When you turn a bottle of baby lotion around and read the ingredients, what you see there can be scary. So many products for babies' skin are full of chemicals, including ones that are known to cause allergic reactions and could pose a risk for cancer like parabens. You'll find many of those same chemicals in your own skin care products, too.
I'm always on the lookout for green products that I can use to further expand my eco-footprint, and one of the great brands that I’ve stumbled upon is Melvita, a French skin care collection. What drew me to Melvita originally was that the brand is certified by ECOCERT, an international organization that uses a very strict set of criteria for awarding its certified organic designation.
Even though I only learned about Melvita recently, the brand has been around since 1983 when it was founded by biologist Bernard Chevilliat. In his spare time, Chevilliat enjoys beekeeping, so many of the products contain organic beeswax and honey.
A major feature of the Melvita collection is the baby skin care line. The brand has an organic diaper cream, organic baby lotion and natural cleansers and tear-free shampoos for infants. The formulas are hypoallergenic to be gentle on babies' skin. too. For new and expectant moms, there's also a natural nipple cream and an organic stretch mark treatment in the Melvita range.
In the main skin care collection, Melvita bar soaps are the signature product. The soaps come in a variety of scents and all contain organic shea butter, so they don't dry out your skin the way many bar soaps do. My favorite fragrance is the Honeysuckle and Bergamot, but the Mint and Green Tea is really exhilarating in the shower. Melvita even makes a line of animal-shaped bar soaps for kids.
For the guys, Melvita offers organic shaving products, deodorants and a special line of skin care formulas. There's even organic hair care, toothpastes and feminine hygiene products in the Melvita range.
If you’re ready to ditch chemical-laden skin care for your health and for your family’s well-being, you can check out the Melvita website. Let us know what you think about the brand or if you’ve ever tried Melvita products before!
Some days when I go to get my mail, I think to myself that it just couldn't be possible for me to get any more junk mail in my mailbox, but apparently the post office wants to try. In an effort to increase revenues and save the postal system, the U.S. Postal Service is attempting to strike an agreement with a direct mail company called Valassis (the company that creates RedPlum discount packs), which could potentially increase the amount of junk mail that American homes receive from the average of six pieces that is common today.
The deal stipulates that the USPS will give Valassis a substantial discount off of its mailing costs, provided the company agrees to increase the amount of junk mail that it sends out. While this will help the postal service raise more than $107 million, the environmental impact could be devastating. And the USPS' decision to subsidize junk mail rather than small business parcel shipments, which would have made it more competitive against Fedex and UPS, is questionable at best.
As it stands now, junk mail already destroys 2.6 million trees per year and adds 1 billion pounds of trash in landfills annually. While the fate of the Valassis-USPS deal is in the hands of the court system now as the Newspaper Association of America fights to stop it, there are some things you can do to make a difference.
1. Opt out of RedPlum coupon circulars so that you won't receive any of the junk mail packets. You can do so by completing a form on the Valassis website.
2. While you're at it, visit the Direct Marketing Association website and use their DMA Choice program. This lets you choose what type of direct mailings (if any) you receive from member companies.
3. Stop credit card offers by visiting OptOutPrescreen.com. You can choose to stop offers for five years or permanently.
4. Report suspicious mail offers for things like loan consolidations, sweepstakes and charities that just seem fishy. The FTC makes it easy to file a complaint. When you report potential scams, you're not only helping cut back on the paper waste that these ads create; you're also helping to protect vulnerable members of your community from potential criminals.
5. Share this post with your friends and family, so that they can cut down on their junk mail, too.
Paperless Kitchen wants to know, "How much junk mail did you receive today?" Post a comment and tell us about it!
Even though the controversy over the chemical additive isn't new by any means, BPA is still frequently in the news. Just this week, North Carolina State University released a summary of the results of a study on the harmful effects of BPA. The study confirms what numerous others have found--that exposure to bisphenol A or BPA early in life can lead to changes in gene expression. These changes have been linked to anxiety disorders in men and women and impaired prostate function in men.
It's studies like these that are the cause behind the push to have BPA banned in many parts of the world. Earlier this week, an environmental group testified in a hearing at the Maine State Chamber as the discussion over a bill to prohibit the sale of plastic products that contain BPA continues. Complete and partial bans of BPA are already in place in more than 10 states.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned the use of BPA in baby bottles, but many polycarbonate plastic products still contain the chemical. Many of these products have the number 7 recycling symbol printed on them, but others do not. Since it can be difficult to tell which items in your cupboard contain BPA, the best way to protect your children from the additive is to switch to sustainable, plastic alternatives, such as bamboo drinkware, plates and silverware. BPA is often used to line aluminum cans, too, so limiting your use of canned foods and drinks can also help protect your kids from the chemical.
Paperless Kitchen wants to know, "Are you concerned about BPA? What steps have you taken to eliminate it in your home?"
Making the choice to use cloth diapers instead of disposables goes hand in hand with having a paperless kitchen, as experts believe that it takes 200 to 250 years for just one disposable diaper to decompose. Clearly, choosing cloth diapers is a responsible way to protect the planet for our children, but there's no denying that cloth diapers present some challenges.
One way to combat many of the problems with cloth diapers is to use a fine quality diaper cover, and among the options available on the market, those made from organic wool are some of the best for a number of reasons.
- Sustainability Wool is a completely renewable resource. Each sheep typically produces more than 7 pounds of wool per shear, and it usually only takes one year for sheep to have enough wool for shearing.
- Animal-Friendly Organic farms use sheering methods that are gentle, and removing the wool helps keep sheep cooler during the hot summer months.
- Waterproof Sheep produce a natural oil known as lanolin, which is left behind in the wool. The oily texture of lanolin naturally repels water, so it makes diaper covers waterproof without the need for any chemical or synthetic additives.
- Breathable Wool allows air to circulate through its fibers, which helps cut down on the risk for diaper rash. The breathable nature of wool also makes the diaper covers cool during hot weather, yet cozy when it's cold outside.
- Antimicrobial To protect the sheep, wool is naturally resistant to bacteria and fungi. This makes wool diaper covers a sanitary choice.
- Easy Care Organic wool diaper covers are typically machine-washable. The durable fabric holds up well in the wash, allowing you to reuse the diaper covers with all of your children or give them to a friend when you're finished with them.
No matter how many great paper towel replacements you find or recycling centers that you locate in your local area, there's no denying that moving to a paperless lifestyle requires work. By learning more about ways to reduce your paper waste, you can make the task easier, but the entire reason that paper towels, paper plates and other paper products exist in the first place is because they are convenient. In my own quest to live a greener life, I sometimes find myself tempted to take the easy route, and when I talk to friends, I realize that I'm not alone in this.
That's why I wanted to take a few moments and post some statistics that help me remember the importance of reducing my own paper waste. Sometimes all it takes is a reminder that even my small changes can make a difference when it comes to protecting our planet.
- Each year, Americans use roughly 734 pounds of paper each, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. By recycling just 119 pounds of newspaper, you can save just one tree, reports Government of Canada's Digital Collections. Even small changes like consistently avoiding one type of paper product or recycling all of the old newspapers and magazines around your home can have a huge impact.
- "When paper rots or is composted it emits methane gas which is 25 times more toxic than CO2," shares the International Institute for Environment and Development. When you don't add paper to your trash, you're not just helping to prevent over-crowding in landfills; you're also protecting the quality of the air we breathe.
- Around 30 to 40 percent of trash is packaging, explains the Cornell Waste Management Institute. That's not paper waste--that's total trash! By choosing products that use eco-friendly packaging, you're making a huge impact on the amount of toxin-producing garbage that sits in our landfills.
What's your paperless motivation? Statistics like these? Thoughts of future generations? Something else entirely? Share it with us in the Comments section
Each year more than 210 billion sheets of paper are used in fax machines in the United States alone, according to Tech Soup. The impact that all that paper has on the planet is profound when you consider that the faxing needs of an average-sized company in the United States requires four full-grown trees worth of paper.
Clearly, cutting back on faxing is one of the most important ways that you can bring the paperless revolution to your workplace. Here's some tips on ways to reduce faxing paper waste.
1. Sign up for an Internet faxing service. If you only fax a few items per day, you can take advantage of Fax Zero, which will allow you to upload and fax 5 documents every 24 hours. This cuts back on the number of fax confirmations forms that print from your machine. Other pay services allow you to both send and receive faxes through your email, so that you can print only the documents that you really need to have in paper form.
2. Ditch the fax cover sheets. Whenever possible, don't send along a cover sheet. If you know the receiver is expecting your fax, ask them if it's alright if you don't include one so that you can cut back on paper waste. As an added bonus, this may make them start to think about the impact of the paper waste associated with faxing.
3. Convert to one-page memos. In some companies, memos have to be sent via fax rather than email. If you're not already using one, create a document that has a space for your name, the date and the subject of the memo in a header with room at the bottom to type your message.
4. Learn to create PDFs. Programs like Adobe make creating PDF documents incredibly easy. Once you learn how to make a PDF, you'll find that there's many times that you can email something to a contact instead of relying on the fax machine.
5. Recycle! Sometimes you just won't be able to avoid sending or receiving a fax, so be sure to recycle all of the unneeded paper that makes its way across your fax machine, as well as the other used paper in your office. If you don't have one, invest in a shredder so that even private documents can be properly recycled.
How do you cut back on faxing at work? Any other thoughts on how to go paperless in your office? Share your ideas with us!
In my house, I have a box that I call the electronics graveyard. Sorting through its contents is like a course in the history of cell phones, media players and laptop computers. Each time I upgrade, I end up relegating my older electronics to the box, not wanting to throw them in the trash, but never knowing what else to do with them. When I talk to my friends, I hear tales of similar boxes, shelves and spots in garages and storage sheds filled with automotive products, leftover construction supplies and a host of other things that seem too useful to throw away.
iRecycle is an app designed to help you find facilities that will recycle those items in your own graveyard, making it easy to unclutter your life without adding to waste problems. Here's a rundown on this useful app from Earth911.com.
- Available for any iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad with iOS 4.0 or later and Android 2.1 and later models
- Languages include English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian and Spanish
- Allows you to search for recycling centers for automotive parts, batteries, construction supplies, electronics, garden items, glass, hazardous materials, household items, metal, paint, paper and plastic. Under each category, there is a multitude of specific materials, so that you can find places that will take everything from asphalt to musical instruments.
- Uses your location to find the recycling centers closest to you and in most cases, tells you how many miles they are from your location.
- Provides detailed information about each center, including restrictions on drop-offs, if pickup is available and whether or not the organization is a nonprofit. Hours and contact information are also provided, and you can call a center or visit its website with just one click.
- Catalogs recent environmental news articles and green blog posts from a variety of online sources
iRecycle really does make it easy to find places that will take all of those unwanted items that are cluttering your home. There are listings for things I never even thought about recycling like metal hangers. Using the app helped me discover recycling centers in my local area that I didn't even know existed. In minutes, I was able to find places that would accept everything in my electronics graveyard and use the center profile to plan when I'd visit to drop off my stuff.
The articles component for iRecycle is informative and good for finding things to read when you need to kill time before an appointment or when you're surfing the net at home. One problem I had with the articles section was that not all of the photographs displayed inside of the app, which made some DIY articles that relied heavily on pictures hard to enjoy.
While most of the time when we think of reducing waste in our kitchen our minds go to cutting back on plastic and paper waste, a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council suggests that we should also be mindful of how much food we waste.
This alarming report explains that 40 percent of the food purchased in the United States is destined for landfills. Restaurants and grocery stores are big contributors to the problem of wasted food, but with 1 in 6 Americans suffering from hunger, it's unconscionable to not think about how much of the food that we buy ends up spoiling before we can eat it. Cutting back on your household's food waste is also good for the planet. While food waste is biodegradable, it does take up space in already crowded landfills.
Check out the infographic that the Natural Resources Defense Council put together showing Food Consumed versus Food Lost:
Here are some tips that you can use in your paperless kitchen to reduce wasted food in your home.
1. Don't grocery shop hungry. It's funny to think about, but true--when you go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, you often over-buy and end up with things that you simply can't use before they expire.
2. Freeze, freeze, freeze If you end up with extra ingredients when you finish up a recipe, package the rest and put it in the freezer for next time.
3. Check your produce. Make it a goal to check your produce once per day. When your fruits and veggies start to become too soft to eat raw, use them to make sauce, salsa, soup or jelly before it spoils. You can always can or freeze it to use another time.
4. Store your food properly. Keep eggs in their original cartons and store milk inside of your fridge, never on the door, to keep them from spoiling prematurely. Only store your produce in your refrigerator's crisper. Line the bottom of the cripser with a bamboo or soy disposable towel to absorb excess moisture and keep your produce fresher for longer.
5. Keep tabs on your fridge. Make sure your refrigerator is well-organized with plenty of space between foods to allow for proper air circulation. Never block the vents inside of your fridge with food.
Following these easy tips will help you dramatically cut down on wasted food in your home to protect the planet and save you money.
We are excited to partner with SimpleMom today to offer everyone the chance to win a Paperless Kitchen Starter Kit! In this giveaway, we are offering one lucky person the starter kit which includes kit are 15 PaperlessKitchen Skoy cloths , the People Towels Family Kit and two rolls of the Bambooee Bamboo Towels – a $130 value! To register, go to http://simplemom.net/weekend-giveaway-paperlesskitchen/ and leave a comment on the article. And also like us on Facebook for an extra chance to win!
The giveaway ends tonight, so hurry to get your chance to win. And make sure to tell your friends!
Years ago, when I first realized that I could buy 15 rolls of paper towels for $25 at my local membership warehouse club, it seemed like a great deal. I paid just $1.66 per roll and rarely had to worry about running out. But as the months and years went by and I continued to purchase packages of paper towel rolls so large that they barely fit in the trunk of my car, I started to think about the effect that this “bargain” was having on the environment.
I already knew that trees are being cut down at an unsustainable rate, but when I learned that 3,000 tons of paper towel waste is produced each day and that 40% of US landfill trash is paper products, I began to think about my own contribution to this ecological nightmare. It was time to put a stop to my addiction. But how? I had grown accustomed to reaching for a paper towel every time I needed to clean, dry, wipe, strain, or cover anything.
That’s when I learned about Bambooee, the reusable bamboo towel. A roll of Bambooee looks just like a roll of paper towels, except it’s made up of 20 sheets of organic bamboo, which is the world’s fastest growing plant. It is 100% biodegradable and requires no pesticides, insecticides, or fertilizers. Bambooee cloths are strong and absorbent, and one roll lasts as long as 60 rolls of paper towels! That’s six months of paper towel use for the average family. To top it off, with every roll of Bambooee purchased, the Trees for the Future agroforestry training program plants a tree in one of the thousands of communities where they work around the world.
I’m proud to say that I now live in a paper towel-free household. My guilt is gone and my wallet is happy. Making the switch to Bambooee was a simple lifestyle change that has allowed me to become a part of the eco-solution. Now that’s a habit I can feel good about!
A question for other Bambooee users out there:
Any tips for how to keep track of different cloths while they’re in
use? I don’t want to mix up the cloth I use cleaning products on with the cloth
that I wipe food with, but they are all the same color. Looking forward to
hearing your advice! Please leave comments below!