You know when you open your dishwasher after it’s run and it’s all steamy and smells like cleaner? What you smell are very strong chemicals. Sure the dishes are clean, but at what cost to our health? That’s what we asked ourselves. The changing of all of our cleaning, laundry, and consumer products has opened our eyes to what’s really in these products.
Dry automatic dish-washing detergent contains chlorine – which when it comes into contact with the hot water in your dishwasher, releases chlorine fumes into your home. Inside the dishwasher it makes chloroform (mixing heat and chlorine) – which is very bad.
Automatic dishwasher liquids often contain ammonia – even more chemicals. Do we really want to be breathing all of these chemicals inside our homes – especially in our kitchens and coming into contact with our food? I, for one, do not!
Today’s green living tip: eat whole and real foods – unprocessed – and it will be good for you and good for the environment. Mother Nature’s packaging is the best! Most whole foods – vegetables, fruit, fish, etc. – don’t come with a bunch of packaging that needs to be disposed of. Fresh fruit and vegetables are usually on the shelf, in their own “packaging” – better known as their skin. Nothing to get rid of by peeling or cutting off the outer edge – just compost it! Never composted before? Try these handy tips.
Today’s green living tip: clean with baking soda. Baking soda can be used for everyday household cleaning and in the laundry. It can replace numerous harsher, chemical filled products and has much less packaging. It also costs a lot less!
Clean dirty dishes, ceramic cook tops, and sinks – in all the places you would use scrubbing powders. Add a scoop to your laundry load for a boost of extra cleaning. With a couple shakes of baking soda (from an easy and totally cute baking soda shaker) and some water, pots and pans can soak overnight and they practically clean themselves! Baking soda and a metal scrubby is all we use to clean our cast iron pans. There’s no leftover soapy smell (or taste) on the cast iron after cleaning them with baking soda.
Today’s green living tip: use cloth napkins. By replacing paper napkins with cloth napkins, you’ll reduce the amount of garbage generated from these, every single day. It’s easy to use cloth napkins when your household is one or two people but what to do with a house-full of dirty mouths?
Designate a specific color or pattern for each member of your household – and have two or three cloth napkins for each person. Use them until they’re dirty, then toss in the regular laundry load. Cloth napkins don’t need to be replaced and washed after every meal. Look for 100% cotton napkins because they’re more absorbent than polyester. (Here are mitered cloth napkins made for Thanksgiving – with an old Ralph Lauren skirt!)
Today’s green living tip: grocery shop from the bulk bins. Buying food items from the bulk bins, reduces the amount of packaging that is produced. Think about how much packaging gets thrown out when buying a box of cereal or other packaged food item. The “bulk bin” section of the grocery store lets you buy only the amount you need of an item. This comes in handy especially for spices or nuts that you only need a small quantity of.
Most stores have a bulk bin section now and what they carry seems to be expanding. From nuts and seeds to flour and oats, to snack foods and spices, you can pick up a lot of what you need right there. My favorite bulk bins are at WinCo Foods. They’re carrying more organic products, too.
Today’s green living tip: reduce food waste. By eating the food you’ve purchased, you keep it out of the landfill. One of the easiest ways we’ve found to significantly reduce food waste is to eat our leftovers. By meal planning, we make a plan to cook one night and then have the same meal again the next. By strategically eating our leftovers, our food waste has been dramatically reduced and we don’t have to cook every night. (Here’s how to meal plan and 11 reasons you should meal plan.)
Another method for reducing food waste? Eat dinner for breakfast! Our kids love to have last night’s dinner for a quick breakfast. Leftovers can also be packed, to go, for lunch at school or work. For lunch, leftovers do double duty – they provide a delicious, healthy meal (that might otherwise get lost in the back of the fridge) and they save time in preparation because they’re already made! Healthy lunches brought from home always keep me from going out to eat and packing a lunch saves money, too.
The trick to making this work is, the “leftovers” need to taste good. So, if the dinner from the night before was delicious, so will the leftovers be. No one wants to take the leftovers that aren’t tasty. Find meals that your family likes and plan to make a double-batch so you’ll have “leftovers.” Food waste disappears because the healthy meals are getting eaten – and junk food isn’t. It’s win-win!
What’s your favorite meal to have ‘leftover’ the day after? Do you eat dinner for breakfast?
Go Gingham Earth Month:
To celebrate April as “Earth Month,” I’m sharing a tip every day this month. Find all the tips by clicking the image below.
You’ll find simple and easy ideas to implement at your home – and they’ll save money as well!
Today’s green living tip: ditch paper and plastic. It’s an easy and excellent way to help the environment and “up” the elegance at home or on an outing – like when going on a picnic. Opting for dishes and glasses that can be used over and over, instead of paper and plastic, saves on what goes thrown into landfills and it also saves on having to buy those items again and again.
At home, an inexpensive – and dishwasher safe! – option is to pick up an old set of glass plates and cups at a garage sale or thrift store. (Buy second-hand, first.) They always have them and they are very inexpensive. I have to stop myself from buying too many cute plates and glass-glasses!
When bringing dishes with you on a picnic, having an easy way to transport them is key. A basket with dividers or even a piece of cardboard can keep small mason jars from clanking together. A towel placed around each glass works for this. For plates, look for metal ones. If using ceramic or glass plates, use a box to stack them in and place a cloth napkin between each one to protect them.