2016 - Our Daily Green

Friday, November 18, 2016

Use less plastic in your home (Infographic)

Source: Fix.com Blog

Monday, November 14, 2016

Save by shopping early!

Our Daily Green strongly believes that the best way to prepare the future generation to solve problems about our environment is to get them excited about science. We are proud to be affiliated with the Spangler Science Club & offer a discount to you for trying them out. A monthly experiment! Appropriate for ages 7-14.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Waste Not, Save More (reprinted from Otherwords.org)

Here's an idea for the climate, and your wallet: 
If you waste less, you should pay less.
On average, each person in the U.S. throws away five pounds of solid waste each day. While many eco–conscious citizens do their due diligence to recycle, compost, and reduce waste, others remain apatheticabout preserving the environment.
Wherever you might land on the eco-friendly scale, innovative “Pay As You Throw” (PAYT) programs are incentivizing people nationwide to increase (or start) recycling and composting through a usage-pricing model.
Basically, the less trash you send to a landfill, the less you pay.
Over 7,000 communities in the U.S. report using this green solution, with cities seeing an average of 45 percent less trash.
Though various types of PAYT programs have been tested, waste-reduction company WasteZero reports the most cost-effective and convenient option for reducing waste isusing specialized bags. With this approach, residents purchase uniquely printed bags approved by their municipality, just like you would purchase garbage bags from a store. Trash collectors only pick up these bags, incentivizing residents to follow the protocol.
(Photo: CentralMaine.com)
A common concern is that people will just dump their trash illegally in communities where these policies are implemented. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, that’s not the case. In fact, when residents are offered reliable recycling and composting options for yard trimmings, they find it easier to reduce their waste.
And PAYT is often cheaper than what most households pay for waste management, especially if you pay a trash tax to help your municipality cover the cost of having waste dropped off at a landfill.
Imagine if your city decided that everyone would have to pay a flat fee for electricity, regardless of how much you use. This fee would likely be much higher than your monthly bill, and you wouldn’t have any control over it.
That’s exactly how the conventional “trash tax” many of us currently pay works.
Even if you use five large PAYT bags of garbage a week, at $1.50 each — which includes the cost of the bag itself, transportation, and disposal — it’d be less than half the cost of the trash tax in the communities that charge it. Additionally, many communities have coupon or voucher programs for lower income residents and larger families concerned about the cost of the bags.
While cutting costs is a huge incentive, the environmental benefits of PAYT programs can’t be understated. Landfills stuffed to the brim with solid waste emit large amounts of methane, a shorter-lived and more potent greenhouse gas with over 70 times the heat-trapping potential of carbon dioxide.
One of the most effective ways to curb methane emissions that threaten our climate, second only to reducing our meat consumption, is to shrink the amount of solid waste decomposing in landfills. And with less trash to be burned at incinerators, programs like PAYT will also improve air quality.
Even residents with a laissez-faire take on the environment won’t be able to find a reason not to pay as they throw.
Beth Porter directs Green America’s Better Paper Project. 
A project of the
Institute for Policy Studies

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Tips on finding a truly green mattress (guest post)

Consumers are becoming more wary of what’s in the products they buy. Whether it’s a perfume, processed food, furniture, or anything else, people want to know that the products they buy are going to be safe to consume.  This is especially true with mattresses because people spend 6-8 hours a night in them. Unfortunately, there are a lot of marketing gimmicks in the mattress industry, so it’s pretty difficult to know exactly how “green” the mattress you are looking at is.  Here are a few helpful hints of what you should look for if you are looking to get a more natural, eco-friendly mattress.

Tip 1- Beware of false “green” claims

A lot of companies in the mattress industry will make claims that their mattress is “green” for this reason or that.  Most of the time those claims are dubious at best.  For example, some companies will claim they use “bio-based” foams.  This will lead you to believe that the foam is 100% bio-based, but in reality the foam is only a small percentage bio-based (usually 10-35%) and the rest is petroleum-based.  If you ever see “bio-based,” make sure you find out the exact percentage breakdown of bio-based versus petroleum-based.

Similarly, companies will make a big marketing push around their product that has been certified by certiPUR.  This certification means that the foams used the in the mattress have not been made with specific harmful chemicals.  However, this should be the absolute minimum you should expect from your mattress, and it doesn’t mean the mattress is “green” by any means.  The foams used are still going to be petroleum-based.

Tip 2- Not all latex is green

Many companies that sell latex mattresses will make claims that their products are green because they use latex in their construction.  However, there are different types of latex.  There can be natural latex, which actually comes naturally from a rubber tree, or synthetic, which is not very green at all. In most cases, companies use synthetic or blended latex because it is much more economical to manufacture.

The only way to have a “green” or “organic” mattress is if the mattress is constructed using natural latex.  If you are looking at getting a latex mattress, then you should look into whether it’s truly natural or synthetic.

Tip 3- Business model

Companies that sell through physical stores leave a large carbon footprint.  Think of all the energy used to keep a store going each day.  Companies that sell online leave a lot smaller carbon footprint because they avoid having stores entirely.  By buying online, you are actually making a more green choice than if you go to a store.

Tip 4- Be willing to pay more for a green mattress

The only real “organic” or “green” mattress out there is a natural latex mattress.  To make a natural latex mattress is very expensive, so for you to get one you have to be willing to pay more.  There’s really no way around it, and that’s why so few companies offer such mattresses.

Overall, you should be initially skeptical of big claims from mattress companies about their “green” mattresses.  Do your research, and know that you might have to pay a little extra if you want a truly organic mattress.

Today's post has been brought to you by a sponsor who wants our readers to get the best night's sleep possible.Our Daily Green is proud to share our space with like minded companies. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

PureWash Pro Laundry System [review]

simple to install, begin using within minutes
A few weeks ago, Our Daily Green asked, "Can you do laundry with just water and oxygen?" and we wanted to review the pureWash Pro laundry system. 

We were intrigued by the premise that you could clean your clothing without any soap or detergent, but admittedly skeptical.

We eagerly set up our pureWash Pro within minutes. We simply had to mount the system to the wall and attach the water hoses. 

When we first started the system, we were greeted with a "WHOOSH" sound as the cold water was infused with oxygen. We added our first load and waited eagerly for the results. What was really fascinating was the fresh scent filling the laundry room. It smelled just like the air after a rainstorm. My daughter joked that she expected to see earthworms on the ground, because a good rain goes hand in hand with worms on the sidewalk.

But all that aside, DOES pureWash Pro actually clean my laundry? I've been using it for about a month now and my answer is a resounding YES! In fact, I also testify that my husband's t-shirts are much brighter and whiter.

I still have quite a bit of eco-friendly laundry detergent left, so I've been adding a small amount (as recommended) to the especially dirty loads of laundry. I am positively delighted with the results! When I know that hospitals and hotels use pureWash Pro for their linens, I am confident it's going to work in my house as well.

I love that the system uses only cold water and the great rain shower scent that occurs from the naturally oxygenated water. It's also a great alternative to harsh soaps or detergents. Fabric can retain up to 2% of its original weight in residue after laundering. That residue sits next your skin in all your clothing and can be a source of allergic reactions and discomfort. In our quest to stop itching, we've discovered one product after another that will reduce our exposure to chemicals. In that same vein, there is also a diverter on the pureWash Pro to use the oxygenated water for household cleaning. What a super idea!

For additional laundry tips, we recommend drying racks or if you are using a dryer, wool dryer balls. We've about mastered the art of cleaning our clothing in the most earth-friendly way possible.

Our Daily Green is proud to work with pureWash and gives this system our highest possible endorsement. As a disclaimer, we were provided the system free of charge in exchange for our honest opinion. We would never endorse a product that didn't live up to our expectations.

Thank you again, pureWash!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Curbside Crisis (from Otherwords.org)

How much of what you recycle ends up at the dump?

Do you cross the street to put your soda can in the recycling bin or avidly pluck plastics and paper from your neighbor’s trash cans? The current state of recycling in the United States may surprise you.
It’s in trouble for many reasons, including two straightforward ones. Most programs dump everything together — and consumers are confused about what goes into their recycling bins.
Single-stream recycling, first developed in the 1990s, offers the allure that everything can be recycled without duplicating efforts to handle paper, plastic, glass, and metal refuse. Creating a single blue bin where people can toss all kinds of recyclable items did away with the need to separate your bottles from your cans from your newspapers.
When your commingled recyclables arrive at the facility, they travel along conveyor belts where someone manually pre-sorts them. Then the stuff goes through a series of screens that separate items by weight and shape, and strong magnets mechanically sort the steel and aluminum products.
(Photo: Dawn Paley / Flickr)
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. communities that recycle used this approach by 2010.
The single-stream system sounds great, but it’s not perfect. The biggest problem is that contamination can occur at your home or workplace, in your curbside bin, at the sorting facility, or on the way there.
For example, glass bottles can break and sully plastic and paper bales with broken shards, making them unfit for turning into new recycled products. And when paper is co-mingled with plastic food containers, it can be ruined with lingering food and beverage residues.
These contaminated recyclables, unfortunately, often end up in landfills — or else they’re bought by countries with a lower standard for materials being recycled. In 2014, nearly 40 percent of paper items that were put into the recycling stream — which otherwise would have been great for making more sustainable paper products here in the United States — went overseas.
If you’ve ever wondered about the fate of your discarded recyclables, you may want to yell “Why even bother?”
But don’t trash your blue bin. Here’s how you can stop wasting your recycling efforts.
First, don’t “wish-cycle.”
Lumping together old garden hoses, plastic shopping bags, and old sneakers with newspapers and plastic milk jugs won’t get that junk reincarnated as yogurt containers.
It just increases the cost of the entire recycling process by making it harder to haul and sort everything, because workers will be taking your wish-cycled items to a different destination — a trash incinerator or landfill. Learn your local recycling rules and follow them.
Second, don’t grab that bag.
Putting your recyclables into a bag to carry them out to the recycling bin might seem logical, but every bag has to be ripped open at the sorting facility — a time-consuming process that holds up the sorting line. This time crunch is sometimes “solved” along the way by tossing the bags of recyclables into the trash pile.
Instead, try collecting and carrying your recyclables out to the bin in a container or box, and reuse it every week.
Finally, play the sorting game.
See if your city has special collection points for electronics or specific plastic containers to ensure they end up in the right place. Some cities even collect paper separately to protect it from contamination. Castoffs unfit for curbside collection might be perfect for a recycling drop-off at a nearby grocery or supply store. Check Earth911.com to discover what can be recycled where.
Recycling is an important service to our society — and our planet. If U.S. recycling levels can rise to a 75 percent participation rate, that would equal the environmental benefit of removing 50 million cars from the road each year and could generate 1.5 million new green jobs.
All it would take to turn things around and keep more of our trash out of the dump is a handful of new recycling habits.
Beth Porter directs Green America’s Better Paper Project. GreenAmerica.org
Distributed by OtherWords.org
Creative CommonsExcept where otherwise noted, content from Otherwords.org is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative 3.0 License.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Can you do laundry with just water and oxygen?

In 2009, Our Daily Green was founded. Our first post was about laundry. It's interesting to go back and see how much we've learned in nearly seven years. I started writing about using clotheslines, cold water, and eventually the detergents we use to launder our clothing. In our unending quest to reduce the chemicals we put into our body and back into our groundwater, we have continued the learning curve.

We're a little laundry obsessed as several members of our family suffer from skin allergies. The first thing we looked at was what was next to our skin 24/7. Clothes. It's interesting to note that typical detergents leave a residue in the fibers of the fabric and that literally after 10 washes, your clothing weighs 2% more. If you've ever noticed white streaks on your laundry or a stiff feeling to your fabric, that's the un-rinsed detergent embedded in the fibers.

We recently discovered the pureWash company, which has taken the technology used by hospitals and hotels, and created a system for home use that uses only cold water and oxygen to clean your laundry.

Wait?!? Cold water and oxygen? How in the world would that clean anything? Well, the science behind it is pretty solid. The patented technology has the cold water enter the device and passes through ionizing magnets, which prevents mineral build-up (another factor leading to dull looking clothing). After the water passes through the valve, a desiccant dryer pulls in outside air which then is charged to create several oxygen molecules to mix into the ionized water. These powerful molecules clean the clothes, removing dirt, mold, and bacteria. The science of charged water and oxygen is similar to the way a rainstorm cleans the air naturally.

We are so intrigued by this technology that we contacted the pureWash to discuss a collaboration. In the next month or so (we are in the process of remodeling our laundry room), we will be installing and reviewing the pureWash system. We received a complimentary pureWash Pro system in exchange for sharing our honest opinion. We cannot wait to share the results complete with photos of our great new way to do laundry that saves energy and minimizes chemicals for cleaning.

Stay tuned and contact us with any questions for our upcoming review.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Choosing a rug pad that is safe for your home

One of repeating tips that Our Daily Green likes to share with our readers is how to take care of the things we have so that they last. The longer things last, the less things wind up in landfills. This is especially true with rugs and carpets.
LEED certified rug pads
If you use area rugs in your home, the best way to ensure the rug lasts is to use a rug pad. There are many different grades of rug pads, just like there is different padding for wall to wall carpet. In our home, we have a large area rug in the main family room and so when Rug Pad Corner asked us to review their products, we knew just the spot!

Rug Pad Corner
Free shipping in the contiguous US!
One of the concerns we had previously with rug pads was that a member of our house has a severe latex allergy, which meant non-slip rug pads were not feasible. But for a large area rug that has furniture on it to keep it from slipping, Rug Pad Corner had the perfect solution!

Rug Pad Corner will custom fit your rug pad to the exact correct measurements, without any additional charges. Their commitment to as little waste as possible is truly appreciated. We also appreciate that their rug pads are made in the USA and are LEED certified because they do not use chemicals, plastics, glues or adhesives when manufacturing their pads. Additionally, the superior rug pad that we received is manufactured from 100% recycled content.

Because they do not use chemicals in the process, they do not emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) into the indoor air. Indoor air quality has been frequently cited as a source of several health issues, including allergies, asthma, headaches, and eye irritations.

An additional benefit of the rug pad is that the rugs stay cleaner by being lifted away from the floor surface and a vacuum will be able to get more deeply embedded dirt.
measure to fit
Custom sized for any size/shape rug

Not only are Rug Pad Corner's pads made in a thoughtful and mindful way, but they also help the rugs you have last longer. The pad was shipped with minimal shipping material, something we always commend, no wasteful packaging.

We absolutely love our new rug pad! Thank you to Rug Pad Corner for your superior product and customer service.

As a thank you, Rug Pad Corner has also generously offered a 15% discount off your entire order for readers of Our Daily Green, no expiration. Simply enter: REVIEW15 in the coupon box when you check out. They also offer free shipping in the contiguous United States. 

disclosure: We received a complimentary rug pad in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed our completely our own and we are proud to endorse Rug Pad Corner with our highest recommendation if you're shopping for a rug pad. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sigrid Natural skin care (review)

organic ingredients for skin
Over the years, Our Daily Green has learned that as wonderful as simplifying our lives can be, we still crave a little beauty. We encourage the use of simple products, without chemicals. Sometimes it's as simple as jug of apple cider vinegar or jar of coconut oil. Not exactly reminiscent of an elegant and luxurious dressing table.

Imagine our delight when Sigrid Naturals reached out to us for a review! The simple and sustainable glass containers, the lovely aesthetic labels, but most importantly, the lovingly sourced natural botanical ingredients inside each jar.

Our Daily Green also appreciates a company that practices earth-mindfulness from start to finish. Our parcel was not over-packaged and each jar was wrapped safely for shipping in simple brown paper.

And then the ingredients-- like taking a walk in a botanical garden for your skin. No a single ingredient that cannot be pronounced or must be produced in a lab. Garden ingredients like: Beeswax, Calendula, Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon, Rosemary, Shea Butter, and Yarrow. Every ingredient that is able to be sourced locally to Sigrid, is. It's truly impressive to see a company practice such social responsibility. For example, the Flower Power Night Cream ingredients include: Ontario grown certified organic sunflower oil infused with wild yarrow and red clover, Wilno spring water, beeswax and Niagara essential oil of lavender.

This all sounds wonderful, but of course like any green minded consumer, you also wonder how it works?

We were especially excited to try the healing balm as the winter coupled with allergic dermatitis has taken a toll on our hands and feet. The relief was instantaneous! We massaged the Calendula Healing Ointment into our feet before bed and woke to noticeably softer and smoother heels and toes. In the interest of saving our delicate readers the images of my feet, please just trust me on that testimony.

The Star Bright eye cream is gentle and smooth. Sometimes eye creams tend to burn a little, but there was none of this and the lingering moisturizing properties are a delight. It's not greasy or oily, just soothing.

Both the hand cream and night cream also were just as high quality as their counterparts. We also appreciate that Sigrid offers travel sizes of all their products if you'd like to test something without a huge commitment. They sell personal care items for babies, men, and children, as well as a line of natural perfumes, soaps and hair care products. Each item is created with thoughtful care and love.

Sigrid describes her company as a small town girl who started luxury skin care company and shares knowledge of indigenous plants and honey bees with people from all walks of life.

We are certainly happy to be on that same walk with her. Thank you again for inviting us to review your product. Additionally, upon learning that I was chairing an upcoming fundraiser for my daughter's school, Sigrid agreed to donate an extra set of products to raise money for our music education program. We are doubly grateful and give Sigrid Naturals our highest possible endorsement for having an excellent product made with integrity and for generous support of a small non-profit.

You can order Sigrid Naturals online: SigridNaturals.com or find them on all the social media platforms. And if you're ever in Ontario, Canada, you can find several local retailers that carry the line.



Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Truth About Styrofoam [infographic]

truth-about-styrofoam.jpg by Wheels For Wishes

Bills Got You Down? Tips for Saving Money at Home

saving money at homeOwning a home is a smart idea for most people who can afford it. After all, paying rent just gives you a place to live and you don’t build any equity in your space. That’s not very wise for people who have the funds to invest in a home.

Home ownership also means big bills, at least in a lot of cases though. While it’s still worth buying a house for most people, there are times when you can feel like that house you bought is a real money pit.

Use this guide to help you figure out how you can reduce your bills. It’s well worth the effort and the average homeowner could save $100 or more per month.

  • Heating and Cooling

Heating and cooling bills are killers for homeowners, especially those who have a large space to deal with. While you probably won’t be able to go without heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer, you might be able to reduce your usage of those two things.

Start by opening your curtains in the winter to let warm sunlight in during the day. Keep them closed during the day in the summer, but let the cool night air in in the evening. Just make sure those curtains are shut early in the morning.

The other thing you can do is to install a programmable thermostat. That will allow you to set the temperature higher or lower when you’re not home to save cash. Then you can set it to come back up or down depending on the season by the time you arrive home from work or the day’s activities.

Using an electric consumption calculator can also help you track monthly expenses before you get your bill.

  • Extra Services

A lot of homeowners these days spend a fortune on things like internet, cable TV and streaming services like Netflix. While most are affordable on their own, they can easily add up to hundreds of dollars per month before you know it.

Go through your monthly charges and see what you can cut down on. Do you need the fastest internet available, or would something more affordable make sense?

Are all of those streaming services essential or could you cut back to one? Minor changes can go a long way over the course of a year.

Thank you to today's sponsor who shares our belief that saving money and energy is always a good idea.