Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My tips for living green...some great things!!

As you all know, this entire month of April has been "Earth Month" here at A Patchwork of Books and that is because living a "green" life has become a huge passion of mine in the past year or so. I really feel it is our duty as inhabitants of Planet Earth, to take control of our lives and how we live them, realizing that a lot of our daily habits and practices could either be helping the Earth to flourish...or fail miserably.

Being Earth Day today, all over the world people are taking a stand against global warming, climate change, pollution, etc. and I wanted to share some of my own family ways of living a greener and more environmentally friendly lifestyle. These are just a few...and by no means are we perfect, but I do feel proud to be practicing what I so often preach.

1. Using aluminum (or reusable) water bottles
-I don't care how thirsty I am, I will NOT buy plastic water bottles from grocery or convenience stores. I constantly carry around my trusty aluminum water bottle, keeping one stashed in my car in case I forgot it at home. Something like 88% of plastic water bottles end up in landfills and I refuse to participate in that action.'s SO much more cost effective to have a reusable bottle! This is the one I use, it's pretty and functional:

2. Drinking organic and fair trade coffee
-This is one that I'm still not completely used to, but I'm determined to do it. My husband and I have a slight obsession with Dunkin Donuts coffee, especially now that we live in a place where the closest one is over 100 miles away, and had taken to buying it in the local grocery store. Well, when I learned more about the HUGE benefits of fair trade and organic farming, we switched immediately to different brands. Now...we've tried 3 different brands and I can just barely tolerate all three. Unfortunately, it seems organic coffee comes in one flavor, DARK...meaning, at least to me, bitter tasting. So, Dunkin Donuts, please come out with your own fair trade organic coffee. We miss you.

3. Reusing mailing envelopes
-Book bloggers/reviewers, I know you're just like me and you get ARCs in the mail like crazy. I get at least one delivery a day, if not more, and if I threw out every envelope, that would be hundreds upon hundreds of wasted envelopes. Instead, I save them in a little pile under my desk, where I use them to ship giveaways, gifts, or anything else in. It's also need to purchase envelopes!

4. Scrap paper
-Again, book bloggers/reviewers, this one is for you!! Ya know all those info sheets that come with each ARC? Most are just printed on the front (and I never even look at them), making for lots o' waste. I cut them in half, paper-clip them together and hang them on my fridge. Voila... recycled shopping list!

5. Organic makeup
- This is something I just recently got into, but am now SO hooked on. I use only Physicians Formula organic makeup. Made of all-natural and organic ingredients, it's great for the environment and seriously makes your skin look so healthy. It's packaged minimally and the stuff it does come in is all recycled AND recyclable. These are my two favorite products, their
tinted moisturizer (in Natural) and their blush (also in Natural).

6. All natural cleaning supplies
-I use vinegar for EVERYTHING. It's natural and an awesome cleaner. We have really hard water here in Southern New Mexico and were using all kinds of harsh chemicals just to get our dishes clean. Now, I use only Seventh Generation detergent and add a splash of vinegar at the rinse. Good for the environment, good for my dishes (and wallet!).

7. Tote bags!!!
-This tip is one I know a lot of you already participate in and if you don't, it's probably the easiest one you can start up. Use tote bags instead of paper or plastic bags for any and ALL of your shopping. I have about 10 of these, 7 stay in the car for groceries, one hold library books, and one is stuck in my person when I'm shopping for clothes or other goodies. You can find good, inexpensive ones anywhere, but my favorite are these:
These are handmade by women in India, rescued from sex trafficking organizations. The money raised goes right back to them, which is awesome!! You can buy them from the Rainforest Site, so not only are you helping these Indian women, but you also save square feet of rainforest with every purchase.These particular ones zip up into a small pouch and easily fit in your purse (this is my clothes shopping tote). They're made by women artisians in Thailand and provide jobs in small villages so the women do not have to go to Bangkok. AND it's made completely of recycled cotton. Another purchase I got from the Rainforest Site.

8. Air dry your clothes
-Even in the winter months we rarely use a dryer in our house. If it's warm outside I take advantage of the clothesline, if not I have drying racks spread across my house at any given time. It saves energy, money, and especially when dried outside, give your clothes a great smell. If I do use the dryer I do not use fabric softener sheets...I use Nellie's Dryer Balls (which I'm giving away here). They're an awesome, eco-friendly way to dry your clothes quicker and without sheets filled with harsh chemicals.

9. Grow your own food
-Unfortunately we aren't taking part in this right now, as we live on a military base where I can't just plant whatever I want. We do, however, grow our own herbs and have a fantastic organic garden planned for our new house in Virgina. Not only do you save money, but you're eating healthy and putting less nasty pesticides in your yard!

10. Buy recycled whenever possible
-It's so easy for us all to say that we will just reuse items around our house to cut down on our spending/carbon footprint...which is great. But sometimes we do have to buy things! When you can, buy recycled or organic items. You can find awesome kids clothes and toys online at a hundred different sites made of recycled/all-natural/organic material. That's goes for adult items and pet items too. Gifts, household supplies, anything. It may take more of your time, but it's worth it.

By clicking on the photos above you will link to a site you can buy the particular products at. If you purchase them at Amazon, the money I receive from Amazon Associates will be put towards a donation to Eco-Libris at the end of the month. If it links to the Rainforest Site you'll be saving feet of rainforest with every purchase!


Serena said...

This is a fantastic post, and you made my Hubbub Around the Blogosphere Feature today! I've been following your posts, and wanted to comment about how wonderful they are.

I think the hardest in this list, which I still have not done is (2.) Drinking organic and fair trade coffee...I love D&D as well, and can't compromise on that one...I really would love to see them come out with organic or fair trade coffee.

Thanks so much for these great in an apartment its hard to dry clothes on a drying rack, and I can't really dry outside, but I try to hand things on the tops of doors rather than use the dryer.

Charlotte said...

Great list!

One addition to the padded envelopes bit--I advertise mine on the local freecycling web group, and there are always people who want large heaps of padded envelopes and who come take them away!

My eye was also caught by the news you are moving to Virginia- my home state! I hope it goes well!

JessicaLeigh said...

This is a fantastic post!

I use my CamelBak BPA Free plastic water bottle ALL the time! It's wonderful!

Also, I have grown up in a household that grows a ton of food. Unfortunately, I'm moving to a military base when I get married in 6 months. So that will take a huge adjustment!

Thank you for this list!!