Treading Lightly in the Home and Garden
We all know people who seem to instinctively discover the most innovative ideas on the internet. They find sites that inspire us to live our lives a little more gently, with a little more fun and a lot less wear and tear on the planet. We leave our conversations with one of these friends clutching coffee napkins covered with scribbled URLS, vowing to check out all the possibilities out there.
This type of word of mouth is invaluable as we try to do the right thing for the planet and get on with our lives. Our Lifestyle Section tries to do the same thing, providing you with some good, proven alternatives. This edition is about home and garden, with a dash of fun for your closet. Here’s a selection of cool sites sent in by our friends and members who’ve walked the walk, guaranteed to delight you with their creativity and dedication to treading a bit more lightly. (You can even bookmark ’em and save the coffee napkin… see? Already you’re making the world a better place!)
- Mrs. Meyer’s makes aromathera peutic household cleaning products in the garden fresh scents of Lavender, Lemon Verbena, and Geranium.One member notes: “I ordered these products when we decided to stop having someone come in to clean. I like the way they smell so much that I actually look forward to scrubbing the bathtub and the sinks. I especially like the lavender surface scrub and the lemon verbena counter top spray.” The site also provides environmental and safety information.
- Method Products are pure heaven for environmentally conscious perfectionists. Not that I would call myself obsessive, but in researching this blurb, I spent about 15 minutes hyperventilating over the purity of their vision, their clever marketing language, the attention to detail in their product line.
Their products include all-purpose cleaners, laundry and dish soap, hand and body products. They’re also widely available in retail stores. Me, I’m still flushed after reading their description of the microfiber mop.
- Environmentally Sensitive Solutions (ESS) Inc. is one of today’s leading manufacturers of neutral cleaning solutions and environmental products. Winner of the “Excellence in Environmental Performance Award,” their overriding goal is to make a safer home and a better environment.Their PH-neutral Neu Home Care product line could be a perfect gift for someone concerned about home and environmental wellness. “I’ve used these products at home and love the fresh but not-overpowering scents. They really work, and don’t leave a film or strip your wood floors!” Also, by customer request, the automatic dishwashing liquid, the manual dish soap and the glass cleaner are now offered without any added fragrances or dyes.
- With distribution in thousands of natural product and grocery stores nationwide, you’ve probably heard ofSeventh Generation, the nation’s leading brand of non-toxic and environmentally safe household products. Even if you’ve seen or already used their products, their website is worth checking out for loads of environmental news and resources. They also provide answers to questions consumers most frequently ask about household products and their impact on our health and the health of the environment, including a free, downloadable, comprehensive Guide to a Toxin Free Home.
Who would’ve guessed it’d be fun to mow your own lawn! A friend writes, “Not only will you save money, reduce noise pollution, and cut your carbon emissions, you’ll be having fun, too! It takes me about half an hour to mow my lawn, both front and back, and it’s about as much exercise as a light hike of the same length. The push mower is pretty quiet. I use a Scotts Classic 2000 because we have fairly hearty grass. For finer grass, the Brill Luxus sounds like the mower of choice. It’s not just about cutting the grass –it’s time I get to myself for quiet thinking and bird-watching and sometimes chatting with neighbors. It’s become a ‘chore’ I look forward to.”
To get back to basics and re-commune with your yard:
- Check out the impassioned comments about reel mowers at epinions.com.
- Here’s an extensive guide to using a reel manual reel mower with information about the different brands: reelmowerguide.com.
- For another good reel mower comparison chart click here.
Did you know? Gas powered mowers pollute quite a bit. Today’s gas-powered lawn mower emits as much pollution in one hour as driving a newer car100 miles. An older mower may belch four times as much pollution. More facts, tips and information about gas and people powered mowers can be found here.
Front loading washing machines can be up to three times more efficient than conventional, top loading machines — and gentler on your clothes. Two lines of front loaders that score well withEnergy Star for efficiency are Bosch and LG Tromm. A good top loader choice is the Fischer and Paykel Eco-Smart model. “We love our F&P Eco-Smart washing machine,” writes one reader. “It’s fast (for a water-efficient machine) and has fewer moving parts to break.” The web site claims it’s “North America’s Most Energy Efficient Top Load Washer” and “uses only 24% of the energy of a traditional washer.” People write about Fisher & Pakel washing machines on Epinions, too.
Greenloop is all about green: “Green Life. Green Style. At Greenloop the alignment of style and sustainability, of aesthetics and ethics, provide all of us with the opportunity to look good, feel good and do good.” Products for men, women and kids include cosmetics, bodycare and a wide range of great clothing designers. (And don’t worry, they sell items in blue, red and yellow as well…)
“Be the change.” What a great name for a company! BTC Elements provides “eco-friendly, fairly traded products,” including clothing, accessories, gifts, baby and home decor items. (Does this mean there’s a company called “Be the Couch Potato”?)
Patagonia seeks to “build the best product and cause no unnecessary harm.” To them, quality is “not only how well a product performs and holds up, but also how it’s made.” They use a variety of environmentally friendly fibers in a number of their products, including recycled and recyclable polyester, organic cotton, hemp, organic wool and chlorine-free wool.
Who hasn’t had a secret desire to wear bamboo?Bamboosa offers “soft, protective natural clothing” made from bamboo fiber cloth. Softer than cotton, naturally anti-microbial and extremely sustainable, these reasonably priced simple items are grown without pesticides, and they’re biodegradable. Go ahead and indulge your wild fantasies!
With contributions by Jill Davis,
Katherine Doughtie, Theresa Kennedy