The general belief is that going Green is either super difficult or expensive. The truth is, it could be daunting if you don’t know what you are doing or without the proper research. My advice is to start little by little. For example, buy vegetables from the dirty dozen list, replace your “natural” body lotion for a certified organic one, and commit to recycle all plastic bottles or ban their use all together.
Below, I share with you easy steps to follow in order to green your house, your kitchen, your closet and your personal care items. You can pick and choose which one you want to apply to your daily life, but if you want to do them all, more power to you!
Recycle Plastic lasts forever; and most likely it ends up in the ocean, like in the Great Pacific Garbage Gyre. Recycle all your plastic bottles and cans, and remember that you can even recycle old batteries, ink cartridges, and wine bottle corks. Click here to find a place that collects old batteries and ink cartridges near you.
Cleaning Products All conventional cleaning products are full of toxic ingredients that are known hormone disruptors or carcinogenic. The easiest and most affordable method to clean? White vinegar and water. Vinegar contains 5% acetic acid, which has antimicrobial properties. You can use a mixture of water and vinegar as a produce wash, to disinfect and clean the floor, windows, mirrors, glass, counter-tops. If you need to scrub something like the tub, sprinkle baking soda first all over the tub and then spray the mixture of water and vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe with a sponge. Voila! The soap scum is gone and there are no lingering toxic fumes. If you are not into DIY, my brands to go to are Seventh Generation and The Honest Company. If you click here you can sample the Honest Company products by paying only $5.95 for shipping.
Organic Cotton Bed Sheets Cotton farming uses more pesticides than any other area of agricultural production. Do you want pesticides on your bed? Nobody does. In addition, cotton sheets labeled “Wrinkle-Free”, “Easy Care” and “Permanent Press” indicate that the fabric has been treated with formaldehyde resin, one of the most toxic chemical fabric finishes designed NOT to wash out. You can read more about it in this article. There are several options to purchase depending on your budget: Taget Threshold, West Elm, Under the Canopy, Coyuchi
Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 Fruits and Vegetables Recent government tests showed that two-thirds of produce samples had pesticide residues. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) created a practical list to get you started on shopping organic produce and avoid pesticides. Save money by buying organic fruits and vegetables from the Dirty Dozen List (the ones with the most pesticides residue) and stick to conventional fruits and vegetables from the Clean 15 List. A rule of thumb: if you can peel it, eat it. Click here to learn more about EWG and download the full list.
Meatless Monday Did you know that 2,500 cows produce the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people? And that it requires 660 gallons of water to make 1 hamburger? That is the equivalent of showering daily for 2 entire months. Animal agriculture is eroding the health of the planet and you can help by consuming less meat. Meatless Monday was created to create awareness about this issue plus skipping meat one day a week is good for your health and fantastic for the planet. Click here to get recipes from the Meatless Monday’s website.
Dairy without Hormones The best thing you can do for your health and your family is to choose dairy products that are free from hormones . rBGH is a genetically engineered artificial hormone injected into dairy cows to increase milk production. Everything that goes in to the cows goes into your body. Many studies have noted links associated between this hormones and the risk of cancer, especially breast and prostate cancer, and also allergies. Choose brands like Horizon Organics, Organic Valley, or Whole Foods 365.
Organic Cotton As mentioned above, cotton farming is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Take a look at what you are wearing from your socks to your underwear, t- shirt and jeans, isn't everything made out of cotton? Wouldn’t it make sense to choose organic?
Ethical Fashion Be mindful of where your clothes are coming from, many pieces are manufactured under poor labor conditions in countries like India and China. As the conscious shopper that you will become check the label to see where your clothing is made, check the brand's website to see if they have a transparent supply change. Everlane is a good example. To be safe choose "Made in USA".
Vintage and Thrift Stores You do not need to part from what you currently have in your closet, but if you don’t use it, either donate it or hold a “swap party” with your friends. This is the best way to refresh your wardrobe without spending a dime. Also, check out vintage stores, thrift stores, or E-Bay. By buying second hand you keep old/used clothes from ending in landfills.
Build your new wardrobe by buying staples like t-shirts, underwear and jeans made of organic cotton or more sustainable fabrics like tencel, modal, and bamboo. Check out sites like Threads for Thoughts, Be Good, Rodale's shop, Pact., Nudie Jeans. You can find something for every budget.
Skincare and Body-care Your skin is your largest organ and everything you put on it gets absorbed. During the past 5 years the EPA has restricted the use of only 5 toxic substances and the FDA has banned only 11 in the US. While in Europe, the EU has has banned more than 1,100 chemicals that are considered unsafe in personal care products. All those products that claimed to be “Natural”, are not. Check labels for things like Parabens, SLS, DEA, and Triclosan and avoid them at all costs. What brands I recommend? Pangea Organics for Skincare, and for shampoo and body care Hugo Naturals and Desert Essence. These 3 brands are certified organic and gluten free. But there's a whole world out there of products that are certified organic and you can find them in websites like spiritbeautylounge.com , credobeauty.com, thedetoxmarket.com.
Get in the habit of making conscious purchases - ask yourself if you really need that extra pair of shoes - and by checking labels -anything that you can't pronounce or with artificial color is a no-no, soon enough you will be a savvier shopper.
I hope these tips help you to live a Greener Life. Would love to hear your comments!
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