Green Living

“I’m a busy mom living in an average American life managing my family of four. Our budget is tight and our time is limited. WE indulge in modern conveniences that are not always the best choices for our health, or the health of our planet. I know that some of our choices are causing harm to our environment and I really believe that by taking even the smallest steps, our contributions can add up to the kind of significant change we wish to see.” My friend Kelly

  1. Don't fight it, light it!
    Use CFLs (compact fluorescent lights), the funny looking ones. If everyone in America replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an energy star qualified CFL, in one year it would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes and prevent greenhouse gas emission equal to those of more than 800,000 cars!
    -We have found that they last a lot longer too!
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  3. Put a brick in it!
    Replace your toilet with a low-flow or dual-flow toilet, or just put a brick or a jug filled with pebbles in your standard tank. 40 percent of water used in a home goes down the toilet.
    -There is also the option like my housemate in college, Jennie, used to enforce, “If it is yellow let it mellow, but if it is brown flush it down!”
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  5. Get clean, really clean!
    Rid your house of toxic cleaners and replace them with cleaners made with sustainable ingredients from natural resources. The EPC estimates air pollution to be up to 5 times greater inside the home than outside. Much of that comes from conventional cleaners we use to clean our home. Using toxic cleansers poses significant risks to our health and the health of our environment.
    -We made some easy switches by first empting out everything beneath our sinks. I replaced Commit with baking soda, ammonia with vinegar, and tub and surface cleaners with natural brands. We also replaced all our dish soap, hand soaps, lotions and toiletries with such brands as Tom’s, Burt’s Bees or Nature’s Gate. I also switched from tampons to a Moon Cup and Gladrags mentrual alternatives. I am actually really happy with the switch! We have used the natural local grocery store brand that offers green alternatives for products too! Household products typically last a long time so the cost increase was hardly noticeable! You can also make your own detergent with this Laundry Soap Recipe
  6. or try making a gallon of organic liquid hand soap for $5, or your own natural cleaners! I also like this great natural remedy for post partum moms Herbal Bath Recipe

     

     

  7. Break the bottle habit!
    Get a reusable stainless steel water bottle and fill it up with tap water yourself. Making and even recycling plastic water bottles uses energy and releases pollution. Consumer Reports found that a quarter of bottled water comes from the tap. Enviro Products also offer corn-based products, which will degrade in just 80 days in a commercial compost.
    -I have a Sigg, Natalie has a Klean Kanteen, and Alivia and Pierce have Thermos Foogos all of which we like.
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  9. Kick it to the curb!
    An estimated 69 percent still don’t recycle. IF your community offers curbside recycling, why not give it a try? Most communities even offer free recycling bins. It just doesn’t get any easier than that.
    -We have local pick up, but there are also recycled goods stations around if you don't. We recycle everything, our cans, bottles, glass, paper, and plastics products. Recycling also greatly minimizes how much we make our garbage man pick up!
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  11. Having a Baby?
    Consider breastfeeding. It’s free, it’s convenient, it’s the healthiest choice for mom and baby and it’s environmentally sound too. La Leche League is a non-profit organization offering free support to pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
    -I have heard lots of talk about the BPA in formula cans, baby bottles, and pacifiers that are not safe for your baby. It also costs nearly $1000 for the cheap formula for the baby’s first year. My pediatrician when asked if they were supportive of breastfeeding said, “Yes! If I were to compare a breastfed child’s chart to a formula fed chart the breastfed child’s would be very small (not a lot of sick visits) versus quite a thick chart for the other. I have nursed all my kids have never had to deal with the extra milk preparation or dishes plus we all reaped the many benefits of Breastfeeding!

    Thanks Kel for those ideas for “going green” in your daily life. I also have a few suggestions that have worked well for us and are good for the earth.

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  13. Buy local and eat fresh, natural, organic foods!
    I know that eating well takes more time to prepare and can be a bit more costly, but we do our best. I always thought it cost more to eat well, but the real price comparison organic v. processed foods tells us this is not the case. We can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods, but we always buy organic if it is on sale, steer clear of processed foods, we don’t buy much frozen, or prepackaged/boxed foods, and we minimize what we buy in a can. We get fresh raw milk (There is a lot of debate about Milk. Here are some other articles about Milk), honey and eggs from local farmers. For some good tips talk to the The Raw Food Coach! Oh, I have to be honest, coffee is one of my nutritional vices, so we “create good” and buy fair trade, organic, shade grown coffee from Pura Vida. It is awesome and I feel better about drinking my caffine addiction!
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  15. Use cloth diapers, not disposables!
    It cost about $1500-2000 for disposable diapers for one child. It takes up to 500 years for one disposable diaper to decompose. One baby in disposable diapers contributes up to 1 ton of waste to your local landfill. Talk about a way to reduce your garbage output! Not to mention the build up of human poop stagnant in your can for a week! Yuck. Not to mention that is actually illegal to throw human poop into the garbage. I am not sure why we think that it is fine not to flush down, but rather to throw our baby’s poop away and not our own?! For more info check out Cloth Diapers
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  17. Compost all your scraps from your food and your yard!
    Don’t put meat or dairy in your pile, but pretty much everything else is good to go. This also minimizes how much garbage we produce and we use it to fertilize our garden... Natalie loves to take the compost bucket out back dump it for me. She also loves to plant and pick from our garden.
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  19. Plant a garden!
    Use whatever space you have and plant something! It is great for the whole family, good food and time outside. We get our seeds and plants from Kings Herb Nook .
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  21. Use glass not plastic
    We recycled all our plastic Tupperware and replaced it with canning jars and glass containers. If we do use plastic we make sure that it is BPA free.
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  23. Sort through it!
    On a regular basis we go through our stuff and give it away. I have eliminated all possible hazardous toys that have been given to my kids. We usually try to go through and give away even the good stuff, just to simplify life for us and them. We overload on this stuff, so here is my list of favorite Baby Stuff. I tend to keep the stuff that encourages developmental growth and avoid plastic and media/technology type stuff. We do our best to keep it simple, engaging, and fun in our house.
    On a regular basis we also go though all of our cloths and give away stuff that we rarely wear. And when we do shop we avoid the mall and high cost clothing and support our local consignment and thrift stores. It is amazing how much good stuff people give away and what we can get for a fraction of the price! There are also a ton of outgrown sales around held every Fall and Spring

Other Green Stuff
Dr. Mercola is an M.D. who critically looks at all sorts of topics and is very wellness-oriented. His site is a wealth of information!

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