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4 Easy Ways to Honor Earth Month & Yourself

Earth Day is celebrating it’s 45th anniversary this year, and it couldn’t be more exciting! As consumers have become more savvy, Earth Day really has become ‘Earth Month‘ with a focus on encouraging people to be kind to the environment and to live consciously all year long. Below are some tips to keep sustainability in mind and honor Earth Month all year long.

Focus on Ways to Reduce Waste

Reducing your waste by choosing products that have minimal, or no, packaging can be difficult – if not impossible at times. TerraCycle brigades are one great way to reduce waste from product packaging. Joining a brigade is simply, but the impact is large! For example, the Tom’s of Maine Natural Care Brigade accepts a variety of personal care containers from all brands. Points are earned for each piece of qualifying waste sent in, and points can then be traded in to support charities, schools, and more. Volunteer participants in the Tom’s of Maine Natural Care Brigade have kept more than 295,000 pieces of waste out of landfills since 2012. Additionally, Tom’s gives 10% of profits back to helping people and the planet.

Ditch the Plastics

Another way to reduce waste, and reduce exposure to toxins, is to choose glass or stainless steel — especially in the kitchen. Quality containers may cost a bit more than toss-away (and fall apart) plastics, but they can last a lifetime and look a whole lot nicer. It’s easy to phase out plastics when you know what you need, and where to look.

We are a family of five, and our needs may be different with yours, but these are a few of my absolute must haves!

  • planetbox lunch effblogWean Green: These colorful glass containers are probably the most used items in my kitchen. I store everything them, eat out of them, put sauces in the little ones, I even put DIY body care products in them. I have tried many glass containers, but I always come back to these because they offer so many shapes and sizes, making their versatility practically endless. They are also virtually indestructible — I have dropped my fair share and seen them bounced off of concrete floors unharmed!
  • Planetbox: Another investment, but it’s worlds better than even the sturdy plastic containers we once used. I save a lot of money by packing lunches in these durable, reusable lunch containers, and my kids get healthy meals. We’ve had several parents ask about them and buy them for their kids too!
  • Pyrex: It’s hard to imagine that leftovers are even a thing with my three hungry kids, but they are and they often require large containers. I love the size, and affordability, of these flat-bottomed Pyrex bowls.
  • Bamboo Cooking Utensils: I have stainless ones too, but I reach for my simple bamboo ones far more often. They are affordable and easy to replace (though I’ve had the same set for about six years!) They won’t damage your cookware and they look nice too.
  • Stainless Cookware: Non-stick is out. It’s toxic and frankly, it really doesn’t work anyway. You can cook better in stainless steel (be sure to look for ones without interior coatings!), and even make mess-free eggs without any hassle! Cast iron is another great option, but we currently have a glass cooktop and I’m holding out for nice cast iron until I can get our range switched over to gas.
  • Glass & Stainless Drinkware: We use glasses (not all have survived, I’ll be honest), ceramic mugs, and (mostly) stainless steel cups and bottles for the kids. We especially love those from Zoli (our youngest is obsessed with their Dash drink bottle), Eco Vessel, and Klean Kanteen for the whole family. If you want glass, we love Life Factory (we prefer the flip drink tops).
  • Plastic-Free Dishes: I can’t lie, there are some absolutely adorable plastic dish sets, but cute is where the fun ends. They don’t hold up and they leach toxins. If you’re child-free (or yours are simply amazing and never drop things) you might opt for beautiful dishes. Me? I have two sets of cheap Corelle until that day comes. It’s affordable, functional, practically unbreakable, and they offer some pretty cute designs too.

Learn What Labels Are Really Saying

Pay attention to terms like “all natural” and what they really mean (or don’t mean), and take it one step at a time. There are many great resources to help you reduce exposure to toxins in cleaning products, as well as what to look out for in personal care products. Transparency is huge when looking for safe products in this day and age and companies that care know that. They may even go above and beyond by letting you know why they use each ingredient, and maybe more!

The EWG’s Skindeep Database is a great, comprehensive resource, however I like to note that I find some of their methodology to be flawed – so it’s important to do research beyond the database to find what works for you. For example: “natural fragrance” is lumped into “fragrance” – both of which can mean a variety of things!

I happen to use several products with a label that says “natural fragrance” (which I would never trust alone) to simplify packaging or to protect proprietary blends. However, companies that care will often list full ingredients their website, and even with proprietary blends some companies, like Tom’s, will allow you to call and ask what products you need to avoid to avoid exposure to an ingredient that you allergic to (or simply want to avoid.)

Along these lines, I know many people that would trust a label that says “essential oils or extracts” but by EWG’s own statement, they are lumping natural extracts (including a large list of essential oils) into the “natural” extract group, or “fragrance”. Ideally, companies could list every single ingredient, and “natural” would mean the same thing to all brands, but that’s simply not the case. I imagine that it is because of this complexity that EWG does not take this extra information (when available) into account when rating products. It’s always important to do a little extra homework if you are unsure about a product.

Planting a Veggie Garden (even if just in containers!)

Gardening is so much more rewarding than the fruit, or veggies, at the end. It’s pretty amazing to put your hands into the soil (gloved or not) and grow something from seed. It’s grounding and peaceful in a way that few things can ever be. If you have a yard, you may be able to till up a plot of land, plant seeds, and go wild! If you life in a smaller space, or perhaps have no yard at all, you can garden beautifully in containers. Both methods can be surprisingly easy and lead to delicious, organic produce at the end of a dirty, dirty rainbow. Check out these great resources to get you started:

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This Earth Day article is a sponsored by Tom’s of Maine. As you have read, this post is full of my own opinions, experiences, and advice based on those things. I take great care, and spend a great deal of time researching, when choosing to work with companies and I am excited to be a part of the Tom’s of Maine Goodness Circle for 2015.Easy Ways to Honor Earth Month & Yourself

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Spring 2015The Spring issue of Green Child Magazine is here and it’s amazing! The 5th annual eco-baby gear guide is full of top picks for babies and toddlers, but there’s plenty in this issue for you as well! As always, this issue features a variety of healthy recipes, fun finds for you in the Eco Fab section, and loving, expert advice on how to handle some of the most challenging parenting moments.

Green Child Magazine is a beautiful, free resource for families – made possible by the support of amazing advertisers who genuinely care about community, the environment, and the health of your family. Each issue is filled with love from experts in the fields of health, parenting, nutrition, sustainability, and so many more. You can view the beautiful Spring issue by clicking here, or by clicking the cover photo above. If you’d like to check out some of the amazing past issues (we have many, all available for free!) you can do that by clicking here.

Last but not least, you can also receive a FREE Subscription to this great magazine!

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kc-fluffiversary-040115 (1)I am so excited to be helping celebrate 14 years of cloth diapering with DiaperShops.com and Kelly’s Closet! Kelly’s Closet first opened its doors back in April 2001, before bumGenius, Rumparooz, GroVia and Thirsties even existed! KC is now home to almost 100 brands of cloth diapers, diapering accessories, and eco-friendly products for the entire family.  

Kelly’s Closet is a small family-run business that reaches through the computer screen and engages with customers every day, providing cloth diaper education and support to thousands daily. For the next 14 days, Kelly’s Closet has partnered with some of their favorite brands and bloggers to bring you 14 days of giveaways, fun and prizes!  Each day there will be a new item added to the giveaway posted on The Cloth Diaper Whisperer and shared via their social fans.  All giveaways will end at midnight ET on April 14th.

Be sure to follow Kelly’s Closet & Diaper Shops social media pages for more chances to win!

New RaR ColorsFacebook: Kelly’s ClosetDiaperShops - Cloth Diaper Support GroupThe Cloth Diaper Whisperer
Twitter: @DiaperShops  & Instagram: @DiaperShops #kellyscloset #fluffiversary #clothdiapers
Pinterest: DiaperShops & YouTube: DiaperShops1

To kick things off, they are giving away two FUN new Spring colors from Rumparooz! Tadpole & Aquarius are the newest additions to the RaR line, just released at midnight, 4/1! You can see how they compare to the fun colors in their Jeweled print.

This event is now over, thanks for joining us!

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Each year St. Patrick’s Day inspires people to celebrate Irish culture with a whole lot of green. This year, I encourage you to choose a new way to celebrate. By going environmentally green you can improve the quality of your life in so many ways. Below are just a few of my favorite ways to truly “green” your life.

Green Your Clothing

unnamedInstead of buying a colorful shirt, consider buying one made from materials grown without the use of pesticides and herbicides that degrade soil quality and leave other negative impacts on our planet. Additionally, look for apparel made by companies with a commitment to fair trade goods. Fair trade certified goods ensure that producers and laborers are paid just wages for their work and contributions. This is a change you can truly feel good about. One of my favorite brands is PACT apparel. Their Fair Trade Certified™ apparel line includes the brand’s famous underwear, as well as leggings, camisoles, t-shirts, and long johns. Their fabrics are deliciously soft, quality made, and their colors are rich and long-lasting. (You can save 20% with this link!)

Green Your Meals

Eating a healthy diet is important for you, your family (they love you!), and the planet. By choosing healthy foods you are letting companies know that you don’t want  junk and they are listening. 81% of American families are already choosing organic foods at least sometimes, according to an Organic Trade Association market analysis.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to consider trying a whole30. It’s a month long commitment to eating no processed foods, no sugar, no dairy, and a few others. While it does sound a bit extreme, I found that my experience with the whole30 gave me a renewed appreciation for the ritual of cooking (maybe not the dishes so much, but I’m thankful none the less) and also a deeper care about what I put into my body and how much “flex” I truly okay with. You can check out my Lazy whole30 Pinterest board for a bit of mealtime inspiration.

Green Your Meal Prep

planetbox lunchIn addition to cleaning up your diet, one of my absolute favorite ways to green mealtime is to use no plastic and no waste. While I do appreciate the appearance of being budget friendly, plastic cookware and storage can leech toxic chemicals food and it rarely stands the test of time. Lids warp, things melt, pit, discolor, etc. Glass and stainless storage and cookware cost a bit more on start-up but they are with you for the long haul, and there’s no reason you have to buy it all at once. Buy what you need to get started and build from there. These are a few of my favorite storage and preparation items:

  • Planetbox lunch boxes – These bento/lunch tray style lunch boxes are offered in sizes for the whole family. The divided trays make lunch packing a breeze (and sometimes a bit fun too). Planetbox lunch boxes are offered with a wide range of carrying case options and colors, accessories, and even meal ideas!
  • Wean Green glass storage – These are my absolute favorite glass storage containers. Wean Green cubes and bowls come in a huge assortment of colors, shapes, and sizes. They are perfect for storing leftovers, holding sauces, homemade hand scrubs, and an endless list of other things. Though they are glass, don’t let glass’s fragile reputation fool you. Wean Green cubes are tough! I’ve seen them bounced off the concrete floor of a trade show and survive every time.

Green Your Body Products

CLEANLast, but not least, on my list is bath and body products. Your skin is your largest organ and highly absorptive, you want to be sure that you’re putting products on your skin that are nourishing — or at the very least, not harmful. Synthetic fragrances and compounds can irritate skin and even disrupt your hormones. Yikes! These are just a few of my favorite brands:

  • Grace Green Beauty – I’ve never been big on face washing in the traditional sense. Soaps and lotions tend to leave me dry, irritated, or even broken out… that is until I was introduced to GGB (which is another story altogether). I’m pretty sure that I would be entirely lost without their CLEAN oil cleanser and PEACEful Face facial moisturizer.
  • Taylor’s Pure & Natural – I completely adore this company – the people, the products. I am so in love with their amazing pump toothpaste and PITS! deodorant especially. Their toothpaste is just the right balance of work and yum, and their natural deodorant was the first non-commercial deodorant to ever truly work for me. I honestly can’t say enough good things.
  • Afterglow Cosmetics – I have been using afterglow for years and I love their line. I have found their products to be gentle on my skin, easy to use, and all around great coverage. I most love their silky soft, vegan kabuki brush, powder foundation, perfecting under-eye concealer, and eye liner.
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