In only a few days, April holds two important ‘green’
days: Earth Day and Arbor Day. I thought it may be
pertinent to make a list of progressive choices for a
healthier lifestyle. They may make the world a better
While the Spring sales are still going on, you may wish
to stock up on cloth towels and cotton sheets. Cloth
towels to wipe up things are much better for the
environment than using lots of paper towels. Cotton
sheets are able to be dry quicker, reducing energy
usage, than ones that have polyester fibers.
Once you have stocked up and chosen which ‘rags’ to
discard, consider the following places who welcome old
towels, along with old blankets. Homeless shelters and
battered women’s shelters appreciate clean towels, as
well as ones to wipe up spills. They are happy to receive
donations of clean sheets and clothing items, especially
warm coats in the winter, as well as cotton t-shirts that
are clean for summer wear. Check on their ‘needs lists’
and you may have some of the necessities around the house
going to waste. Local animal shelters also are happy to
receive towels and cloths that look a little ‘raggedy.’
They also appreciate other donations of pet food, kitty
litter and unused leashes. I mentioned this to a friend
who is insisting that she will ‘never own another pet,’
since her beautiful golden retriever died of cancer.
Another ‘switch’ from good choices to better choices,
is to replace your toothbrushes with more eco-friendly
ones. There are ones now on the market made of castor
oil plants instead of petroleum (plastic ones). Look
for BPA-free and recyclable on the label.
I could not believe this figure that I found in the
Central Ohio “Natural Awakenings” magazine! Our library
has them in a stack, labeled ‘free.’ The statistic that
had my jaw drop open, thank goodness too early for a fly
to be caught, was that Americans use 500 million disposable
straws in ONE DAY! The founder of the Be Straw Free Campaign,
Milo Cress, accumulated this horrifying data. As you may
know, at parks, zoos and other natural wildlife preserves,
you are requested to not even drink out of plastic straws.
This is because they have accidentally flown out of trash
barrels, been dropped or otherwise gotten into the beaks
of animals. They can be caught and not able to be dislodged
by the animal, sometimes causing death or horrible pain.
The Ocean Conservancy has straws on their Top 10 list of
debris littering beaches. Paper straws are an alternative
since they do compost within 45-60 days. Otherwise, using
a sippy cup for kids and a twist up or down lid for adults
can keep animals and sea life ‘safe’ from harm of plastic
Of course, we have covered this in other posts of mine,
where I mention that I walk to the local Delaware Community
Market and also, during three seasons of the year, go to
the Farmer’s Market that is on the sidewalks downtown during
business hours on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings.
By purchasing locally grown foods, whether they are fruits,
vegetables or baked goods, you are supporting the farmers
and you are saving the environment. You carry a cloth bag,
which eliminates plastic or even, paper bags. You also are
getting healthier food choices, which is good for the body.
The planet appreciates your efforts to buy local, since
there is no need for shipping, warehousing, and boxing up
these products. Local purchases save gas!
A great and easy way to go ecological is to buy several
power-saver energy strips. They can be turned off when
machines are not being used. Also, unplugging things like
the toaster, coffee maker or blender can do a lot of good
by such simple actions. Completely shutting down computers
saves more energy than using sleep mode.
The Appliance Recycling Centers of America, in conjunction
with your local electric company, will come and pick up your
discarded appliances. You may find yourself purchasing a
more energy-efficient refrigerator or freezer in the
future, or your old one may just ‘conk out.’
In the states of California, Connecticut, Maryland,
Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont have
pledged to increase production or construction of the
charging stations needed to use for battery powered
cars, plug in hybrids and other ‘clean’ burning vehicles
by 2025. Consider buying one of these, when you have your
old car ‘bite the dust.’
There are companies that can help install solar panels
in your home, making renewable home energy cost-effective,
along with increasing your home’s property value.
There is a company that you may find on the internet,
that incorporates a “1% for the Planet” logo. You also
will find participating ‘green’ companies at Tinyurl.com/
Some green tips for cooking are always helpful, sometimes
you may have already read them somewhere else. This can
help remind you of better eco-friendly kitchen processes.
Slow cooked soups and stews, a meal within a pot or pan,
covered to use the heat within the structure, is both
ecological and saves energy when it comes time to wash up.
This can be helpful to the budget, too, since you can use
a less expensive cut of meat, while it tenderizes in the
slow-cooking process. If you are a vegetarian, it is also
a delicious way to bring out the flavors of the foods and
softens root vegetables that need time to simmer.
Lastly, it is also a really nice way to come home, the
aroma wafting through the entryway to your house. In my
case, the hallway leading to my door. I adore smelling
the food that has been cooking on low heat while I have
been away at work!
I sometimes use a covered dish in the oven, which has a
similar economical and ecological purpose.
A company called Microban Europe, UK, has been testing
produce and finding it challenging to keep them fresh.
Unfortunately, I found this fact quite gross! our average
refrigerator harbors millions of bacteria! Yikes! There is
a eco-friendly product, called “The Berry Breeze” in-fridge
automated device. This circulates activated oxygen to
prevent mold, keeping produce fresh longer and reducing
spoiling to save your grocery money.
Another interesting ‘take’ on buying food that is healthy
and ecological, is to eliminate canned goods. I was not
sure I could get ‘on board’ with this plan! I have a limited
budget, so canned goods are more economical for one person.
Instead of a whole bag of potatoes or the singular, more
expensive one potato, I buy canned potatoes and rinse them
twice for the salt and metal taste to be rinsed off. I
then proceed to recycle my cans. There is a woman in the
Natural Awakenings magazine, Hannah Helsabeck, who is
president of WildMintShop.com, who shares “can-free”
meal tips online. Her quote is a positive and thought-
“It takes a little planning, but we can now avoid all the
toxic chemicals used in processing foods and making cans.
Let’s kick the can!”
I say, “Go Green!”
“Let’s get become a little more aware of how our actions
affect the environment and consequently, the world.”