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Green Thanksgiving Tips

November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving is this week! As you start making your holiday plans, be sure to thank Mother Nature by making your Thanksgiving an eco-friendly affair with these green Thanksgiving tips:

Use the slow cooker. Instead of heating your oven to prepare your Thanksgiving feast, why not try your slow cooker instead? According to Planet Green: “When compared to a conventional oven which uses 2.7 pounds of CO2 for one hour of use, a slow cooker uses .9 pounds of CO2 for seven hours of use.” Think of how much of an impact we could make if we used our slow cooker more often! Not sure what to make? Here are some terrific Thanksgiving slow cooker recipes from Mother Nature Network.

Carpool. According to Use Less Stuff, if each family reduced holiday gasoline consumption by 1 gallon (about 20 miles), we would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1 million tons. Consider carpooling to Grandma’s house or if it is close enough, walk or bike. Save fossil fuels and burn off some of that dinner at the same time.

Headed out of town?  Check your air filter and make sure your tires are fully inflated before hitting the road; you’ll reduce your carbon emissions and get better gas mileage.

Plan Ahead to Avoid Waste. Of course when we think of Thanksgiving, we think of an abundant feast! But, don’t let the excess turn into waste. Plan out meals using leftovers for the rest of the holiday weekend or consider a smaller “feast” that will be completely consumed on Thanksgiving Day. Not sure what to do with your turkey carcass? Try making delicious organic turkey broth to use later this winter.

Use the good China and Silverware.  Regardless of whether you use  your finest china and silver or your everyday plates and flatware, avoid using disposable paper plates and cutlery. Opt for cloth napkins as well!

Use the Dishwasher Wisely. Dinner is over and now it’s time to clean-up. If you are like many people, you will be filling your dishwasher several times before getting all those piles of dishes clean. To save energy, be sure to run the dishwasher when full and don’t rinse the dishes with hot water. Instead scrape your food waste into the trash and compost what you can. Conserve even more energy by allowing your dishes to air dry instead of using the heat dry setting on your dishwasher. And of course, opt for a eco-friendly dishwasher detergent!

Avoid Plastic Wrap. Storing leftovers in the fridge or sending food home with guests? Don’t reach for the plastic wrap to protect that food! Plastic wrap is a single-use petroleum product, and contains PVC, a chemical that can leach into your food.Use glass containers instead or aluminum foil that can be recycled.

Decorate Naturally.  We all love a beautifully decorated table to celebrate with our family and friends. And why not decorate with the most beautiful items available from Mother Nature? Nothing says autumn more than beautiful fall leaves from your own backyard. Or how about pumpkins and gourds to create a festive look around the house? Get outside and get creative with decorating naturally.

Eat Green. Use locally sourced fruits and vegetables that are currently in season to cut down on the energy required to transport food from the field to your table. Traditional holiday meals are already stacked with seasonal fruits and veggies like pumpkins, apples, and cranberries that you can find at local farmer’s market.

Purchase or Borrow a Roasting Pan. Disposable roasting pans are inexpensive and readily available on grocery store shelves, especially this time of year. But if everyone in the United States used a disposable roasting pan to cook their Thanksgiving turkey, there would be 46 million tinfoil pans heading to the landfill every year. Instead, borrow or purchase a heavy-duty pan that can be reused year after year.

Turn down the thermostat. Between a house full of guests and a kitchen full of hot food, your house will more than likely be warm without the overuse of the thermostat. Turn your thermostat down 3-5 degrees – no one will notice the difference.

Use non-toxic household cleaners. When preparing your home for family and friends, be sure to clean with non-toxic, natural cleaners such as lemon and white vinegar.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Eco-friendly Tips for Moms

November 11, 2014

green tips for momsEco-friendly tips for moms! Whether your little ones are crawling or driving, here are a few tips to make your family greener:

CLEAN GREEN. Switch to natural cleaning supplies such as lemon juice, vinegar and water. Not sure where to begin? Check out these DIY Natural Cleaning Products.

SAY NO TO PLASTIC. Avoid using those plastic bags while grocery shopping by switching to reusable bags. Always seem like you forget them at home? Add them to your diaper bag or store them in your trunk after each use.

MAKE RECYCLING A FAMILY AFFAIR. Get the kids involved with recycling around your home. Talk about why it is important and what items can be recycled. Even take a tour of the recycling plant in your area!

READ THE LORAX. Bedtime snuggles can be made even more meaningful by learning a little about the environment with Dr. Seuss! Looking for other fun Lorax activities? Check out a few ideas here.

DON’T DO DISPOSABLE. Have a little one still in diapers? Did you know one baby in disposable diapers will contribute at least 1 ton of waste to your local landfill? Make the switch to cloth or biodegradable diapers.

CREATE A PAPER TOWEL-FREE HOME. By replacing just one roll of paper towels a week with cloth, you can save more than 1,000 paper towels a year! So, make the switch from paper towels to cloth to clean-up those messy high chairs, faces, hands and counters.

PURCHASE NATURAL BEAUTY PRODUCTS. Many traditional products such as baby shampoo, toothpastes and lotions contain an ingredient list that is not only LONG but full of words that are difficult to pronounce! Avoid all those chemicals and green your home by purchasing natural beauty products. Visit the SKIN DEEP database from the Environmental Working Group before heading to the store.

BUY USED OR CREATE A SWAP. Save money and the environment by swapping baby gear, clothing and other items with friends and neighbors. Or purchase gently used items at your local consignment or thrift store.

SHOP THE DIRTY DOZEN. Can’t afford to buy all your produce organically? Be sure to shop the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.

LIMIT SCREEN TIME. Not only will limiting screen time to save electricity, it is beneficial to your children’s overall well-being. According to the Huffington Post, after just 30 minutes of screen time a day, researchers saw that children’s grades began a steady decline. Unplug the electronics and plug into family time.

BATH TOGETHER. Instead of drawing a separate bath for each child, bath multiple kids (and yourself) at once to save water.

TURN OFF THE WATER. Teach the kids to turn off water when brushing their teeth. Also, help kids decide BEFORE opening the refrigerator what items they will need to save energy.

VISIT THE LIBRARY. Save a tree and borrow your next book instead of buying a new one.

LEAVE THE CAR AT HOME. Walk or ride a bike to your errands that are two miles or closer.

SHOP AND EAT LOCAL. Support your local economy and shop at your farmer’s market or locally-owned restaurant. Support local restaurants that use food derived less than 100 miles away, and learn more about the benefits of eating locally. Visit the GoGreen Web Directory to find local, green businesses in your area.

GET RID OF BPA. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical used in hard clear plastics and as a liner for certain food containers and is linked to certain illnesses in animals. To be safe, choose plastic bottles marked (# 1, #2, or #4), or switch to glass or stainless steel.

What Green Tips for Moms do you have to share?

 

Go Green This Halloween!

October 27, 2014

Ready to take your Halloween celebration from orange and black to GREEN? Here are a few ideas on creating a festive event while still protecting Mother Earth.

1. MAKE YOUR OWN COSTUMES. While to some of you this may seem scarier than Halloween itself, many costumes can be created from clothing you already have or by purchasing inexpensive pieces at a thrift store or consignment shop. Here are a few great ideas on how to make your own costume: CLICK HERE

2. FORM A COSTUME SWAP. Still not interested in making your own? Then, why not trade with friends and family? The kids are sure to have costumes in the drawer that they have outgrown and adults love to see what is in the neighbor’s closet! Get creative. That prom dress from high school could be just perfect for transforming your daughter into a princess or that high school letterman jacket can create the best “jock” costume for your son.

3. AVOID PLASTIC MASKS AND TEETH. Halloween masks and fake teeth are often made of rubber and vinyl and can contain lead paint and chemical plasticizers that can be absorbed when being worn. Opt for eco-friendly face paints instead.

4. FACE PAINT. Be sure you are using eco-friendly face paints and make-up when creating your perfect costume. Often store bought face paints can contain harmful metals and other potentially harmful ingredients. To avoid this, try creating your own! The Environmental Working Group has some great recipes for safe DIY face paints  that aren’t harmful to you or the environment.

5. OPT FOR THE WIG. If you or your child MUST have a change of hair color for Halloween, opt for a wig or hat instead of spray on hair color that can contain synthetic chemicals.

6. BUY LOCALLY. Purchase pumpkins, gourds, treats and more for your holiday at your local farmer’s market or farm. Why not make a day of it and enjoy nature as a family to a local farm for hayrides, corn mazes and warm apple cider!

7. GREEN CANDY. Yes, candy is the theme of the day. But, it doesn’t have to be completely unhealthy. When shopping for your treats, look for organic, all-natural, dye-free ingredients that are (ideally) ethically sourced and packaged with the Earth in mind (e.g. compostable packaging, sold in bulk, etc.). Or how about giving away other treats such as organic juice boxes or pouches or organic fruit snacks? Or why not try non-food items such as pencils made from recycled materials or soy/beeswax crayons?

8.  GREEN DECOR,  Instead of decorating with plastic spiders or ghost masks, why not try more natural home decor?  This time of year is full of colorful maze, gourds, leaves and other natural materials that can be found at your local grocer or even right outside your door!  When the season is over these items can all be composted!  So much better than filling our landfills with plastics. Also consider planning a “Recycled  Halloween Craft Day” with the neighborhood kids and create all types of decorations from recycled products.  Here are a few we love:

egg carton bats

haunted halloween village from milk cartons

halloween bunting from old magazines

9. GREEN LIGHT. Have you carved the perfect pumpkin? Then you are ready to illuminate your masterpiece with candles!  Be sure when lighting your pumpkin that you are using soy or beeswax candles since these do not increase CO2 levels in the atmosphere and do not produce black soot making them better for the environment and you .  Ready to head out after dark to do your trick or treating? Be sure to equip the kids with a solar-powered or crank flashlight instead of a traditional battery operated one to lessen your impact on the environment.

10. GREEN BAG. Avoid the temptation to buy that plastic trick or treat bag or plastic pumpkin head at the store (even if they ARE super cute!) Instead, create your own unique and eco-friendly bag by having  the kids decorate old pillow cases. Or create a one-of-a-kind bag from an old Halloween shirt that the kids have outgrown! Here’s how to turn that shirt into reusable trick-or-treat bag and create a lasting memory:

WHAT YOU NEED:

Old Halloween t-shirt

Straight Pens

Plate

Marker

Scissors

Sewing Machine or No-Sew Fabric Glue

2012-11-05_17.48.32INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Place your old t-shirt on a flat surface and carefully cut off sleeves (remember to leave the seams attached to keep the handles of your bag strong)

2. Turn the shirt inside out and lay a dinner plate across the neck opening of the T-shirt. It should be half on and half off. Trace around the plate with a pen.

3. Remove the plate and cut along the line  to create the opening of your bag.

4. Pin the bottom opening/seam together to create the bottom of your tote.

5. Glue or sew together along the bottom edge. (Be sure it is secure to hold all that candy!)

6. Turn right-side out and your bag is ready!

How do you go green for Halloween?

 

Have a favorite green Halloween craft, party idea or candy? Share with us in the comments below!

Weatherizing Your Home for the Winter

September 29, 2014

The beautiful fall leaves can only mean one thing: WINTER IS COMING.

With energy costs skyrocketing and with the environment to protect, winterizing your home is as important this fall as candy corn and raking leaves!

Not sure where to begin? Here are a few ways to save on your energy bills this fall AND help protect the environment:

1. DRAFTS. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use. Avoid drafts under doors by simply rolling-up a bath towel and placing along the bottom. Or how about creating one of your own using these simple instructions.

2. WINDOWS. Replace old or broken windows with new energy efficient windows or seal off drafty windows using clear plastic and tape. Or how about this little trick from LIFE HACKER: Simply add bubble wrap to old windows to keep cold air out and the light coming in. This is especially useful for renters!

3. HOT WATER HEATER. Consider blanketing your hot water heater and pipes with fiberglass insulation to conserve energy during the long cold months. If it is time for a hot water heater upgrade, consider purchasing a tankless water heater instead.

4. CEILING FANS. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans from summer to winter to push hot air down from the ceiling and help warm the room.

5. THERMOSTAT. Keeping your thermostat lower in the winter not only saves resources, it saves money as well. Consider wearing an extra layer of clothing (including socks!) or adding an extra blanket to your bed instead of turning-up the thermostat. When upgrading your thermostat, purchase a programmable Energy Star model that automatically lowers the temperature at night and when no one is home.

6. PLANTING TREES.  Consider planting evergreens close to your house or even create a Windbreaker to protect your home in the winter AND summer months! A windbreak can save up to 30% in energy costs.

7. VISIT YOUR LOCAL FEED STORE. Purchase straw bales to place around the foundation of your home. This will block cold air and help keep the floors warmer, especially if you have pier and beam.

8. PREPARE ELECTRICAL OUTLETS.  Install foam insulation gaskets around your electrical outlets and keep the outlets covered when not in use.

9. CHECK FURNITURE PLACEMENT. Be sure no furniture is blocking your vents. This will allow better air flow during the cold winter months and help keep your energy use down.

10. WARM YOUR TOES. Instead of turning the heat up to warm your digits, try adding a little ginger to your socks! Many people swear by this practice. Also, opt for natural fibers like wool or organic cotton when purchasing your socks this winter.

11. CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS. Before the cold of winter hits, be sure to clear all autumn leaves and other debris from gutters. A clean drainage system will help keep water from seeping into your foundation and freezing underground pipes.

12. WINTERIZE YOUR A/C.  Be sure to drain any hoses and air conditioner pipes and check to be sure you don’t have any excess water in any of the equipment. Remove any window air conditioners and store for the winter or be sure they are sealed properly so they don’t allow drafts during the colder months.

 

How do you prepare your home for winter? Share with us in the comments below.
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On the GoGreenWebDirectory.com you will find local eco-conscious businesses, will learn about green events in your community, and will connect to green living information and news. Rest assured that that those listed and advertising on the directory meet green standards for their type of business. While individuals should always ensure that the green businesses they support are taking acceptable measures, all of the businesses listed on GoGreen have been vetted.

GoGreen is the place to find hundreds of hand-picked green business listings that are local to you.

Eco-Friendly Fall Cleanup

September 15, 2014

eco-friendly fall cleanupFall is a great time to Go Green with an eco-friendly fall clean-up indoors and out! Here are a few tips on making the most of your time:

1. GREEN YOUR LEAVES. According to the Audubon Society, American yards generate two tons of clippings each year. Don’t throw away yard waste into landfills.  Instead, use leaves as mulch around trees and bushes to help protect them through the cold winter or add yard clippings to your compost pile. Don’t have a compost pile? See if your community offers a industry compost site that accepts yard waste.  Not sure what you can compost? Check out the EPA’s website to see the DO’s and DON’Ts of composting.

2. MUSCLE OVER MACHINES. Did you know a typical riding lawn mower actually produces four times as much pollution per hour as a car.? Use that muscle power instead of fossil fuels by ditching the leaf blower and pick up a rake instead. Opt for a push mower instead of gas powered when mowing your grass.

3. INSPECT THE FIREPLACE. More than likely your fireplace has sat dormant for several months this summer. Be prepared for the first cold snap by having your fireplace cleaned and inspected by a professional.

4. SPRING CLEAN FOR FALL. Clean the house top to bottom with natural cleaning products before sealing windows and doors for the winter. Baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and water are all great ways keep your home clean, germ-free and free of toxic chemicals. Add a few indoor plants to purify the air and improve indoor air quality throughout the winter.

5. DISPOSE OF HAZARDOUS WASTE PROPERLY. Now’s the time to clean out the garage and closets and dispose of items you no longer use. But remember, items like pool chemicals, old paint, spray cans, used batteries and more do NOT belong in the landfill. Contact your local government to see how to dispose of these items properly and safely. Live local? The Town of Marshfield will be having a Home Hazard Waste Collection on September 20, 2014 from 9am-1PM at Furnace Brook Middle School.

6. INSPECT YOUR AMERICAN FLAG. Summer sun and wind can take a toll on your American Flag. Take a minute this fall and replace your tattered American Flag and dispose of the old one correctly. Local folks can find a disposal bin at the Marshfield Town Hall.

7.CHECK THE PRESSURE. Cooler temperatures lower tire pressure and that, in turn, lowers fuel efficiency. So, be sure to check the air pressure in your tires regularly.

8. PREP THE FURNACE. Soon it will be time to turn on your furnace again. Be sure to have it cleaned and tested before you really need it! Check your owners manual for proper maintenance or call a professional. If you have a gas furnace, have it professionally inspected once a year. Keeping a well maintained furnace will not only keep you warmer this winter, it will be more energy efficient as well.

9.INSPECT WINDOWS. Check windows for proper caulking. If you have single-pane windows, add storm windows. Even a plastic film over windows will reduce heat loss and save on your energy bill.

10. REMOVE AIR CONDITIONERS. Using a window air conditioner during the summer months? Be sure to remove it for the winter. If it can’t be removed, seal it with caulking or tape and cover it with an airtight, insulated jacket.

11.INSPECT GUTTERS. Clean the roof gutters and make sure downspouts are pointed away from the house. Thinking about installing  a rain barrel? Now’s a perfect time to add this to your home! Visit the GoGreen Web Directory to find out more.

12. PREPARE YOUR SPIGOTS. Remove your water hose from the spigots and store for the winter. Install foam covers over outside water spigots to prevent freezing.

How do you plan on preparing for an eco-friendly fall cleanup?

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