It's important for everyone, but especially for homes with infants or children...cutting out the chemicals. Alison's taken a few small, but major steps to make her family's home as chemical-free as possible. Though she still has a few challenges to work on, find out what she's done so far below...
Green Move: Cutting Out Those Chemicals: In Food, Storage, and Cleaning Products.
We shop at a grocery store that sells only organic produce and we have a CSA share with an Organic Farm. We top our groceries off with trips to the farmers market (local cheeses, mushrooms, etc) and a local organic farm for eggs and a few other things we don't get from our CSA. We're also growing our own tomatoes and potatoes, strawberries and peppers in our back yard. We also compost our fruit & veggie waste, coffee grounds & egg shells. To kill weeds in our yard we either pull them up or use Perfectly Natural weed killer (clove oil) and Perfectly Natural fertilizer on our tomatoes.
When it comes to cleaning products we've been using a variety of eco friendly non-toxic products from Eco-products, Ecover, Bio-kleen and good old baking soda & vinegar. We've also tried eliminating plastics from the kitchen, using Pyrex and ARC bowls and storage containers. Please note that none of our old toxic cleaners or plastic containers went down the drain or into the trash, but were either finished up by us, given away on Freecycle or donated to the Humane Society Thrift Shop.
Extra Green Move: Cutting Down on the 1 Mile Car Trips
We've been biking to the farmers market, our nearby grocery store, liquor store, bank, pet store, and a local organic farm on the weekends and several times per week. A few of these things actually come in under 2 miles (versus 1 mile) but it is fun and feasible all the same!
Next Biggest Challenge/Frustration: Cutting Back on the AC
We live on the Colorado plains in full sun, in a house that is 11 years old and that does not have great tree cover. We also made the mistake of painting the house dark blue (we love the look) last year and now we roast on hot days. The biggest problem is keeping the upstairs cool -- we try not to run the AC, but we also don't want to cook our son during naps or at night. Lately, the upstairs has been starting the day at about 74F (we open the windows first thing in the AM and then close them) but my 10 AM it is already nearing 80F...we try not to run the AC or to set the AC below 77F, but of late we find ourselves caving in and lowering it to 74 or 73 around 5 pm. We recently learned about solar attic fans and a neighbor who has one says it is awesome. We got an estimate and to install one in our home is about $900, so we are hoping to budget for getting one installed this fall. We really hope that this will cut our AC us WAY back!
and thus cut our carbon foot print and our electric bill!
Inspiration: Will Toor- former Mayor and founder of CU Environmental Center
I met him through the CU Environmental Center and then later by living in a Co-op (http://www.boulderhousingcoalition.org/masala.html), which he helped to create. He has almost always commuted by bike (or on rare occasion an ancient geo metro) and was my first introduction to a CSA farm back in 2000. Today he is a county commissioner and recently gave up his county owned Prius for a county owned electric bike (keeps him from getting to meetings too sweaty!). Basically, he and his family are the most hard core greenies I've come across, yet they also meld with mainstream society and I can't help but try and help my family live as green as the Toor family!
Thanks for sharing Alison!
Please send us photos and info on how you live green@home. This is not a contest, just a way to build up an AT inspirational database of sorts on how real folks are living greener at home.
Simple, straightforward ideas are welcome, like how you deal with your recycling bin in a small kitchen, and so are ambitious projects - like your amazing green roof. We hope to have a big archive of ideas to inspire us all by the end of the month.
In exchange for sharing your green@home ideas, Ecover will reward the first 100 ApartmentTherapy readers, who submit photo/essays demonstrating ways in which their lives are green, with their choice of Ecover Liquid Laundry detergent, Ecover Dishwashing Liquid, or Ecover Glass & Surface spray cleaner. Each of the first 100 will also receive Ecover Heavy Duty hand cleanser.
Raksha Bella will reward one lucky sweepstakes winner with a complete bedding set made from all certiefied Indian organic cottons. The set includes a queen-sized duvet cover, quilt, two pillow cases and two European shams in the winner's choice of three designs. The Classic Collection from Raksha Bella features sumptous textiles in traditional Indian prints, handblocked with lowimpact and vegetable dyes. Choose from the Raj Paisley (available in Indigo or Rum Raisin), Tree of Life (in Canton & Mimosa) or Indian Rose (in Dusty Cedar, Cress Green or Indigo). A retail value of $1,165.00.
HOW TO ENTER:
To enter the Green @ Home Giveaway, please submit below. Submissions will be posted from July 7th to August 1 and winners will be notified by August 8th.
Please, only one submission per person. Duplicate submissions will be discarded.
This is not a contest.
The first 100 posted submissions will receive a gift from Ecover.
The winner of the Raksha Bella Sweepstakes will be randomly drawn from all complete entries (even those that aren't posted).
Winners must claim their prize within three business days after the date of notification of such prize. A Sweepstakes winner's failure to respond to the prize notification within the specified three business days will be considered such Sweepstakes winner's forfeiture of the prize and an alternate winner may be selected from the pool of eligible entries. If an entrant is found to be ineligible, an alternate winner may also be selected from the pool of eligible entries.
To enter, you must be a U.S. resident, age 18 or older to enter. Employees, partners and vendors of Apartment Therapy and their immediate family members are not eligible to enter. We will disqualify any entries that we believe are generated by scripts and other automated technology. When applicable, the winner may be required to execute and return within five business days an Affidavit of Eligibility and a Liability and Publicity Release to be eligible for the prize or an alternate winner will be selected.
All prizes will be awarded. No substitutions including for cash are permitted, except that Apartment Therapy reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater monetary value for any prize. Winners shall be responsible and liable for all federal, state and local taxes on the value of their prize. To receive a complete list of winners or a copy of the Official Sweepstakes Rules, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Apartment Therapy, 22 Howard Street #4i, New York, NY 10013.