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Eco-Friendly: Simple Ways to Live Greener

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Environment—I think it's safe to say, don't you think, that none of us wake up thinking: "What can I do to harm the planet today?" To some extent, most of us want to help our planet in some way. We realize it's not an infinite resource and that we need to take care of it. There are a lot of recommendations, products, and resources out there for going green, above and beyond "reduce, reuse, recycle." I think it's safe to say that it's easy to get overwhelmed and not know what are really the best ways to take care of your little bit of earth.

So, at a MomItForward Girls' Night Out Twitter party last week, we asked for suggestions on what's worked best for people. Sponsored by Seventh Generation, a maker of environmentally-friendly cleaning products, and involving Laurie Berkner of children's rock music fame, we talked environmental baby steps.

10 Tips for Going Greener

  1. Start buying re-usable grocery bags instead of plastic, from @laur723 and many others. Some stores, like Target, will actually take money off your bill if you use the cloth bags. See this list for more information.
  2. Damp dust your electronics. According to this article from @healthy_child, doing so can keep brominated flame retardants, found particularly in older electronics, out of the air you breathe.
  3. Open your windows to clean out your indoor air, which is typically more polluted than outdoor air, says @healthy_child.
  4. Shop the aisle ends at Target. @ChooseWiser says "I shopped the back end caps at Target today and found tons of 50% off organic food! Victory!"
  5. Go for paper, cardboard, or glass over plastic, if you have the choice, says @glassisback. According to this article, doing so is wiser not only because it keeps non-decomposable plastics out of landfills, but also because it decreases your exposure to BPA. This tip is admittedly controversial, since both paper and plastic use natural resources and cause pollution, according to this article.
  6. Choose products that disclose all ingredients. When buying cleaning products, choose products that disclose all of their ingredients. Know that current OSHA standards (according to this article and this one) do not require listing of every single chemical, and that some of those chemicals can be harmful.
  7. Use baking soda in more ways. @ChooseWiser says you should let it sit on baked on dishes, then "swish scrub it's done." @glassisback also says putting baking soda in bath water with your baby not only cleans the tub, but also gets rid of diaper rash. She says, "This totally works! Put about 1/3 a cup in warm water bath, bathe about 15 minutes."
  8. Buy local. @austinKVS says "I buy from a local co-op bi-weekly and get a bushel of fresh produce. A fun challenge and good diet."
  9. Make your own musical instruments, with these tips from Laurie Berkner herself.
  10. Use a reusable Diva cup or cotton menstrual pad instead of traditional tampons or pads, which aren't that biodegradable, according to this source and this one.  This recommendation comes from @HuppieMama.

What helps you go greener? What steps do you make on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis to live greener?

Photo courtesy Salvatore Vuono.

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