Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Cheers

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:


Last week we examined all of our purchases to ensure that they don't include "extras", items which are unnecessary and make an otherwise good product, less so. This was an interesting exercise, especially since stores are now trying to entice consumers to buy gifts for the holiday season. The store isles are full of products which have free samples taped to the package. While consumers may think that they are getting a bargain and stretching their dollar, the truth is that most "freebies" come in plastic. When we consider the cost of producing that package and the affect it has on our environment, that sample doesn't look like such a bargain. I turned my attention to groceries. Some products which should be natural and healthy, like fruit juices or preserves, include dangerous additives like high fructose corn syrup. Labels which read "all natural" are not necessarily so. It truly is a "buyer beware" world.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

Andie accepted the challenge and shared this: "Now I need to check ALL my lip balms! Luckily, Seattle has the Puget Consumers Co-op which does a great job of offering only products that are eco-friendly. With 11 stores in the Puget Sound region, they have a lot of members who are also diligent and call them out whenever they think a product is not up to snuff. It sure makes shopping easier when I can trust the store to watch out for me AND the environment."

What does a "jacket potato" and me (lurking behind Mrs. Green's sofa) have to do with unnecessary things? Find out in How a jacket potato almost ruined the world.

Nancy shared this via Google+: "So important to read ALL labels, even if you have used the product for years. Things can change. To be safe rather than sorry, each consumer needs to accept responsibility for what they do or don't do."

Lois wrote a terrific post in support of this challenge. In it, she lists several companies who sold out to mega-corporations making their products suspect. Are any of your favorites listed in Change the World Wednesday, Those Extras. In a reply to my comment, she said "You are so right, Small Footprints, those freebies taped to the packaging are cheap and short lived ending up in the landfills so quickly. After writing this I realized there was one freebie I used to take for granted as being in the package yet hated getting each time I bought the product and that is the measuring scoop in the laundry detergent. For a while I was able to give these to the kids as toys but after a while what do you do with them?"

Beautifying the bar next door, plastic milk shakers on Ovalmatine, and frozen Paella. Those are just a few things you'll read about in Argentum Vulgaris's Change the World Wednesday – 12th Nov.

Aimee joined us and shared this: "Good reminder! Our news station just aired a story about the Good Guide app which you can put on your phone to scan UPC codes of cosmetics, lotions and other items to see where they rank on the eco-friendly/toxicity list. Regarding the task at hand, for me since going off dairy, it's forced me to be a lot more creative for how I flavor my food. While Daiya is available (the only shredded fake cheese that's not chocked full of soy), it still has a lot of ingredients just to mimic the taste and consistency of cheese. So I've made it similar to tropical fruits that aren't obviously local, in that they are now considered "delicacy" products that I only buy on special occasions. Otherwise I think we're doing pretty well in the food area, and since I don't wear makeup, our main consideration is figuring out what kind of body butter we're going to invest in since I'm about to scrape out the last bits of Yancy Lael's homemade vanilla/coconut butter!"

Green Girl stopped by. Here are her comments: "I try to stick with 'one ingredient, whole, local, organic foods' as much as reasonably possible, with a few exceptions. I got tired of reading labels and seeing false claims, and I'm concerned that too much of our food system is coming from corporations and chemistry labs instead of small, sustainable farmers. I also buy all my personal care items from companies who ONLY make healthy products. Like you, I am getting tired of the eco- and health-conscious companies getting bought out by corporations who put profit over people and planet. I even started selling eco-friendly, organic skin care myself to help educate people and spread the word while making a little extra income." By the way, Green Girl recently wrote an interesting post about climate change and weight loss ... check it out ... it's fascinating!

Ann included our banner in this post entitled How to stop ants from getting into your sugar canister. Save the world. If you're bothered by ants, her post offers an Eco-friendly way to keep them under control.

Randy joined us and shared this: "I can't think of the last time I enjoyed a canned meal; after you've gotten into the habit of setting up the crockpot, anything from a can is just overprocessed, oversalted bleh. Plus, since my crockpot is "Rival" brand, I get that song from Rocky going in my head". He wrote Facing Up to The #CTWW Challenge Of Our Rival Brand Crock-Pot and shares his way of avoiding "extras" in commercial or restaurant foods. His method comes with a warning, though ... be sure to read it at the end of the post!

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@89linz @allcollegeplan @almosttruth
@andriyanifafa @artbysandra @beatepdx
@bethcooperart @cannyhighlander @charismayoonyh
@collegegogreen @corneliagracchi @eco_novice
@ecoexpert1 @envirobooty @environmentguru
@erinhitchcock8 @factorydpromos @familyfocusblog
@fleurdeb @foggybottomgal @forloveofadog
@freshcleanersaz @fruitsherbrooke @garry_rogers
@ginavalley @givetreegifts @greenageworld
@greenqueenofmod @groovygreenlivi @helalraghda
@herbgir1972 @jnaquins @justanotherhat
@kaitlingarder @kayhahn1 @kriswetherbee
@krmbalclothing @laalicia @ladyjcmuses
@laurelhounslow @lbpaints @lumleysplacebnb
@luthienthye @mamasmoney @marylolagouge
@momfindsout @momsmadhousex6 @museumoflitter
@mzazeela @nestfullofnew @nolafusion
@pedalgadgets @piaktw @rainbojangles
@rckayla @rckweddings @realityarts
@romerojewelers @ruralmoms @sfcouncil
@smallbits @spafloating @temilarashy
@thewoodgraingal @theworld4realz @treesgroup
@turningclockbac @urban_mining @wencdj
@wimpyvegetarian @withuvip

My Final Thoughts:

Eliminating the unnecessary leaves room for the valuable. Think about it ... if we eliminate unhealthy ingredients from food, we make way for delicious nutrition and improve our health. Get rid of unnecessary fillers, brighteners, and fragrances in cleaning products and we get a bottle full of safe solutions that work. Refuse free samples and more of our land can be used as natural spaces rather than receptacles for garbage. I want to add value to my life ... I'm greedy that way. I don't have room for the unnecessary! How about you?

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Cheers
Serve cocktails with cloth napkins
During this time of year, many of us host parties and serve alcoholic beverages.

To make life convenient, items like plastic glasses & straws, mixers, and exotic fruits are available to help you set up your home bar. And, all manner of "spirits" are available ... some which travel from the far reaches of the earth to arrive at your liquor store.

Here's your challenge ...


If you are planning to entertain friends and family this season, and plan to serve "adult" beverages, do a little research and plan an Eco-friendly bar. Here are some things to consider:
  • Wine is the most Eco-friendly alcoholic beverage. Choose organic varieties which don't include preservatives. While boxed wine may not look classy, it is the most earth-friendly of wine packaging options. Glass bottles would be the next choice.
  • If you're serving beer, cans are better than bottles because they weigh less which gives them a lower carbon footprint.
  • Opt for liquors and wine with natural cork instead of synthetic corks or metal tops.
  • Avoid frosted bottles. Chemicals are used to create them.
  • Look for beverages which are distilled locally and check that the company uses minimal energy and water to create their libations.
  • Serve drinks in glass rather than plastic and use glass straws.
  • Use cloth cocktail napkins instead of paper.
  • Use local, organic fruits and herbs in mixed drinks. And don't forget organic "munchies" to go along with the cocktails.
  • Make ice in an ice tray rather than use the automatic ice maker in the refrigerator. You'll use less energy.
The idea, this week, is to plan ahead to ensure that your home bar is "green".

OR ...

If you aren't including alcohol in your celebrations, make plans to "green" any get-togethers you are hosting or attending. Consider local, organic foods and reusable serving pieces. If you are traveling to an event, share a ride with others. Use natural elements to decorate. Supply visitors with comfy slippers or socks so that they will feel comfortable to remove their shoes at the door.

OR ...

If you'll be spending quiet time at home this season, plan to make the experience green. Use all the ideas above, on a smaller scale, to make your personal time fun and Eco-friendly.

Are you ready for a "green" celebration? I know that you are!

Until next time ...

WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!





Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Unnecessary Things

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:


Last week we did a group review of laundry detergents. I was impressed with the research and thought that went into your choices. For my part, I am still using some of the products which I was sent for review. You can read my thoughts on them by clicking HERE.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

Lois left this comment: "Thank you, you provided me with a reason to blog about my diy detergent. I also wanted to congratulate Mrs. Green on getting out of her comfort zone. That was quite an accomplishment. I tried leaving a comment several times before giving up." She also wrote Change the World Wednesday, November Gratitude where she discusses her laundry detergent of choice. She's experimented with some big name "green" brands but finally chose a Do-It-Yourself recipe.

Argentum Vulgaris alternates between two brands. His problem is that, in Brazil, many of the ingredients are listed under generic names making it difficult to know exactly what they are. In Change the World Wednesday – 5th Nov he shows a photo of the ingredients list. By the way, Argentum's part of the world has been suffering a severe drought ... as of his post, Brazil had no appreciable rain for 110 days. I'm doing a rain dance for you, AV!

Lady JC accepted the task and, in addition to telling us about her soap of choice, offers some great advice about washing items which typically require dry cleaning. Here are her comments: "This is a great one! In the past, I've made my own powdered laundry soap with baking soda, castile soap, borax and essential oils, but for the last two years I've been using and loving Charlie's soap. It's biodegradable, has a lovely light scent and each jar provides enough for 100 loads. The cost is about $15. You cannot beat that. Charlie's soap is also compatible with HE washer/dryers because it doesn't oversud. I've used it for my delicates, colors and whites with excellent results. I can also attest to their wonderful customer service. I recently learned how to wash my coats at home because even eco friendly dry cleaning can be very pricey. So before I started I called them to make sure Charlie's soap would be ok for that. They were extremely helpful and told me to use a smaller amount. I'm happy to report that my two coats survived and thrived. :) They also smell delicious. FYI only wash your coats on a front loading dryer on the delicate cycle. Dryer balls helped to plump them up and dry quickly at very low heat. Zap me a message if you have more questions about this!"

Andie, The Green Queen of Moderation, offered this comment: "I've been thinking about laundry detergent a lot. I use natural cleaners around the house, but still buy commercial laundry detergent—Woolite, both the regular and dark. I forego bleach and use borax instead — primarily when I wash the pet bedding and dog towels to make sure I kill fleas and any fecal bacteria that may have come off the dog's paws. Thanks to this inspiring post, I'll check out Woolite's ingredients. Hope to see some options for washing dark clothing without too much fading." She came back and shared this: "I was so inspired by this that I bought my first box of Borax—after having known about it as the sponsor of Death Valley Days (yes, I'm THAT old). Hard to believe a conservative president-to-be was hawking what is now an eco-friendly. I can't wait to try out some of those great laundry detergents out there. As always, Small Footprints has inspire me to take another eco-step on the path to a better world."

Aimee's favorite product not only works well, but is produced in the Pacific Northwest (her part of the world). She shared this: "oooh I love sharing product favorites!!! We always had bought our natural detergent in the bulk aisle at New Seasons Market (our local chain competitor to Whole Foods) and then they stopped selling detergent in bulk so we moved to Country Save Natural Detergent (http://www.countrysave.com/powder_laundry_detergent.php) in the biggest cardboard box available. One thing we'll never do is buy detergent, no matter how eco the ingredients are, in plastic since plastic is only downcycled. Fortunately I found out that NSM brought back bulk laundry detergent and so we'll be all over that once this box is done! Buying all the ingredients to make our own isn't very cost-effective so since this is made in the Northwest, we feel this is pretty close!!!"

Long before Eco-friendly soap hit mainstream consumerism, Laurel was using safe, non-toxic laundry products. In Change the World Wednesday: Detergent she talks about why she made that choice and shares information about options available in western Canada.

Amanda is a Celadon Road Consultant. For those who don't know, Celadon Road sells all kinds of Eco-friendly products, including laundry soap. In Laundry Detergent Challenge she gives us all the facts including the price, packaging, ingredients, etc. I happen to know that Amanda is very knowledgeable about Celadon Road products and is more than happy to talk about them. So, if you have a question, just ask her!

In Eco friendly laundry products, Mrs. Green not only offers several options, she talks about why it's important that we make the effort to choose safe detergent. That post elaborates on the comment she left: Great challenge as this is one we can so easily do something about. When you consider we have our laundry products against our skin 24 hours a day and that 60% of what goes ON our skin can go into our bloodstream, it makes sense to choose a safer, kinder product. Thanks for the inspiration SF!"

Thanks to Environmentguru.com for re-posting our challenge HERE. By the way, check out all the great information on environmentguru.com. Their mission is to provide the number one collaboration portal for environmental professionals from around the world. They offer a ton of interesting, pertinent information.

Suzanne uses Norwex and says this: "I love my Norwex Ultra Power Plus Laundry Detergent! It doesn't contain fillers and has even removed set in stains. No complaints!" Suzanne is a Norwex consultant and her site contains a LOT of information about products, including laundry detergent.

Clare doesn't have Eco-friendly options in her area. She said, "Mrs. Green is right, eco friendly laundry detergent is an easy change to make, and it has great benefits - to us and the environment and marine life. Where I live there's nothing I like in laundry products, but luckily it's easy to make your own - see http://www.ecofriendlylink.com/blog/all-natural-laundry-detergent/ for some easy, quick suggestions for natural, safe detergents. Thanks for another great challenge Small - and you're so right about being prepared versus panicking. I haven't had incoming water for over 4 weeks now, I'm reliant on a tanker to come round once a week or so. I'm very water-conscious but boy it's amazing how little you use when you have to! Have a great week everyone!"

And finally, this edition of Shopping Charity shared our challenge and included a mention of at least one of your posts. Check it out to see if your post was included.

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @GreenQueenofMod
- What's in your laundry soap? Eco-brands expensive? Try Wellness Mama's recipe ow.ly/DSboY #green pic.twitter.com/hL4lydUlrp

From @laalicia
- Shedding Light on Textile Recycling ow.ly/CWPRb

From @KrmbalClothing
- (that's also how I make mine) RT @PlanetGreen: Zero-waste blogger launches 3-ingredient laundry detergent bit.ly/1tll1Fd

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@2kidsandacoupon @89linz @ahthesimplelife
@allcollegeplan @almosttruth @andreaptak
@artbysandra @ashokau @aussiemoose
@bananagrabber3 @beatepdx @bethcooperart
@biggreenpen @brasher_gaius @cannyhighlander
@cargo_pal @cellomomoncars @charismayoonyh
@cjrthemamiblog @climately @climately_news
@climatelycheryl @collegegogreen @csevenm_uk
@darylsghourl @debsmikdav1 @dieselelephants
@dj_mac_nificent @eco_novice @ecoexpert1
@emmywinnermoses @envirobooty @factorydpromos
@familyfocusblog @fleurdeb @foggybottomgal
@forloveofadog @freshcleanersaz @gail_gauthier
@georgehenry47 @ginavalley @givetreegifts
@goldforestgrain @grandmasdiaries @greenageworld
@greenisuni @greenqueenofmod @groovygreenlivi
@herbgir1972 @homesustainable @indiapaleale35
@itechecom @jameswhalliday1 @janisfineart
@jelita_yjas @jnaquins @justanotherhat
@kaitlingarder @kayhahn1 @koobietrades
@kriswetherbee @krmbalclothing @kumebryant
@laalicia @ladyjcmuses @laurelhounslow
@lbpaints @lioncontainers @lumleysplacebnb
@luthienthye @marbaird @marjoriemcatee
@marylolagouge @miltongferraz @mimbsphotograph
@momgamerwriter @momsmadhousex6 @museumoflitter
@myzerowaste @mzazeela @narrationbygeo
@newsmashwords @nolafusion @paperbeadboutiq
@pedalgadgets @piaktw @pooja_y_jain
@rainbojangles @ramradasukonsar @rckayla
@rckweddings @realityarts @riamacalister
@romerojewelers @ruralmoms @sfcouncil
@shoppingcharity @simekucabowi @sjoecable
@solarkoala16 @solarkoalatweet @spafloating
@sxycowgirl @tamlanding @taylortfulks20
@theecochic @theurbannatura1 @theworld4realz
@tiffanywashko @treesgroup @treevangelist
@turningclockbac @tweetformoolah @uasource
@urban_mining @vuqefowoxebi @wasteeguru
@wastejobs @wellminded @whopaysthepiper
@whywelovegreen @wimpyvegetarian @withuvip
@wordsatspangalo

My Final Thoughts:

Since most readers of this blog are already living a "green" life, a group product review becomes an excellent resource. As you may have noticed, participants considered ingredients, packaging, and the locality of stores in addition to how well the product performed. While we should always do our own research, the job is easier when we have recommendations by "greenies".

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Unnecessary Things
Does a soup need preservatives?
Laurel Hounslow, a frequent CTWW participant, recently talked to me about a situation which she's encountered.

Healthy, Eco-friendly products are made less so with the addition of "extras".

For example, at a recent fundraiser, reusable water bottles were given away. Each bottle had a water flavor packet taped to the side. The flavoring included unhealthy sweeteners, preservatives, etc.

So Laurel has been on a mission to eliminate the unnecessary things in, and attached to, good products.

Here's your challenge ...


This week, opt for products which come with no unnecessary additions. For example, rather than buy processed foods (like canned soup) which contain added salt, preservatives, etc., make your own using whole foods. If a cleaning product has a "freebie" attached to it, be sure it meets your environmental and health standards before adding it to your shopping basket. The idea, this week, is to examine everything we buy to ensure that it comes free of unnecessary "extras". While packaging certainly falls into this category, it is not our focus this week. We're looking for added ingredients or free samples which will make the original product less than desirable.

OR ...

Are you already avoiding ALL unhealthy, unsafe ingredients and products? If so, let's kick this challenge up a bit. As companies sell out and/or change their products, things which we once considered Eco-friendly are no longer safe and healthy. For example, a popular lip balm company (I won't mention the name here) sold out to a big conglomerate. Their lip balm, which had been natural and safe, was modified to include unhealthy ingredients. Unless consumers continued to read the label, they wouldn't know about the change. So this week, re-evaluate everything you believe to be safe and Eco-friendly to determine if it remains so. This part of the challenge is all about diligence and ensuring that our favorite products remain worthy of our shopping baskets.

Are you ready for a little "due diligence"? I know that you are!

Until next time ...

WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!





Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ecolissa Chunky Infinity Scarf - Review and Giveaway

When the weather gets chilly, I enjoy something warm around my neck.

The trouble with most scarves is that they don't seem to stay in place and, for me, they are hard to tie properly to ensure continued warmth.

Ecolissa Chunky Infinity Scarf - Review and Giveaway
Chunky Infinity Scarf by Ecolissa
I was invited to try a beautiful Sky Blue Chunky Infinity Scarf by Ecolissa.

Using 70% acrylic and 30% recycled polyester, these vegan scarves are handmade in the USA.

As you might guess from the name, the scarf is one continuous loop ... so no hassle with tying or getting it to look nice. One can simply drape it around the neck or (my favorite) loop it a second time to make it nice and cozy. It is very attractive and dresses up a coat or outfit.

This product can be machine washed and tumble dried.

Let me tell you a bit about Ecolissa. Melissa, the owner, has always wanted a woman’s clothing store. But not just any store. She wanted a fashionable line of clothing which respected her environmental philosophy. In 2010, her dream was realized with Ecolissa.

The store carries only fashionable, Eco-friendly, vegan woman’s clothing and accessories made of sustainable materials such as organic cotton, bamboo, soy, and hemp. Ecolissa, a Green America Approved Business, specializes in casual dresses and easy to wear separates.

I think that these scarves would make a wonderful gift ... for someone on your list or yourself! And, for a limited time, you'll find a 20% discount code on our Special Offers Page.

Giveaway


The generous folks at Ecolissa have agreed to give one lucky Reduce Footprints' reader a scarf of their own. WhooHoo!

All entries are optional ... the more you complete, the better your chances of winning! Good Luck Everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



I received a Chunky Infinity Scarf from Ecolissa in order to write this review. I received no other compensation. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and reflect my honest opinion of the product reviewed.