Tag Archives: Green Lifestyle

15 SIMPLE STEPS FOR GOING GREEN IN 2015 . . . STEP 4


Did you make a resolution to go greener in 2015?  Maybe you made a resolution to save a little green in 2015?  Whether you did or didn’t maybe now is a good time to make a few and simple changes, follow this 15 part series for my favorite list of 15 to kick off the New Mid-Year (or anytime of the year) Greener You.  Read on for Step 4 and if you missed Step 1 ; Step 2 or Step 3.  So read on for Step 4.

Step 4.  Switch over your cleaning products.

Picture courtesy of http://www.freeimageslive.co.uk/

It’s no secret that I hate to shop, so when I started to make my own cleaning products over seven (7) years ago.  I celebrated as that was one less aisle I had to go down at the grocery store or mega box store.  Not only did I not have to go down that aisle but I didn’t have to hold my breath.  Now I am sure you are asking yourself why did I hold my breath?  Well it seems I have a fragrance sensitivity.  Nothing would bring on the sneezes, runny nose and throat wanting to close up faster than going down the detergent aisle at my friendly grocery store other than the perfume center in the mall.  This was due to the synthetic fragrances these manufacturers used.  The only way I made it, was to hold my breath and go in and get out as fast as I could or bribe my son to go get whatever we needed.  And silly me, I brought the stuff home and used in our house!  Go figure!  At least it wasn’t concentrated with kajillion boxes, sprayers and containers of the stuff.

So what I have found out since is that most of the ingredients are derived from petroleum, not so nice chemicals and synthetic fragrances. 

Did you know?

  • Household cleaners are NOT subject to FDA approval
  • Household cleaners are NOT required to list any or all ingredients
  • Products can be marketed without testing or government approval of ingredients.
  • Europe and other countries have banned many of the ingredients we continue to use in the U.S. because they practice the “Precautionary Principle”
  • Household cleaners are the leading contributors to indoor pollution and are linked to
    • Asthma
    • Allergies
    • And other health concerns.
  • Most cleaning products are loaded with synthetic fragrances and petroleum-distilled chemicals known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that vaporize into the air and cause skin and respiratory irritation, allergies, and asthma.
  • Wastewater treatment plants don’t remove some of the chemicals in detergents, discharging them into nearby waterways where they threaten water quality, fish and other wildlife.
  • Many companies use The “FRAGRANCE” Loop Hole to add subversive ingredients into their product. This is because fragrances are considered trade secrets so the ingredients do not need to be disclosed.

 And these are just some of the highlights!!  So no thank you, not in my house.  If you want more data or facts around your everyday cleaners I suggest you visit Environmental Working Group (EWG) Consumer Guide “EWG’S GUIDE TO HEALTHY CLEANING”.  They can tell you in much more detail and much better than I can about what is in your cleaning products!

Screenshot 2015-07-06 22.10.39 (2)

So what is a person to do… 

Well there are a ton of make it yourself cleaners out there on the world wide web.  Check them out, but keep in mind, what works for one person depends on the dirt and the grime, the area they live in and the water they use (hard, soft, bottled, tap, etc.). So don’t give up!

You also might have to use a little of what my grandmother used to call elbow grease (a little muscle behind your scrubbing) instead of letting the scrubbing bubbles do the work for you.  So my recommendation is try a few and find what works best for your family.

What I love most about these recipes is that you can always tweak them with what you have on hand and the ingredients are easily obtained.  I mean we are talking basically white vinegar, olive oil, baking soda, water maybe some hydrogen peroxide, borax, washing soda and some castile soap [bar and Liquid] thrown into the mix.  Most of this stuff I already had and I bet you do to!

Question:  What is your most favorite “Make-It-Yourself” Cleaning recipe?  Share your answer on Facebook or Twitter. 

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How long does it take for …


True story: aluminum goes from your recycling bin to being back on the store shelf in 60 days, limiting the need for (and environmental damage from) mining new materials.  Information from:  RecycleBank

15 Simple Steps for Going Green in 2015 . . . Step 2


Did you make a resolution to go greener in 2015?  Maybe you made a resolution to save a little green in 2015?  Whether you did or didn’t maybe now is a good time to make a few and simple changes, follow this 15 part series for my favorite list of 15 to kick off the New Mid-Year (or anytime of the year) Greener You.  Read on for Step 2.

2.  Replace your Paper Napkins Habit…

cotton napkins

Why Ditch the Paper Napkins?  Just like paper towels they are so handy and convenient, but did you know paper napkins (even the recycled ones) are hefty contributors to global warming, deforestation and water pollution – although there is a lot of debate about this statement, I fully believe that this is true.  Digging around for some facts about paper napkins consumption and the environment are hard to find, but I was able to ferret out the following few (um,, one).  So I am going to refer you to Step 1. Ditch your Paper Towel Habit for similar information.

I think it is important to note that all napkins (and paper towels) use energy and resources and produce pollution and waste, during manufacturing, transportation, packaging, use and disposal.  There is also a wide variety of materials for napkins (paper or cloth), sizes and weight which will impact how much energy and water is used through out their life cycle from “cradle to grave”.   So it is really hard to compare apples to pineapples in this case.

  • “During an average year, an American uses approximately 2,200 napkins—around six each day. If everyone in the U.S. used one less napkin a day, more than a billion pounds of napkins could be saved from landfills each year.”
  • According to Natural Resources Defense Council “the paper and pulp industry may contribute to more global and local environmental problems than any industry in the world.”
  • Triple Pundit  on this website is where a guy actually went through and did some calculations comparing the energy use, water use, and carbon footprint of both paper and cotton napkins.  I don’t agree with all his findings, but I do offer this for your reference.

How to Replace your Paper Napkins Habit… Truth be told we rarely used them growing up, so I have never been a big fan.  Again, my son and I don’t use them unless we are out and about dining out.  For our lunches for work or at school we take our cloth napkins.  If you can’t make them from fabric remnants,  invest in some quality hemp, linen or organic cotton napkins (check out etsy) and never look back!  The typical life span of your cloth napkins might be about 6-8 years but since I use them to clean with long after that I also save money by not buying paper towels.

For the purpose of this article I am going to use same washing and drying costs as our cleaning cloths, though I normally just throw them in with our normal laundry and don’t do a separate load.  Since we haven’t bought or made new napkins in ages, I am going to defer to Etsy and go with a similar set of cloth napkins made from organic cotton (a better choice is Linen, Flax or Hemp or even grab some at a thrift store or garage sale) .  Also I am going to use Vanity Fair Everyday Napkins, 300 Count (#1 Best Seller on Amazon in Paper Napkins) the calculations are based on 2 people using 6 napkins per day for an average of 30 days or 180 napkins per month.

vanity fair2Paper Towels Set of 4 Organic White Napkins by SmartkinCloth Napkins
Brand Vanity Fair Everyday Napkins, 300 Count 2 Sets of 4 Organic White Napkins by Smartkin (on Etsy)
Initial Cost $4.74 – 300 count of white 13” x 12.75” white 2 ply or $0.02 each $30.00 ($2.50 per month over 12 months but they could last a whole lot longer!)
Monthly Cost $7.20 (2 people using 1 napkin per meal per day for 30 days.) $3.26 ($2.50 plus $0.76 washing / drying / detergent cost)
Annual Cost $86.40 $39.12
Net Annual Savings if purchasing napkins $47.28
Net Annual Savings if you already have them $77.28

Sources

  1. Environmental Defenders of McHenry County
  2. The Guardian
  3. The Paperless Project
  4. UCSB Science Line
  5. Natural Resources Defense Council
  6. Triple Pundit  this website is where a guy actually went through and did some calculations comparing the energy use, water use, and carbon footprint of both paper and cotton napkins.

Question: So which will it be for your family . . . paper or cloth napkins? Share your answer on Facebook or Twitter.