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Posts Tagged ‘eco-friendly home’

So maybe you don’t think of yourself as being particularly entrenched in “going green.”  That’s ok, you can start small.  There are many things you can do every day to help, that over time will make a huge impact.

*Use re-usable kitchen towels instead of paper towels or napkins. You’ll save a crapload of trees.

*Recycle. We have a small plastic trash bin in the kitchen and it is filled nearly every day with recyclables.  It adds up quick, folks.  Most cities and towns have a regular recycling day and will provide you with bins for each type of recyclable, along with a list of what they accept and don’t accept.

*Carpool. It saves gas, money and cuts down on those nasty emissions.

*Use cloth shopping bags. Saves trees, is a better choice for the environment than the plastic alternative and some stores even give you money to use them!  Target gives you $.05 off of your total for each one that you use, regardless if it is one of theirs.

*Use non-chlorine bleach. Still cleans and disinfects, without the harm to the environment or your family.

*Use unbleached coffee filters. These are the brown ones, folks.  They are made without the use of the chemical dioxin .  They’re going to turn brown anyway, right?

*Use rechargeable batteries. Not only saves you money but helps keep heavy metals from building up in landfills.

For more ways you can help, there is a great website here.

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I think it is safe to say the majority of us are trying to do something to reduce our carbon footprint and improve our planet. At least I would hope so. I know there are folks out there that don’t think much about how they impact their little corner of the earth (nodding at my sister whom I love very much but who does not even recycle :-(), but there’s no denying a fast-growing trend in the past decade or so of marketing to the ecologically-minded consumer. Growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, I remember schools beginning to teach recycling and ways to give back to the earth. Considering every day of my childhood I consumed what seemed like my weight in hormone-laiden, pesticide-laced milk (oh, the Crunch Berry goodness) and loved the convenience of heavily-processed, pre-packaged microwavable foods, I did eventually catch on and began to slowly fish for more eco-friendly choices. Horrified at all the dangerous chemicals in our everyday consumables, I sucked up every nugget of information I could to better my way of living. I learned quite a lot during my 5-year stint at a major pet retailer. One of my job requirements was to make myself knowledgeable in the area of pet food. I had to learn about ingredients, nutritional value and cost. I was shocked to learn what I was feeding my dogs. Unsatisfied with what was available on the market back then, I began making my own dog food. I wondered what might be lurking in my own refrigerator and pantry. o_O

When I had my first child, I firmly made the switch to organics. There were still a lot of things that were not readily available at that time, but I got what I could get, learned how to make my own baby food and by the time my second child came along, discovered cloth-diapering. I learned that not only were we consuming chemicals and pesticides in our foods, but we were also inundating our homes with them. I sought out alternative cleaning products. I learned to make my own laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent and household cleaners. Not only did I feel I was making a healthier environment for my family, I was saving money, too. While the naysayers around me bemoaned the cost of organic products or the initial cost outlay in obtaining cloth diapering materials, I simply had to show the cost savings and all of a sudden people paid attention. I ran with it.

It’s several years later and I have since remarried, had another child and have continued on my path to becoming more self-sufficient and eco-friendly. I rented for many years and most landlords didn’t take kindly to carving up their pretty lawns to put in a garden or would even entertain the notion of allowing a compost bin. I am now a homeowner (woot, woot) and last season took up gardening for the first time since I was a child. In this section of the blog I will share what I’ve learned, what I’m learning and what I hope to accomplish with regard to moving toward a more eco-friendly home, all the while recording for posterity the ups and downs along the way.

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