Going green in the bathroom: 10 things you overlooked…

bth room 2Everyone knows the standard list of ways to go green in the bathroom – turning off the water while you brush your teeth, low-flow shower heads, water efficient toilets, chemical-free cleaners, short showers and low-volume baths… okay, you’ve heard them all, but what about those little things you overlook?

Think there aren’t any?  Well, think again… here are some things you may have missed:

  • Soap – choose bar soaps over liquid shower gels and avoid excess plastic packaging. Although many of the bottles are recyclable, the caps often aren’t.
  • Cosmetic foundations & eyeliners – choose foundation sold in glass bottles or jars over those in plastic tubes and containers so they can be recycled. Choose wooden pencil eyeliners over plastic tubes too.grn soap
  • Shampoos – (if you must use a conditioner) choose a 2-in-1 product where the shampoo and conditioner are combined.  You will use one less container but also shorten your shower by skipping an extra step.
  • Razors – choose a refillable razor versus disposables.  Plastic razors simply become needless trash.
  • Q-tips – choose those with a paper spindle instead of plastic… plain and simple.bamb towels
  • Towels – choose bamboo options.  They’re soft, snuggly and (most important) sustainable!  Organic cotton towels are another great choice.
  • Greywater – Add a bucket in the shower with you and capture it!  Showers actually account for over a quarter of a home’s typical water usage, and there are plenty of uses for this greywater.
  • Speaking of showers… shower with someone special…. (Ooo, Mom Goes Green just got naughty!)

Skipping steps in dish washing = lots of conservation

Like you, I cook and prepare meals… a lot. Often “three squares” a day for the health and wellness of my family so I know we’re all getting good, nutritious food.  But I’m often amazed at the amount of plates, bowls, glasses and utensils that are left in the wake!

dishwash by handI’ve evaluated hand washing vs. using the dishwasher and found, overwhelmingly, that (if you have one) the dishwasher is the route to go to clean the aftermath and conserve water, but here’s my misstep… I always felt it was necessary to do a little bit of pre-rinsing before everything went into the dishwasher… boy was I wrong.

According to Consumer Reports, up to 20 GALLONS of water can be consumed to pre-rinse what goes into our dishwasher.  Ouch!… that’s not conservation!  All you need to do is scrape off everything you can and load ‘em up! The other fact I’ve learned is that we really shouldn’t pre-rinse since detergents actually work better when there IS some “food soil” left. Well, my husband is going to be VERY happy about that after tonight’s dinner mess.dishwshr dr open

Besides skipping the pre-rinsing and the pre-wash cycle you should also skip the heated drying cycle.  This actually saves 50% of the energy used for the load.  The better option:  OPEN the door as soon as the dishwasher shuts off. The contents are at their hottest and will evaporate the remaining water and moisture quickly, and in no time everything will be dry… and you’ve really, REALLY conserved!

So there you have it… skip a few little dishwashing steps but make one big step for conservation!

Simple food tip: read beyond the “organic” label…

horizn mlkOrganic foods are always a hot topic… everything from the controversy over the benefits of organic, to which fruits and veggies are organic ‘necessities’… the list goes on and on.

One thing I have been guilty of is putting organic products on a pedestal when they sometimes don’t deserve it. Now don’t get me wrong, I still recommend organics with my whole heart and soul, and will continue to buy organic produce and products, but my guilt comes from reading the word “organic” and making assumptions about the rest of the ingredients.

Case in point: While we were out-and-about, my kids asked for “a milk”.  I knew they were asking for a Horizon Organic Milk Box, so immediately my answer was, “Sure!”  I mean, why not?  It’s organic milk after all.  But then this caught my eye:

So, I looked closer at some of my other purchases and here is what I found:stnyfld peach yog

This extra sugar is something NONE of us needs, so my point is this… always look beyond the “organic” label.  It’s not necessarily the perfect product just because it has the “magical ‘o’-word!”  Sometimes it has what you want, but sometimes there is an “extra” that you don’t.

Be a label reader and read beyond “organic”…

(* To compute the number of teaspoons of sugar in any food product simply divide the number of sugar grams by 4!)

40th Anniversary of Earth Day… (20 ways to) do something!

This Thursday, April 22, 2010, marks the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day! Created in 1970, it is a way to remind us to appreciate nature and this amazing planet we live on, and learn how to protect our environment and all of its inhabitants. While it is celebrated in the spring in the northern hemisphere, it is actually observed in the autumn in the southern hemisphere (both days being the exact “middle point” of the season).

This year, find a way to celebrate. Take notice of all that we HAVE to celebrate and no matter how small and insignificant your actions may seem, they matter… they add up… they make a difference…

Take action, talk about it, MAKE a difference… EVERY day should be Earth Day!