Green Solutions for Your Entire Home
Did you know that a fifth of your personal contribution to global warming comes from your home? We're talking more than energy-guzzling appliances. From the cleansers you use to scrub the tub, to all your furniture and accessories, to the paint on your walls, most are anti-mother earth. While retailers are trying to ride the green wave with "eco-friendly" products, there's no government oversight or definition for claims like "biodegradable", "nontoxic", "environmental friendly", or "natural". So the first step is to become familiar with the "harmful ingredients" like phosphates. Then look for products with listed ingredients or parts. (Companies like Simple Green have been criticized for not disclosing ingredients. I wonder why?) From there, you can shop for anything to turn your home into a true green partner and not a wannabe.
So if you start with the most-used furniture in your home, the sofa, there are several sites for FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council, a nonprofit and leading source of green seals www.fscus.org) furniture shopping.
Green choices are made of natural or recycled materials and use nontoxic, water-based dyes.
I don't know about you, but just the smell of paint makes me turn green, the sickly, putrid green. That is because most latex and oil-based paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which release potentially carcinogenic fumes that can pollute the air and cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. The good news is that the market is phasing out these paints due to stricter regulations. So manufacturers (ie. Benjamin Moore Aura) are coming out with low or no VOC paints. The GreenSeal sticker, (issued by www.greenseal.org) can help you identify low VOC paints. WARNING: the technology for low VOC paints is still advancing and these paints are not as durable as regular paints. But with greater demand comes improved technology.
DISHWASHING or LAUNDRY CLEANERS
For any family, washing dishes and clothes is a regular burden on you and the earth. Like I mentioned above, technology is improving. Some cleaners that are phosphate-free for dishwashing include:Ecover dishwasher tablets Ecover dishwashing powderCitra-Dish powderSeventh General dishwashing powderFor a laundry detergent that's free of water-polluting NPEs, try Seventh Generation Free & Clear.WARNING: Green cleaners can cost more. To save money, look for them at large grocery chains rather than the natural food stores. The Web is another great source for deals where manufacturers offer coupons or free samples. The best part is that by teaching young children and having them grow up green through this experience, by the time they're teenagers, kids will be part of the solution.
Zippety do dah, zippety day....
Trader Joe's brand has very cheap dishwashing liquid ($3.69) and powder ($3.29- that's cheaper than Cascade!)!