Sunday, April 22, 2012

EVERY day.

Happy Earth Day!  I thought I would take some time this Earth Day and sing the praises of several products I use that help me make Earth Day part of my every day life.  I have spent time over the years researching and using a variety of reusable and eco-friendly products, and here are some of my favorites . . .

Sources for purchasing most of what I have listed below:

I know I've waxed poetic about Vitacost before, but my feelings are no less strong today.  :)  Vitacost carries just about every eco-friendly laundry, home cleaning, paper, healthcare, beauty, and vitamin products you'd want, most at more than 25% off retail prices, and they have a pretty extensive grocery selection, too.  They offer free shipping on orders over $49, (my friends and I often order together so we can hit the free shipping minimum,) and have incredible customer service.  (For example, every once in a while I receive a product that was damaged during shipment -- Vitacost has always replaced the item instantly, free of charge, no questions asked!)  If you've never visited Vitacost's website, please do so right now!
A great resource for purchasing reusables, they have a vast array of products to help replace many of the disposables in our lives.  I have found so many amazing products on their site over the years, and have even found great gifts to give as well!


Flip and Tumble produce bags

It seems as though nowadays, everyone carries a reusable shopping bag in their purse, car, bike bag, etc.  What a great start!  Think next about eliminating plastic produce bags by picking up a few sets of Flip and Tumble's bags -- they are lightweight, sturdy, hold up to being washed in the washing machine periodically, and can even be used for dry bulk items such as beans, pasta, nuts, etc.  Stuff a few of these inside your reusable shopping bag before you hit the store, and think about how many more bags you could eliminate over the course of a year!


I have seen a wide variety of reusable sandwich baggie-style pouches on the market these days, and while many of them are made with the cutest, hippest fabrics I've ever seen, only the Wrap-N-Mat opens completely flat!  They make a great placemat while you are eating, and are SO easy to clean.  I've even thrown these in the wash (on cold) when the fabric side needed a refresher.  Could you imagine trying to wipe peanut butter out of the corners of one of those baggie-style reusables?  I can't, which is why I love Wrap-N-Mats SO much!

This may be the last reusable lunch bag I buy.  I have owned my Built lunch tote for five years, and it is  still going strong.  Every once in a while, toss this in the wash on cold and drip-dry, and it's practically as good as new.  Carefully choose your pattern, as this bad boy ain't gonna wear out any time soon, and whatever you choose you're gonna be stuck with forever!  ;)  (P.S. These bags are roomy enough to hold a couple meals' worth of food for me, yet fold down flat when empty!)

reusable drinking straws

This may seem like a little step, but if you drink a near-daily smoothie during the summer like I do, think about how many plastic drinking straws you will save!  I don't have a dishwasher, so I always make sure to rinse out my straw as soon as I'm done using it, or I fear I will never get it clean again.  :)

Reusit Hemp and Organic Cotton Napkins

I purchased four sets of these napkins a year ago, and have been so pleased with their quality!  They are nice enough to use for guests, yet sturdy and durable enough for every-day use (and weekly washings!)  Keep a stack on your dining table, throw one in your lunchbox, and think about how many paper napkins/paper towels you will save in a year!

Since I don't have a dishwasher and I love to cook, I wash a LOT of dishes.  Until I discovered "True Blues," I was never happy with dish/cleaning gloves.  They were always too large for me, and seemed to get holes in them almost instantly.  True Blues, however?  They come in four sizes, (and the Small is just right for my petite hands,) and are practically indestructible.  I swear to you, I have had pairs of these last for longer than six months!  They are more expensive than standard dish gloves, but SO worth the investment!

One thing you may find when you incorporate more reusables into your life is that you'll be doing a little more laundry . . . I tend to generate a full load of towels, rags, napkins, etc. per week, in addition to my clothes.  Reusable laundry supplies to the rescue!

One thing I discovered when I started eliminating traditional cleaning and health/beauty products from my life is that I became more sensitive to artificial fragrances.  I've had good luck using dryer balls and static eliminator dryer sheets, instead of traditional dryer sheets in my laundry loads:
Dryer Balls

My clothes come out soft and nearly static-free, and the dryer balls help fluff up puffy items like vests, comforters, and jackets.  The balls also shorten dry-times!

So, the Super Wash Ball essentially allows you to eliminate laundry detergent.  I use the Super Wash Balls in each load of wash I do, with a teensie amount of detergent -- maybe a quarter of what is recommended on the package.  Maybe someday, I'll be brave enough to try a detergent-free load.  Until then, I'm just happy that I buy laundry detergent once a year.  ;)


A small change to make, but an important one.  Think . . . is there really anything wrong with your toothbrush handle after three months?  Nope.  :)  The heads on these brushes pop out easily, and after a quick scrub in hot, soapy water, (or a run through the dishwasher, if you are so lucky to have access to one,) you are ready to pop on a new head and keep brushing.  I've been rocking the same toothbrush handle for a few years, now, and it's still in perfect condition!

I use a wide variety of Seventh Generation products, including toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, (for guests -- I myself use handkerchiefs,) dish soap, laundry detergent, and cleaning products.  I am especially fond of the single-ply, 1000 sheet rolls of toilet paper.  Why?  I swear, a single roll of this TP lasts me at least a week, if not longer.  I have no idea how, which is why I think it might be magic.  Yep, magic TP -- thank you, Seventh Generation!

I switched to applicator-free tampons almost ten years ago, and made the switch to organic cotton tampons a couple of years later.  I have been impressed with the quality of these tampons, (I've also used Seventh Generation brand, although I find Natracare to generally be a little cheaper,) and couldn't imagine switching back to "conventional" products.

My favorite shampoos and conditioners, hands-down.  Eco-friendly, delightfully fragranced with natural oils and such, and really pretty affordable.

I love Burt's Bees face washes, lip balms, and hand creams!  They tend to be a little more expensive than some other similar natural products, but I find I use such a small amount, it doesn't seem to matter.


I have a small stash of these towels, and they come in so handy!  I have one clipped inside my purse for drying my hands when out and about, (I have a weird thing about those automatic hand dryers . . . they don't really work, and I feel like they just blow germy bathroom air directly back onto my hands,) and keep one in my hiking pack as well.  I used to run my belt through a people towel M-F, which practically eliminated my paper towel usage at work, but lately, I wash my hands MUCH more with the toddlers, so it's no longer really work-practical for me.  (I don't really want to walk around all day with a wet towel dangling at my waist.)

These are a few of my favorites . . . what are some of your favorite eco-friendly and/or reusable products on the market?

Whatever you do to celebrate Earth Day today, have a good one.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Thank you for sharing your list! I'm going to look into those laundry balls and the people towels also sound great!