Eco-unfriendly Styrofoam coolers give me the “chills!”

Summer is in full swing and sadly, to me, it feels like it’s half over.  I always consider summer a brief 10 week experience (now that we have kids in school), but that’s my own issue.

cooler-foamAnyhow, while I’ve been out and about with my family enjoying the “first half”, one thing keeps catching my eye… Styrofoam coolers.  I almost can’t believe that these things still exist.  I understand that they are a matter of convenience, but with some forethought, it’s easy to be prepared and no one should ever need a ‘single use’ cooler. It pains me to see them sitting next to garbage cans and knowing that they’ve become trash.  And I imagine that after purchasing a few Styrofoam versions, you could probably own a decent cooler of your very own.

My mom actually taught me the amazing insulating ability of newspaper.  Layers of newspaper, wrapped around whatever you need to keep cold in transit, does an incredible job of holding the cold.  This newstrick even works to keep items hot.  I used newspaper to keep our kids’ baby food warm when we went out to dinner, so they could have their food right along with us.  And the best part is that afterward, it can be recycled instead of thrown in the trash.

I just really want Styrofoam coolers to disappear! The problem is this… even if they disappear from store shelves, they still won’t disappear – they’ll live on in a landfill for about 500 years!

Raccoons & snakes & birds, oh my! A natural attraction?

Over the past weeks, we’ve had a raccoon hid her babies in our yard, snakes take up residence in a bush outside our front door and two birds nest under a different bush.  A raccoon even stopped by in our open garage while I was quietly doing something one evening. (That event caused me to let out a “startled scream” that sent mama running!)

rcoon-babiesAll this in a suburban neighborhood, close enough to urban life that we can see downtown Cleveland from our backyard.

I truly wondered “what gives!” until my husband pointed out that we have the most natural place in the neighborhood… no chemicals, no fertilizers or pesticides, no unfriendly environments… and I think he’s right.

When my neighbor saw the snakes, she suggested we pay for an exterminator or snake wrangler to get them out of here.  (Seriously?  I should pay someone to evict these poor little harmless creatures?!  But she is the same person {although she is a nice lady} that chopped down all of her backyard trees last year.) Then there is the other neighbor (also a “tree chopper“) that called out his OWN tree service to look at removing a tree in OUR yard because he didn’t like the leaves it was dropping in his driveway!  He offered to pay half, which we politely declined.snake

Maybe animals really do have a sense of “someplace safe”… yea, MomGoesGreen’s yard, of course!  And our kids are loving the animal park in their own yard (but yes, I do understand the dangers of raccoons, so they have been educated on safety.)

If you believe in karma, I think you’ll agree that my husband is right.  There IS a natural attraction because we do let off all whole lot of “good nature karma!”

Reusable produce bags… that don’t produce trash.

Every time I visit the grocery store or the local farmer’s market to pick-up some fabulously fresh organic produce, there are little environmentally un-friendly “by-products” that come home with my fruits and veggies… tapple-baghose flimsy plastic bags we’re often forced to use for our produce purchases.

I’ve tried to reuse them, but they’re cheap and end up tearing. I also hesitate because it’s too difficult to get them clean enough to feel safe to reuse them.  So, while I’m buying healthy foods for my family, I’m left with a handful of plastic bags that wind up in the trash.

Enter:  EarthSAKS!  I recently talked about their compact reusable bag that our daughter confiscated, but now I’ve discovered their produce bags too, and what a relief they are!  They’re made of sturdy, see-through, washable mesh with a simple drawstring closure at the top and they even store in an included canvas pouch for toting them back to the store, to use again and again.earth-produce

I’ve also picked up a few little mesh laundry bags (typically for your delicates… so why not some delicate produce, right?) when I’ve found them on sale, and if you’re feeling really crafty: a rectangle of mesh fabric, some stitches and string, and voila… reusable produce bag!

Whatever you choose, join me in making sure your produce makes its way to your home without bringing unwanted (plastic) guests!

Green your drive-thru and carry-out orders.

drive-signEven the greatest of moms have to occasionally rely on a drive-thru or carry-out to fill the dinner menu! While the nutritional content of the food already has us feeling guilty, a green mom often cringes at the waste and excess that accompanies the food.

Who hasn’t received an order that crushes all of our environmental rules?!

Here are a few simple ways to put at least some of the guilt at bay:

  • First, park the car! Truly… idling creates more emissions than actually driving your car! And contrary to belief, stopping and restarting your car does not burn more fuel.carry-bag
  • Skip the plastic utensils and napkins. If your order is going home with you, tell them you don’t need these items (that may only get thrown away).
  • Take only what you need/want. Avoid that 16-year old’s full grip on 12 packets of ketchup! Tell them exactly what and how many of the condiments you need instead of accepting those you don’t.
  • Say no to beverage holders. If you can manage it, use your car’s cup holders for beverages instead of taking a holder… but if you do take it, recycle it!
  • Use your own cup. If your order will include coffee, hand over your travel mug and ask them to use it.
  • Take your own bag in with you. Forgo that enormous, rustley, non-recyclable plastic bag that holds your carry-out order and tell them you’ll put your order in your own bag instead.

While these ideas might help satisfy your green side, I can’t guarantee that you won’t feel slow, sluggish or that overall sense of “ick” after your order gets consumed!

Tiny tees for your little Revolutionary.

Much to the occasional dismay of our kids, I am a mom who refuses to buy clothing that is a walking billboard for TV and movie characters.  Call me a downer, but if my kids are going to carry a message, I don’t want them to be a free advertisement (that I paid for!).

tiny-revThey do however have some clothing that carries a message that I’m proud to have them sport.  My daughter has a tee that says “Love Trees, Please” and another shouting “Go Green!”  We are quite a pair when I’m donning my own “Go Green” tee.

Now I’ve discovered a great little clothing company and our son is getting in on the action.  From Tiny Revolutionary, his tee proclaims “I’ll Change the World Someday!” (and I have no doubt that he will!)

Tiny Revolutionary is a great place for “little one’s” tees, when you want them to carry a message that has meaning.  Whether it’s changing the world, recycling, driving a hybrid, or sharing some love, Tiny tiny-rev-tRevolutionary has it covered!  They’re made of organic cotton, recycled polyester & rayon (mined from the cell walls of plants!) and non-toxic, water-based dyes; plus a portion of the proceeds from sales go to some fabulously worthwhile charities.  Not only do these adorable tees feel good, they also make YOU feel good!

For a generous 20% discount, enter coupon code:  GREENMOM (with the exception of their “Giving Tees”) or check out their facebook page for all kinds of coupons and contests.

The next time your tiny revolutionary wants to sport a princess or a superhero, consider letting them shout a message that will change the world instead!