Making Efforts To Live Lite-Green
For the most part I tend to write about upbeat and positive topics. However, there have been a lot of things in the news lately about the environment and climate change that have left me feeling really scared/frustrated/helpless and I thought I would share my thoughts.
The Amazon is on fire. It’s big and it’s scary and it can have a drastic effect on the air we breathe.
I recently discovered that there is a collection of garbage called The Great Pacific Garbage Patch floating in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California that is DOUBLE the size of Texas. Y’all probably already know this, but I was born and raised in Texas. As a Texan is who is very aware of how big Texas really is….this is a really frightening fact.
These things make me feel helpless because the problem seems so big, and in the grand scheme of things I am just one person. What could I possibly do to change anything? Although I do not personally have the means or resources to battle the fires in the Amazon, I have decided to do two things to make me feel less helpless.
I’m making an effort to stay informed about environmental issues.
I’m going to actively make changes in my life to lower my carbon footprint.
Nowadays being “green” is a lot easier than it used to be. Not all of us have the means to be 100% green. For instance, Bruce and I do not have a yard, so things like composting are not really activities that we can participate in. Even though we do not have the space to compost, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t still things we can do to make environmentally responsible decisions in our day-to-day life; such as driving a hybrid car. It’s called “Living Lite-Green”. I'm here to share some tips and tricks with you that will showcase how being more environmentally friendly can be easy and fashionable. Lite-green is the new black!
Items To Take With You Out Into The World
If you haven’t seen (or heard) about the video showing a scientist removing a plastic straw from the nose of a sea turtle you must live under a rock. In this video it took the scientist 10 minutes to free the straw. The sea turtle was in so much pain during the entire procedure and it was heartbreaking to watch. Many major food and beverage companies have pledged to eliminate plastic straws. Starbucks has committed to having all of their locations be plastic straw free by 2020. For those of you who like using straws but may not enjoy some of the disposable substitutes such as paper straws, let me introduce you to my new friend, Final Straw.
Final Straw is a collapsible, portable, metal straw that will easily fit in your purse. The inside and the ends of the straw are lined with rubber to prevent leaks and protect your teeth. The tiny, portable case includes a straw cleaner to help you easily clean the inside of the straw. It’s the perfect portable solution!
Reusable Tote Bags
Reusable tote bags come in all shapes and sizes. For me the biggest obstacle with using reusable bags has been their tendency to be bulky and hard to store neatly. Here in California, most cities have had a ban on plastic bags at supermarkets and other retailers for years now. A few months ago I was introduced to Envirosax and I couldn’t be more excited! Envirosax comes in an array of colors and patterns. They roll up and snap in place to be stored in their cute little pouch, or you can pop them individually into your purse. These bags are extremely resilient (holding up to 45 lbs each) and they are machine washable. They will fit easily in your purse or your car door compartment. This company has made it incredibly convenient to bring your own bag everywhere you go.
Reusable Cups/Water Bottles
Plastic and styrofoam disposable cups need to be a thing of the past. We just don’t have the capacity to recycle and process this type of trash anymore. It’s important to stay hydrated and I’ve rounded up some of my favorite reusable water bottles to make that easy and fashionable!
S’well: S’well water bottles come in some of the cutest designs. On top of that, S'well bottles feature triple-walled, vacuum-insulated construction, designed to keep beverages cold for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 12! S’well also comes in larger sizes that will hold an entire bottle of wine! Now that can really come in handy to keep your Chardonnay chilled during a picnic or a day at the beach.
Rubbermaid: Save money and reduce your carbon footprint with these Refill Reuse Chug Water Bottles from Rubbermaid. Their leak-proof design, snap mouth closure, and durable design make it easy to fill and drink anytime or anywhere without making a mess. Great if you have active kids who play sports. These fit in standard cupholders, making them a convenient option to take your smoothie with you wherever you go. They have a curved, easy-to-grip body, are BPA-free and dishwasher-safe.
Hydro Flask: With it's easy-access wide mouth, the sleek design holds the same volume of liquid as other leading water bottle brands. Also, safety is top-of-mind, as the Hydro Flask bottles are made out of non-toxic BPA-free plastics. Unlike other water bottles, Hydro Flask has a powder coat which gives you a solid grip. The Powder Coat works with the premium TempShield insulation which prevents condensation from forming on the outside of the bottle, to give you exactly what you want in an everyday refreshment delivery system. This flask meets your everyday hydration needs in one container, all while keeping it piping hot or ice cold and fitting comfortable and conveniently in your hand or your vehicles' cup holders. The wide mouth aspect also fits most backcountry water filters.
Corkcicle: Keeps beverages cold for over 25 hours, hot for over 12 hours, and is stylish yet durable. Its shatterproof stainless steel interior lining doesn't affect or retain taste and is easy to clean. It contains industry-leading three layers of insulation that eliminates condensation and won't burn your hands. It also features a no-leak threaded screw top with patented easy-grip sides and a non-slip bottom.
Environmentally Friendly Home Goods
We have become a culture of convenience. Unfortunately these conveniences often involve disposable materials that are bad for the environment. Luckily there are some household alternatives that you can easily incorporate into your routine to reduce, reuse and live a more lite-green lifestyle.
Absorbent dish cloths: It’s time to say goodbye to paper towels. 100% cotton towels are highly absorbent, fast drying and produce minimal lint. Keep a small trash can under your sinks to store soiled towels until it is time to throw them in the washing machine. Just think of all the trees you’ll save by lowering or eliminating your paper towel use.
Plant-based Bamboo Toothbrushes: These bamboo toothbrushes have a beautiful minimalistic feel to them. The BPA-free bristles are extra soft, giving you a painless experience while also ensuring your teeth stay squeaky clean! These sustainable toothbrush handles are made from 100% environmentally sustainable bamboo, effectively cutting out the waste made from traditional plastic toothbrushes.
Bee's Wrap: Handcrafted in Vermont, this reusable food wrap lasts up to one year when used several times each week, while traditional plastic wrap products are used for a matter of minutes and can linger in our environment for 2,000 years or more and won't biodegrade. Use this sustainable, natural alternative to plastic wrap to cover and store cheese, fruit, vegetables, baked goods and bread.
Organic Eco Wool Dryer Balls: When laundry time rolls around, save time, money and energy! Each ball is eco-friendly and reusable for 1000+ loads. These dryer balls leave your laundry naturally soft, reduces wrinkles and static cling, without harming your laundry with synthetic chemicals like PVC or tennis balls. Plus, they help you reduce drying time by 20-40%. These dryer balls are perfect for dark, white, and colored loads, as well as for drying clothes for babies and people with sensitive skin. They are made of 100% pure New Zealand wool (no cheap fillers!!), are organic, chemical free, fragrance free and hypoallergenic.
Who Gives A Crap: Who Gives a Crap, an Australian-based company makes toilet paper out of 100% recycled paper fibers, bamboo or sugarcane. This saves water, trees, and reduces carbon emissions. They also donate a whopping 50% of their profits to WaterAid to build toilets for those in need.
Recycled Aluminum Foil: Aluminum foil is one of the most used home items. If You Care produces a line of aluminum foil that’s made from 100% recycled aluminum. Their foil takes 95% less energy to produce than traditional foil manufacturing.
Compostable Bin Liners: Unlike some other bags on the market, these bags are CERTIFIED compostable to Australian, European, USA & Japanese standards. This means they have been independently assessed to break down to virtually undetectable levels in the soil, and are deemed “worm safe” with no micro plastic residues left behind. These compostable bin liners are available in 4 sizes and are made from 100% GMO free renewable plants and are free from any plastic additives such as Polypropylene, Polyethylene, Polystyrene & PVC.
Glass Meal Prep Containers: These storage containers use snap lock lids with silicone seals to ensure your meal prep food will last much longer than normal plastic food storage containers or glass container sets. These glass food containers are made from borosilicate glass, that are much stronger than the tempered glass meal prep containers other brands sell. These containers are FDA certified, food grade safe & BPA free.
Energy Efficient Home Automation & Conservation
Nest Thermostat: Control the temperature in every room in your house from your phone! The auto-schedule feature learns the temperatures you like and programs itself. You can connect the Nest Thermostat to Wi-Fi to change the temperature from your phone, tablet or laptop. Nest guides you in choosing the best energy saving settings. You’ll see the Nest Leaf when you choose a temperature that saves energy. Early on, Nest learns how your home warms up and keeps an eye on the weather to get you the temperature you want when you want it. And…when you’re away from home, the Nest thermostat automatically turns itself down to avoid heating or cooling an empty home.
Low-Flow Shower Head: If every household in the U.S. installed low flow shower heads, we could save more than 250 billion gallons of water annually, which could supply more than 2.5 million U.S. homes with water for a year, according to the EPA.
Robotic Lawn Mower: Husqvarna Automower® will give you a carpet-like lawn by maintaining your grass rather than mowing it. Automower® cuts just a little grass at a time, naturally fertilizing the soil with minuscule clippings. As a result, your turf always looks neat, green and healthy. The best part is, this lawn mower is powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which means you are reducing your carbon footprint by not using a gasoline powered lawn mower.
Energy Efficient Smart Plugs: This Belkin Wemo Smart Plug can be controlled from anywhere! Plug in a WeMo Insight smart plug, download the WeMo app, and control your lights and appliances right from your phone. You can even control it with your voice through Amazon Alexa and Google assistant. It also allows you to monitor energy costs right from your phone or tablet. This smart plug provides you real-time reports on how much energy your devices are consuming. You can use the smart plug to monitor how much a space heater is costing you, or how much energy a particular room consumes. It also protects your home better than a mechanical timer. With “away mode”, your lights will turn on and off randomly to confuse potential intruders and make it look like somebody is home while you're away.
It’s almost impossible to have a reusable option for every event in life (at least for the moment). There are going to be big BBQ’s and kid’s birthday parties where you need disposable plates and utensils. The good news is that there have been some great strides made for more eco-friendly disposable items that have a better chance of biodegrading…unlike plastic.
General Conservation Tips
Wash your clothes in cold water to conserve energy
Go meat-free once a week: If everyone in the United States went meat-free for one day, it would save 100 billion gallons of water.
Wash only full loads in your dish and clothes washers, and air dry when possible.
Unplug the appliances when you’re not using them.
Let’s All Try And Do Our Best
It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by what’s happening to our environment. Even though we are just one tiny person on this massive planet let’s all try and do what we can to take care of the spot of land that we inhabit. Be kind to the earth and leave the smallest footprint possible.
Every now and then I will share little tips, tricks and products that I come across that are environmentally friendly. I ask you to please share any products that you recommend as well! I really love discovering new ways to live lite-green!