By Shana Fischer
As Kermit the frog often says, “It isn’t easy being green.” Maybe that’s true for a frog in a relationship with a bossy pig. But, when it comes to being “green” in your life, it doesn’t have to be as hard as Kermit and Miss Piggy’s love affair. Living sustainably can be achieved in all aspects of your life from your home to your personal products.
Let’s start with your home. There are the obvious things like green cleaners. You can find plant-based cleaning products at the big box stores or online. You can also make them yourself with essential oils and a few non-toxic ingredients. Pour one cup of white vinegar into a spray bottle and add one cup of water. Add in a few drops of grapefruit or lemon essential oil and you have a non-toxic but powerful all-purpose cleaner. Use it on counter-tops, floors or in the bathroom.
Furniture can also be sustainable. The key to buying sustainable furniture is to look for the FSC certification. FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council. This organization certifies certain forests so you know when you buy certain furniture you are not depleting the Earth’s resources. You can also buy “green” flooring. Look into “reclaimed wood” but be careful about bamboo. Many people erroneously think bamboo is green because it appears to grow in abundance. Bamboo is not necessarily a good choice because it has to travel so far to get to us and in China, where it is harvested, labor practices and deforestation practices are in question.
City of Phoenix Recycling
When it comes to everyday ways to be sustainable you can start with something easy like recycling. Many cities have recycling programs. You can recycle everything from paper to certain plastic to the cardboard tubes from paper toweling. Look for ways to reuse products. Glass baby food jars can be rinsed out and used to store little items like screws or buttons. Talk to your neighbors, try a swap. Maybe they have a table they want to get rid of and you can use it. Upgrading your vacuum cleaner? See if a neighbor wants it or donate it to a shelter or rec center. Use recyclable bags at the grocery store, but be sure to wipe them down every two weeks with a disinfectant to get rid of germs. Try eating vegetarian once a week. Skipping meat can cut down on greenhouse gases, the amount of food needed to raise the animals, and saves the land from too much grazing.
Incorporating eco-friendly products into your beauty routine is easy. Buy products with little packaging and remember to recycle packaging if you can. Some makeup lines like MAC have programs that allow you to return your containers for free products. Look for products not tested on animals. Get your closet in order. Look for clothing made out of sustainable material and also try to buy items that don’t need to be dry cleaned. Dry cleaning releases toxic materials, so if you need to get that suit clean, aim for non-toxic and organic cleaners. Never throw your medications down the sink drain or in the toilet. They can wreak havoc on our water supply. And, finally skip those adult cleansing wipes that are so popular now. Flushing those wipes down the toilet can lead to major problems for sewer systems. Back in 2013, London officials removed a 15-ton, bus-sized clump of wipes and hardened food grease from the sewer system. Since then, several cities in the United States have had to remove so-called “fat-bergs” from their systems costing taxpayers millions.
Going green takes some thought, but very little time and the benefits are tremendous. Making a few changes can lead to a healthier life and also a healthier planet.
For more tips on leading a sustainable life, be sure to watch “Sustainability in the Desert”, a YurView special, on Cox 4 in Phoenix.
Maricopa County Food Coalition
Good Food Finder
Watch the full episode of Sustainability in the Desert here: