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6 Simple Tips for Greening Your Kitchen

By Green Diva Meg thegreendivas.com
November 21, 2012
File under: Cleaning, Composting, Entertaining, Family, Food, Health, Home, Lifestyle, Recycling, Saving Money, Waste Reduction


Morning shows are fun, but they are kind of rough on a Monday morning! I have a new respect for all those morning show professionals who do it 5 days a week!

We had a great time with Ebru Today talking about getting greener in the kitchen. I kept my tips to things that were relatively easy, low or no-cost or in fact saved money. My philosophy on having a Green Diva kitchen is pretty simple and involves for basic ideas: a Green Diva Kitchen should . . .

  • produce yummy food
  • be healthy
  • be earth-friendly
  • low-stress!
Watch me having fun on Ebru TV and learn some simple tips for having a greener kitchen:


6 Easy Ways to Have a Green Diva Kitchen

1. Use Cloth Napkins

  • Paper products currently account for one-third of the municipal waste in the U.S. – great case for using cloth napkins and dishtowels
  • Paper products: paper v. cloth napkins – manufacturing cloth napkins takes a little more energy, however to wash and reuse them multiple times makes up for it and saves a LOT of trees
  • you can also easily make your own from remnants

2. Buy More in Bulk

  • Buying bulk for dry goods can save on packaging AND money! Example: Organic dried cranberries on average are 98% less expensive than their packaged counterpart
  • Between a quarter and a third of all domestic waste is packaging: much of it food packaging
  • To buy bulk goods, find a food coop or buying club near you at LocalHarvest.org

3. Recycle Even More

  • About 80% of what Americans throw away is recyclable, yet our recycling rate is only 28%
  • Recycle as much as you can
  • Try avoiding buying food and products with lots of packaging
  • Buy food and drinks in recyclable packaging such as glass jars or tin cans
  • Buy bulk

4. Use Only Eco-Friendly Sponges and Dish Towels

  • Most sponges are plastic and contain dyes, and synthetic disinfectants like triclosan, which has been determined to be a health hazard to humans and ecosystems by the EPA
  • Use a sponge made from natural and sustainable materials
    • Cellulose sponges – made from wood fibers – they biodegrade in landfills and go through a far less toxic manufacturing process
  • Landfills are filled with paper towels and there no way to recycle or reuse them
  • It takes about one year for the paper to biodegrade, the thicker the towel the longer
  • It’s cheaper to skip the paper towels

5. Remember to Use Reusable Shopping Bags

  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1 million sea creatures a year
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of Texas and it’s floating somewhere between San Francisco and Hawaii. It weighs 3.5 million tons and is 80% plastic
  • If everyone in the United States tied their annual consumption of plastic bags together in a giant chain, the chain would reach around the Earth’s equator 776 times!

6. Composting is Easy

  • Compost is excellent for garden soil
  • If you don’t have a garden, look for community compost program
  • Fruits and veggies, coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells (rinsed and crushed), rice and pasta
  • Reduces your garbage output significantly
remember . . .
eat. blog. be merry!

 

 
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Detox Your Home: Reconsidering Household Cleaners

By Green Diva Meg thegreendivas.com
October 5, 2012
File under: Cleaning, Eco-Friendly Activities, Environmental Concerns, Family, Health, Home

Had a great time on Ebru Today talking about how to detox our homes as we prepare to seal ourselves in for the colder months. I focused primarily on cleaning products because I think so many folks don’t realize just how toxic they can be and how important it is, especially when our homes are closed up during the colder season, to try to reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals.

Here are a couple of things to consider when thinking about the kinds of cleaning products you want to use in your house:

  • The EPA ranks indoor air pollution among the top 5 environmental dangers
  • The average household has 3 – 25 gallons of toxic materials in the house, most of which are cleaning products
  • A European study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, found that regular use of common household cleaning sprays was linked to a 30 – 50% increased risk of asthma – YIKES!
  • There are approximately 17,000 chemicals used in the array of common household cleaners found in most homes, only 30% of these are tested for side effects on human health and the environment! ahhhhhhhh

Here are a few toxic chemicals found in many household cleaners and their effects on human health:

  • Chlorinated Phenols – found in toilet bowl cleaners, are toxic to the respiratory and circulatory systems
  • Diethylene Glycol – found in window cleaners, depresses the nervous system
  • Phenols – found in disinfectants, are toxic to respiratory and circulatory systems
  • Nonylphenol Ethoxylate – a common surfactant (detergent) found in laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners – BANNED IN EUROPE – has been shown to biodegrade slowly and when it does, it biodegrades into more toxic compounds. nice
  • Formaldehyde – found in spray and wick deodorizers, is a respiratory irritant and suspected carcinogen
  • Petroleum Solvents – in floor cleaners, damage mucous membranes
  • Perchloroethylene – a spot remover, causes liver and kidney damage
  • Butyl Cellosolve – common in all-purpose, window and other cleaners, damages bone marrow, nervous system, kidneys and liver
The list goes on. Have you cleaned up your cleaning products yet? Are you running for your cleaning product cabinet? Please do – get rid of the stuff, then check back in. We’ll still be here and we have some solutions, so don’t despair. You CAN be green AND clean!
Meanwhile, the GoodGuide did a pretty good comparison and rating chart for cleaning products that is worth taking a look at. You can always go to Environmental Working Group’s website and look through their chemical index . . . It’s a little scary, but offers a lot of information.

or Make Your Own!

Get some of my favorite, effective and simple DIY cleaning product recipes . . .

 

 
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How Clean is Your Dry Cleaning?

By Green Diva Meg thegreendivas.com
November 30, 2011
File under: Cleaning, Environmental Concerns, Fashion, Health

Why Should We Care? by Green Diva Meg
These posts will explore a myriad of topics relating to green, sustainable and healthy living by offering simple and clear information from the fun and quirky point of view of the Green Divas. Each post will also strive to provide practical information on What Can We Do to make a difference.

Green Diva Mary Rousseau shows off her Green Garmento bag

WHY SHOULD WE CARE… ABOUT LESS-TOXIC DRY CLEANING?

If you are anything like this green diva (green dudes are included here too), you still have some things that require dry cleaning in your closet. As handy as I am in a kitchen, I’m really quite the opposite in the laundry room – especially with an iron. My kids begged me to do their own laundry by the time they were young teenagers. That ought to give you some perspective.

Did you know . . . 3.5 billion hangers end up in landfills every year!

and what about all that plastic – ahhhhhhhh!

…read more of How Clean is Your Dry Cleaning? here

 
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5 Reasons to Think Twice Before Reaching for Hand Sanitizer

By Green Diva Meg thegreendivas.com
November 15, 2011
File under: Cleaning, Environmental Concerns, Family, Health, Personal Care, Public Safety

Why Should We Care? by Green Diva Meg
These posts will explore a myriad of topics relating to green, sustainable and healthy living by offering simple and clear information from the fun and quirky point of view of the Green Divas. Each post will also strive to provide practical information on What Can We Do to make a difference.

WHY SHOULD WE CARE… ABOUT NON-TOXIC HAND SANITIZER?

Anyone that knows me, knows I’m part Howard Hughes – not the uber-rich part, the part that was germaphobic.  I am a bit of a pathological hand-washer. You could easily conclude that I love hand sanitizer, but once I learned that most conventional brands have some nasty ingredients that are NOT good for us (endocrine inhibitors can’t be a good thing!) or our ecological system, I’ve opted for good ole handwashing or the organic and non-toxic brands I’ve found.

…read more of 5 Reasons to Think Twice Before Reaching for Hand Sanitizer here

 
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Book Review: Green Housekeeping

By Chantal O'Keeffe
August 12, 2010
File under: Books, Cleaning

greenhousekeepingcover.jpg

First an admission: it was the back of the book that sold me.

“Want a low-maintenance bathroom that takes 30 seconds a day to clean?” Why yes, I do. “Need whiter whites that get white for free?” Had the author been to my home?

Green Housekeeping (Simon & Schuster, 2006) by Ellen Sandbeck seemed almost too good to be true, as it sat on the shelves of my neighborhood used bookstore for just $7.

Sold.

And off I went to my favorite reading spot, where I procrastinated on all of the house cleaning I desperately needed to tackle, for some research by a pro. Feet up, let’s go.

I was a little miffed when the book began with organizing techniques, but I stuck with it, trusting that someone who could write a whole book on housekeeping, must know a thing or two that I don’t.

Trust is good, as this book turned out to be a helpful keeper that will stay on my bookshelves for years. I think I’ll reference it often, as apparently, housekeeping is more than just a quick vacuum, followed by a spray and wipe. Who knew? …read more of Book Review: Green Housekeeping here

 
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