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.

Housekeeping
–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 greenerpenny.com

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

Recipes

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
Water
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
use:
white vinegar OR
Hydrogen peroxide OR
Borax
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
www.naturallyyoursclean.com
ecos.com

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.

Alternatives
–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

Mattresses
–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:
www.environmentalhomecenter.com
www.greendepot.com

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

Advertisements

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...

Image via Wikipedia

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
Frigoverre
Pyrex
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

BPA
Phthalates

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
www.greenfeet.com 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 greenerpenny.com 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

Teflon
–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
perfluorochemical
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

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

Appliances
–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 greenerpenny.com
–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
–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:
Earthmate
Feit Ecobulb
Litetronics
Max Lite
Philips with Alto
Sylvania

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
snaptint.com

Fridge
–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

Stove/Oven
–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

Dishwasher
–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
www.greenfeet.com

Electronics
–BEST TIP!! PLUG MULTIPLE ELECTRONICS INTO POWER STRIPS AND TURN THEM OFF WHEN YOU ARE NOT USING THEM BECAUSE THEY CONTINUE TO USE ELECTRICITY TO RUN CLOCKS OR STANDBY LIGHTS EVEN WHEN OFF!!!!
I have been doing this one for awhile

Computer
–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: www.smarthomeusa.com
Kill-a-watt
thinkgeek.com/gadgets

Water
–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: www.greenerpenny.com
–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
sinkpositive.com has a neat trick where you wash your hands with the water that is going to fill in the tank anyways
–AWESOME TIP ALERT: PUT A ONE LITER WATER BOTTLE IN YOUR TOILET TANK TO DISPLACE THAT AMOUNT OF WATER WHILE YOU ARE RE-USING THE SAME 1 LITER OF WATER EVERY TIME
Toilet Tank Bank
–use deep irrigation lines, water the roots and bases of trees and shrubs when gardening
organicgardening.com
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