Part 7: “Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker: Personal Care and Clothing

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Personal Care and Apparel-ohhhh my fav 🙂

Skin and Hair
–try and avoid the word “fragrance” because this usually means synthetic fragrance, which means phthalates or other toxic chemicals

General Personal Care Products
–the term “natural” by itself is meaningless, because heavy metals and petroleum are “natural”.
–there are exceptions to listing ALL ingredients on labels. For example, “fragrance” has been used to hide all kinds of synthetic ingredients because fragrance recipes are protected by law
–balance more affordable products with green products that have high standards
Database rating cosmetics

Good fragrances
–non-synthetic fragrances consisting of plant essential oils
–genuinely “unfragranced” products like pure shea or cocoa butter

Avoid these terms
–Fragrance-free/Unscented: can mean that fragrances were added to neutralize other scents
Consumer Union’s eco-label project
–Hypoallergenic/Sensitivity tested/Non-irritating/Allergy tested/Dermatologist tested (all meaningless)

–Phthalates are used to make perfumes last longer and keep nail polish from flaking
–Fragrances are associated with allergic reactions
–In 1996 wildlife Biologist Theo Colburn, Ph.D. wrote Our Stolen Future about hormone-disrupting chemicals found in everyday products
–botanical ingredients are renewable, it’s even better to use organic botanical ingredients cultivated without pesticides

links related to this topic:
Organic Consumers Association
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Skin Deep database
–The author calls this next list, the Filthy Fifteen
* means moderate-hazard ingredients
**means moderate-to-high hazard ingredients

1. Aluminum starch/octenylsuccinate**: anti-caking agent and fragrance; linked to cancer and developmental/reproductive harm
2. Antibacterials/antimicrobials like Triclosan**: in deodorants, moisturizers, toothpaste, liquid hand soap, and body wash; suspected of spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria
3. Coal tar colors**: suspected carcinogens
4. Cocamidopropyl betaine*: sudsing agent; can produce allergic reactions
5. Ethoxylated chemicals: sudsing/moisturizing agents; process of making these can create carcinogenic 1, 4 dioxane** Also PEG-80 sorbitan laurate**, PEG-6 methyl ether*, polyethylene glycol**, PEG-20**, sodium laureth sulfate*, sodium coco sulfate (from coconut)*, ceteareth-20 and 30**. Many more with PEG and eth in the name
6. Formaldehyde**: preservative and known carcinogen/allergen in nail and hair products. Present as a contaminant in many other types of personal care products. Also diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, and quaternium compounds
7. Fragrance**: can include phthalates**, isoeugenol**, cinnamal**, and BHT*, which are all linked to cancer and developmental/reproductive harm and allergies
8. Heavy metals**: neurotoxins that include lead and mercury; lead** is found in several lipsticks. Mercury** can be in eye make-up, both can cause nervous system and brain damage
9. Nano particles*: possible brain damage and cancer risks
10. Oxybenzone/benzophenone**: in sunscreens, risk of cancer and hormone disruption
11. Petroleum distillates: in mascaras, wart removers; suspected carcinogenis
12. Polyethylene**: plastic used as a film, binder, or stabalizer in lipsticks, mascaras, etc.; ethoxylated reffered to above and may contain 1, 4 dioxane (referred to above)
13. P-Phenylenediamine (PPD): in hair dyes and bleaches; possible risk of cancer, developmental/reproductive harm
14. Preservatives: BHA**, methylparaben**, other parabens*, found in breast cancer cells in the lab.
15. Silica**: anti-caking agent; mostly a risk in powder form; mica and talc are also used in powders but are less risky


Hydroquinone/Resorcinol: acne treatments, skin lighteners, and developer in dyes and bleaches; linked to cancer and allergies

Salicylic acid: acne treatments, dandruff shampoos, moisturizers, astringent/toners, and facial washes; linked to cancer and developmental/reproductive harm

more information is available on the author’s site

Nanotechnology and Personal Care Products
–many mineral makeups and sunblocks use nanotechnology to give a smooth texture and transparency
–they can penetrate the skin, entering the bloodstream
–toxins can “piggyback” on them, carried deeper into the body
–they have been used as antibacterial “silver” coatings in washing machines and fabrics
–However, the Environmental Working Group advises using nano-ized sunblocks over synthetic ones, which pose a greater threat
–labels don’t usually disclose that they use nano-particles
–micronized means particles are larger than 100 nanoparticles (safer size)
–choose opaque, rather than sheer mineral make-up
–try cornstarch or silk as allternatives
low risk makeup powders, eye make-ups, bronzers, and blush

Good Beauty Labels: free of the most toxic ingredients known
Australian Certified Organic: uses standards like USDA; accredited by International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements
BDIH (Association of German Industries and Trading Firms): strict natural cosmetics seal, no petroleum-based ingredients
Certified USDA Organic: 95% certified organic
ECO-CERT: EU 3rd party mark; 10% organic and 95% natural ingredients
Made wit Organic: minimum 70% certified organic; no synthetic preservatives
NPA (Natural Products Association): seal bars toxic/irritating ingredients like phthalates, parabens, and sodium laureth and lauryl sulfate
NSF/ANSI (National Sanitation Foundation International/American Natural Standards Institute): requires 70% organic strictly minimizes use of synthetics
OASIS (Organic and Sustainable Industry Standards): EU seal specifics 85% organic ingredients, but uses industry certifiers
The Soil Association: EU seal from UK organic farming research institute not quite as stringent as USDA organic; allows more synthetics
Whole Foods Premium Body Care: this green in-store shelf tag flags products that are free of 250 toxic chemicals per Campaign for Safe Cosmetics criteria

Also meaningful:
Certified Vegan
Fair Trade Certified: plant ingredients sourced from cooperatives ensuring living wages, humane working conditions, and other benefits to workers –> and IMO’s Fair for Life

Leaping Bunny: certified free of animal testing

Somewhat meaningful:
No DEA, No Methyl/Propyl-Paraben, No Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate, No Synthetic Detergents

Bad Beauty Labels: claims are confusing and/or misleading or deemed “meaningless” by the Consumers Union’s Greener Choices Eco-label Project

Chemical Free/No Chemicals, Contains No Hazardous Ingredients per OSHA Regulations, Earth Smart, Environmentally/Eco-Safe, Environmentally Friendly, Natural, Organic

Un-Certified Fair Trade Claims
Cruelty-free, 100% Vegan, 100% Vegetarian Ingredients

Skin Care
–Use the simplest ingredients on your skin like pure plant oils and minerals
–research firms predict a boom in natural cosmetics in this area because the skin is the largest organ and the most absorptive.
–cosmetics and personal care products are the leading reason for calls to poison control centers in the US
–cosmetics banned by the European Union have not been reviewed by the U.S. FDA
–Environmental Working Group says (sorry for the statistics but this one is important) 1/13 women and 1/23 men are exposed to cosmetic ingredients that are known or probable carcinogens
–we get multiple doses of the same toxic ingredients through our personal care, diets, plastics, etc.
–mineral oil and paraffin are only low-to-moderate hazards, but look out for mineral oils in sprays and paraffin in lipsticks. Both of these forms are easily ingested
–the author has a downloadable list of cosmetics to avoid at her site
–many companies now have regular AND an organic line, but if it is not 3rd party certified the label is meaningless

Mostly avoid these on the skin:
Synthetic preservatives (like parabens-prefaced by methyl-, propyl-, ethyl-, and butyl-)

Good ingredients:

–plant-derived, essential oil preservatives that inhibit bacteria growth:
Aloe vera, Citrus seed extract, Clove oil, Cranberry extract, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Grapeseed, Lavender, Neem, Rose, Rosemary, Sage. Thyme, and Witch hazel

–plant-derived moisturizing agents:
Jojoba oil/extract, Olive oil/butter. Shea oil/butter

Bad ingredients:

–Synthetic, petroleum-derived preservatives:
Parabens and BHA

–petroleum-derived moisturizing agents:
Propylene glycol and Phenoxyethanol

–Palm-oil: growing it in plantations destroys forests

–parabens collect in human breast tissue and Are linked to breast cancer

Oils: use on facial or body skin and dry hair ends:
Kiehl’s Superbly Restorative Argan Dry Oil
Jurlique Balancing Rose Oil

Body Cream:
Organic Essentials shea butter cream
L’Occitane bio lavender body cream

Face Cream:
Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream
Weleda Rose Cream
Pangea Organics Rose Geranium
Origins organics

Eye Cream:
Burt’s Bees Radiance Royal Eye Jelly

–definitely avoid Benzophenone (or oxybenzone)

Good Active Ingredients:
Titanium Oxide and Zinc Oxide

Bad Active Ingredients:
Benzophenone/oxybenzone (suspeted hormone disruptors), [Homosalate, Octinoxate] (interferes with hormonal systems)/Octyl Methoxycinnamate, [Padimate O (PABA), Parsol 1789] (may cause DNA damage to skin cells when exposed to sun)/Avobenzone

–sunblocks in spray form are easier to inhale
–what isnt absorbed washes off and harms ecosystems
–the author lists the top cosmetics in her book on pages 174 and 175
–she also lists top natural cosmetic companies on pages 176-181 (there are just too many to list here)

–regualr washing with soap, blotting the wetness, and using non-talc powder will discourage smelly bacteria
–aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants block wetness by clogging sweat ducts

Best Deodorants:
Burt’s Bees, Dr. Hauschka, Logona: Free Spray, Miessence: roll-on, Nature’s Gatr: Asian Pear and Red Tea, Terressentials, and Weleda

DIY: Mix baking soda and cornstarch and pat it on

Soap and Shampoo
–mostly avoid 1, 4 dioxane (carcinogen) and triclosan (causes irritation and gastrointestinal upset and harms wildlife)

Good Sudsing/Surfactants:
Plain soap and warm water or plant essential oils that inhibit bacteria

Bad Sudsing/Surfactants:

–bar soap (over liquid) because it usually has fewer ingredients and use less packaging

Feminine Hygiene Products
Disposable: buy non-chlorine-bleached tampons and sanitary napkins like Natracare or Seventh Generation

Reusable: reduces paper in waste stream like Lunapads or menstrual cups (huh??) at

–buy less new clothing, if you do ask for sustainably produced or recycled fibers
–if they don’t have it, your question may inspire them to carry these things
–cotton is the 3rd most pesticide-doused crop in the US

Green Clothing: try to buy used clothing or re-use your own clothing in other ways

Green Clothing (when buying new):
Certified organic cotton, Recycled cotton, Recycled polyester, Recycled polyester (made from recycled beverage bottles) like Ecospun fleece, and Recycled wool
–Cerifed Organic (USDA, O-wool) and Pure Grow/Eco/Greenspun wools forbid dipping sheep in pesticides and require sustainable grazing
–Hemp or certified organic hemp is good because it is often grown with no pesticides or intensive irrigation
–linen made from flax or linseed
–ahimsa/peace silk: pupae allowed to emerge naturally before cocoons are harvested

Next Greenest Choices:
–Bamboo: tough wild grass grown without pesticides or irrigation
–Ingeo: synthetic made from corn, however, coen is the most pesticide-doused crop in the US
–Lyocel (Tencel): made from wood pulp and 99% of processing chemicals are captured and reused
–Soy: silky fiber from leftover manufacturing tofu and soy milk, however, it is the 2nd most pesticide-doused crop in the U.S.

Look out for (least green choices):
–Acrylic: from petroleum
–Conventional cotton: grown with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers made from fossil fuels
–Conventional silk: cruelty issues from killing pupae in the cocoons by baking or drowning and silkworms being fed steroids
–New polyester: made from petroleum (non-renewable)
–Nylon: from petroleum
–PVC: from petroleum and chlorne releases cancer-causing dioxins that get into food
–Rayon: from wood pulp; deforestation

Other links:
“Good Stuff” clothing

Fabric Finishes and Dyes
–pesticide residues are removed from cotton and other fiber crops during processing but fabric treatments can expose you to iffy chemicals

Good Fabrics:
–Untreated or minimally treated fabrics: Patagonia (organic and untreated cotton clothing)
–Wool or snug-fitting cotton pajamas meet US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s fire-resistant requirements
–Unbleached or non-chlorine-bleached clothing
–Pure Grow/Eco/Greenspun wool: no heavy metals and untreated

–Cotton that naturally grows in colors: Labels include Colorgrown, Foxfibre, and Colorganic
–Fabrics made with OEKO-TEX certified dyes: no heavy metals used, higher absorption rates leave less run-off and less need for alkaline and salt use as fixatives
–Fabrics made with fiber-reactive dyes: bond to the fiver, releasing dye in wastewater
–Clothes colored with cold pad batch dyeing processes: uses less energy, water, and chemicals
–Clothes colored with SKAL-certified botanical and natural dyes: These are made according to UK Soil Association organic processing standards

Little Less Green:
-Non-certified “natural”, “vegetable”, or “low-impact” dyes: claims are not regulated

Unsafe Fabrics:
–Wrinkle proofing/permanent press (formaldehyde)
–Stain proofing (formaldehyde)
–Water proofing (formaldehyde)
–Moth proofing
–Chemical fire retardants (which is required in children’s sleepwear) (formaldehyde)
–Heavy-metal dyes like chromium
–Synthetic chemical dyes

–formaldehyde “off-gases” or evaporates off of material and makes fabric less breatable which can lead to overheating and rashes
–water and stain repellants like Gore-Tex and Teflon contain perfluorochemicals (PFCs) linked to cancer, developmental harm, etc.
–chlorine bleach, moth-proofing pesticides, heavy metal dyes, and fixatives run off during processing and contaminate waterways

–Walmart, Kmart and some other stores carry GreenSource clothing which the tag allows you to trace it back to the farmer and through manufacturing and distribution processes

Fair-Trade Apparel
–green non-profit organizations like Rainforest Alliance and Conservation International have started to consider workers and community-welfare as well as environmental impacts in rating standards
definition of Fair-Trade

Union Made: means workers are free to exercise collective bargaining rights seeking better wages and conditions. List of companies at
Fair Trade Federation: partners with Fairtrade Labelling Organizational (network of 3rd party certifiers). Find FTF-certified apparel and food companies at Global Exchange
Fair Trade Mark: administered seal by the Fair Trade Foundation; monitors workplaces using independent 3rd parties
–Green America Approved: displaying this seal means they have met the socially responsible, fair trade or green standards set by Green America.
Fair Labor Association: non-profit association, members include colleges and apparel companies (Adidas, Eddie Bauer, Nike, and Patagonia). FLA allows member companies to do some of their own monitoring but verifies findings using ind. 3rd parties

Recycle Apparel
–donate to charity like Salvation Army (I have a personal suggestion about this…they take free clothes and then sell them and their practices have been kind of iffy over the years with a lot of embezzlement–donate clothes to somewhere that distributes them agin for free or do research on where the money goes if they sell them!!!!!!!), you can get a tax break. Or sell clothes to a consignment/vintage store
–buy recycled Patagonia poly fleece, organic cooton, and cotton/poly-blended apparel with Common Threads logo

Buying Recycled Fashion:
eko*logic: handmade recycled wool clothing
–Goodwill stores and Salvation Army or school/church thrift shops
On and On Clothing: designer fashions from recycled clothing
Preloved has fresh styles for women and men and combine recycled and new materials; Handcut line is made from 100% vintage fabrics

— the author has a list (which is too big for me to re-type) on pages 202-206 of Green Clothing and Baby Apparel

Cloth Diapers and Covers
–it is a toss-up on which is better for the environment: cloth or disposable diapers
–washing cloth diapers in hot water consumes energy and disposable diapers clog landfills
–ask yourself which is more convenient and economical for YOU
–reusable cloth diapers have been found to be more economical during the writing of this book

–partly washable, partly disposable with a flushable absorbent pad

Baby Needs: companies selling organic cotton, hemp or bamboo fitted diapers; organic cotton, wool diaper covers and fited pants; and prefolds worn alone (cloth diapers) (cloth diapers)

Greener, disposable diapers (non-chlorine-bleached with some recycled content) (uses absorbent gel, but still better than PVC) (gel-free)

Safer Greener Toys
–babies chew and mouth toys
–choose toys free of PVC (contains both phthalates and lead). Lego is PVC free. Also Brio, Gerber, International Playthings, Sassy, and Tiny Love are ok
–choose toys made of wood certified from well-managed forests. Available at Toys-R-Us and Holgate Toys
–IKEA has hardwood train sets
–The Playstore has range of certified organic cotton and natural wood toys for all ages
–PVC- and lead-free toy list
–check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall list

Green Sheets: companies that use organic cotton sheets and pillowcases, many untreated and avoid harmful fabric finishers and dyes
Bed, Bath and Beyond: uses OC and natural (untreated) and soy and bamboo bedding
The Company Store: OC (organic cotton)-covered down comforter and bamboo blend sheets
Coyuchi: color-grown OC sheets
Caiam: OC and wool blankets, comforters, quilts, and mattress pads
Native Organic Cotton: OC bath and kitchen towels and robes and aprons
Pottery Barn: OC duvet covers, quilts, and coverlets
West Elm: OC bath and bedding, throws and more

Part 8

Part 5: “Do One Green Thing: Saving The Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker

Bad Housekeeping

Image by bandita via Flickr

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

So, I ended up only cleaning the bathroom with white vinegar and didnt get around to really mixing and trying any of these recipes yet. I will post as I do. I use to like when my bathroom smelled like bleach because it made me feel like….this is clean! Sterile society what? I loved the smell of the vinegar. It wasn’t strong or over-powering like you would think. I cleaned the sink, toilet and floor (not in that order). The floor came clean just fine and the sink looked nice. It didn’t streak the metal parts of the sink. Overall, I’d say I prefer it to my old bleach routine.

–replace cleaning products as you run out with green products. There is no pont in wasting what you already bought
–green cleaning has less fumes and toxic ingredients
–The author has a “green light” list of already mixed products on her site

List of ingredients for all the recipes:
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Borax (sodium borate found in laundry aisles)
Hydrogen Peroxide
Lemon juice
Liquid soaps (green brands like Clorox Greenworks, 7th Generation Free and Clear, and Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap)
Plant essential oils for fragrance and light disinfecting
Table salt
Vegetable oil (wood and polishing)
Washing soda
White vinegar


Soft Scrub
2 c baking soda
1/2 c liquid plant-based soap
3-4 drops of vegetable oil
Mix, add water and store in a lidded jar

Fume-free Oven Cleaner
2 c baking soda
1 c washing soda
1 tsp liquid plant based soap
1 Tbs white vinegar
Do a wipedown with a scrubber and use a rag and hot water to remove any crust that will easily come off. Mix into a think paste. With gloves, apply to oven. Leave overnight. With gloves rinse and scrub with a sponge or rag.

Glass Cleaner
1/2 c white vinegar
1 c water
3-4 drops liquid plant-based soap
Mix in a spray bottle

Floor Cleaner (safe for wood)
1 c white vinegar
1 gallon hot water
Mop floor, doesn’t need rinsing. Fopr extra cleaning add 1/4 c liquid-based plant soap and rinse.

Disinfectant, Stain Remover, Mold Remover, Deoderizer
white vinegar OR
Hydrogen peroxide OR
Apply with gloves, let sit for an hour, scrub and wipe

Carpet/Upholstery Spot Cleaner
Use cornstarch to absorb and club soda to lift

Toilet Bowl Cleaner
you will need:
Baking soda
white vinegar
Hydrogen peroxide
Sprinkle bowl with baking soda. Spray on vinegar until it fizzes. Wait 30 min then scrub. Clean the rim, lid and seat with hydrogen peroxide

Metal Polish
use toothpaste

Drain Cleaner
Baking soda
white vinegar
boiling water
Use equal parts of baking soda and vinegar followed by water once a week

VOC (volatile organic compounds): the fumes can cause skin, eye, nose, throat and lung irritation asthma, etc.
–using natural products protects our drinking water
–nonyphenol (NPE): can harm fish embryos

Other links

Toxic VOC’s are in:
Vinyl (polyvinyl chloride, PVC): dont use vinyl curtains, flooring, or wall coverings. Keep PVC packaging out of house. It releases phthalates (hormone disrupting chemicals)
–IKEA, Target and Wal-Mart have pledged NOT to use PVC anymore

Synthetic Pesticides/ Herbicides
–Petroleum derived insecticides attack the nervous system of insects AND everything else. Some attack respiratory systems and have caused deformities in fish, birds, and amphibians. Some are linked to cancers or kill all sorts of plants and wildlife.

–use IPM (Integrated Pest Management)
–just keep your kitchens clean, put away food, wipe-up moisture, seal cracks and crevices, and fix leaks
–Use boric acid baits with sugar and water for cockroaches and ants
–Ants don’t like peppermint castile soap
–In the garden use red pepper spray or liquid soap to kill aphids, mites, and insects

Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Organic Land Care
EPA’s Healthy Environment booklet
National Coalition for Pesticide Free Lawns
Bio-Integral Resource Center
Washington Toxics Coalition
Northeast Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides

–conventional mattresses made with petroleum-based polyurethane foam have been treated with chemical fire retardents called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). These have been known to cause behavioral and developmental problems in animal studies. They are pervasive in the environment, staying for long periods of time.
–PVC has been banned from use in mattresses made after 2009.
–new matresses may also have been treated with water and stain repellants that can release formaldehyde.
–Choose a matress made with natural latex core and padded with cotton and surrounded with wool
–look for labels like:
Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC)
–if you cant afford a new mattress you can block many VOC’s and dust mites by encasing it in a tightly woven barrier cloth or cover it with a wool or cotton mattress pad

Companies that make greener mattresses and top pads w/o PBDEs:
Acorn Innerspring: organic cotton and wool
Duxiana: latex and cotton top pads
Earthsake: organic cotton and PureGrow
Greensleep: organic cotton, wool, and silk
IKEA: 85% natural latex, cotton
Lifekind: organic cotton, natural latex
Natural By Colgate:coconut coir fiber, organic cotton, regular cotton
Naturepedic</aorganic cotton, regular cotton, polyethylene
Vivetique: organic cotton and PureGrow wool

Synthetic Carpeting and Pressed Woods
–Both have formaldehyde, benzene and other toxic VOCs that are in the glues
–VOC-free carpets and area rugs:
Interface Carpets
Mohawk Everstand
Nature’s Carpet

–avoid new pressed-wood furniture, formaldehyde can cause irritation in the eyes and nose and cause headaches and dizziness.
–look for solid wood bookshelves, tables, and desks at garage sales or thrift stores.
–Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards:

Crate and Barrel: uses some FSC certified wood in eco-line
ABC Carpet and Home: sells “good” wood, which is their self-developed label for non-endangered, well-managed forests. They also have organic mattresses and other green products
Top-Of-The-Line Furniture: made from FSC certified wood and untreated organic fibers = Q Collection and Jak Studio Collection by green interior designers
Sustainable Design: Design Within Reach
For Home Building and Renovation using pressed woods made with no-VOC glue and sustainable wood:
Scientific Certification Systems
Green America’s
low-VOC bamboo plywood
natural flooring materials at Green Depot

Conventional Paints
–most conventional paints contain VOCs like ethylene glycol. Paint fumes can cause skin rash, headaches, fatigue, etc.
Low VOC paints: Aura
ZERO-VOC paints:
AFM Safecoat: paints and finishes
Envirosafe’s Paint: fast drying
Home Depot’s Freshaire Paint: in recycled cans printed with soy based inks
Mythic Paint: nice muted retro shades
Yolocolorhouse’s Colors: also has little yolo for children’s rooms

Other Links:

Laundry Detergents
–buying concentrated formulas you will save money, gallons of water, plastic, and carbboard (mostly to packaging and formula).
–choose plant-based rather than petroleum-based free of synthetic or strong natural fragrances
Good Ingredients: Plant-based surfactants made from corn, coconut oil, and grapefruit
Bad Ingredients: Ethoxylated chemicals, generic claim “fragrance” (means synthetic), synthetic degreasers, synthetic sulfactants

–you will avoid residue of irritating fragrances and chemicals
–some ingredients survive the rinse cycle and build up on clothes and bedding
–don’t cover up the itchy feeling that came from chemicals with more synthetic chemicals in the form of fabric softeners!!!!!!!
–buying safe laundry dtergents eliminates contaminating our waterways
–nonylphenols (NPEs) damages kinds of ocean fish

Good Labels: verified by 3rd parties
Certified Biodegradable
Cold-water, high-efficiency formula
Cradle to Cradle (C2C)
EPA Design for the Environment (dFe) Green Seal
Leaping Bunny (LB)
PCW (post-consumer-waste) recycled packaging
USDA Biopreferred

Goodish Labels: somewhat reliable
Biodegradable, No ammonia, No chlorine, No DEA/TEA, No sodium laureth sulfate, No synthetic detergents, Recycled packaging

Bad Labels: Don’t spend money on these meaningless claims says the Consumer’s Union
Cruelty-free, Eco/environmentally friendly, Eco/environmentally safe, Natural, Nontoxic, Septic tank safe

Cleaning Delicates (Bras and Undies) At Home
–cold-wash by hand
–Use: Ecolever Delicates Wash, Kookaburra wool wash, Laundress wool and cashmere shampoo

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 4: “Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices” by Mindy Pennybacker

Look for this logo when considering your new r...

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Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Included in this post is the information on appliances, household energy use, storage, etc.

Storage and Cooking
–glass is best, it is recyclable and there is no chemical leaching
–Tempered glass resources
Anchor Hocking
Corningware (representin’…woo woo Corning, NY…sorry)
–do NOT microwave food in plastics even the so-called miocrowave safe dishes leach small amounts of chemicals like BPA


Note: recycling code refers to the little triangle with the arrows that are labels for recycling
Safe Plastic:
–it is safe to eat out of plastics if it is unheated
–LDPE-Low density polyethylene (recycling code #4)
–PP-Polypropylene (recycling code #5)

Unsafe Plastic:
–PC-Polycarbonate plastics (recycling code #7)
–PS-Polystyrene – this leaches styrene

Plastic Wraps
Safe: LDPE-Low density polyethylene (#4)
Ex: Best Yet, Glad, Saran Green (or unbleached), or vegetable wax and parchment paper has some good products
–also Whole Foods Supermarkets

Unsafe: PVC-Polyvinyl chloride or vinyl (#3)
–These are known to leach phthalates

Recyclable plastics: LDPE (#4) and PP (#5)
Not recyclable: PVC (#3) and PC (#7)
–There are some with no recycling code. She asks that you refer to for this information

Other (#7)
Bioplastics (PLA)-these are not easily recyclable but you can check in your area for facilities that might recycle this material
–At the time this book was published San Francisco was the only place that had compostable plastic pick-up.
Recology SF
Is it being considered in your area?

Canned Foods
–almost all linings of canned food contain BPA that can migrate at normal room temperatures. However, only 11% have levels which were harmful to lab animals
–Her tip?: Eat more fresh and frozen foods
–choose preserved food in glass jars
–BPA leaches better in fatty or acidic foods so get foods like tomato paste or soups in cartons
TetraPak’s Tetra Brik– wood pulp and sustainable
Forest Stew (ardship) Council or FSC
–if you are buying canned baby formula go for the dry powder
–if you do buy canned baby formula try Eden Organics (BPA free label except their tomatoes
–the longer canned food sits, the higher the amount of leaching
BPA Timeline: helps determine how much leaching happens in what products in a set amount of time

–when Teflon is OVERHEATED (over 500 degrees F) it releases hazardous fumes that cause flu-like symptoms and has been known to kill pet birds
perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
–Supposedly DuPont voluntarily agreed to phase these chemicals out by 2015, but they will still be collecting in the environment long after
–the good news is that if they are used as intended, you shouldn’t have any problems: throw away if scorched or scratched and don’t use metal utensils or overheat

–you can often receive federal tax credits for making your home more energy efficient
–some states will give utility rebates for the same reason

–the myth is dead, you do not need to wash all your clothes in hot water. Soap is awesome it does it’s job just as well in cold water. Use hot or warm water when you have heavily soiled clothes or are washing something like your re-useable grocery bags (they often have traces of salmonella and other undesirable things) or bedding (dust mites).
–You should start line drying clothes whenever possible. She gives a list of good drying racks on
–the fridge is the most draining appliance you own
–in 2009 EPA finally declared greenhouse gases to be pollution
–Learn about global warming threats: Harvard Center for Health and Global Environment
the greatest potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions comes from the residential sector
–turning off lights ALWAYS when you are not using them is a very easy way to save energy
–as bulbs die out replace them with more energy efficient bulbs
–front load washing machines are more energy and water efficient then top loaders
–look for the Energy Star label on appliances and a water efficient factor less than 9.5
–Dryers: gas models are better and they make dryers that have moisture sensors that shut the dryer off when the clothes are dry

Calculate your household emissions
Calculate annual transportation AND home carbon footprint
Calculator from Inconvenient Truth

Other links:
Consortium for Energy Efficiency
Consumer Reports
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy

–lighting is the quickest AND easiest way to make a huge energy saving difference
incandescent CFL
new LED bulbs
–look for the Energy Star approved label
–incandescents waste 95% as heat and warms the air around it. However this is only 30% of it’s energy output
–LED’s are cooler (as in not as hot lol)
–the cost is higher initially than buying crappy light bulbs at the dollar store, but the difference in energy costs pays for it over and over
–the new LED bulbs are VERYexpensive right now, but the price will go down eventually like the CFL’s did

Recycling bulbs
–IKEA and Home Depot and most hardware and lighting chains will recycle the CFL bulbs. Also, look into whether you have a local municipal household hazardous waste facility
–do not use CFL bulbs in a fixture that is completely enclosed like this one

Good labels:
Feit Ecobulb
Max Lite
Philips with Alto

Light quality
Task or day light: Blue Max or Max Lite
Soft white: n:vision
Desk/reading: Philips with Alto
Warm ambient: GE Soft White or Lights of America Mini Twister

Other links:
Energy Star
CFL fixtures
Environmental Defense’s Lightbulb Sector

~~~~~~Breaking a CFL!!!!~~~~~~~~~
–don’t panic lol
–air out the room for 10 minutes
–wear gloves, cover nose and mouth, put it in a lidded jar
–the mercury will have gathered in drops wipe these up with a rag and sticky tape
–seal in a plastic bag and take to your local hazardous waste facility

Heating and Cooling
–in the winter keep the temperature around 68 degrees F in the daytime and 60 degrees F at night
–use your sweaters dammit lol
–if you have electric heat, keep it below 70 degrees F
–if you use gas heat, keep at same temp but you save more
–in the summer keep the a/c at 78 degrees F or higher
–look for an Energy Star a/c
–treat the windows with either curtains or blinds in the summer (shading keeps your house cooler) or some sort of plastic wrap in the winter
US Department of Energy shades and tips

–keep the thermostat between 36 and 38 degrees F and the freezer at 3 degrees F
–if you have stuff cluttered all over the top of your fridge it can make the fridge work harder and use more energy
–clean the coils once a year with a vacuum and a wet rag
–move fridge away from the stove, which can cause it to heat up and work harder when you are cooking
–cool hot foods on the counter before putting away
–COOL PENNYBACKER TIP: If you want to check to see if the seal around your fridge door is good, insert a dollar bill halfway in the door and close. If it falls you need to replace the sealing
–fridges with freezers on the top are most energy efficient, then ones on the bottom, followed by side-to side doors

–electric-induction cooktop is the best (I have one of these and it heats up very quickly…I love it!)
–gas stoves with electric igniters are second best
–the microwave is the most efficient oven you own!!!!
–use high conductive cookware that holds heat well
–use lids when you are cooking so that the cooking time is less and you are not losing energy to heat loss
–only pre-heat your oven for 5 min

–check water efficiency
–scrape food off because by not pre-winsing you can save 20 g of water a load
–run FULL loads (same with washer and dryer)
–if your dishwasher has an option to air dry, use it
–using a dishwasher is better than hand-washing (so if you have an environmentally opinionated mate this is a good selling point on getting a dishwasher 🙂
–dont run water the whole time you are washing (I am guilty of this but not so much lately)
–fill your sink with soap water and wash. Set dishes in other side of sink (if you only have one sink use a wash basin with water to rinse) then rinse all together
–you can get a low flow faucet aerator for your sink

I have been doing this one for awhile

–utilize the sleep or hibernate mode or turn off when you are not using it
–laptops are more efficient than desktops so 😛
if you are buying new electronics check Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics. They update this quarterly.

Hazardous electronic wastes:
arsenic, lead, mercury, toxic flame retardent, PVC plastics (phthalates)

–you can use solar chargers: Solio
–smart power strips:

–it is best to shower in 5 minutes or less (this is hard to do as a woman especially if you have long hair. We have to shave our legs, pits, and wherever else, wash our hair, condition it, and also clean our bodies…uggghhhh)
–you can use a low flow showerhead of 2g or less
–set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees F
–the UN predicts that 2/3 of the world will suffer from water scarcity by 2025
–there are expected shortages in 36 states by 2013
–climate change will lead to even more water shortages
–the best idea is to use a tankless natural gas water heater or a zero-emission solar water heater
–water-saving supplies can be found at the author’s site:
–water garden and mow your lawn early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid more evaporation
–toilets are the worst water guzzlers
–there are WaterSense toilets that use 20% less than what the federal standard is has a neat trick where you wash your hands with the water that is going to fill in the tank anyways
Toilet Tank Bank
–use deep irrigation lines, water the roots and bases of trees and shrubs when gardening
NE Organic Farming Association gardening manual
–make and use a rain barrel for gardening

Learn about grey water
Barrels and deep irrigation lines
–cultivate native grasses and plants so that they are adjusted to the climate and normal moisture range. This is also best because of the threat of invasive species

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8