making the earth greener one tiny baby at a time

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Try, Try Again

I decided I would do something very selfless and giving...I would try a bunch of eco-friendly products for the sole purpose of reporting back to you on their quality.  Not at all because I wanted an excuse to buy some great stuff.  I can be so giving...

★  out of 
I'm in love with everything about these guys.  You can buy them at or  These super soft cotton circles will replace any kind of disposable cotton product you use for eye make-up removers, toners etc.  They are velvety smooth, organic, fair trade, and come with their own hemp washing bag so you won't lose any in the laundry.  I would say the one and only downside is that you couldn't use them to remove nail polish...big whoop.


Everyone warned me that when I stopped breast-feeding my daughter would get sick more.  They weren't kidding!  My little one had maybe one cold her first year on earth, but this month she got the never ending illness; ear infection, cough, sinus infecting, fever.  I felt so terrible wiping her red, irritated nose all the time.  While on vacation I happened upon the best thing ever...the Hanky Book!  It is slightly bigger than a credit card, has an adorable fabric cover, and pages upon pages of soft, organic cotton to wipe baby's nose with.  When one page gets messy, you turn to the next.  Then just pop it in the washing machine!  It felt good to know be pressing rough tissues against baby's tender nose.


Well, I"m afraid I have never been able to find a good bleach alternative.  If anyone knows one, please pass it on!  This product comes in pre-measured pods and is environmentally friendly.  I will say it brightened my whites, and it is safe on colors, but it won't take out stains and well, bleach your laundry like bleach does.  It's not terrible, but it's no bleach.


I bought this on a whim because it was on sale at  It is a silicone lid that creates an airtight seal.  It is meant to replace plastic wrap, foil, and plastic containers.  Here is the truly amazing thing about it: you can refrigerate it, freeze it, microwave it, and put it in the OVEN up to 500 degrees.  That's craziness!  I used it to cover a bowl of left over soup, then put it right into the microwave when I was ready for it.  When it was done heating I used the lid as a trivet...perfection!  Here are the only downsides:  You would need a lot of these in various sizes, and that could get expensive at the onset.  It does create an airtight seal, but if there is any food or moisture on the rim of what you are covering it will not work.

If you know any great products, feel free to share them!  And I will do my best to keep trying new things, for your benefit only :)

totally depressing environmental fact:
conventional cotton uses more pesticides than any other crop on earth

totally uplifting environmental tip:
if you have a choice between glass or plastic, always choose glass.  it is easier to reuse and recycle, and takes less to produce!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dispose of the Disposal

After reading my last post, Anne asked if garbage disposals were eco-friendly.  I honestly had no idea.  I always assumed it was a better choice to putting my food scraps in the garbage where they would be hauled miles away buy gas-guzzling trucks.
Turns out I was wrong!

I found this fantastic article on

Apparently, not only is the water we use to wash the food down the drain with wasteful, but oil clogs are the number one cause of sewer overflow and blockages.  This costs cities billions of dollars a year.

The best choice, of course, is composting.  But it looks like the second best choice is just throwing it away!  I'll remember that next time I find a two-year-old bottle of blue cheese salad dressing lurking in my fridge.

totally depressing environmental fact:
According to a 2005 California Energy Commission report, 19% of California’s electricity use, and 32% of its natural gas use is for pumping water and wastewater! So, not only is water a scarce resource that should be conserved, but pumping it requires a lot of energy and, in California at least, contributes a significant amount to global warming.

totally inspiring environmental tip:
(found this great thing in the treehugger article:)
NatureMill indoor automatic composter. This product, made from recycled materials, includes a small heater and mixer (uses only $0.50 of electricity per month) to maintain industrial-grade composting conditions. This means that you can even compost meat, dairy, and fish in it, which is typically a composting faux pas. The unit fits under your sink or on your fire escape, so even the most urban of us can avoid sending food waste down the drain while producing up to 120 pounds per month of rich organic compost each month.
Perfect for apartment dwellers!
I looked it up and it seems AMAZING!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Eco-Friendly Renter

My friend Adriana made an excellent point in her response to my last post.  You have far less options for living earth-friendly when you are renting or living in an apartment.  You are at the mercy of what the building owners decide is appropriate for you building.  We are apartment-dwellers and understand this all to well.  We enter the elevators and are bombarded by the smell of harsh cleaners, we have to use wasteful, old appliances, and there is the most annoying scent dispenser right outside out door that every half-hour sends a synthetic, powdery smell into the air.

So what do we do when we want to live as gently as possible, but are thwarted by where we have to live?!?!

Let's break it down:
We know what we do have control of:  In our own apartments we can use gentle, plant-based cleaners; separate and recycle everything that your building's waste management will take; wash our clothes with cold water and use a drying rack to dry; use power-strips and unplug or turn off all electronics when not in use; take shorter showers and don't always wait for the water to get hot-hot-hot before we use it.

And we know what we don't have control of:  If the building chooses to recycle or compost; the types and conditions of appliances; the kinds of cleaners and building materials used.

If you live in LA and your building doesn't recycle, let your building manager know that it is now COMPLETELY FREE to get pick up for recyclables.  Even offer to make the call and set up the appointment if they can't seem to be bothered.  Here's the website to get you started:

Do you want to compost?  You can do it in your apartment!  Us LA-ers are fortunate that most of us have balconies or porches.  We purchased a compact composter and it lives on our tiny balcony taking up only about 2'x2' of space.  The key to getting food to compost in a tiny composter is....WORMS!!!!  These little beasts will help you go through trash 80% faster than just letting it sit in a composter.  Here is where we got our worm factory:

You can buy worms by the pound at many farmer's markets or go to the following website:
This is what we have on our balcony

If you don't have ANY outdoor space at all, the worm factory can live in doors.  But to be completely honest, there is no way I would ever do this.  When my friend Katie found out I had a worm factory, she said the following to me:
"My sister has one of those...It's the closest thing I've ever seen to a real-life horror movie."

If you want the building management to consider making some green changes in your building.  I think it's best to educate and request all at the same time.  Make a letter that states how you would love them to consider using greener cleaners, most of which can be found at inexpensive prices, and include in your letter resources where they can find these.  You might also mention that a building that prioritizes being green may lure in a better clientele!  And cutting down on energy costs will help the bottom line.

Another option...

Until we all the the money or ability to own our own home, with which we can live as green as possible, maybe let's look at apartment living as a way to share our views and educate our neighbors (without being that person who lectures so much that people avoid you when they see you in the laundry room).

totally depressing environmental fact:
the number one cause of landfill waste is fast-food containers...check this out....

totally inspiring environmental tip:
when you compost, you are exposing your food scraps to air, which help the food biodegrade without any atmosphere-hurting methane!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bad Versus Evil

Hey all of you fighting the good fight; using cloth diapers instead of disposables, flushing all of that poop down the toilet, emptying stinky laundry bags into the washer, folding loads of cloth diapers week after week after week.  I have AWESOME news for you!  I recent study found that using cloth diapers is just as damaging to the environment as using disposables.  What the WHAT?!?!?

Here's the deal: If you are using hot water to wash the diapers, the dryer to dry them, bleaching them and not doing full loads, then yes, it is just as bad as using disposable diapers.  What the study did not take into consideration was using cold water, high efficiency washers, line-drying, and eco-friendly cleaning products.  There is a definite demand out there to re-do the study.  I admit, my first thought when I read this was, "disposable it is!"  Cloth is so time-consuming that any indication that all my hard work is for naught will send me right to the grocery aisle to buy some pampers.  So this report can be quite damaging if it is not looked at thoroughly.

So if you are swathing your baby in cloth, remember to do it right, or it's really not worth the time and effort.  Using cold water and line-drying will also help your power bills and prolong the life of your diapers.

If you are a big fan of gDiapers as I am, you may want to re-consider flushing them.  The recommended two flushes to get the diapers down the drain may be worse on the planet than throwing them away.  But remember, they can always be composted!  Who doesn't want a giant diaper pile in their back yard next to their vegetable patch?

Keep up the fight!!!! (But do it right...)

totally depressing environmental fact:
although all cosmetic talc is supposed to be asbestos-free, it is not always 100% pure. use of talc has been linked to respiratory problems and ovarian cancer.  talc mining is also extremely tough on the environment.

totally uplifting environmental tip:
organic milk is not only better for your body, it uses 1/3 of the energy to make it than non-organic milk.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Don't Call it a Comeback

The little girl in action
Well, remember when I took November off from blogging...
And then December...
And then January...

I have be wracking my brain trying to figure out what happened that I have absolutely no time to write.  The answer was right in front of me.  Well, it was in front of me, but now it's in the living room.  And now the kitchen.  Wait, it's moving into the bathroom and getting in the cabinets.

Everything went to pieces when Phoebe started walking.

In November when I took a few weeks off from writing because I had gotten a lot of work, I was waving goodbye to my daughter to leave for the day and out of nowhere she stood.  Just like that.  Not holding on to anything.  The next day she took a few tentative steps, and from there on out our lives have been totally different.  We have become those parents that you feel sorry for at backyard barbecues and restaurants; chasing their kids around and keeping them out of trouble while everyone else drinks wine and has a great time.

A few months into the walking (and now running) we are starting to get a handle on it and I'm back to making the blog a priority!  We are as green as ever and I have tons of new thought and questions I would love to share with everyone.

So I hope the handful of you that liked reading this are still out there!  Thanks for reading...
And I PROMISE I will be back soon with more!

totally depressing environmental fact:
does your kid wear those shoes that light up when they walk?  if so, it is illegal to throw them away.  you must take them to a place that disposes of batteries or electronics.  the batteries in the shoes can contaminate a landfill.  i guess nothing can be fun.

totally inspiring environmental tip:
just because there is not a recycling symbol in your trash, doesn't mean it can't be recycled.  aluminum cans, glass and Hershey's Kiss wrappers are all things that can be recycled with no label to indicate so.  for a full list of what can be recycled in your area go to

Monday, November 22, 2010

Break Time!

Times are tough when you can't even take a moment to write a post that you don't have time to write a post.  I have so much work this month that I decided to take the month off from blogging.  But I couldn't let the whole month go by without mentioning two things:

1. Los Angeles County has voted to BAN PLASTIC BAGS!! This may be the happiest day of my life after the birth of my daughter and my wedding day. Plastic bags are one of the greatest contaminants to our wildlife and waterways.  By July 2011 all grocery stores will require you bring your own bag or pay 10 cents for a paper bag.  By 2012 they will be banned in all stores and only legal for restaurant take out.

2. As Thanksgiving comes closer consider buying as much locally as possible.  Hit the Farmer's Markets (Sherman Oaks tomorrow from 4-8!) and if you decided to get a Turkey try to get a hormone-free kindly treated one at Whole Foods or a similar store.  I also just read a very interesting article on food waste.  Every day American's waste enough food to fill the Rose Bowl.  The amount of fuel that goes in to producing the amount of food we WASTE is 70 times the amount that was leaked into the Gulf of Mexico this year during the BP spill.  70 TIMES!!!  So make less and eat all of the leftovers!


totally depressing environmental fact:
recently PETA released a video showing the treatment of Turkey's at factory farms.  the videos included farm workers stomping on the animals and twisting their necks.

totally inspiring environmental tip:
the vegan diet is the most energy efficient diet on the planet.  so eating less meat will result in far less greenhouse gases!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy HalloGreen

Just hangin' with some pumpkins

Really, truly if we are looking to have an eco-friendly Halloween we really need to only be concerned with two things:  Costumes and candy. (Holiday decorations in general will be dealt with in a future post).

The easiest way to go green on a costume is to make it out of clothes and supplies you have around the house, or use a hand-me-down.  Some of the women in our mom's group got great costumes on consignment.  And the little ones are so, well, little that it doesn't take much material to get creative.  The worst choice you could make is to purchase a new costume out of synthetic materials...this is what we did.

Shame on us!  I am very crafty, but the thought of constructing a costume was just too over-whelming this year.  And when we looked online at the adorable, and I mean adorable costumes available for babies I just got caught up in the whole thing.  We bought her a peanut.  Not just the nut, but the whole shell.  But not Mr. Peanut.  She has no top-hat, monocle or cane.  Though I wish...a baby with a monocle would be awesome!

I couldn't even tell you what this peanut is made of.  It's some sort of dense foam layered over some sort of polyester.  I don't know what possessed us.  But I can try to turn it in to a positive by keeping the costume in great condition and giving it to baby after baby to prolong its life.

Luckily Phoebe is at an age where I don't have to be concerned about candy.  But none-the-less I wanted to do a little research and find out what the greenest candy options were.  When I did a random google search the first thing I came across was an article about green things to give out a Halloween.  They were the following:
Yikes!  I mean, I love pennies, apples, books and pencils, but it's Halloween!  It's Candy Day!!! And can you imagine how heavy our little plastic pumpkins would get if we went around collecting pennies or books from every household?
Then I found an article on making vegan candy corn.  Aye yi yi.  If I don't have the energy to slap a red onesie on my daughter and draw some black dots on it so she can be a lady bug, I am not shaping minuscule pieces of maize.
Third time is a charm, because I found actual candy!  The following website 
shows you different options you can order online and hand out including the "ultimate mixed bag of natural candy."  
You can also go to this website: 
and get a Halloween Fair Trade action kit.  Not only does it come with candy, but it is educational.
Great!  These are, of course, way more expensive than Kit Kat bars, so I wanted to find out what the best option would be for run-of-the-mill commercial candies.  This was a real challenge, because none of them are good for the environment in their packaging or production.  But here are a few things to keep in mind if you can't afford the organic stuff:
Anything packaged in cardboard is better than plastic.  You can recycle the cardboard, but those tiny insidious wrappers won't biodegrade.
If you are going with chocolate, Cadbury has just announced they will begin using fair-trade chocolate, and while Hershey's is NOT fairtrade, you can actually recycle Hershey's Kiss wrappers.
Avoid wrapping you little candies in a bigger plastic bag.  I know they are cute as can be, but they just get thrown in the trash.
Use a natural-material bag for candy collecting.
Most of all, walk the neighborhood instead of driving!  This is the most eco-friendly choice you can make on Halloween.

Don't forget to stop by and Toys-R-Us or Babies-R-Us and pick up your free little Unicef box to Trick-or-Treat with.  A donation as small as 7 cents can get a child clean water for a day.

And finally, I found this great website:
It is fantastic!  It tells you all sorts of things you can do from solar halloween lights to a national costume swap.  In fact, this whole blog entry could have just been, "Go to"

So check it out!  And (said in spooky Vincent Price voice) Happy Halloweeeeeeeeen!

totally depressing environmental fact:
200,00 children in West Africa work under forced labor on cocoa farms

totally exciting environmental tip:
If you own a cat (black or otherwise!), get some of these more earth-friendly litters:

- Silica gel pearls (made from sand, no dust)
- Recycled newspaper that's been compressed into pellets
- Ground corn cobs
- Extruded straw pellets
- Pine sawdust from lumber waste
- Kenaf plant pellets (a fast growing hibiscus)
- Other products made from cellulose fiber
Used cat litter can also be used in your garden as a mulch or fertilizer