Dear Caring Parent,

Every year I think about my next-step for my snails paced greening of my household. It’s too much in life’s busyness to do it all at once!  I’m a budget watcher and want to know about the reliability of products so it takes me a while to pick new ones. 

Having now been at this for about a decade, I can readily say that it’s been a satisfying process. Now when I use something ‘green’, I think about what I am saving in terms of spewing bad, even toxic, stuff into the environment thereby harming animals, soil, water or air. I feel much more connected to the earth, from which I get SO much!  I am contributing to air and water healthiness which clearly impacts health.  And honestly, for the most part, it isn’t more costly. In fact, in the ‘circle economics’ (what goes around comes around), it saves money when you think of all the environmental effects of bad garbage etc.  

My progress has been slow. No doubt I’d frustrate an environmentalist! But if I hadn’t taken all the steps I’ve taken for the last decade, I’d be nowhere with this important aspect of public health, with the health of my lovelies.   

Below are a few of the products I’m using, along with some interesting tid-bits about them. They might help you take your next-step! After all big things start with small steps. (Some of these links are associated with my Amazon Associate status. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases). For many of these, if you click on the headers, the link will take you to these lovely green household items. 

SILICONE LIDS

No more fights with saran wrap! That is worth it in and of itself. Additionally, silicone is resistant to high temperatures so it works well even in the microwave. Health Canada also states: “There are no known health hazards associated with use of silicone cookware. Silicone rubber does not react with food or beverages, or produce any hazardous fumes.”

Once it’s worn out, however, it must be recycled or sent to a company’s take-back program. Silicone can then be downcycled into an oil that can be used as other products like industrial lubricant and playground mulch. If you just toss it, it will stay in the land forever – it does not break down easily. If you search on silicone recycling near me, you will learn what you can do. I haven’t had to recycle any yet after 3 years of use. It is durable! 

The lids come in all sizes and colors. I started with the ones that cover leftovers in the frig

COMPOSTABLE GARBAGE BAGS

This was one of my first steps in my snails paced greening of my household. We don’t get to ignore the harm of plastics and microplastics in our environment. Harm to ourselves, the ocean, soil and animals. In the world of garbage disposal, ‘certified compostable’ means more than just compostable or biodegradable. 

For a product to be certified compostable, it has to be unrecognizable in 90 days and not leave any toxins behind. That includes microplastics. These compostable bags do need industrial composts though, not had by all municipalities. Repurpose products have been researched and are said to not put any microplastics in the ocean water if they wind up there instead of at a recyclable place. 

While there is debate on the validity of compostable bags because of the need for industrial composting, I say that if we show demand, it will increase the environmental services around us. Additionally, producing these kinds of bags them spews less CO2 than regular plastic bags so. . .

 I like these Repurpose bags because they are thicker than many on the market. Meaning that when I remove them from the can, everything doesn’t fall through the bottom of the bag. 

REUSE GROCERY BAGS

The Center for Biological Diversity informs us that the average family uses 1,500 plastic bags a year. Each of those bags takes 500 years to degrade! 500 years!! 

In turn, reuse bags also reduce the consumption of oil and all it’s effects (millions of barrels/year just in the US to produce plastic). Not to mention the negative effect on animals from plastic is profound. I imagine you have seen the photos of animals being harmed by their plastic consumption. Even if they aren’t directly consuming it, microplastic residues in the ocean are negatively affecting fish and the underwater ecosystem.

There are so many reuse bags you can choose from if your stores don’t have their own. It did, however, take me a while to remember to bring them into the store with me!

It’s worth finding out if they can be recycled once they have worn out. Be a part of the ‘circular economy for plastic’ that more than 500 companies and countries have signed on to. (You’ll find Target on the progress reports link).

Get indestructible bags with theseThe added plus with these is that children love to chose their animal for shopping.

Of course, all of this causes my family to think about how we re-used plastic bags in our home! Just the other day I went to clean the kitty litter and couldn’t find a plastic bag to put it in!  That is clearly this years next-step. 

COSMETICS

I am in love with Thrive Causemetics. They are animal friendly, using no animal products in their cosmetics. They’ve done their job researching and using plant ingredients good for our skin. These products go on smoothly and have staying power. Plus they eliminate all those chemicals like paraffin wax, formaldehyde, mercury and microbeads (tiny, solid plastic particles). So when you throw these babies out, they aren’t as harmful to the environment.  And their plastic containers are recyclable! I was hesitant when I came across them. No need.  And psss – they help women through how they donate resources.

We all love our cosmetics, right? I was so excited to find these for my snails paced greening of my household!

I’m linking you right to their site because the prizes are less there than what I find on Amazon. But if you aren’t a prime member and need a boost on your order to make delivery free on Amazon start here.

LAWN FERTILIZERS

If you are into soft grass underfoot, your lawn will provide if you use both or either of these products. Plus there is no negative chemical run-off into your water system, nor an ill effect on your children or pets.

Corn Gluten inhibits roots from forming after seeds germinate. I got my crabgrass under control! Timing is important as it’s a pre-emergent fertilizer so get out there in the spring! Then reapply in the fall. I saw a noticeable reduction in lawn weeds during the first years application.  After two years, my crabgrass was gone except in the flower beds. 

Pelletized gypsum is a non-toxic mineral designed to loosen the soil, allowing roots to flourish. Since I have hard packed soil, this is perfect. Two years ago it was my next-step in my snails paced greening of my household. It’s also less expensive than corn gluten has become. It’s done a great job loosening up the soil so the grass roots can grow more luxuriously. It’s ph neutral so I haven’t had to worry about changing the nature of the soil acidity with which I am used to working. I know what grows and doesn’t in this yard! After using it twice, the ground under my feet became softer and the grass was greener with fewer weeds. 

CLEANING PRODUCTS

There’s been a huge shift in what we use for household cleaning over the years. I wanted biodegradable, non-toxic and recyclable packing. When we use green cleaning products, we reduce air and water pollution not to mention our indoor air pollution, including eliminating yukky smells. Green cleaners are not corrosive and must meet strict guidelines regarding toxicity and skin absorption. https://learn.compactappliance.com/green-cleaning-products/

Some of my favorites and a little less known include: 

Bon-ami -I like it so much that I have one on each of my floors for ready access. I even use it on my glass plate stovetop! It’s like magic to me that this works and is non-toxic! 

Bio Clean – For drain cleaning and drain smell reduction, there is nothing like these enzymes. It seems a bit costly until you realize it lasts forever! I’ve used it on my main drain and all household drains. Once a month works after  initial the clearing. I swear it does something so all the hair can’t get down into the drain – it becomes super easy to pull it out. I know, weird. The biggest plus? I haven’t called a plumber to clear these pipes since I started using it a couple years ago. I used to have to call them a couple times a year. A huge cost savings in my snails paced greening of my household. 

REFRESHING FRUITS and VEGETABLES

I started to use this when I realized all the ‘stuff’ on fruits and vegetables. This washes away dirt, waxes, oils and inanimate contaminants without changing the flavors. I’ve also used it to plump up vegetables when they get a little wrinkly. And ok, I happen to know the producer of this product also (he’s a very fun loving engineer that came to care about household products because of family and pet allergies and sensitivities). He gives a helpful hint about this fruit and vegetable wash in this video. 

Earths’s Natural Fruit and Vegetable Wash. Because it’s a concentrate, it’s another product that lasts FOREVER. A dab goes a long ways. 

Enjoy your finds! I hope ideas from my snails paced greening of my household inspire you to take your next-steps.

Take care, Natasha