Goodbye, Junk Mail: Step 3 (Cancel Your Weekly Shopping Flyers)

If you missed Step 1: Save Your Junk, click HERE.
If you missed Step 2: Opt Out of Credit Card Offers, click HERE.

If you've been collecting your junk mail for any length of time now, you have a few weekly shopping flyers, or grocery circulars.  Perhaps you actually use these ads and coupons, in which case you might want to keep receiving them.  I never use the coupons and don't look at the ads, so these are junk mail for me.

Even if you do peruse the ads and coupons, consider checking out the ads and printing out the coupons you want online instead (see links below).  Canceling these mailing saves resources, energy, and keeps clutter out of your house!  As a side benefit, by only looking at ads that you bother to seek out (instead of looking at all the ads that advertisers want you to look at), you may find yourself "needing" less and buying less.

School Lunches Need a Food Revolution

I first heard about Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution from my friend Lilita, a pop culture expert turned SAHM.  I was thrilled to hear that someone was shining the media light on school lunches. I even watched part of an episode on Hulu once, and nodded my head in agreement as they discussed the cooking equipment that laid dormant and the cafeteria staff's lack of cooking skills.  Then just a few days ago I heard on NPR that Jamie Oliver was taking his Food Revolution to Los Angeles Unified School District.  You may have heard about the controversy.  School officials won't let Oliver's cameras into any of the schools.  No big surprise there (hello, PR nightmare).  However, this assertion by L.A. school's executive chef David Binkle caught my ear:
"The food that we serve is healthy and nutritious and very good quality."

10 Reasons that Breastmilk is Green

I'm still nursing my 20-month-old.  I'm sure some will think this is a very long time (perhaps even too long), while others will think it is a drop in the bucket.  [Twenty months is a long time by U.S. standards, but not by world standards. The WHO recommends breastfeeding for "up to two years of age or beyond."]  At any rate, I've been thinking about all the ways that breastfeeding is green, even though this isn't why I breastfeed.  I'm sensitive to the fact that not everyone is able to breastfeed exclusively, but no matter how much or how little you breastfeed, breastfeeding helps you, your baby, and the earth!  If you are pregnant and thinking about breastfeeding, I encourage you to get all the support you need to make breastfeeding work for you and your baby.

Ten Ways Breastfeeding is Eco-friendly
  1. Local -- folks, it doesn't get any more local than this
  2. Produced using renewable resources
  3. No energy spent on shipping
  4. No energy used to store, refrigerate, preserve
  5. No packaging (no concerns about BPA-lined cans!)
  6. No need to buy a delivery system such as bottles and nipples (no worries about chemicals leaching from plastic into milk)
  7. Reduces need for menstrual supplies and birth control (yes, I just used the word menstrual - still with me?)
  8. Reduces need for health care for baby
  9. Reduces need for health care for mom
  10. Breastmilk poop washes easily out of cloth diapers

Click HERE or HERE to read all about the benefits of breastfeeding.

Related Posts

Would you like more ideas and tips about Going Green Gradually? Sign up for my free email subscription to get each of my posts delivered to your inbox (I usually post one or two times a week). You can also follow me on FacebookGoogle PlusPinterestTwitter, or with your favorite RSS Reader. I hope to see you again soon!

photo credit: Caitlinator via photopincc

Goodbye, Junk Mail: Step 2 (Opt Out of Credit Card Offers)

If you missed Step 1, click HERE.

This is possibly the most important step in your journey to Junk Mail Freedom: opting out of credit card offers (as well as insurance offers).  That's because this is an identity theft issue.  We actually opted out several years ago.  If you currently get these credit card and insurance offers in the mail, I hope you are shredding them before you recycle them.

Eco-novice's Guide to Reusable Produce and Shopping Bags

Happy Earth Day!

First, a few facts about single-use plastic bags:
  • It is estimated that worldwide plastic bag consumption falls between 500 billion and 1 trillion bags annually. That breaks down to almost 1 million every minute.
  • The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only 4 trips to the grocery store.
  • Only  0.5% to 3% of all bags winds up recycled.
  • Plastic bags are the second-most common type of ocean refuse, after cigarette butts .
  • A single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade.
  • When plastics break down, they don't biodegrade; they photodegrade. This means the materials break down to smaller fragments which readily soak up toxins. They then contaminate soil, waterways, and animals upon digestion.

I wrote about a few of my Earth Day Resolutions last week. One of my resolutions is to stop using single-use plastic produce and shopping bags. I've tested out a number of bags over the last year, and will now share my budding expertise with all of you.

Don't Eat the Red Ones

Photo by Walt Stoneburner

Generally speaking, I do my best not to ingest synthetic chemicals. While that's probably not entirely possible in today's world, I definitely don't want a petrochemical listed as an ingredient in my family's food. Artificial colors, once derived from coal tar (yum), are now derived from petrochemicals (double yum).   If your family eats candy, fruit drinks, colorful breakfast cereals, or any of a host of packaged foods, you're eating them.

Goodbye, Junk Mail: Step 1 (Save Your Junk)

It's embarrassing that I still get junk mail, it really is.  I even get the weekly grocery circular, even though I recycle it without even looking at it.  And I get an astonishing array of catalogs.  Thankfully, I don't get credit card offers.  I stopped those some years back, as those are an identity theft issue. (And with my hispanic surname, I am at greater risk of identity theft.  My husband actually suffered a bout of identity theft about a decade ago.)  In my defense, I have moved 4 times in the last 4 years, and each time I move, a new round of junk mail finds me.  So this time, I'm going to record how I get rid of my junk mail for the benefit of my future self as well as for the benefit of my readers.

Green Cleaning - Laundry

Possibly the hardest part of switching to greener cleaners is deciding which ones to buy.  Once you have a tried-and-true cleaning favorite, it's hard to bother to switch to something new, even if you've read about the problems with conventional cleaners.  Luckily, I've done all that annoying research plus trial-and-error stuff for you.  In my Green Cleaning series, I introduce you to all of my favorite green cleaners.  There are definitely others out there that work.  These are just the ones that I've tried that have worked for me.  

My Laundry Cleaners

Whole Grain "Cookies"

am always on the lookout for a good homemade snack recipe that is easy to eat on-the-go. My son really likes granola bars, but I dislike all that packaging and the long list of ingredients. These "cookies" freeze extremely well, are 100% whole grain (whole wheat and old-fashioned rolled oats) and have about half the sugar of a typical cookie recipe.  This recipe is pretty darn cheap too. Whenever we are on our way out of the house, I pull a few "cookies" out of the freezer and put them in one of my reusable food bags. They are easy for both my toddler and preschooler to eat, and I love them too. I often catch my husband sneaking one out of the freezer as a snack at home.

[Update 30 June 2011: Check out my latest version of this recipe in this post.]

Stainless Steel Sippy Cups

Can you find 3 stainless steel 
sippy cups in this photo?

I will be posting about all of my children's feeding gear soon, but I decided that the stainless steel sippy cups merited their own post.  My 2 kids (ages 3.5 and 1.5) use sippy cups for water and milk every day.  I have tried Klean Kanteen, Safe Sippy, and Eco Vessel sippy cups.

Eat Less Plastic

Recent findings about plastics:
  • Lest you feel content to simply avoid BPA and phthalates (both hormone disruptors and long-suspected of toxicity to humans, particularly fetuses and children), another recent study found: 


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