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Archives for May 2017

7 Spring Cleaning Goals

Spring is here and it’s time to get your house cleaned out from the winter! These goals will have you on your way in no time.

Eco-Friendly spring cleaning tips and goals, Goodwill

Have no fear, Spring is here! That means time to open up those windows, put away winter boots and start Spring Cleaning. Having goals when you start cleaning is the smartest way to get cleaning. Here are some great goals to help get your cleaning done right.

Spring Cleaning Goals

  1. Put all winter clothing away.
  2. Don’t forget the windows.
  3. Baseboards matter.
  4. Rotate seasonal tools.
  5. Move all rugs and clean under them.
  6. Power wash all the things.
  7. Donate 10+ things to Goodwill.

All these goals are easy. Make sure you clean things that you don’t clean during your weekly clean ups and may even forget during deep cleans. You can even use these tips to help get your cleaning done faster. When you are gathering stuff to donate to Goodwill, remember the more you donate, the more you help your community.

Eco-Friendly spring cleaning tips and goals, Goodwill

Learn More About Goodwill

If you are not sure where your local Goodwill is, you can use the Goodwill Locator App available for Android and iOS devices and at http://www.goodwill.org/ (click “Explore Our Map” on the homepage). Simply input the items you’re donating to calculate the number of hours of career counseling, on-the-job training, résumé preparation, financial planning classes, and other services you’ve helped provide people facing challenges finding employment. When jobs thrive, communities thrive.

Goodwill’s career centers, training programs and staffing operations give people the resources, skills and confidence that changes thousands of lives each year.


Thanks to the programs and support services made possible by donations of clothes and household items, Goodwill helped place more than 312,000 people in jobs in the United States and Canada in 2015 – that’s one person finding a job every 23 seconds of every business day.

What goals do you have for Spring Cleaning?

Tips for Transitioning to a Green Life

Going green can be overwhelming. If you take it one step at a time though it’s not so hard and can be rewarding. 

Tips for Transitioning to a Green Life, Eco-friendly Tips

Being green sometimes seems like a never ending and expensive adventure. Seriously, how much do I have to change in order to “be green?” It can feel like you are going to go into debt just to switch over to being green!


Well personally, I feel that it is an one step at a time process. Pick the things that matter most to you and start there. Work your way into the other areas that might require more money and/or time. While I love living as naturally as possible every little bit matters. I’m still taking it a step at a time. So even if you are only doing a few things that are “green” it makes a BIG difference in the long run!

Green Living Tips

Here is a list of some things you can do in your home with/for your family to live more naturally.

  1. Recycle. Many communities offer free curbside recycling. But if not, there are often locations in the community where you can drop off your recycling. And for older kids it can be a project you give them, I know I did that as a kid- e.g., collecting old soda cans.
  2. Organic. It can be expensive to buy all organic. So, if you’re like me and can’t afford to go all organic right now, purchase organic items from the Dirty Dozen list.
  3. Meatless Monday. Reducing the amount of meat we eat is healthy for ourselves and the environment. Try cutting back one day a week. It’s also a fun day to try creative new recipes. Check out Meatless Monday for more information.
  4. Homemade Cleaning Products. Making your own cleaners is super easy and very effective. A solution of half vinegar and half water is an all natural disinfectant that can replace conventional disinfectants.
  5. Cloth Diapers. If your baby is in diapers consider switching to cloth diapers. There are less toxic chemicals exposed to the baby’s skin and they are better for the environment. Check out the Real Diaper Association for more information.
  6. Save Energy. Turn the lights off when you’re not using them. Also, when the light bulbs in your house need replaced, choose the energy efficient ones.
  7. Reusable Shopping Bags. Reusable shopping bags are a great way to save trees and avoid plastic. I have decided to just buy a few bags each time I go to the store, until I get enough to completely sack all my groceries in them. This way I don’t have to spend money all at once on bags.
  8. Read Labels. Try and not purchase processed foods. This can be hard for some families who are very busy, so read the labels and avoid high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. Both are very bad for our bodies.
  9. Be Informed. There are many things in our products that we are unaware of, check your cosmetic products with the Skin Deep Database and join the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families petition for congress to have stricter regulations and guidelines for chemicals in our products.
  10. Be An Example. You don’t have to make a massive transition overnight. Show your friends and family that it is easy to make changes that are good for you and the environment, by simply taking it one step at a time. Share what you know!

Additional Resources


Join our email list for even more green living tips! And share your tips in the comments below. 

Mason Jar Upcycled Crafts

Mason jars come with endless possibilities. Reuse them for food storage or turn them into a beautiful new item that would make a great gift.

mason jar crafts, glass jar crafts, diy mason jars, upcycled

We are learning more and more why we should avoid plastic. With this knowledge comes more glass in our homes. One kind of glass you likely end up with a lot of is mason jars.


While glass recycling is great not all towns offer it and it’s even better to reuse things. Glass is great for reusing because it doesn’t hold on to odors, stain, or break down over time.

Mason jar crafts are becoming very trendy and while you can buy new mason jars it’s even better to use ones you already have on hand. You can make some really cute crafts for yourself or gifts.

Benefits of Upcycling

Recycling is the process which breaks down products so they can be remade into newer consumer products. Many of these products, especially plastics, are lesser quality than the original item.

Upcycling on the other hand is taking a material and turning into something of more value than the original product. This is a great way to extend the life of products and keep them out of our landfills.

Upcycling also requires a lot less energy and resources, in general, than recycling. It really is the best option when it comes to keeping products out of the trash.

Mason Jar Crafts

mason jar crafts, glass jar crafts, diy mason jars

mason jar crafts, glass jar crafts, diy mason jars

mason jar crafts, glass jar crafts, diy mason jars

mason jar crafts, glass jar crafts, diy mason jars, upcycled

mason jar crafts, glass jar crafts, diy mason jars, upcycled

More Homemade Gift Ideas

These all would make wonderful gifts. If you are looking for even more gifts to make? Check out these posts.

homemade gifts

DIY Gifts, Eco-Friendly

Free Handmade Upcycled Gifts

 

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Green Cleaning: Baking Soda and Vinegar

Green cleaning doesn’t have to require a lot of products. Most things can be cleaned with baking soda or vinegar. It can save you money and is safer for your family.

Green cleaning, baking soda, vinegar, natural cleaning, diy cleaning

When it comes to being green, the one thing we can’t forget about is cleaning products. Too often we just pick whatever name brand we know off the shelf and use that. However, there are some alternatives you can begin to use that are not only environmentally friendly, but cost effective to boot.


Specifically, I’m talking about baking soda and vinegar as two of the top green cleaning products you can use. Both are extremely effective in how they’re used. Hopefully this article will convince you to give these products a look next time you’re out shopping for cleaning supplies.

Baking Soda

baking soda

Baking soda has many uses beyond just simple cooking because as it turns out, baking soda is a pretty amazing cleaning product. Primarily as a cleaning product, baking soda works in multiple ways such as a cleaner for appliances like ovens, coffee makers, and can even polish silverware. Outside of the kitchen, baking soda can be used on shower curtains and even as a laundry detergent. One of the best things about using baking soda is that it works as a deodorizer, which helps get rid of many unwanted smells around the house such as in garbage disposals and many types of drains.

There are also a variety of ways that baking soda can be fused with other homemade cleaning products that you may have around the house. For example, using baking soda with toothpaste forms a white ring remover that is great for furniture or antiques. Another great way to use baking soda is to combine it with water so that it can effectively stay on a sponge like regular soap. This allows you to scrub stove tops and the inside of microwaves easily and baking soda doesn’t leave behind any smell, so it’s a pretty easy clean up.

Green cleaning, baking soda, vinegar, natural cleaning, diy cleaning

Baking soda also helps carpets out and is able to get out stains with ease. If you spill a drink or say a pet has an accident, using some baking soda, usually in tandem with vinegar, will help take out that stain with ease. If you use just baking soda to scrub out the stain, it won’t leave nearly the same strong scent that vinegar leaves behind. You can also use the same combination to polish pots and pans and help get rid of tarnish, but even baking soda by itself should be able to get the job done.

Because it’s so easy to buy, and cheap at that, baking soda is by far one of the best cleaning products available, plus it’s great for the environment. Its versatility makes it one of the better options out there and if you buy it in bulk that will save you in the long run since you won’t have to worry about getting different products for different messes. Not to mention, baking soda is one of the greenest cleaning products that you can use, so I would highly recommend it if you are deciding between a regular name brand or a newer and cheaper method of cleaning.

Vinegar

vinegar

Much like baking soda, vinegar is thought to be a kitchen or even food first item. Vinegar is a much more potent cleaning product as it gets your sinuses working, but is extremely effective for areas like drains or wherever there may be clogs. Instead of using name brand drain cleaners, which ultimately put more wear and tear on your drain, try vinegar instead as it can be easy purchased at a supermarket and like baking soda, is relatively cheap.

Vinegar is great for getting out bacteria and stains across all parts of your home. In fact, if you mix vinegar with rubbing alcohol and tea tree oil, this will create a spray that easily gets rid of mildew and odors for the most part. Vinegar can also be combined with olive oil and lemon if you’re looking to polish furniture, specifically wood such as tables or chair, or even the handrail of stairs should they be wooden. Basically, if you do use vinegar, you’ll want to use it on particular surfaces as it can’t work on areas like granite or marble countertops, hardwood floors, and even certain types of stains and spills on the carpet.

However, vinegar is versatile like baking soda in that it can also be used in appliances, but it a much different way. With baking soda, you can scrub or let it sit to clean an oven for example, but vinegar, it becomes a little more involved. If you want to clean your coffee maker, you’ll have to run the vinegar through the coffee maker in order to clean it. Unlike baking soda, vinegar typically doesn’t stay stagnant in the area it’s trying to clean.

green cleaning

Still though, I recommend using vinegar as a major alternative to many name brand products out there. Vinegar works well with drains, floors, and even windows so it can be used all around the house. One thing to keep in mind though is that is that vinegar does have a bit of a lingering smell, so be sure to open a window or keep a fan running when cleaning with it. Also, you’ll want to remember that while vinegar can work in some of the same areas as baking soda, it ultimately works better with drains, repelling tarnish, and even some surface work.

I hope that this article was able to help you with more of an understanding about natural and green cleaning products. While the convenience of using a store bought cleaner for the oven, floor, or window is nice, they’re not always eco-friendly, plus they always end up costing a bit more, especially if it’s a name brand product. So if you want to save yourself some time, money, and a little of the environment all in one go, try some natural cleaning products such as baking soda and vinegar. You’ll be surprised with how well these work and I can fully endorse using both of them.

Inside Walmart’s Sustainability Agenda

Wal-Mart has been making changes to be more sustainable. What are those changes and when are they happening? 

Inside Walmart's Sustainability Agenda

Contrary to some critics, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. recently announced that it plans to double to sales of locally-grown produce by 2025—putting the store at the forefront of the sustainable movement. In addition, it will expand its sustainable sourcing of 20 commodities including bananas and coffee, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is all part of the company’s new commitments within its sustainability agenda.


Wal-Mart’s Chief Executive Doug McMillon said the objective is to reduce 18 percent of operation emissions by 2025. This plan was approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative, which is aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement. Moreover, the company will work with suppliers to reduce emissions by one gigaton by 2030.

In real terms, this equates to taking over 211 million cars off of U.S. roads. Other highlights include achieving zero waste to landfills in key markets by 2025, working with partners to treat workers ethically across the supply chain and reduce packaging waste.

Cage-free eggs

This isn’t the first step Wal-Mart has taken towards more sustainable operations, retailing and production. The company has changed the way America, and the world, shops. Back in April, the company announced that it will switch its supply chain to 100 percent cage-free eggs by 2025 for all of its 4,600 U.S. Wal-Mart and 650 Sam’s Club locations.

Since Wal-Mart makes up for 25 percent of all groceries sold in the U.S., that means around 11 billion eggs per year. Other companies that have made cage-free egg commitments include Target, Trader Joe’s, Costco, General Mills, Kellog, ConAgra, Unilever and McDonald’s.

Kathleen McLaughlin, chief sustainability officer at Walmart said in a statement, “Our customers and associates count on Walmart and Sam’s Club to deliver on affordability and quality, while at the same time offering transparency into how their food is grown and raised. Our commitment to transition to a cage-free egg supply chain recognizes that expectation and represents another step we are taking to improve transparency for food we sell in our U.S. stores and clubs.”

The cage-free initiative will  “require 100 percent of shell egg suppliers to be certified and fully compliant with United Egg Producers (UEP) Animal Husbandry Guidelines or equivalent standards.” After this particular announcement, Wayne Pacelle–the CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States–praised Wal-Mart.

Inside Walmart's Sustainability Agenda

Fresh food at the forefront

The company already has a fresh food strategy. Greg Foran, president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart U.S. stated, “We’re seeing it with some better traffic, comps, bigger basket sizes, and it’s happening quite simply because customers are seeing better quality. Overall fresh impression is a measure based on customer surveys … and we have customers that rate our fresh department, and we use that to see how we stack up to our competitors. So as a data point, we’ve seen about a 700 base improvement (from a year ago). It’s a pretty big shift. We have more to do, though, and our fresh team is focused on getting more of the items customers want and laying them out really well.”

The company redesigned the produce section in 3,100 stores. Mr. Foran explained, “Project Dangle is what we’ve called it. I’m pleased with how that’s actually rolled itself out. And we’re working on flow so that we have less waste. And at the end of the day, that’s giving better shelf life to customers when they get home. We’re seeing that because we’re seeing that the inventory in fruit and veg has come down a day and a half versus a year ago. That’s good. And we’ve expanded our footprint with more sourcing hubs, both locally and in the U.S., and now working … internationally on how we can create even better leverage there.” Furthermore, Wal-Mart opened a new milk plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana in order to maintain freshness, with value.

What do you think of Wal-Mart’s sustainability agenda? Share your thoughts in the comments below.