1. Ecover Dishwasher Tablets

    Posted on July 31, 2007 by Allie

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    I have yet to find an Ecover product that I don’t love, but their Dishwasher Tablets went above and beyond my expectations.

    I’ve tried several other natural dishwasher detergents before, but I always ended up reluctantly switching back to one of the big name detergents when my dishes just didn’t get cleaned well.  Ecover Dishwasher Detergent cleaned my dishes, and made my glasses sparkle.  I love the faint citrus scent that fills the kitchen while the dishwasher is running.  And I love that it’s completely biodegradable.

    Ecover Dishwasher Detergent is not tested on animals and is approved by the Vegan Society.   The box is made from 95% recycled paper and the tablet wrappers are made from recyclable plastic.  In my local grocery store, Ecover Dishwasher Tablets are actually less expensive than the chemical laden name brand detergent I used to use.  I won’t be switching back to my old detergent.

  2. Give It A Try – No Poo

    Posted on by Allie

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    After reading several articles about the “No Poo” movement (insert juvenile joke here), I decided to give it a try. Going No Poo means giving up shampoo in favor of natural choices like baking soda, honey, and apple cider vinegar.

    The reasoning is that shampoos can contain harsh and possibly harmful chemicals. As the chemicals strip the natural oils from your scalp, your body catches up by increasing oil production. Stop shampooing and your scalp will return to its natural balance.

    I gave it a try. I mixed some baking soda and water and massaged it into my scalp. I loved the exfoliating action of the baking soda, but after a lot of rinsing, I still felt like I had some gritty residue left behind.

    Instead of conditioner, I rinsed with apple cider vinegar and cold water. I thought I’d never be able to get a brush through my hair without a good gob of traditional conditioner, but I had no problem with it.

    I let my hair air dry. It was soft and clean, but the ends were stiff. The apple cider vinegar made my hair shine, but later, when I went for a bike ride with my husband, the smell of vinegar wafted out from under my helmet.

    I would definitely consider doing this again as a clarifying treatment, but I can’t see myself doing it every day. Right now, I’m growing my hair to donate, so it’s super long. I’ll give No Poo another try once I chop it all off. Less hair may make it easier to rinse out all of that baking soda grit, and there will be less of it to hold the vinegar smell.

    Have you tried No Poo? Is there a technique or ingredient that made it work better for you?

    Click here for more information on No Poo.

    Have you come across a natural remedy, treatment, or cleaning technique you’re unsure about trying? E-mail me at alliesanswers at gmail dot com and I’ll give it a try it for you!

  3. Tip of the Day – A Greener Backpack

    Posted on by Allie

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    A backpack or schoolbag is another common item on the back to school list.

    Give new life to an old backpack with iron on patches, ribbon and cord, or fabric paints. If the backpack is beyond repair, check out the following eco-friendly options.

    Earthpak makes bags and backpacks from recycled soda bottles. The LA Original backpack is made using seven two-liter bottles and comes in ten different colors.

    Ecolution has hemp backpacks and messenger bags. Hemp is a renewable resource, improves the soil as it grows, and doesn’t require herbicides to grow well.

    And, Simple, one of my favorite companies, has the Combover messenger bag.

    While you’re getting a bag ready for your child, consider giving a bag to a foster child as well.

  4. Tip of the Day – Back to School Clothes

    Posted on July 30, 2007 by Allie

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    Shopping for back to school clothes can be a major event. Here are a few tips to green your child’s wardrobe:

    • Bring your own bag when you shop. BYOB is not just for groceries.
    • Reduce your consumption of new clothes. Reuse! Accept hand-me-downs from friends, relatives, and neighbors. Check Freecycle and Craig’s List. Buy clothes second hand at a local consignment shop or thrift store.
    • When buying new, look for clothes that are organic, recycled, and/or recyclable, like the organic cotton and Synchilla fleece lines from Patagonia. For older kids, check out Nau, and Maggie’s.
    • Don’t buy too much. Buy only what your kids will wear and wear out.
    • Don’t forget to donate old clothes that are no longer in use.

    Another Eco-Friendly Tip from Allie.

  5. Tip of the Day – Waste Free Lunches

    Posted on July 27, 2007 by Allie

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    Packing school lunches can be a mess of foil, baggies, and plastic wrap. When lunch is over, there’s a small mountain of garbage left behind.

    Waste Free Lunches gives the following tips for packing your child’s lunch (or your own):

    • Start with a reusable lunchbox, backpack, or briefcase
    • Pack your food in reusable containers
    • Include a drink in a refillable bottle
    • Add reusable utensils
    • Use a cloth napkin

    Laptop Lunches has a great waste free lunch system based on the Japanese Bento Box. It’s lead free and top rack dishwasher safe.

    If your kid is too cool for a lunch box, try a simple organic cotton lunch bag and a Wrap-N-Mat sandwich wrapper.

    Another Eco-Friendly Tip from Allie.

  6. Tip of the Day – Greener Back to School Shopping

    Posted on July 26, 2007 by Allie

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    While I was at the grocery store yesterday, I saw an enormous back-to-school display. Is it really that time already?

    Since back-to-school season is a big time for new purchases, over the next few days I’ll give you some greener options to get your kids ready for their first day.

    Before you buy new supplies, go through the ones from last year and make sure you keep anything that’s usable. Of course, old crayons aren’t as exciting as new ones. Explain to your kids that using up what you already have is better for the environment than buying new. When you need to replace supplies, look for greener options.

    You already know to buy recycled paper, right? Well, Greenline Paper Company takes recycled school supplies to a new level with items like the Rebinder. The Rebinder is 100% recyclable (unlike it’s vinyl covered counterparts) and when it wears out after years of use, you can replace the cover.

    Greenline also has pens made from recycled plastic, pencils made from recycled money, and rulers made from old blue jeans.

    Another Eco-Friendly Tip from Allie.

  7. A Stitch In Time

    Posted on July 25, 2007 by Allie

    You know that old saying, a stitch in time saves nine? Well, it’s true. Making simple repairs to your clothes and household linens — a few stitches to an unraveling hemline, or a loose button right — when you first notice a problem, can save you bigger repairs (or the need to replace the item) later. It’s another way to keep your belongings in commission longer, so you consume less and keep your footprint smaller.

    Don’t know how to sew? Here’s a great video tutorial on sewing on buttons. And here’s one on mending a seam.


  8. Tip of the Day – A Greener Dog Collar

    Posted on July 24, 2007 by Allie

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    My pup has been running around collarless since he snapped the plastic on his old collar the last time we took him camping. As I’ve mentioned, going green isn’t about buying more. But when something is worn out and no longer useful, replacing it with a greener product is the way to go.

    Only Natural Pet Store has some adorable hemp collars. Hemp is a renewable resource, and the hemp in these collars is 100% biodegradable, hypoallergenic, and pesticide/herbicide free.

    Abundant Earth has hemp collars with metal buckles and grommets. They say their collars are like jeans. They break in and get better with time.

    Annie’s Sweatshop has collars made from recycled ties or repurposed cotton. Send in your old dog collar for recycling and get a five dollar discount!

    CraftBits has instructions for making a collar out of an old shirt. This would be a great project for smaller dogs. I’m pretty sure my big beast would destroy it in a few minutes.

    Even smaller purchases can be an opportunity to make greener choices.

    Another Eco-Friendly Tip from Allie.

  9. Keep Your Kitchen Cool

    Posted on July 23, 2007 by Allie

    You use a lot of energy keeping your house nice and cool in the summer. When you heat up your oven to make dinner, you’re also heating up your kitchen and making your air conditioner work even harder.

    Green Options suggests using smaller appliances like your microwave, crock pot, or toaster oven to make dinner. All use less energy than your stove, and won’t turn your kitchen tropical.


  10. Tip of the Day – Turn the TV Off!

    Posted on July 20, 2007 by Allie

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    I have a tendency to turn the television on and use it for background noise while I’m doing other things. I’ll listen to the evening news while I’m in the kitchen making dinner, or half-watch Martha Stewart while I’m working on my laptop.

    But a television uses much more energy than a small radio or an iPod. If you like background noise too, turn the TV off in favor of music, radio news, or an audio book. You’ll cut your energy usage and save money on your electric bill.

    Another Eco-Friendly Tip from Allie.

Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

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According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.


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