Room by Room Eco-Quick Changes

Two eco-changes you can make in each room of your house, which will have a positive impact on your health and the Environment.

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Boycott Anti-bacterial soapScreen Shot 2016-04-24 at 9.32.18 PM

The FDA  has declared antibacterial soap no more effective than regular soap and water. In addition to this finding, the chemical Triclosan carries a host of side effects to your health and the environment. Here is a summation: endocrine disruptor, thyroid hormone disruptor, peanut allergy & hay fever promoter in children, super-resistant bacteria enabler (think MRSA), and algae photosynthesis disruptorDon’t use it! If you are uncomfortable not using a medical grade product, use a non-antibacterial sanitizer like Purell, which relays on good, old-fashioned alcohol to disinfect.

Buy only 100% Recycled content Toilet Paper

Let’s not flush our forests down the toilet. Literally.

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Food Waste

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 10.04.42 PM40% of food purchased in the U.S. goes wasted. Beyond the expense ($162 billion annually!), it’s a huge waste of labor, production and precious natural resources – not to mention the green house gases produced from rotting organics in the waste stream. For most of us, it’s a question of organization. Plan your meals for the week ahead, and shop for only what’s needed. Be creative with what’s left over. After all, the most famous dishes from nearly every culture began as a solution to leftovers – cassoulet, bouillabaisse…jambalaya!

 

Meatless MondaysCow grazing

You don’t have to become a vegan or vegetarian to be conscious of how our collective eating habits effect the planet. We simply must get a handle on the cost to the environment that large animal proteins produce. Livestock farming makes up approximately 20% of the methane released into the environment worldwide. And this is not even addressing the amount of feed, water & land required for livestock. It is estimated the 75% of arable land worldwide is dedicated to crops intended for the production of meat. Our palates, bodies and planet will thank us to commit to a plant-based food day at least once a week. Or better yet, reverse that, limiting meat to once weekly.

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Organic Bedding

Beyond investing in an organic mattress – also buy organic sheets/bedding. Your largest organ (your skin) spends a LOT of time on them. Cotton is a highly pesticidal, water intensive crop. It’s also grown in, what are now, seriously drought stricken areas of the world. Yes, organic cotton is more expensive, but less costly to the environment. You might also consider linen, bamboo and wool bedding. All are easier on the environment and worth it. Look for The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): The world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibers. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well.

Air Conditioners

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 10.38.27 PMBe mindful of optimal timing on running your air conditioner. Some newer models are equipped with timers. Cooling the room prior to going to bed is often enough to get you through the night. Running air conditioners simply to keep a room cool when not in use is a huge waste of energy and money. Cool rooms down before peak energy use hours. Open windows for ventilation once outside temperatures have dropped. Be mindful of proper ventilation. Air conditioners are heat exchangers, not air exchangers.

 

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Carpet

GoodWeaveStick to  all natural fiber rugs. Our most precious little ones – and pets are in direct contact with floor coverings 24/7. Avoid stain-resistant rugs and stain guard upholstery. PFOAs are abundant in these textiles and can have serious health consequences. A natural rug is easily spot cleaned and can be sent out for a cleaning occasionally. Look for GoodWeave certification, whose goal is to end illegal child labor in the carpet industry and to offer educational opportunities to children in South Asia.

CFL or LED lighting

It seems like a no-brainer, but many still fall for the cheaper, incandescent bulb. They are ultimately not cheaper as their burn life is significantly shorter. The bigger story is the energy they use. LEDs come in a full spectrum of colors now, and CFLs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so there is really no excuse not to invest in them.

FlowerIconTinyLaundry room

Wash on cold

Because of the technological advances in washing machines and effectiveness of detergents, there is really no need to wash in warm or hot water. In fact, protein stains like blood and sweat, only set in when combined with warm/hot water. Not to mention that warmer temperatures are harder on fabrics. The most important argument is that 90% of energy used for running a load of laundry goes to heating the water. Washing on cold mitigates up to 350 lbs of carbon emissions annually for the average household.

Biodegradable Detergents

Chemical based detergents are resistant to the action of the biological agents. It is very difficult to eliminate them from municipal waste waters and they can pose a serious problem to aquatic life. Biodegradable options are everywhere and very effective. The added bonus is that they use natural fragrances. Remember, manufacturers do not have to disclose the chemicals in their fragrances, categorizing them as a “trade secret”. Beware of those mystery ingredients. They pack a powerful chemical bomb that are responsible for many allergic reactions.

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About the Author

Here at Jenny Green Jeans, by sharing success stories and easy-to- implement tips, I hope to inspire and empower you to continue to make sustainable choices in your life and watch how far the impact goes. Contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have.

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