Earlier this week I shared part 1 in my MommyCon Greener Living Seminar post. I wanted to share some of the neat information that I presented in my seminar with our readers, since most of you couldn’t be there. If you missed part 1, head on over there and read it first, and then continue on with part 2 right here!
5.) Canning/Preserving Local Food
The fifth point in my seminar followed right along with the fourth, which was eating locally/responsibly, and is canning and preserving local food. Once you have found a few local food sources, canning or freezing are great ways to preserve some of that local goodness all year long. When you live somewhere where fresh local produce is virtually nonexistent in the winter, it is invaluable to have it store up. If you have never canned before, it may be an intimidating thought, but it is actually pretty easy and quite fun. There are few things that are as satisfying as looking at a pantry full of beautiful jars of local tomatoes, green beans, jams, fruit and more prettily displayed in mason jars. Some things freeze better than they can, so do a little research for whatever item you want to preserve and just give it a go! Pick Your Own and the Nation Center for Home Food Preservation are my favorite online resources. You probably also have a local extension office that could be a great source of information.
6.) Reducing and Avoiding Plastic
Around the world we use approximately 500 billion plastic bags each year. 500 billion! This statistic shocked me. 100,000 marine animals and 1 million sea birds die each year from plastic entanglement. Sounds like we have a problem, doesn’t it? There is more plastic in our landfills than any other single component. It is also something that probably seems impossible to avoid. While it may be very difficult to avoid it completely, it is possible to greatly limit your plastic usage. Most of us use far more plastic than we are even aware of, and if we even take the time to consider reducing our plastic usage, we quickly push it out of our minds because the thought is so daunting. But since plastic is dangerous to our health as well as our environment, it is a great place to start when looking to live a green lifestyle.
A few ways we reduce our plastic usage:
* Stop drinking bottled water. But a reusable water bottle (or several) and actually use them. Have one in your car, at work, and at home, so that you never have to resort to plastic. My favorite is the Lifefactory glass water bottle.
* If you use straws, buy glass straws.
* Buy in bulk, instead of buying prepackaged, which saves on packaging. Especially if you:
* Use reusable bags. Not just shopping bags (but use those too), but reusable produce bags and such that you can use for your bulk items.
* Bake from scratch and eat whole foods that so you don’t have to deal with plastic wrappers.
* Use reusable sandwich bags instead of ziplocs.
7.) Flame Retardant
Flame retardant is something we come into contact with every day, but many of us aren’t even aware of it. It is very dangerous, but also can be hard to avoid. Even if we can’t avoid it completely, limiting our exposure is a good idea.
Products like furniture, fabric, and electronics often contain chemical flame retardants. These chemicals can come out of the products into household dust and our environment, where you and I are then exposed. Some flame retardants are hormone disruptors and carcinogens, which can be pretty scary. So before I terrify you, I’m going to share a few ways you can reduce your exposure to flame retardants in your house. First of all, choose natural fibers for your home: cotton, wool, and down are great choices. If you have a tear in furniture, sew it up quickly to avoid the chemicals that are on the foam inside escaping. Lastly, vacuum regularly to keep dust bunnies to a minimum. You can also buy pillows and mattresses made of organic materials that are free of flame retardant. If you aren’t ready for a new mattress, buy organic cotton or linen sheets and cover your mattress in a safe mattress cover. Sunning a mattress also helps to release chemicals, so put a clean tarp down in your yard on a sunny summer day and let it soak up some rays!
8.) Houseplants: Air Purifiers that are baby/child friendly
When I asked our Facebook followers what they would like to hear from the greener living seminar, a couple of you were interested in hearing about houseplants that purify our air, but are non-toxic to children. This is such a great topic, especially when you consider the flame retardants and other chemicals floating around in the air we breathe. So I narrowed my search down to three houseplants you can add to your home to clean the air.
* Aloe Vera Plants: Aloe is a succulent, which if you have any experience with, you will know is very hardy. Succulents are perfect for those with not-so-green thumbs. They are easy to care for and love the sun. Aloe plants help clear the air of formaldehyde and benzene, which come from household cleaners and paint (amongst other things). They are perfect for sitting in a windowsill. As a bonus, you can use the healing gel inside to soothe burns and rashes!
* Spider Plants: The spider plant is the perfect choice for someone who has killed every prior plant they have owned. Another hardy choice, the spider plant is a tough plant. The spider plant combats formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide, and xylene. Xylene is used in leather and rubber, so it is often found in our homes as well.
* Snake Plant: The snake plant also filters out formaldehyde, and is one of the best at doing so. Formaldehyde is also found in toilet paper and tissue, as well as personal hygiene products. This is a great one to sit somewhere in your bathroom, to filter out the previously mentioned chemicals, but also because it thrives in a steamy environment.
Well, that concludes my topics from my MommyCon greener living seminar. I hope you learned something new, or maybe feel a renewed interest in progressing in your greener lifestyle. If you have any questions, leave me a comment or you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org