OK, I admit it, I am on a green kick lately! It may or may not have involved me accidentally mixing Ammonia and Bleach when I ran out of one toilet cleaner and swiped the next bottle in line to create some pretty noxious chlorine gas….oops! All I can say is that it was a kick in the pants and it was all I needed to really commit us to changing our lifestyle and toxic chemical load in the house to hopefully live a cleaner (and greener) life! So here are a few simple things we have been changing up here at Tell’er All About It to become a little more “green” and maybe it will inspire you to do the same??:
I should add, I do not work and am not sponsored or affiliated by any of the companies below. These are just a few things that are working for us to live a “greener” life.
Disposable Wipes: What did we ever do without these things? Do you remember?
I do! We just used a damp rag to wipe down our counters! These wipes are ridiculously convenient, but they also add up in our grocery bill and fill up our trash bins! I also don’t trust using them on my granite counters, I’m 99.9% sure they don’t decompose in landfills (oh, that’s right, *nothing* decomposes in landfills) and they are not compostable (bleach+compost = dead compost = bad). Sadly, as much as I love these little buggers, they simply have to go. Hey, one less thing to buy and throw away! So what do I do now? Well, I simply use a soapy damp sponge to wipe the counter of crumbs (into my hand and then down the drain like my mom used to do back in the day) and then I purchased a more eco-friendly granite cleaner from Method:
I wipe down the counters every few days using this spray and a washable/re-usable cloth that I just throw over the top of the bottle and toss under the sink when I’m finished (and into the wash once every other week or so). And for those grossed out by my sponge-ing down of the counter, I should just add that I throw *those* into the dishwasher once a week and run it through the sanitize cycle – good as new! Overall, it’s better for the environment, better for our trash load, better for our sniffers (oh, it smells sooooo good!), and most importantly, better for our granite counters!
Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap: This stuff is seriously magic-in-a-bottle and will be explained in further detail at a later date, but you can basically use this stuff for everything and anything plus the kitchen sink: wash your floors, wash your wood furniture, mix it with water and vinegar for a homemade glass cleaner/all-purpose cleaner, wash your dog, shampoo your hair, wash your body, buy peppermint flavor and brush your teeth, use as body wash for you *and* baby, etc.
It’s like every camper’s dream – an all-in-one magical formula that is super concentrated and lasts for months if you let it! Apparently this stuff has been around for decades and I am just now finding out about it and learning more about it day-by-day! You can find it at places like Whole Foods/Paycheck, Trader Joe’s, and it might even be available in the organic aisle in some regular grocery stores. It’s about $15/32 ounces, so it’s a great bargain since you can just keep filling it with water as it runs low (the formula is super concentrated). It’s a little lifesaver, I’m here to tell ya! The big bonus to using Dr. Bronner’s is that it is an all vegetable-based cleaner (as opposed to most of the cleaners I have purchased in the past which are petroleum based), so it’s super easy on the environment, super easy on your body, and super easy on your home (but not too easy – it cuts grease with the best of ’em!). More posts on Dr. Bronner’s in the future.
Goodbye Swiffer, Hello Good Old-fashioned Mops: Ya know the commercials with Swiffer and how you’ll never go back? Yup, I was duped.
I used to love my Swiffer WetJet, but I was never happy with how it would just kind of “move the dirt around” a la Gloria Estefan and then get pooled in the corners and just look dirty (especially in our master bathroom which has white porcelain tiles – yuck!). We decided to go *back* to a mop that had a washable/re-usable applicator and we couldn’t be more thrilled with it! It’s one less “disposable” item I have to buy, one less bottle to clutter up my newly cabinet-tized laundry room, and one less mop to store. De-cluttering and cleaning all in one?! SOLD! One of these days I may shell out some serious bucks for one of those Shark steam mops (which basically just cleans with water), but I’d rather shell out the big bucks for a cleaning service than a cleaning implement (I hate cleaning!).
Glass over plastic: Dr. J has been on a kick lately to break our habit of disposable plastic food containers as they contain BPA which is a known carcinogen/toxin (it’s mostly toxic to infants and children, but you can’t be too careful!). The FDA is “working on reducing the levels of BPA in food containers,” but we’re just taking the bull by the horns and slowly phasing out plastic food containers in our home altogether. Fortunately, we had some lovely Pyrex containers with lids (that we got as a wedding present eons ago, no less) that have been carting our lunches to and fro for a few weeks now. We still have plastic containers leftover and may continue to keep them on hand for cold food storage (leftover salads and veggies, etc.). However, since BPA is most toxic when it is heated, we always make sure to put anything “reheatable” into a glass container for safe keeping and reheating.
You have something on your face: A friend introduced me to Neutrogena makeup remover wipes a few years back and I was in loooooooove like a teenage crush. I’m one of those girls who kicks off her shoes, changes her clothes, and washes her face as soon as I get home from work. Enter these disposable makeup remover wipes and, YOWZA! A girl on the go’s best friend.
Buuuuut….they’re disposable (see disposable wipes above). Which means I have to throw them away and after a few quick scans of the internet, I found no certifiable proof that they were either compostable *or* recyclable. It was disappointing to be sure, but I finally had to kick the habit and I’m back to good ol’ soap and water, which is actually a good thing because it’s one less item to pack when I travel, one less thing to buy at the grocery store, and one less thing headed to the landfill (every bit helps, right?!).
Microwave Popcorn is soooo 1985: My dentist hates me for this, but there’s nothing more “comforting” to me than a night parked on the couch with a giant tub of popcorn in my lap and my fave movie in the background (throw in some cheesy Sci-Fi and I’m a happy camper! Alas, Lost is no more – what will I do with my Tuesday nights!?!?!?). While microwave popcorn out of a bag can make me salivate faster than a sale at Pottery Barn, I started to wonder about the “chemical-y” taste of microwave popcorn and whether it was good or bad for me:
Well, sure enough, I did a few scans of Google and found out that not only does the bag contain a pretty toxic chemical known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been known to cause infertility in humans, the butter flavor (another chemical called diacetyl) has actually been known to cause lung disease in the factories that manufacture the popcorn bags and flavorings. While the PFOA will be voluntarily eliminated by 2015, I thought I’d play it safe and just get rid of those disposable popcorn bags all together. So we now just pop ours the old fashioned way on the stovetop with a little bit of veggie oil and some kernels! And it is *so* much cheaper (and tastier!). Our dental floss never got such a good workout before! For more info on other foods that should never pass your lips, click here.
PFOA is also a common ingredient in Teflon and is found in everything from pizza boxes to cookware. It’s worth doing some of your own research to determine whether or not something like this is safe for you and your household.
So there ya have it! I’m not saying these are all changes you should run out and make, but these are just a few things we have changed around the Tell’er All About It household to hopefully be a little more eco-friendly not only to the environment, but to our bodies as well! Hey, if I find out I can’t have kids in a few years, I’m totally blaming it on my college years and all of the microwave popcorn I lived off of at the time. Though it’s probably sound advice to blame all of my future health problems on college, regardless! Bad knees? College Marching Band. Bad back? Carrying too many six packs books on my back. Hacking cough? It was probably all that time spent at the smoke-filled bars library uptown. Ahhh….memories…
But You Tell’Us! Is there anything else out there that we should be changing? Is there anything you have changed after realizing it wasn’t as healthy as advertised? Share and share alike!