Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day

Earth Day is one of my favorite new holidays!!  I know that sounds very "tree-hugger-ish."  I love that there is a day that pushes change and eco-friendly options...and sales.  One of my favorite cloth diaper (and MUCH MORE) retailers, Cotton Babies, is giving $10 off $50 for four days with everyday free shipping...and no, Lee, I didn't order anything.  I just love that eating organic, buying healthy products, and living better is more affordable at least one day out of the year. 

The hospital where I work has decided that now they are a "green" employer because "it's the right thing to do."  While I do have issues with their reasons, I am very exited that there may be some opportunities to be more involved in living "greener" at my place of make an impact on patients...little babies...and the community we serve.  We had an Earth Day fair and it was quite successful.  I hope to be more involved next year, but I was so very excited to see my local growers group there!!!

I copied this idea from Mommy is Green, but here are some of the changes you can make today to celebreate Earth Day:
1.  Using essential oils to freshen the air instead of candles or products that contain synthetic fragrances (phthalates).  I don't use essential oils but only use clean burning candles and absolutely no synthetic fragrances.
2. Swapping traditional soaps that contain synthetic ingredients like triclosan for castile soap. I re-use foam soap pumps from organic hand soaps that I've bought (Jason Kids Foaming Soap and Clean Well orange foaming soap) and then refill with 1/4 castile soap and 3/4 water.
3. Giving up store-bought bottled water for filtered water in a reusable bottle.  We've done this for almost 10 years, but have avoided all bottled water for about 2 years....although I still swear Dasani puts something irresistable in their water.
4. Bringing reusable (washable too) bags shopping. I love, love, love my Environsax bags.  Some stores like Target have started giving 5 cents for each bag you bring, but I really try to always use mostly reusable bags and reuse any plastic bags in bathroom trash cans or to collect recycling to take out to the recycling bins.  Some stores like EarthFare have completely abandoned using plastic bags.
5. Cloth diapering for the majority.  We use cloth diapers 100% of the time at home, 75% of the time running errands, and 50% of the time travelling.
6. Using soap nuts to wash my laundry.  Ok, so I would love to be on board with a more natural laundry detergent but I tried one and was NOT impressed.  Nothing like Tide to get out stains...seriously, it is the only thing that worked with our cloth diapers.
7. Replacing paper towels with washable rags most of the time.  I need to be better at this.  With kids it is so irresistable to grab a paper towel.
8. Switching my toxic cleaners for more natural ones (e.i., using oxygen bleach in place of chlorine bleach).  I use chlorine bleach for only two purposes:  sanitizing cloth diapers once every 1-3 months only if I have ammonia issues and to clean the jet system in our bathtub.  Other than that I only use baking soda and vinegar to clean...except for Clorox wipes (gasp) and Scrubbing Bubbles flushable toilet bowl pads.  Toilet bowl brushes with the bristles just sitting by the toilet simply disgust me.
9. Consuming and buying less. If I don't really need it I don't take it home.  Amen.  Lee would disagree with this, but I really, really have done well with only buying things that I really, really like.  He doesn't know how much I do pass up :)
10. Buying stainless steel, glass, or wood instead of plastic whenever possible when a new item is needed. This isn't always feasible but I love using these materials over plastic.  Honestly, I can't remember the last time I opted for plastic except for popsicle trays for the freezer.

Here are some of my own changes:
--slowly increasing stash of reusable sandwich/snack bags for lunches
--using wool dryer balls
--recycling usually 2 bins of items every 1-1.5 weeks
--trying to limit garbage to 1-2 bags a week
--donating toys
--buying 25-50% of our groceries from a local growers group
--using cloth trainers in addition to cloth diapers
--using leftover drinking water for plants
--avoiding artificial dyes and preservatives
--growing vegetables

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