Green Living

You are currently browsing the archive for the Green Living category.

I’m always looking for practical ways for my family to reduce waste – especially plastic waste. Looking at the big picture and stepping outside what’s convenient is important when trying to reduce our family’s impact on the environment.

The Girls

From Earth911.com:

“Traveling from land to sea in the wind or through waterways, plastic pollution is causing extensive damage to our marine life and giving life to one of the greatest ecological disasters of our times.”

I send my girls to school each day with a homemade lunch. They have reusable lunch bags and reusable containers in multiple sizes. Now, thanks to the amazing folks at StrawSleeves, we have some new additions to the lunchbox.

 StrawSleeves Multi-utensil Pack

This multi-utensil pack is not just handy for tucking in a lunchbox, it can be popped into your purse or tucked in the car for road trips. Bottom line, it’s a convenient way to carry reusable utensils so you don’t have to accept disposable plastic ones.

Lunchbox essentials

StrawSleeves Straw Sleeve

This handy reusable straw holder is made from reclaimed denim. Pictured below with a bamboo and a reed straw from StrawSleeves.

StrawSleeves with lunchbox

From StrawSleeves:

“Bring your own reusable straw in this Cloth Sleeve made to hold and carry almost any design of reusable straws in 8 to 9 inch length. This light denim straw sleeve is made of reclaimed denim in a cotton blend. The design is self lined and triple stitched to ensure durability and stand up to frequent washings. It is machine washable and can also be hand washed. The invisible ‘inner cuff’ holds the straw securely and requires no fasteners. You can easily access and replace your straw in the pocket with each use allowing you to refuse disposable options when offered a single use plastic straw.”

The StrawSleeves site also carries reusable straws, straw cleaning brushes and stainless steel spoon straws. To find out more and purchase your own StrawSleeves products, visit https://www.etsy.com/shop/StrawSleeves/.

Tags: ,

GREEN TIP: When the little trick-or-treaters knock on your door this Halloween, give them healthy treats that also treat the environment kindly.

Before you head out the door with your own little trick-or-treaters, make sure you’ve feed them a healthy and hearty dinner. This way, they’ll be less likely to fill up on sugary treats during your walk around the neighborhood.

Eco-friendly Candy

There are a number of different eco-friendly candies now available at your local grocery stop, health food stores or co-ops. These organic candies can provide Halloween treats that are a little friendlier for your trick-or-treaters and are produced using methods that are gentler on the environment.

My favorite find: Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop. Not only are they a Minnesota company and the official kettle corn (just one of their awesome flavors) of the Minnesota Vikings, the products are whole grain, vegan, Og trans fats, non-GMO, certified Kosher and certified gluten-free. This is one of my girls’ favorite snacks and a great Halloween treat option.

Non-GMO candy

Or Avoid Candy Altogether

Another option is to avoid candy altogether and to give your trick-or-treaters useful treats, such as colorful pencils, small boxes of crayons, or erasers in fun shapes.

Other ideas:

  • Fun magnets
  • Seed paper/bookmarks for planting or reading
  • Wash off tattoos
  • Stickers
  • Craft kits (Michael’s has fun craft kits for $1.00)
  • Adhesive bandages with fun themes
  • Barrettes or other hair things
  • Mini pumpkins or gourds
  • Fun toothbrushes
  • Unfinished wood items
  • Decorated pencils
  • Polished stones

Be Sure to Reuse and Recycle

If you don’t already compost, Halloween is a great time to start. You can add post-Halloween jack-o-lanterns to your compost bin, along with fallen leaves, food scraps, and other organic, biodegradable yard and household waste.

Compost creates excellent soil for your garden. You might even use the compost from your backyard bin to help grow the pumpkins that will become next year’s jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin pies.

If you are interested in composting, your local hardware store, garden center, county extension service, or waste disposal agency should be able to help you get started.

Instead of throwing away your Halloween decorations each year, store and reuse them year after year, just as you do decorations for many other holidays. Source: About.com, Environmental Issues

Tags:

I’ve recently submitted my second article to Earth911 (insert happy dance) which is so exciting for me. You can read the first article I wrote for them at http://earth911.com/living-well-being/recycling-tips-home/. I’m also still writing for Recycle Nation and feel extremely blessed that I’m able to do what I love while helping people and the environment.

The girls at the farm

 

If you follow me on Instagram, you know this next article includes a pesto sauce recipe. I’ve had a number of requests for the recipe so here’s my recipe for a pesto sauce you can put on pasta, spread on a sandwich or toss into your salad.

Pesto Sauce Ingredients

 My Green Side’s Pesto for Pasta recipe:

(this recipe makes approximately 2 cups of pesto, enough for at least 1 pound of pasta)

  • 3 tablespoon pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • 3 cups of fresh organic basil leaves
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Wash your basil leaves in cold water. Put nuts, salt and ½ cup of olive oil into your blender. Blend and then add your basil leaves, garlic and the rest of your olive oil. Blend. Add your cheese and blend until your mixture is at your desired consistency. Taste and add additional salt and cheese if necessary.

Mix into your favorite prepared pasta for a quick, healthy and yummy meal. Enjoy!

Tags: , ,

Ecocentric Mom is a proud member of 1% For the Planet (1% FTP) which means they have pledged to give 1% of their sales to environmental related charities. This month’s boxes were full of wonderful products from other 1% FTP partners. As part of my partnership with Ecocentric Mom, I receive one of their amazing monthly subscription boxes for review. Ecocentric Mom Box

This is how it works: 

Ecocentric Mom is a natural/green health/home/beauty product discovery subscription service that gives you three different box options: Mom-to-be, Baby Box, or Mom Box. Boxes ship monthly. Ecocentric Mom works hard to pack the very best of the best in each and every box… and they deliver (pun intended)!

The March Mom Discovery Box is full of products I would never have discovered on my own. The items this month were selected, like I mentioned, to promote some amazing companies that are 1% FTP members. Getting an Ecocentric Mom box each month has been great way for me to learn about healthier products that reduce the amount of toxins in our home.

Here’s a look at the great products I received this month and I’ve also included some discount codes that you can use:

FullSizeRender (22)

GoodLight Natural Birthday Candles ($2.99 for a 12-count box) I was so excited to see this product! I am a huge fan of paraffin-free candles but have never found birthday candles. GoodLight Natural Candles has two stated missions: to provide the most affordable paraffin-free candles in the country, and to create a healthier planet by contributing to the sustainable production of palm oil as well as 1% For the Planet organizations that protect rainforests and endangered wildlife. The adorable colored birthday candle assortment is made with 100% palm wax and pure cotton wicks. These would make a cute addition to any birthday gift… maybe tuck a box of these adorable candles with a gift card or check out their website for a number of other products.

Visit https://www.naturalcandles.com/ to find out more about GoodLight Natural Candles and use promo code “EAKDLD” for 25% off all scented candles.

IMG_1302

U Konserve Food Kozy Snack Wrap ($6.49 for 2-pack) U Konserve offers a full line of quality, safe and reusable food-storage solutions designed to reduce the enormous amounts of food packaging garbage that end up in our landfills and our oceans. It’s easy to clean, dries quickly and the smooth surface is ideal for messy foods. This product is a great addition to any family that is packing lunches, going on road trips or having picnics at the park.

For more information about their complete line of reusable food-storage products, visit http://www.kidskonserve.com/ and use promo code “ECOMOM20” for 20% off your order.

Mattole Valley Naturals Vanilla Plant Protein ($3.50 for 30g, $39.95 for 454g) Mattole Valley Naturals is a family conceived, owned and operated business. Their nutritional products are made without unnatural additives, fillers or binders. The Vanilla Plant Protein is an easy and delicious way to add a boost of protein without any bad stuff.

Visit http://mattolevalleynaturals.com/ to find out more about Mattole Valley Naturals and their amazing products use promo code “ecocentricmom25” to get 25% off your order.

Munk Pack Oatmeal Fruit Squeeze ($2.49 per pack) This is a perfect on-the-go gluten-free breakfast or snack. It’s kid approved “yummy” and is a great blend of whole grain rolled oats, flax and fruits. It’s also Non-GMO Project Verified which is something I’m always looking for when I buy food for my family.

To find out more about Munk Pack, visit http://store.munkpack.com/ and use “ECOCENTRIC10” to get 10% off your order.

SIGIL SCENT ‘Balance’ Scent ($4.00 for 1 ml, $90.00 for 50 ml) SIGIL SCENT loads every bottle of their unisex fragrance formulas with pure flower and plant essences and are made without phthalates, parabens, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance or propylene glycol.

Visit SIGIL SCENT at http://www.sigilscent.com/ to find out more about these products and use promo code “ECOMOM30” to get 30% off. 

IMG_1303

All Good Lemongrass Coconut Oil Skinfood ($14.99 for 7.5 oz glass jar) Born from Elemental Herbs, All Good offers a diverse line of organically grown, plant-based formulas that smell good, feel good, and are practical and useful for everyday needs. From skin repair and lip care to sun protection and fast pain relief, the products’ ingredients stay true to the company’s roots by always putting the planet first. I have extremely dry skin so when I received this I put it all over and saw an immediate difference in my skin. It smells amazing too! I will be purchasing more of this product.

To find out how you can get your own All Good products, visit http://www.elementalherbs.com/ and use promo code “ECOMOM25” for 25% off.

LEAP Organics Orange Blossom Lip Balm ($3.49 for 1 lip balm) LEAP Organics is a sustainable, certified organic soap and skincare company based in Boston. All of the company’s products are cruelty-free and the lip balm smells unbelievably good! Their lip balms are made with organic coconut oil and shea butter. In fact, 100% of their products are certified to USDA organic standards.

To find out more about LEAP Organics, visit http://www.leaporganics.com/ and use promo code “LOVE20” to receive 20% off your order.

1% For the Planet is a global movement of companies donating at least 1% of their annual net revenues to environmental organizations worldwide. To find out more, visit http://onepercentfortheplanet.org/.

1 FTP

Disclosure: I am a part of the Ecocentric Mom Blogger Team and receive monthly subscription boxes for review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Affiliate links appear in this post.

 

As part of my partnership with Ecocentric Mom, I receive one of their amazing monthly subscription boxes for review.Ecocentric Mom Box

This is how it works: 

Ecocentric Mom is a natural/green health/home/beauty product discovery subscription service that gives you three different box options: Mom-to-be, Baby Box, or Mom Box. Boxes ship monthly. Ecocentric Mom works hard to pack the very best of the best in each and every box… and they deliver (pun intended)!

The January Mom Discovery Box is full of products I would never have discovered on my own. The items this month were selected with the theme of getting a fresh start for the New Year. Getting an Ecocentric Mom box each month has been great way for me to learn about healthier products that reduce the amount of toxins in our home.

Here’s a look at the great products I received this month and I’ve also included some discount codes that you can use:

ACURE Argan Oil Cleansing Towelettes ($6.99 for 50 ct.) ACURE was founded on sustainable principles and reasonable pricing to steer people away from toxic chemicals, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice health for beautiful skin and hair. These cleansing towelettes gently remove makeup, dirt, sweat and environmental toxins. They are easy to throw in a bag when you’re on the go and they really work.

IMG_0191Visit http://www.acureorganics.com/ to find out more about ACURE products and use the promo code “ECOMOM20” for 20% off your order and get free shipping on any order of $25 or more.

Rustic MAKA’s Calming Fields Pachy Deodorant (travel size $7.95) This deodorant smells like heaven and really works! I am seriously in love. My plan was to let my tween daughter test this product but I couldn’t stop myself from trying it first because it smelled so amazing. Don’t worry, I will be buying one for her because… it really works! I am even going to pick up one for my husband to try, he is very stubborn about his deodorants so I am continuously trying to find something healthier for him that he’ll actually use.  Each Rustic MAKA’s deodorant is carefully formulated with rich, organic plant-based oils and butters, along with pure powders and plant extracts. They DO NOT contain aluminum, parabens, synthetic fragrances or propylene-glycol.

IMG_0197

Go find out where you can get your hands on this product, visit http://www.rusticmaka.com/ and use promo code “EcoMom15” for a 15% discount. I’ll see you there!

Simply Earth Natural Air and Fabric Freshener ($6 for 2.5 oz.) This product is literally a life saver. Simply Earth gives 13% of the profits to human trafficking victims. The air and fabric freshener uses a natural odor eliminator that actually traps the odors and essential oils to make your home and clothes smell amazing. I put it to the ultimate test. My oldest daughter’s cheer team put on a cheer fun night for the younger kids. The fun included learning a few cheers, a pizza party and so on. My husband and I volunteered to pick up the 32 pizzas needed for the evening. We got the pizzas, dropped them off and quickly discovered that, although the pizzas had left the car, the strong pizza smell was remaining. Thankfully, I had Simply Earth’s Natural Air and Fabric Freshener and I used it to deodorize the car… and it really worked!

IMG_0302

Check out http://simplyearth.com/ to find out more about this amazing company. When you’re there use promo code “EcoMom” for 10% off your purchase.IMG_0194

 

Tangie Stain Remover Bar ($5.00 for 3 oz.) This natural stain remover is made with coconut oil, grapeseed oil, soap nuts liquid, oxalic acid, sea salt, citric acid, lemon essential oil and love. This product is tough on stains but gentle on the environment. My youngest daughter loves to wear ballet pink but loves to play tag, football, basketball, soccer, etc. at recess. This results in stains every day so this product has been vigorously tested and has passed with flying colors.

IMG_0192

Visit https://www.etsy.com/shop/ilovetangie to find out more and check out their other great products. Use “Ecomomships” for free shipping and free Laundry Past (up to 12 loads) with purchase.

Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Tablets ($6.99 for 25 ct.) I already use this product and love it so I gave this sample to a friend for her to try. The whole Ecover product line is amazing and they have fragrance-free products as well. Ecover has been a pioneer in plant-based cleaning products for more than 30 years. 

IMG_0199

To find out more about Ecover and find a store in your area that carries these products, visit http://us.ecover.com/.

ENLIGHTENED Crisps – Roasted Broad Beans ($1.50 for 1 oz.) OH. MY. GOODNESS. These crisps are delicious!! ENLIGHTENED Crisps are lightly roasted in sunflower oil, sprinkled with sea salt and seasoned to perfection. They only have 100 calories per serving, are certified vegan, gluten free, non-GMO Project verified, OU kosher and wheat free. And have I mentioned they are SO yummy?! My eight year old talked me into letting her try some and she loved them too. This would be a perfect snack to have in my bag for all those times when people get a little cranky because they need some protein (7 grams per serving).

IMG_0196If you live in the San Francisco area, you can run out to the store right now and pick up this delicious snack, if not, visit http://www.eatenlightened.com/to purchase the crisps online.

Sweater Stone ($8.99 one stone) I love this product not only because it really does remove the pills from my favorite sweaters but because this product is made utilizing the Seattle areas sheltered workshops. In case you don’t know, sheltered workshops are places that provide opportunities for increased independence and self sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.

IMG_0195

Visit http://www.sweaterstone.com/ to find out where you can purchase your own Sweater Stone and make a difference in the life of someone else (along with extending the life of your favorite sweaters). 

Disclosure: I am a part of the Ecocentric Mom Blogger Team and receive monthly subscription boxes for review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Affiliate links appear in this post.

Food For Change is a feature-length documentary film focusing on food co-ops as a force for dynamic social and economic change in American culture. The movie tells the story of the cooperative movement in the U.S. through interviews, rare archival footage, and commentary by the filmmaker and social historians. This is the first film to examine the important historical role played by food co-ops, their pioneering quest for organic foods, and their current efforts to create regional food systems. Additionally, the film shows how the co-op movement strengthens communities where they are located, enhancing local economies and food security. The goal is to educate a wide national audience about the principles of cooperation with a focus on food. Source: Food For Change

I was fortunate to get a sneak peak of this film and it’s fantastic! I hope to see the Fargo Theatre full on November 3rd. As we try to get the Prairie Roots Food Co-op up and running, this is an important film for our community to view.

Food for Change

Book your tickets now for Food for Change, the new co-op movie premiering in Fargo on November 3rd, 2 pm at the Fargo Theater. www.food4change.eventbrite.com. After the film, there will be a panel discussion moderated by the awesome Christopher Gabriel.

Tags: , , , ,

GREEN TIP: Sustainable laundry practices will keep your family healthy and looking great while saving money and the environment. Look for eco-friendly laundry products, conserve energy and be good to your clothes.    

Our Six-Year OldThe main problem with laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and stain removers is that they contain petroleum, phosphates and synthetic chemicals that leave residue on the clothes. These ingredients cause allergies, irritate the skin and eyes and carry other severe health risks.

Then they get washed down our drains and into our waterways polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas and are toxic to fish and wildlife.

Look for Eco-Friendly Laundry Products

Consider using eco-friendly laundry products. Always read labels and pay attention to what you’re buying, just because a product claims to be “natural” doesn’t mean it’s non-toxic.

Look for labels that indicate that the product is readily biodegradable, made with plant- and vegetable-based ingredients (instead of petroleum-based), contain no phosphates, and no allergy-inducing scents.

Ingredients you should avoid are butyl cellosolve (dangerous toxic chemical), petroleum, triclosan and phosphates. Also try to avoid chemicals known as phthalates that are used in detergents with fragrances, they have been linked to cancer.

If you must use bleach, try a non-chlorine product, use an oxygen-based cleaner instead, it is better for the environment and for your health. Or, I found a recipe for a safer bleach alternative at Grit.com.

Here’s the recipe:

12 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup hydrogen peroxide

Mix. Add 2 cups per wash load or put in spray bottle and use as a household cleaner. For all the details, visit http://www.grit.com/blogs/Safer-Bleach-Alternative.aspx.

Conserve Energy

About 90% of the energy used for washing clothes in a conventional top-load washer is for heating the water. There are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes—use less water and use cooler water.

Unless you’re dealing with oily stains, the warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load’s energy use in half.

o  Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible.
o  Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
o  Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
o  Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
o  Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation.
o  Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
o  Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material, not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
o  Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Air-drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Be Good to Your Clothes

The folks at Green Living Ideas have some great tips for extending the life of your clothes:

o  Limit dryer use to save energy, money, and threads. Your dryer can wreak havoc on clothes by fading the colors and affecting the quality of the fabric.
o  Add a couple of teaspoons of table salt in with your detergent to make your clothes brighter and prevent colors from running.

For more tips about using salt in the wash, check out HowStuffWorks: Uses for Salt: Doing the Laundry.

Also visit 5 Tips for Fresher Laundry.

o  Add baking soda or distilled white vinegar to detergent to clean, deodorize, and brighten clothes.
o  Turn your clothing inside out in the washer and dryer. This prevents the outside from getting worn out.
o  Switch to cold water wash—doing so not only saves energy but also prevents colors from bleeding or fading, which tends to happen with hot or warm water.
o  Make sure to button and zipper up your clothes. This prevents snags that could ruin your clothes after several washes.
o  Keep lights, darks, and delicate clothing separate to keep colors bright and clothing in good shape.

Source: Green Living Ideas

Tags: , ,

EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: There are things you can do RIGHT NOW to begin living more sustainably. Today we’ll take a look in the kitchen.

As we go through our daily routines there are simple things we can do to reduce our impact on the planet. Here’s a look at some of the things you can do today in your kitchen to start living more sustainably:

  • Clean off the top of your refrigerator. Storing things on top of your refrigerator actually makes it work harder – interfering with its operation and using more energy.
  • Keep local and organic foods in your fridge. Plan to grow your own food this year, support local farmers and shop at natural food stores (like Sydney’s Health Market in our area).
  • If you’re using is correctly, a dishwasher actually uses less energy than washing by hand with hot water.
  • Don’t rinse your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. This save the planet 6,500 gallons of water per year and you at least $30 per year. Scrape your food scraps into a compost bin.
  • Speaking of compost bins… if you haven’t already, start composting. Instead of throwing your compostable waste into a landfill, throw them in your compost bin
  • Run your dishwasher on the economy cycle or prop the dishwasher door open to air-dry, rather than using the heater dry function.
  • Only run your dishwasher when it’s completely full.
  • Save energy and time when boiling water by placing a lid on the pot.
  • A few minutes before you’re finished cooking, turn the burners off completely. The residual heat will finish the job.
  • A heated oven loses 20% of its heat every time it’s opened. Use the light to check on your food.
  • Avoid excessively packaged foods. Buy bulk foods or products packaged in recyclable materials or reusable containers.

Source: Do It Green! Magazine, published by The Twin Cities Green Guide www.doitgreen.org and GreenAmerica.org.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

The Center for Ecoliteracy

The Center for Ecoliteracy supports and advances education for sustainable living. They are best known for their work in school food reform and integrating sustainability into K–12 curricula, they have engaged with educators from across the United States and six continents.

They offer books, educational materials, film guides, and studies. They conduct seminars, offer presentations at conferences and other events, and provide strategic consulting services to schools and districts.

Tags: , , , ,

Yep, it’s finally happened… My Green Side has crawled slowly into the 21st Century. Translation: My Green Side is now on Facebook. I’m hoping it’s a way to continue the dialog about all things sustainable and make the discussion more interactive. Also, an additional way to discover things that people would like to learn more about during the Simple Tips for Green Living segment on The Christopher Gabriel Program.

So please stop over to www.facebook.com/MyGreenSide and give a hello!

 

Tags: , ,