras (Paula y Lucía) tomamos estas ideas y las convertimos en experimentos en nuestras vidas y ustedes pueden leer acerca de ellos.

Paula Piedra vive en San José, Costa Rica en un hogar de dos personas y un gato. Ella trabaja de lunes a viernes y es escritora, diseñadora de interiores y administradora de proyectos que actualmente trabaja como productora cultural.

Lucia Madriz es costarricense pero vive en Alemania con su esposo y su pequeña hija M. Ella es artista visual y trabaja desde casa. Se está acostumbrando a los retos de vivir en un país con cuatro estaciones, administrar la casa y ser mamá.

Tal vez ustedes quieran unírsenos y probar algunos de nuestros experimentos y hacerlos parte de su vida. Cada habito amigable con el ambiente es valioso, solo imagínense los beneficios de esa acción que ya o pasará mas durante el resto de sus vidas…

Por supuesto ustedes puede adaptar y crear experimentos para sus necesidades específicas en la casa, el lugar de trabajo y en su comunidad y compartirlos con la familia, los amigos y los colegas.

Únetenos y demuéstrale a la Madre Tierra tu amor…

Lucía y Paula


VERDE The Experiment is a collection of practical ideas for those who want to change their consume habits and protect the environment in their daily life. It comprises this blog and the Guide to become a better Earthling which can be downloaded for free.

Thanks to the invitation of Fundacion TEOR/éTica, VERDE The Experiment is part of  MINGA - Exploring Utopia, a project of Arts Collaboratory.
But it doesn't end up there...We (Paula and Lucia) take these ideas and translate them into experiments in our lives and you get to read about it.

Paula Piedra lives in San Jose, Costa Rica in a two person-one cat household. She works 8 to 5 and is a writer, interior designer and project manager that currently works as a cultural producer.

Lucia Madriz is costarrican but lives in Germany with her husband and her little daughter M. She is a visual artist working from home. She is getting used to the challenges of four seasons weather and becoming a homemaker and mom.

You might want to join us and try some of our experiments and make them part of your life. Every environmental friendly habit is worthy; just imagine the benefits of that action if it doesn't happen anymore during the rest of your life... 

Off course you can adapt and create experiments for your own needs at home, in the workplace and in your community, and share them with family, friends and colleagues. 

Join us and show Mother Earth love...

Lucia and Paula

Guide to become a better Earthling

Here is the guide in pdf format, feel free to download it:

This guide is a list of suggestions to better our consumer habits and live a more environmental friendly life.
These advises are organized by theme: Water, Clothes, Food, Electricity, Drugstore, Paper, Plastic, etc.
You can choose a theme and cross off the actions that you already do. Then you pick one or two actions that will become your experiment for one week. At the end of the week you check how is your experiment.

We recommend you to start with the easy ones so you get in good practice for the ones that are more challenging.

Your Planet thanks you!

sábado, 16 de mayo de 2015

Waste of food - my experience

This week's experiment is one of the biggest challenges of my daily life and Lucia's lifestyle seems very different to mine!!!

I currently live with two roommates and my cat R. The cat eats cat food that i buy and my roommates and I have very different schedules, so we don't share food and each one cooks for herself only. Sometimes we coincide at dinner, but it is something that happens randomly once every two months or less!!!

It is a huge challenge to buy and cook food for only one person and not to waste some of it every week. I have three meals a day and two snacks. I have established easy breakfasts because I start at 8 am every day, I cook lunch to eat at my office and my dinners are always light and easy if I prepare them. The snacks are fruits, crackers or nuts.


For me, the purpose to lower the chances to waste food will start when I go shopping. First thing I'm going to do is to look up for my week's activities and be real honest about the actual time I'm going to have to cook (and I actually only cook for lunch- breakfasts are fresh fruits, yogurt and granola, for dinner is tortillas, cheese or a salad). Once I see the week's scenario I'll probably realize that I can only cook for two or three lunches so I'll make a shopping list based on that (I will completely avoid buying food without a shopping list!!). And when I feel like cooking beans, lentils or chickpeas, since it is difficult to cook just a little bit, I will make the whole bag and freeze half of it (or more) to eat it later on.


I will be moving out of my current house in two weeks. I'm still be having a roommate, so I'm going to bring up this subject with my roommate to find a way to share the food we buy and cook. It might be helpful and more easy to follow Lucia's suggestions. I will inform how it goes!



lunes, 11 de mayo de 2015

Waste of food.

I have been always bothered by the fact that we waste food. It hurts me to throw away that what just a couple of days before was so celebrated and wanted. there are many reasons to stop wasting food. So, I decided this must be changed. 
In our household we are two grown ups and a little girl (M) almost 2 years old. M Food is always a bit of a challenge. When she is hungry food must be there, period. And if she doesnt like it, something else must appear on her dish asap. So, sometimes I end up with a lot of baby food.
Each household and person have different habits when it comes to food. Feel free to do your own experiment.

First Week
I put all rests of food in containers -nothing new-, but even if there are only three spoons of food left I do...But normally I just put them in the fridge somewhere and forget about it (WRONG!). When I open it again I just look in that jungle of fresh products and boxes and guess what...yes, I do pick up the fresh products.

The right side of the fridge...
Well I decided all products that need to be eaten will "live" on the right side of the fridge. So easy. It is no rocket science but it works, you actually get to see what you need to use and you know where it is. I noticed it is better if I use see-through containers then I don't even have to think what is in them. I just have it before my eyes.

I always think of the right side before I cook. I did and I realized that we cook too much food and that is why we never get to eat it all. And the same happened with the baby food which is worst because I don't like to keep it long to avoid food poisoning.

Second Week
I eat all the rests.  I literally tried to do so in the moment... It was crazy but I still recommend it to do it for a week or so because you get to understand better your food portions. After that I decided to think how can I better use my rests: Tomorrow's lunch or as an entrée at dinner time. In my case my lunches are mostly rests from the day before and we decided some of our dinners isis our "Rests day meal" which means we empty all containers of the fridge.
I also decided to cook for M food I would like to eat myself so if she doesnt eat it nor like it,  I will take it as my lunch. I also decided M is big enough to eat what mama and papa eat. Luckily, she  agrees often...Not always, which is a bit sad but I am trying hard to understand her food needs.

Third week
I make a zero throw away week. Do it, it will help you tune the last details so you get to get the best of your food. I did it and I threw away a squashed banana forgotten in my bag (not nice) and a bit of an aubergine. Not bad but this week I am going for the zero!

I don't have to cook so much like before (Yupi!) 
We are saving electricity
And since we are not wasting food we are saving some money.

domingo, 10 de mayo de 2015

Washing clothes - My experience!

This week I tried the three suggested things to wash clothes in a environmental friendly way:

1. Find biodegradable detergent
2. Don't use regular fabric softener or find biodegradable alternative
3. Don't use chlorine

Here the results:

1. I went to the supermarket and look for a biodegradable detergent. For my surprise, comparing with the one I was used to buy, the biodegradable one is a local brand and the cost is not as high. I bought it and have already used it with good results.

2. Also, for my surprise, the biodegradable detergent brand also offers a biodegradable fabric softener. The price is great and the bottle contains more product than the regular one. Good choice!!

3. I never use chlorine, so, nothing new to try here.

4. I washed clothes with cold water all the time and I don't have a dryer machine, I was doing something right already!

Now that I tried using biodegradable products, I only have one concern: how do i get refills instead of buying more plastic bottles? I can recycle them, but it would be nice to just get refills and get rid of so much plastic bottles! I will find out if this is an option!

This is all for now!!

P. (San José, Costa Rica)

miércoles, 6 de mayo de 2015

Washing clothes...

Now that I live in Germany and we have four seasons I understand better why you should take better care of your clothes and shoes. Here you have specialized pullovers, jackets and shoes for rain, wind and snow that aren't cheap -you don't want to buy new anyway ; ) - and that you want to have ready to wear when it is time again.

Some of the tips to better take care of your clothes:

I wash my clothes only if necessary
I study the stain and smell factor. I sometimes remove a stain with a humid towel and I can wear a pullover again. I wear my jeans the whole week without problem. You can always hang your clothes to air and get read of smells... We all have our limits but make sure you are doing an effort not to throw all your clothes immediately in the washing machine.
I wash them cold or 30° Celsius. In Costa Rica we wash all clothes with cold water and the clothes come out clean. It took time to my husband (he is german) to understand that you don't need hot water to wash clothes.

I do hand wash. Yes, it is not so funny but there are very delicate clothes that wont last 6 months if I throw them in the washing machine. I soak them in little soap, I make sure the stains are removed and ready. I do several pieces in one bucket... starting with the less dirty and light util the dark and dirty.

I don't use a dryer. We decided not to buy one because of saving space, and energy and Using these machines may cause clothes to shrink or become less soft (due to loss of short soft fibers/lint). (2)
But if you want to buy one there are solar ones ad some are more effective the others. (More info here:

I use an environmental friendly detergent. Please try. It is important to protect the water. Skip artificial fragrances, which can be among the most toxic components of any home or personal care product. Surfactants like nonylphenol ethoxylate are known to be hormone disrupters (1), and can end up in our waterways. Brands like Seventh Generation, Ecover, Method, Planet and Biokleen offer eco-friendly laundry detergents that eliminate polluting ingredients and are often biodegradable.1

I skip the fabric softener. It is all but good for the environment, it contains a lot of chemicals that are hormonal disrupters, it could cause asthma and, and, and... Here a complete article about it:  

Thanks to Paula I found out that vinegar does the work of a softener: Vinegar is cheap and nontoxic, effective and antimicrobial. It naturally softens and as a bonus, it helps to remove soap residue. Finally, vinegar aids in static reduction during drying. Just add it to the rinse cycle and you’re good to go. Homemade fabric softener doesn’t get much easier than that!

I don't use bleach, chlorine. I never use bleach. The sun is better bleaching and you can use also baking soda. My mum uses it and it works very well.

Just remember: the less you wash your clothes the longer they will last.