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The Problem with Plastics

Studies have shown that water and other beverages in plastic containers may not be safe or desirable. Chemicals in the plastics can leak out into the water. These chemicals may cause a variety of health problems such as cancers, an increased risk of miscarriage, and interference with the body’s hormonal system.

The manufacture of plastic bottles uses large amounts of energy and generates toxic pollutants. Plus, although these plastics may be recycled, millions of plastic bottles end up in landfills each year.

Metal Water Bottles Are a Better Choice

A healthy goal is to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. It’s still a good plan to carry water with you as you travel, play sports, or go to the gym. In this era of green practices, the new focus is on staying hydrated in the most eco-friendly way.

•    Instead of buying spring water, use filtered tap water.

•    Replace those plastic bottles with portable metal water bottles.

•    Aluminum bottles, such as those made by Sigg, are safe to use and can be reused repeatedly. They can also be recycled eventually

•    Stainless steel bottles, such as those made by Klean Kanteen, are easy to clean and maintain. They can also fit into bicycle water bottle cages.

There are many sources for buying the new metal water bottles. Look in health food and natural food markets. Check out camping and backpacking supply stores. Some coffee shops carry both hot and cold bottles. And, of course, there are many online sources.

As metal bottles become more popular, there are many new brands popping up. Be sure to choose bottles that have non-toxic and non-leaching liners. Metal bottles come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and patterns. Ideally they should be both durable and lightweight. A wise consumer always researches brands and product quality before buying.

In Summary:

– Be certain that you are choosing a bottle that does not leach, check the recycling symbol on your bottle.

–  If it is a #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), or a #4 LDPE (low density polyethylene), or a #5 PP (polypropylene), your bottle is fine.

–  The type of plastic bottle in which water is usually sold is usually a #1, and is only recommended for one time use. Do not refill it.

–  Better to use a reusable water bottle, and fill it with your own filtered water from home and keep these single-use bottles out of the landfill. Unfortunately, those fabulous colorful hard plastic lexan bottles made with polycarbonate plastics and identified by the #7 recycling symbol, may leach BPA.

Useful Tips

•    You can carry drinking water in those metal travel coffee mugs, also.

•    Recycle your old plastic Nalgene bottles.

•    Rinse your water bottles frequently and thoroughly.

•    Cut in lemon or lime slices for extra flavor.

•    Add electrolyte powder mixes for that sports drink boost.

•    Get a bottle that can clip on to your belt or tote for easy transport.

Thanks to Who’s green

what kind of bottles you use? share your views in the comments section below.

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DIY: 10 THINGS TO DO WITH AN OLD T-SHIRT

Ten great DIY projects you can make from an old T-shirt.

If you’re anything like me, you have tons of old T-shirts laying around in your drawers collecting dust. Instead of dumping them all in a collection bin, turn them into something useful. You’ll be amazed at how many things you could actually make from a humble tee. Here are ten of our favorites.

Wrapped Bracelets
You can never have enough bracelets, and there are so many great ones you can make yourself. All you need to create these wrapped bracelets are some old tees and bangles you no longer use (or look in the thrift stores for them). Follow these simple instructions by Camilla Fabbri and start wrapping.

Market Tote
Plastic bags are slowly but surely being banned in cities around the country. This stylish market tote is great to carry with you, whether you are shopping at the supermarket or the farmers market. Follow this simple tutorial by delia creates and make one in every color.

Scarf
If you have a sewing machine, this DIY scarf is very easy to make following this tutorial by wienerdog tricks. Use one T-shirt for a monochrome, more refined look or go wild and mix colors or create a tribute piece from all those old band tees you’ve held onto since forever – the possibilities are endless.

Knotted Headband
This stylish headband is super easy to make, with nothing but a few cuts, knots, and glue. If headbands aren’t quite your thing, you can easily make it into an equally stylish belt by just making it longer. Check out this tutorial by Lovestitched for inspiration and how-tos.

Knotted Rug
I love DIY projects that look like they came straight out of a fancy design store, and this knotted flokati-style rug is a great example of that. It does take a bit of manual labor but, following this tutorial by Xoelle, it’s quite easy. And your friends will surely be impressed that you actually made it.

Necklace
Quite far from those macaroni necklaces we all made in school, this DIY necklace is simple to make with just a few tools, following this tutorial by Whole Living. Make it grown up and elegant in one color, like above, or choose a tee with a more intricate pattern or print for a funkier take on the same theme.

No-Sew Vest
If you have about five minutes to make something out of that old tee, try this simple no-sew vest by Wobisobi, which requires nothing but a pair of scissors to make. A great summer piece to throw on over your favorite tee to create a layered, casual look.

Skirt with Pockets
This DIY recycled T-shirt skirt by Out of Order is as simple as it is clever. No material is wasted – even the sleeves are used to make pockets. Use it as a simple summer skirt, or do as demonstrated in the photo above and decorate it with buttons down the front for a more dressed-up look.

Placemats
Dress up your table for a summer party with DIY placemats made from T-shirt fabric scraps. This tutorial by Creative Jewish Mom shows you how to create a simple homemade loom that you’ll use to weave the scraps together – no fancy equipment required.

T-Shirt Yarn
A great way to make use of old tees is to make them into T-shirt Yarn. It’s simple and you’ll actually end up with a ball of soft (just like your favorite tee) continuous yarn that you can then use to crochet, knit or knot. Check out this video tutorial by Relevé Design to learn how.

Thanks to Eco Salon

Let me know if you have any other interesting ideas with an old t.shirt in the comments section below:

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When deciding to make your home more energy efficient and eco-friendly, many people forget about one of the most used rooms in their home – the bathroom. Since the bathroom is so frequently used on a daily basis, and it is where most of the water usage in the home comes from, it is probably an area that is causing you to pay the most money in terms of energy costs. However, it is never too late to make your bathroom as energy efficient as the rest of your home. Keep reading to find out how.

Pick Out Energy Efficient Fixtures:

Toilets: When creating a more energy efficient bathroom, it is useful to think over the kinds of fixtures you choose. Toilets are one of the biggest sources of water usage in the bathroom, especially older toilets. Whether it is a problem like a running toilet or too much water used per flush, older toilets will add to your water bill. There are various new toilets on the market now that are designed to conserve water. These toilets are made to use more suction and less water per flush. This means that more water is being conserved and less is being wasted. This is a great step to take when deciding to make your bathroom greener.

Bathtubs: Your bathtub is another fixture that could be causing you to use more energy than needed in your bathroom, and this is even more true for older bathtubs. Older bathtubs are typically made out of cast iron or steel, which is very cold to lay against when taking a bath. This causes people to raise the temperature of their bath water to make them feel warmer in the tub. Acrylic tubs are warmer to the touch and could help you reduce the amount of hot water you use in the bath. If you do decide to change your tub, you should consider hiring a professional bathroom remodelling company to help get the job done.

Showers: If water consumption is something you care about, you should assess the shower head you are currently using. So many shower heads use tonnes of water per 5 minutes of use. That is a lot of wasted water and a lot of money on your energy bills. A very good choice to make to help decrease your bathroom’s energy consumption is to buy and install a new shower head that uses less water per shower. These shower heads are low pressure and use tonnes less water per 5 minutes of showering which will significantly reduce your energy costs. Assess Your

Lighting Situation:

Energy Efficient Lightbulbs: Lighting is perhaps one of the easiest ways you can lower the amount of energy you consume in your bathroom. It doesn’t matter what kind of lighting system you have, it is as easy as changing the bulbs. Switching from regular bulbs to energy efficient light bulbs may cost a little bit more at first, but the money you save in the long run will far surpass the extra few dollars you spend now. Energy efficient bulbs use only a fraction of the electricity of regular bulbs and last up to 15 times longer. Another way to save some money is to add a dimmer to your new energy efficient bulbs. This way when the bathroom is being used for purposes such as taking a relaxing bath or shower, the lights can by dimmed since they are not needed so bright.

What Do Your Windows Look Like?:

New Windows: Another energy consuming culprit in your bathroom could be your windows, if there are any. There is a lot of moisture in bathrooms and this can cause damage to the windows and window frames over time. This can then lead to leaks of hot and cold air in and out of the bathroom from the window. This can also lead to a spike in your heating and cooling bills. If this is the case, and there is permanent damage to your windows that cannot be fixed, you may want to consider having a new bathroom window installed. Opt for an energy efficient window that will help regulate the temperature in the bathroom. You will find a decrease in your future energy bills for sure.

If you have any other ideas to make your bathroom more energy efficient, Please do share in the comments section below.

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It’s back-to-school season, and you know what that means. Fresh notebooks, sharp colored pencils, and crisp, clean backpacks. Shopping for school supplies was my bliss as a child. That, and cookie dough. Now getting green school supplies is easy because there are so many options out there. So first things first:
1. Backpacks. Getting an eco-friendly backpack can be as simple as getting one that’s built to last a whole year, one that you won’t need to replace come November. After all, some backpacks barely last a month, let alone a whole school year. But if you’d like to go even further than that, I’ve got the backpack for you. Conventional backpacks, especially the plastic ones for little kids, can contain potentially harmful chemicals and dyes. Enter EcoGear’s EcoZoo backpacks. These backpacks feature adorable furry friends and are made from recycled and renewable materials, don’t contain PVC and are colored with nontoxic dyes. EcoGear even has a line of backpacks for older kids too (in case your eighth-grader doesn’t want to carry around a backpack shaped like a panda).
2. Crayons. Traditional crayons are made from petroleum, so why not try soy crayons this year for school? Soy crayons were developed by two inventive young Perdue students back in 1993 as an entry into a soybean utilization contest. Unlike regular crayons, soy crayons are completely biodegradable. Two brands to try?Crayon Rocks, which are virtually indestructible and fun for kids to use because of their unique shape (which is said to improve your kid’s handwriting grip too), andPrang, which sells eight crayons for only a dollar. Who says eco-friendly gear has to break the bank?
3. Lunch boxes. Where do I begin? There are just too many cute, eco-friendly ways to bring your lunch to school these days! PlanetBox’s lunch boxes, made from stainless steel, are great for older kids and picky eaters who need a variety of foods to make lunch interesting. They’re also good for kids (and adults) who don’t like their noodles fraternizing with their fruit. Another option is bento boxes, which are colorful, contain no toxic chemicals and are super easy to clean. I also love theKids Konserve lunch bags. Finally, I absolutely love the adorable Crocodile Creek lunch boxes that have held up perfectly through two school years for my toddler and are free of PVC and phthalates.
4. Water Bottle: Just say no to disposable water bottles – especially when we’re talking about putting them into kids’ lunches all week. For $10, citizenpip has a cute aluminum one
5. Pens and pencils. Another thing you can buy for your kids this year isGrassroots’ biodegradable pens. Made entirely from corn starch, these pens will completely disintegrate within a year of being thrown away. Try it out yourself in your own backyard for a nifty little science experiment. If your kids aren’t allowed to use pens in class yet, try these pencils, made from FSC-certified wood.
It’s always a good idea to include your children in your eco-friendly shopping excursion (whether it be at home or online). Let them know why you’re getting them eco-friendly gear and they’ll feel proud to take it to school every day. Remember, the eco-friendly choices you make with them today will make them responsible caretakers of the Earth tomorrow.
If you have any more Eco friendly green ideas, please share it in the comments section below.

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ImageEach summer, doctors and public service announcements remind us about the importance of slathering on the sunscreen before heading outdoors.

The biggest benefits of course are that sunscreen helps absorb and/or reflect harmful UVA and UVB rays, which can cause premature aging and skin cancer.

Let’s green up your medicine cabinet, which means the beach bag will be including healthier sun products. The chemicals used to make sunscreen may not always be great for our bodies.

While sunscreen is an absolute must, there are things you can do to choose one that is better for you and the environment.

If You Can’t Pronounce It, Do You Really Want It on Your Skin?
The advent of more advanced sun protection offered hope for improved skin care, until research revealed the dangers of certain ingredients in these common products. Parabens, found in many sunscreens and sunblocks, were outed as estrogen mimics and endocrine disruptors. Commonly used sunscreen ingredients like benzophenone (oxybenzone), octinoxate, cinnamates, and homosalate were found guilty of increasing the risk of cancer!

Avoiding Store-Bought Sunblock

Some folks choose to forgo the chemical sunblock industry all together. They use natural ingredients found at health food stores to create their own sunblock lotion, or they wear sun-protective clothing and limit their time in the sun.

To make your own sunscreen without worries about the possible effects of nanotech elements found in store-bought products: Purchase plain zinc oxide ointment at a drugstore and mix it into your favorite skin lotion to make your own sunscreen.

Go mineral:
Sunscreens containing zinc dioxide or titanium dioxide are great alternatives to those with chemicals such as oxybenzone. Zinc and titanium are minerals that provide broad-spectrum coverage, reflecting both UVA and UVB rays. An added benefit is that many zinc and titanium sunscreens these days are micronized to avoid the white, painted-on look. Carefully read the list of active ingredients before purchasing as some sunscreens contain zinc and titanium in combination with other chemicals.

Pick healthier ingredients:

Not all sunscreens claiming to be natural are equal. Many cosmetics and sunscreens, even those with natural and organic labels, contain preservatives to insure products remain as fresh as possible. When shopping for a sunscreen, consider avoiding ones with harsher chemical preservatives such as parabens (including butylparaben and methylparaben), which have had mixed health reviews. Instead, look for sun products without preservatives or those with milder preservatives such as potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate.

Also, steer clear of sunscreens with petroleum-based ingredients such as mineral oil. Look for natural emollients such as olive, sunflower and jojoba oils, and shea and cocoa butter, to name a few.

Quick guide to sun protection that respects both the body and the earth:

•    First, use common sense. Try to stay out of the sun during peak sun hours, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when sunburn and sun damage is most likely to occur.

•    If you have to be out in the sun during peak hours, try to find a shaded area, an umbrella, or wear a wide-brimmed hat. If you have the budget, check out sun-protective clothing. Make sure to research protective clothing vendors, as some of them use chemical additives to confer sun-protective abilities into the clothing.

•    When you use sunblock, try to choose one that isn’t going to make you worry about carcinogens or environmental toxins. Make your own sunblock with zinc oxide and lotion or check the labels on sunscreens to see that that they don’t contain too many chemicals. Remember, if you can’t pronounce it, you probably don’t want it on your skin! Do your own research to find out what feels best for you and your family.

•    Try to eat plenty of dark green, red, and yellow fruits and vegetables, to keep your skin healthy and less prone to skin damage.

•    If you do end up with a sunburn, consider natural, eco-friendly remedies for sunburn relief. Aloe vera gel is very soothing and effective. It can either be purchased from a natural foods store or taken directly from an aloe vera plant. A soothing oatmeal bath can also be helpful.

•    Finally, remember that every choice you make has some kind of an environmental impact. It’s a good idea to treat the planet kindly by living lightly—you will also reap the benefits!

Like most things, think moderation! A little bit of sun can be a good thing. Don’t overdo it!

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ImageAs we promised, here is a great alternative to the traditional laundry detergent.

Simple Washing Powder

16 cups baking soda

12 cups borax

8 cups grated castile or glycerin soap flakes*

3 tablespoons lavender, lemon or grapefruit essential oil

Combine baking soda, borax and soap flakes.

Add essential oil and mix with a wire whisk.Use 1/8 cup per load.

Yield: This recipe makes enough powder to last a family of four one year.

*Try Sun Feather Natural Soap Company, or buy bars of castile soap (e.g. Dr. Bronner’s) and grate with a kitchen grater.

Pre-Wash Stain Spray

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup baking soda

3 cups water

Stir together and fill a labeled spray bottle. Spray on soiled spots just before washing. Always test a hidden spot first.

Bleach/Brightener Substitute

1 cup hydrogen peroxide

1/4 cup lemon or grapefruit juice

12 cups water

Store in a labeled plastic jug. Add 2 cups per load along with detergent.

Extra tips:

For extra-clean clothes, follow your detergent with ½ cup of borax, an all-natural laundry booster. Add baking soda to wash water at the same time as detergent to soften and freshen clothes and linens.

If you have any tips and ideas to share about home made laundry detergent, Please share in the comments section below.

Follow morEnergy Blog to help you ‘Go morGreen’ with our easy to follow “Green Tips”. We strive to provide our community with the most current resources, ideas and information that will guide each of us in making greener choices for ourselves.  

Thanks to who’s Green?

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ImageThere’s nothing quite like grilling fish, burgers, kabobs, or steak in the backyard or the local park on a warm summer night. It’s one of our greatest and most enduring culinary pastimes. But cleaning the grill afterward? If you don’t want your burger tasting like last week’s chicken, then cleaning it is a must! And if you’re put off by the idea that you need to use harsh cleaners to do the job right, banish that thought. It isn’t true.

The simplest, best “green” tools are, and always have been, a stiff wire grill brush, a sturdy spatula or spackle knife, tongs, a wadded up paper towel, and inexpensive vegetable oil. The best time to use these tools is when your grill is hot. It’s much easier to clean the grill is hot than when it’s cold.

To prevent the need for laborious cleaning sessions, follow these simple steps every time you use your grill:

1. Preheat the grill for 15 minutes.

2. Scrape the grill grate with a stiff wire grill brush.

3. Grab a wadded up paper towel with grill tongs and dampen it with vegetable oil.

4. Use tongs to rub the oily paper towel over the grill grate.

The grill brush scrapes off large bits of debris, and the oil and paper towel remove the finer soot. This keeps past flavors from permeating your food. In addition, oil lubricates the grill and helps prevent sticking, which prevents the build-up of stuck-on food. This makes cleanup a lot easier.

You should also regularly tackle the area below the grate or on the underside of the lid, but only when the grill has cooled off. Here’s how:

1. Remove the grill grate.

2. Use a spatula or spackle knife to scrape out and discard any carbonized debris from the heat diffuser, which is often a metal plate resting above the burners.

3. Scrape out and remove as much debris as possible from the cookbox below the heat diffuser.

4. Use the spatula or spackle knife to scrape out and discard any carbonized debris from the underside of the lid.

Depending on how often you use your grill, you’ll want to clean the outside on occasion as well. To do so, use a sponge or paper towel and a citrus-based degreaser. Avoid those with artificial fragrances, orange “impostors” (such as d-limonene), or harsh ingredients.

If you have any other easy ideas to clean the grill, please share below in the comments section. We would love to hear back from you. 

Follow our morEnergy blog to receive updates of easy green tips for your everyday living…

visit our website www.morenergy.ca

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