Green-ify Your Life

Will be added to periodically…Those in bold are new additions.

***Use bars of soap instead of liquid soap.  This will avoid the need to buy refills which still most likely come in plastic containers.  The use of plastic in today’s society is outrageous and it ends up polluting our land and our seas.

***I am excited to use Abeego Food Storage Flats.  These are reusable and replace things like saran wrap, aluminum foil, and cling wrap.  Every time I need to use these, I cringe.  Now I can smile with Abeego!

***Use reusable baggies for snacks and sandwiches and holding buttons, etc.  I was gifted a couple of Snack Happens Minis by Itzy Ritzy.  

***Trying to buy everything organic can get expensive, unfortunately.  These foods are okay to buy non-organic because they have the lowest pesticide residue: asparagus, avocados, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, mango, onion, pineapple, sweet corn, sweet peas, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and watermelon.

***We just started using Bambooee: The anti-paper towel.  It’s the next best thing to cutting up old clothes and using those.  Here is the link:  http://www.bambooee.com/Company.aspx .  So far so good.  They are super absorbent.  You can wipe whatever is needed, rinse, and reuse.  Bamboo is a sustainable and renewable resource and this company also plants a tree for every roll sold.  How can you beat that?!

***Save gift bags, boxes, tissue paper and re-gift.  I have half a closet full.  Never buy again!

***Think of a way to reuse everything.  Diaper boxes?  Save to mail large items.  Sauce jars?  Save to make things like morning oats.  Glass water bottles?  Save to keep water or homemade juice chilled in the fridge.  Clothes you want to get rid of?  Save to make other items, such as clothing for your kids or kids you know.  

***I experiment with making homemade baby wipe solution.  I like using tea tree oil and lavender essential oils and castile soaps.  Here is a site with many different options:  http://www.zany-zebra.com/cloth-wipe-solution.shtml

***I make my own laundry detergent using the following ingredients: 2 cups boiling water, 1 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup of salt, 1 cup lavender liquid castile soap.  Mix the first 3 ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Pour into a gallon sized jug.  I use an old iced tea jug.  Pour in the soap and fill the remainder of the jug with hot tap water, on a low flow so it doesn’t suds up too much.  Shake well before each use.  Use 1/2 cup per average load.  Adjust based on size and amount of grime in load.  I found this recipe here: http://backtoherroots.com/2014/08/04/homemade-borax-free-laundry-detergent/#comment-426313.

***Try to use washable cloth kitchen towels and napkins.  I’ve started cutting up old t-shirts to do this.  In the mean time, we try to use napkins made from recycled paper.  Greener Penny lists these as the best choices:  Atlantic Packaging’s “Ambiance,” “Atlantic,” “Fiesta,” and “April Soft” brands; Cascade “North River” brand; Earth First; Marcal; Planet; Seventh Generation; and Whole Food’s 365.

***Choose safer toys for your kiddies.  We received a gift from a friend made by Green Toys.  It’s a bath toy boat.  This company produces 100% recycled toys made in the U.S.A.  Think reusing plastic milk jugs and yogurt cups.  Even the packaging is 100% recycled cardboard, or sometimes 100% recycled water bottles.  How cool!!

toy

***Now that I’m growing out my hair, I’ll need drain cleaner more often.  Mix and pour in drain equal parts of baking soda, white vinegar, and boiling water.  Boiling water being last.  For tougher clogs, use a plunger/snake, then an enzyme drain cleaner.  If all else fails, call the plumber.

***When covering leftovers in fridge, cover with plates when possible instead of plastic wrap or foil.  Using them to cover bowls is easy.

***Instead of buying a new hand soap dispenser each time you run out, keep the one you have and buy large quantities of refill and pour into old dispenser.  Maybe even get a eco-friendly refill that is made from a recyclable container.

***Reuse water that you have used to steam vegetables or sanitize things for watering house plants.

***If you use Brita products, sign up for TerraCycle (for free), save all Brita paraphernalia, print off free shipping label from your account, and send (also for free) to recycle them.  Use boxes that you get from the store or orders in the mail, etc., to ship.  Even though some things are hard to recycle, there are options if you research.

***When you receive postage paid response envelopes, use them for any other mail that needs to be sent out.  After all, it is paid.  Why throw it out?

***A simple recipe for toilet bowl cleaner: baking soda, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide.  Sprinkle baking soda on sides of toilet bowl.  Spray vinegar until it lightly fizzes.  Wait 30 minutes then scrub.  Hydrogen peroxide will provide a stronger disinfectant on the rim, lid, and seat.

***A simple recipe for glass cleaner: 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 cup water, 3-4 drops liquid plant-based soap.  Mix in a spray bottle.

***A simple recipe for floor cleaner that is also safe for wood: 1 cup white vinegar, 1 gallon hot water.  For extra cleaning power add 1/4 cup liquid plant-based soap.  This addition will require rinsing the floor, as slipperiness will result.

*** Save all plastic bags (shopping bags, bread bags, any plastic bags really) and return them to a store which has a collection bin.  Stop & Shop and Target have one.  Even better, when shopping bring re-usable bags.  When I forget those, I go for just paper bags.

***Instead of placing fruit and vegetable scraps in the garbage, put them in a stainless steel composting container (or a bowl on your counter).  Create a simple compost pile or container in your yard and empty these scraps here as often as your container fills up.  There are many versions: tumblers, rolling bins, worm bins, pit composting, heaps or piles, etc.  Look up what’s best for your living situation.  You can also add things like coffee grinds, pizza crusts, egg shells, tea leaves, tea bags (without staples), nut shells, coffee filters, used paper napkins, toilet paper rolls, plain cooked pasta, stale cereal, stale saltine crackers, old herbs and spices, moldy cheese, and old jelly.  Composting helps prevent pollution (i.e.: keeping greenhouse gases to a minimum in landfills), helps to enrich soil, helps cleanup contaminated soil, and helps to reduce the need for fertilizer, water, and pesticides.

***Stop buying bottled water.  Get yourself a stainless-steel beverage bottle, tempered glass bottle, or bottle made of plastics that will not leach toxic chemicals.  These include: high-density polyethylene (HDPE #2), low-density polyethylene (LDPE #4), polypropylene (PP #5), or triton copolyester (Other # 7).  Always choose a plastic that is BPA free!

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Some of these suggestions will be taken from Do One Green Thing by Mindy Pennybacker.