Take this trash and ship it

Given the word association test, “green” no longer prompts a response of, say… “orange”.  It’s more likely to prompt words like “recycling”.

I’d say it’s a great sign of our current environmental awareness, but what aggravates me is that more and more naysayers want you to say that the “green movement” and recycling is simply a waste of time.

For me, that’s unthinkable and I could never subscribe to this small-minded belief.  I have a hard time understanding how there can be a negative side to reusing, reducing and recycling.  Is it selfishness?  Is it laziness?  Is it the unwillingness to take any responsibility?  (The guy at Blockbuster once tried to convince me that the importance and value of recycling is actually “made up!”  Don’t ask me how this conversation got started, but I nearly passed out… “made up?… really?)

But recycling is being challenged and those naysayers want you to believe that it’s all a selfish act of capitalism. Some even suggest burning is a better option. (oh yea.  Burning.  THAT’S going to help.)

Well, I’m a naysayer of the naysayers.  Here are a few facts to keep out of your recycling bin.

Fact: Our “trash”, including scrap paper, metal and plastics, is one of the US’s largest current exports to China.  They purchase our recyclable trash because they don’t have enough raw materials to meet their demand.  In 2002, the US exported $1.2 billion worth of recyclables.  In 2006, the export grew to $6.1 billion. (Excellent!)

Fact: Recycling requires 90% less energy than making aluminum cans from ore or plastics from oil, plus it creates less waste and pollution.  (Argue with THAT Blockbuster guy!)

So who is capitalizing on this system?  I’d say we are.  I’d say our environment is capitalizing.  I’d say our long-term existence is depending on it.  Do you agree?

If we keep pumping our earth and environment with toxic trash, harmful gasses and chemical pollutants, without regard to future generations, how do we expect that there WON’T be negative effects.  I have kids and I refuse to let them bear the burden of my selfishness and laziness.  Sorry if that upsets anyone, but for most of us, recycling is very doable.

Being green is not an issue of “Saving the Earth”.  No matter what kind of havoc we thrust upon our environment, the earth WILL survive, but will we?  We’re moving toward kicking ourselves out of the only home we have and I’m not about to sit around, irresponsibly, and debate that answer to that question.

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.“   — Native American Proverb

(An edited version of this post was published on BlogHer)

Happy Thanks “greening”!

Actually… HaPPy THaNKSGiViNG everyone!

But, today I do ask all of us to remember to give thanks for this amazing planet we live on too.

As we indulge, on an over-indulgent holiday, let’s remember to keep reusing, reducing and recycling a part of our day as well.  As noted by Treehugger, the average American output of trash increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  Sheesh.

Hopefully, lots of what we will consume comes from the earth, so give thanks.

And also, just as important, give thanks for everyone around you.  I hope you feel blessed… I sure do.

xoxo, MomGoesGreen

Confessions of a “Method” Head!

Okay, so don’t start rumors about MomGoesGreen.  I have an admitted addiction… but it’s an addiction to Method products!

Sincerely.  I can’t get enough of them!  I know I have talked about “the greatness that is distilled white vinegar” but some things require a little extra something-something… like my dishwasher.  Can’t exactly pour in some vinegar and call it a day!

But Method… ahhh, Method!  (I’ve talked about the love… umm, twice.  So, here’s a third!) Their “Smarty Dish” Dishwasher Detergent is amazing.  It’s earth-friendly, biodegradable, and bleach- and phosphorous-free.  It comes as a large tablet so you don’t even need to worry about pouring and measuring.  My chosen scent was Pink Grapefruit – quite nice! – and can I just say my dishes and glasses were so squeaky  clean when they came out of the dishwasher that my husband even commented!

I’ve also been loving their Lil’ Bowl Blu Toilet Cleaner, Multi-Surface & Glass Cleaners, Biodegradable Tub & Tile Wipes (especially for our 3-year old son, with HORRIBLE aim!), but I’m also continually impressed with their hand soaps.  They’ve been in our house for quite a while now (and they’re great – especially the kid-friendly foaming kind), but would you believe they actually designed the containers so you can use every last drop of the soap?!  Love it!  And they sell refill soap too… another bonus.

BUT… my current fav Method product is the oh-so-yummy Method Baby Body Lotion I bought for our kids.  I so desperately wanted to get away from their old lotions – (do you know that most of them contain mineral oil?  Putting mineral oil on your skin is like covering yourself in saran wrap! Can you imagine?!?)

Anyhow… back to my point… the Method Baby Body Lotion is made of natural, biodegradable ingredients and never contains parabens, phthalates or other nasty chemicals you wouldn’t want to slather on your kids.  I have a clear conscience when I lotion them up these days and it’s topped off with a wonderful scent – rice milk & mallow (yea.  That’s as in marshmallow!).  But I can’t guarantee you won’t want to nibble on their arm for a bit.  I know I want to… and do!

So, I’ve said it before… I’ll probably say it again, but Method is a great company, with great products, a clear environmental focus and responsibility and a fab sense of humor (wait until you start reading their packaging!).

But I won’t leave you hangin’… I know you wanna get some … everyone should be a “Method” Head!!!  It’s a great addiction.

Toys packaged like all the gold in Fort Knox….

(Scenario:  Christmas morning. Family gathered. Piles of presents. Happy faces.)

*  Obnoxious amount of gifts from “Santa”:  $812
*  Pristinely decorated artificial Christmas tree:  $349
*  Evergreen-scented soy candle:  $22
*  Not swearing profusely while you try to extract your kid’s gift from the package:  PRICELESS!

Who hasn’t found themselves in this scenario… it sometimes feels like you need a screwdriver, wire cutters, pliers and a blowtorch to get the toy out of the box, thanks to those tightly wound plastic-coated wires, screws and extra cardboard strategically folded and molded to hold the contents in place!  And not only is it annoying, it’s definitely environmentally-unfriendly!

There is such a trend of overpackaging (especially for toys!) and it’s so aggravating knowing that while the cardboard can be recycled, there’s still a ton of waste when the toy is finally liberated!

But I’m happy to let you know that Amazon just launched its “Frustration-Free Packaging” initiative that includes Fisher-Price and Mattel toys.  The products are exactly the same, but the packaging has been streamlined to use less materials.

This program will be growing and expanding over years to come, and you can see examples of the products that are included at Amazon.  But one example of what this really means is the Fisher-Price Imaginext Adventures Pirate Ship.  It will now be delivered in an easy-to-open, recyclable cardboard box. This eliminates:

  • 36 inches of plastic-coated wire ties
  • 1,576.5 square inches of printed corrugated package inserts
  • 36.1 square inches of printed folding carton materials
  • 175.25 square inches of PVC blister packaging
  • 3.5 square inches of ABS molded styrene and two molded plastic fasteners

Want to know what this also eliminates?  Swearing, headaches and major environmental guilt!

Nasty, nasty chemical cleaners: the top 10 criminals

Undoubtedly, any one of us could look in a cupboard and under the sink and find bottles and cans of household cleaners that contain the harshest and most toxic of chemicals.  But do we really need them?

Don’t get me wrong… I want my house clean and germ-free too, but what if the means to that end requires us to spray, scrub and wash surfaces that we touch… that our kids touch countless times every day… with harsh chemicals? Kinda sounds like we’re defeating our purpose!

Knowing the worst household offenders is the best place to start making this change.  So here is the condensed rap sheet on those “bottled criminals”:

  • Bleach – can cause irritation & burns, and edema or coma if ingested
  • Mold & Mildew Cleaners – contents include known carcinogens and chemicals that can cause fluid in the lungs, memory loss and shortness of breath
  • Oven Cleaners – can cause irritation & burns, and effect reflexes and tissue if ingested
  • Ammonia – damaging to eyes, respiratory tract and skin
  • Air Fresheners – commonly contains formaldehyde, a known carcinogen
  • Dishwasher Detergent – contains highly concentrated/highly poisonous chlorine in a dry form
  • Laundry Products – contains elements that can cause liver damage and can irritate and/or burn skin, eyes, mucous membranes and the respiratory tract
  • Carpet & Upholstery Shampoo – contains a known carcinogen that damages the kidneys, liver and nervous system, plus irritants & burning contents
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaners – contents can damage kidneys and the liver, irritate skin and eyes, and cause edema or coma if ingested
  • Drain Cleaners – contains elements that can damage kidneys, liver & the digestive tract, and depress the nervous system

Are you scared yet?  I know I am! If you want more details and the actual chemical contents, click here, but I assure you, you won’t like what you read.  It convinced me that I really, really need to give up a bunch of these commercial cleaners!

So… what to do? I say the answer is in three little words: distilled white vinegar.  It has more uses than you can imagine — it’s safe, it’s environmental and it’s inexpensive.

We already know that it can clean a clogged drain like a champ, but did you also know it can: cut grease, brighten your laundry, remove mineral deposits and stains, clean tarnished metals, remove carpet stains, clean the floor, remove stains from clothing and (what we all want)… kill germs and sanitize!

VinegarTips.com will give you 75 ways to use and formulate vinegar for everyday cleaning and 20 tips for using vinegar with your laundry!  I’m impressed!

The only other thing that comes to mind is “do they sell vinegar in barrels” (!?!).