We have known for a while now that the Earth is warming. Granted, there was still some debate as to whether global warming was caused by human actions or not up until a few years ago. But now, it is generally accepted that mankind has at least contributed somewhat to global warming. That is why it was so shocking to see that in a recent survey in National Geographic, the U.S. ranked last in terms of green lifestyle choices.
With all of the advertised green household products we see in advertisements, and the campaigns for environmental sustainability and the drastic weather changes we have seen over the past few years, you would think that the U.S. would be on its way to becoming one of the leaders in global sustainability. Granted, the 2008 financial shock and lingering recession definitely dampened the ability of some U.S. families to be able to spend a little bit more for greener options. However, as we have noted in some of our other posts, being green sometimes does not have to cost anything. In fact, being green can save you money.
Here are five ways that you can save money and easily go green.
Like many people, we have cats. Despite the fact that their litter smells sometimes and that they throw-up hairballs on the carpet and shed all over our couches, we really do love them and try to do our best by them.
In truth, they are really my cats, as I am the one that takes care of them, gives them food and water and cleans out their litter boxes. The other day, I was cleaning out the litter and started to wonder what the litter was made of and if it was safe for them to use. I mean, every time I poured new litter into the litter pans, I would hold turn my head and hold my breath to keep from breathing the dust in. I knew litter was primarily made out of clay, but I did not know what else was in it or what kind of environmental impact it had.
I also wondered if there was a better way to deal with the dirty litter. My existing method was to scoop the dirty litter into a plastic bag and then throw that plastic bag in the trash, which is not green at all. But, as far as I knew, there was no other way to dispose of dirty cat litter.
So, I finished cleaning out the cat litter, filling up their food and water bowls and set out researching my questions. I soon found out that traditional clumping cat litter is not very good for cats, people or the environment and that there are much better options out there that also help with the problem of disposal of dirty cat litter.
As you may or may not know, traditional deodorants and antiperspirants contain some pretty nasty ingredients. Ingredients such as aluminum, parabens, propylene glycol and triclosan have been linked to various conditions, including: cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, endocrine disruption, and kidney and liver function disruption (to learn more, read our post about aluminum in deodorant). Once we learned about how bad traditional deodorant can be for your body, we started looking for some natural alternatives and wrote a review on 4 natural deodorants that we tried.
However, none of the 4 that we tried were perfect. They all had their own flaws, from not working, to bad odor, to high cost. So, we kept looking for more of them to try out. We eventually found 3 more that we thought were worth trying and put them to the test. Here is how they performed and stacked up against the others.
Filed under Health and Wellness by .
Wasps, one of nature’s most feared and gruesome creatures. Their long thin and thick bodies often remind us of something almost primeval. Anyone who has ever done battle with wasps around their home knows what awful creatures they can be. I am one of those people.
Last spring, there were wasps everywhere around our house. They were buzzing by our front porch, hovering around our cars, flying over our heads and pretty much constantly around us anytime we were outside. As we try our best to be green, we tried to live with them, knowing that if we did not bother them, they would not bother us. However, they were everywhere, so it was very difficult. Then, one day, a wasp got trapped between the storm door and the front door of our house. When our daughter came home and opened the storm door to get into the house, the wasp darted out and stung her. I will never forget the sound of her cry when that happened.
That was the day that I decided that the wasps had to go. But, I still wanted to be green about it, so I looked into how to get rid of wasps naturally and here is what I found (we recently wrote about how to get rid of ground bees naturally as well).
The Holidays are fast-approaching and you may be wondering what you can buy for your friends and family members that will not only make them happy, but also not impact the Earth too much. It is a tough line to walk. In past years, it was very difficult, as there were fewer eco friendly gifts out there. You usually had to resort to doing something nice for the person or perhaps making them something yourself.
Now, however, there are many more eco friendly gift choices out there, so you can still buy something and feel good that it does not harm the environment too much. Here are our favorite eco friendly gifts for 2011. Read more on Eco Friendly Gifts – Our Green Gift Guide for 2011…
Halloween is becoming a huge holiday. Once the stuff of folklore, witches and Wicca, Halloween has grown in popularity and size every single year and is now a big holiday. If you add up all of the candy sales, costume shopping, and decorations, the industry around the holiday is worth almost $6 billion a year, which equates to about $68 per person in the United States.
Unfortunately, Halloween is also downright scary to the environment. Most of what is bought for Halloween is either cheap plastics, like costumes and decorations, that use massive amounts of oil to be produced and shipped around the world, or individually wrapped candy, which fills our landfills with billions of wrappers each year. Not only that, but the holiday surrounds itself with pumping kids full of candy full of artificial ingredients and sugar.
But, Halloween is fun and there are ways to make your celebration more green. Here are our top five ways to green Halloween.
We quit drinking soda a while ago (see our post on the dangers of soda as to why we quit). When we first quit, it was a real struggle to find soda replacements. We had been drinking soda for a long time and were used to drinking beverages that had some taste, so switching to plain water was not very viable for us.
So, we set out to find some good soda alternatives. We researched and tried hundreds of different drinks to find ones that we could drink regularly as a soda replacement. We wanted to find drinks that were healthy and natural, but that also tasted good. I mean, what is the point of replacing soda with something else full of nasty chemicals?
So, to evaluate all of the drinks we tested, we used a specific set of criteria. All of the soda alternative drinks we tested had to:
- Contain all natural ingredients. Organic, non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) and fair trade ingredients are even better.
- Not contain any artificial sweeteners.
- Have a reasonable amount of sugar.
- Taste good!
After trying out hundreds of different drinks, here are the 4 drinks that stood out above the rest and have become part of our daily rotation. Read more on Soda Alternatives – Our Top 4…
Filed under Food by .
By now, you most likely have heard about the Nissan LEAF, the first electric car produced by Nissan. I heard about the LEAF in 2010, but they were not available for purchase until 2011. Even then, they were still a rarity, as there was limited production of the cars and they were only sold direct from Nissan corporate and not their dealers. Even though I had been keeping my eyes out for them, I had yet to see one on the road either. So, when I found out that I could have the chance to test drive one recently, I jumped on it.
The test drive took place in Bethesda, MD. It was one of the Nissan LEAF test drive spots in their nationwide campaign to increase exposure of the LEAF and give people a chance to see it up close, drive it and ask questions on it to product specialists. It was quite a cool event and by the time I walked under the entrance tent, I was really psyched to drive the LEAF and learn more about it.
Filed under Green Transportation by .
Pretty much everyone knows nowadays that bottled water has a devastating effect on the planet. But, if you are not convinced or have forgotten how big of an impact bottled water has, let’s recap a bit.
Each year, over 2.7 million tons of plastic is used to make water bottles. To manufacture those bottles, it requires over 17 million gallons of oil, which is enough to fuel 1 million cars for a year. It also takes 3 times the amount of water to manufacture a water bottle than it does to fill it. Finally, only about 20% of water bottles are recycled, which means there is about 3 BILLION pounds of waste generated from bottled water every single year, and that is only in the United States.
Bottled water also costs 10,000 times more than tap water, coming in at about $10.00 per gallon. At least you are getting better quality water right? Wrong. 40% of bottled water is pure tap water. Also, when tested, 22% of bottled water contained chemical contaminants above legal limits, as bottled water is not highly-regulated like tap water is.
OK, so hopefully you get or remember the point by now. Bottled water is pretty awful stuff. But, if you want water on the go, you need some container to hold it. Enter reusable water bottles. They allow you to take nice, clean tap water with you wherever you go. However, not all reusable water bottles are the same. They are made from different materials, are manufactured by many different companies, and range in price.
We took a look at many of the reusable water bottles available on the market today and picked the top 3 bottles that we liked the best.
I received a Keurig brewer for my birthday and I absolutely love it. However, after using it for about a week, I started to get worried about how many single serve K cups I was throwing away everyday. I also noticed that I was using less electricity and water than I was before with my traditional coffee pot though.
I began to wonder if it the Keurig brewer was a greener solution than just using a normal coffee pot and started looking into it. Read more on Keurig Brewer – Green or Not?…