How to Be Green

10 Easy Ways to Be Green Today!

You can make simple life-style changes starting right now that will help reduce your carbon footprint and get you moving toward a green way of living.

  1. Recycle plastic, glass, metal, cardboard, and paper products. This extends far beyond the kitchen to other rooms in the house, including the bathroom. Also, bring recyclable materials home if you are in a place that does not recycle.
  2. Reduce the amount of waste you produce. Purchase items that come in less packaging or have recyclable packaging. Consider if you really need a new item before making a purchase. This is not only green, but it can save you some greenbacks too!
  3. Reuse and repurpose old items. Browse the internet and peruse library books for new ideas on old items. Shop at flea markets, thrift stores, and yard sales to find “new” items for your home.
  4. Sell or donate household items, clothes, and toys that your family no longer uses.
  5. Bring your own reusable bags whenever you are shopping. Environsax and Flip and Tumble are small enough to fit in a purse or pocket and they are sturdy and washable.
  6. Replace your light bulbs with CFL bulbs to save energy.  Not only do they save electricity but they emit a lot less heat.
  7. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products and beauty supplies. Look for items that are organic and biodegradable. Choose products that are sulfate free, phosphate free, paraben free. Also, choose items that do not test on animals and support businesses that participate in green practices. Some great businesses include Seventh Generation, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, and Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day.
  8. Compost your green food wastes and yard trimmings. Not only is this a great way to reduce the amount of waste going into the landfill, but it also produces nutrient-rich soil to help your gardens grow!
  9. Buy local products when possible. Not only does this support your local economy and community, but it also reduces the amount of fuel and pollutants that result from transporting items across the country.
  10. Combine your trips and errands to save gas and reduce the amount of fossil fuels you use. Walk or bike when possible. If you can, choose to work from home, even one day a week would save a lot of gas in a year!


Avoid Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Since my husband and I live on property that includes a nearby creek, I have always had concerns about using products that are safe for the environment and safe for us. I am not saying that I would not be concerned about the products that we would use if we didn’t have a fresh water supply so close to us, but the creek has made me much more conscious about how the products we use impact our environment, thus resulting in a much larger effect than one may initially realize.


With that said and with the latest buzz about environmentally friendly products, I had to look into the impact that Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) have on the environment and on the people who use them.  I quickly realized that products contain SLS or SLES, which are the foaming agents in soaps, shampoos, dish liquids, toothpastes, and bubble bath, can cause skin and eye irritation in adults and in children. There is also research that suggests that when these chemicals are mixed with other ingredients they have been linked to cancer, low fertility, and kidney and liver damage.  Shockingly, SLS can permeate body tissues, such as the liver, eyes, brain, and heart.

Furthermore, SLS does effect the environment. It is toxic to freshwater fish and aquatic animals. SLS does not break down in the water supply and it may be found in drinking water. SLS was denied as an ingredient in organic pesticides due to the fact that it pollutes the environment. Manufacturing products that contain SLS and SLES, as well as other harsh chemicals also have a negative effect on the environment.

Thus, I am constantly seeking products that do not contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfates and other harsh chemicals. I have found that these green soaps and cleansers can be just as effective without having a detrimental effect on the environment.  Some of my favorite products include Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, Deva Curl products, and Burt’s Bees natural skin care. Maybe these small changes aren’t protecting the world, but it feels good knowing that I am making conscious decisions about my environmental impact.