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Upgrades for Earth Day 2024

Posted by Whole Earth | 04.03.2024

The Earth from Space - a NASA photo from 1973

 

 

Upgrades for Earth Day!

 

Earth Day, the 54th, is almost here! While our love for the planet is stronger than ever, the problems facing us today are in some ways quite different from those of 1970. Climate change and the explosion of plastic and other waste were on the radar then, but top today's list. We have a few suggestions for everyday eco-upgrades that can help us make a difference now. We'll also call out some green brands and a few books that may be useful in making changes for a more sustainable way of life and one on learning more about the water challenges we're facing here in Texas.

 

Everyday Upgrades

 

Dishtowels

One Hundred 80 Degrees Texas Dish TowelOne easy way to cut down on the trash we're generating at home is to start using cloth dish or tea towels in place of paper towels. They won't completely replace paper towels, but you'll be surprised at how much longer a roll of paper towels will last. We can use them to dry our hands, wipe up puddles of water on the kitchen counter and quick dry dishes, pots and utensils. While paper towels will still have a place for draining fried foods, stock up on some reusable dishtowels and dramatically cut the waste paper.

 

 

Bandanas

Blue Paisley Bandana

Do you use lots of tissues during allergy season? We used to, but not since we replaced them with bandanas. We carry a neatly folded bandana in our pocket or in a bag, ready to be deployed when needed. One bandana can replace quite a few tissues when used and folded and then used again in another quadrant. And instead of tossing a tissue in the trash, toss the bandana into to the laundry. When clean, we fold, stack and they're ready to use again when needed. We can also use bandanas to replace paper napkins at the table. We keep a some handy and even use napkin rings. Unless it's been a particularly messy meal, the same bandana can be used for several meals. We give them a wash on laundry day, and we're good to go.  

 

 

Refillable water bottles

YETI Rambler 26oz Bottle with Chug Cap in Cosmic Lilac

A refillable water bottle makes sense. Financially, bottled water purchases can add up quickly. Buy an insulated water bottle and the money you would’ve spent on bottled water can stay in your pocket. The other reason for using a refillable bottle is that our world is choking on plastic, especially plastic water bottles. They’re polluting our land and water, and even if you’re regularly putting plastic bottles in the recycling, many of those bottles are still dumped rather than recycled. There are just too many of them despite some of the ingenious ways people have developed to reuse them. So we suggest kicking the plastic bottle habit altogether with a reusable bottle. 

 

There are lots of water bottles to choose from. We’re partial to insulated bottles which can keep a drink icy cold for hours. They come in a variety of sizes - from small bottles for kids to jugs that might take two hands to carry (in-store only). Lids come in a surprising range of sizes and configurations for both narrow and wide-mouth bottles. We’ve got lids with flip tops, screw tops, built-in straws and lids with straw holes that open or close as needed. Some bottles have handles built into the lid. And if you want to keep your hands free, try a bottle sling that you can carry over your shoulder. Whichever refillable bottle you choose, you'll be taking a major step in reducing your plastic bottle footprint!

 

Green Brands

At Whole Earth we're always on the lookout for quality products made with the planet in mind. Here are just a few of the companies we're proud to support.

 

Nomadix towels

Nomadix Cascades Multi Festival Blanket

Sustainability has been built into Nomadix towels from the start. Each towel is made of a fabric that uses polyester thread made from certified post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, approximately 30 bottles per towel. Rather than dying threads and then weaving the designs, they've chosen to print them instead, reducing the amount of wastewater used in the process. Nomadix also participates in 1% for the Planet, where they donate 1% of their sales — not just profits — to environmental causes.

 

 

Cotopaxi

Cotopaxi Batac 16L Backpack - Del DiaCotopaxi is a favorite with people who love color. The company uses 100% remnant fabric, keeping it out of the landfill by creating colorful jackets, packs in assorted sizes including hip packs, and now travel cubes. They are also a Certified B Corp and are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. They also donate 1% of their annual revenues to outstanding nonprofits working to improve the human condition and alleviating poverty.

 

 

Zeal Optics

Zeal Optics Crowley Sunglasses

Most sunglasses are made with plastic lenses and frames based on petroleum products. Zeal Optics is committed to using renewable resources and eliminating the use of fossil fuels in their manufacturing process. The Castor Bean is the star of the show. Z-Resin is derived from castor oil and replaces traditional plastics in their sunglass frames and lenses. The Castor Bean plant does not compete with food crops and can be planted in places where other plants cannot grow. With Z-Resin, Zeal uses significantly less energy in the manufacturing process, reducing their carbon dioxide emissions. Zeal is also a member of 1% for the Planet and donates 1% of their gross sales to environmental organizations.

 

 

Green Toys

Green Toys Tea Set

Green Toys make colorful toys for young children that spark imaginative play. They offer a full complement of transportation toys, construction vehicles, boats, airplanes and a submarine, as well as a tea set, a wagon, and even a recycling truck. All of these toys are made in the US with recycled milk jugs. They’ve used over 122 million so far. By using recycled plastic, Green Toys diverts materials from landfills, saves energy, and reduces our carbon footprint. Even their packaging in 100% recyclable. Green Toys are tough and ready to play outdoors or inside. And if they need a cleaning, pop them in your dishwasher.

 

 

Homemade Cleaning Product Recipes

 

At Whole Earth, we work with some crafty DIY folks. Whole Earthling Rani's pandemic projects included learning to make homemade cleaning products. As she says, they're not difficult to make, supplies are easy to get and are super cheap when you consider how many uses you get out of each one. So here are a few of Rani's recipes and notes for homemade cleaning products.

 

Gentle Surface Scrub

*For pots & pans, tile grout, counters/sinks.

¾ cup baking soda

¼ cup liquid Castille soap (Dr. Bronner's)

1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide

5-10 drops essential oils

 

Combine in a bowl and mix well to form a thick paste.  Store in an airtight container for up to three months. Let tough grime sit under the paste for an even deeper clean.

 

 

Granite & Marble Cleaner

¼ cup rubbing alcohol

1 ½ cups water

½ teaspoon liquid Castile soap

10 drops essential oils

 

Combine in a mixing bowl. Transfer mixture into a spray bottle. 

 

 

Dishwasher Tabs

1 cup washing soda

1 cup baking soda

¼ cup citric acid

1 cup kosher salt

5 drops essential oils

1 cup water

 

Combine all the ingredient except the water into a bowl and mix well. Add water gently, stirring constantly to avoid too much reaction. The mixture WILL bubble, just keep stirring. Mix until combined. The mixture should be somewhat thin, but still able to hold its shape.

 

There are many ways to form your tabs. You can use a silicone mold, ice cube trays, or even just a cookie scoop. Just make sure whatever mold you use will fit in your dishwasher detergent compartment. Spoon the mixture into your mold and allow it to air dry. If using a scoop, turn the tabs out onto a piece of parchment paper and allow them to air dry.

 

**The scoop method where the tabs are exposed to air will allow them to dry more quickly. If you are using the mold method, you may need to let them sit overnight to stiffen up. If they are still a little soft when you turn them out, it’s okay – just let them air dry outside of the mold for a bit.

 

 

Window & Glass Cleaner

2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 1/2 cups warm water

3-5 drops essential oils

 

Combine all the ingredients in a 16 oz spray bottle. Spray on windows & wipe clean with cloth or newspaper. Shake well & often during use as the cornstarch will settle.

 

 

Laundry Detergent (powder)

2 cups washing soda

2 cups baking soda

2 cups borax

1 bar grated Castille soap (Dr. Bronner's or soap of choice)

~20 drops essential oils

 

Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly in a container. Use a measuring spoon or cup to add to your laundry as you would any dry detergent. Add between 3 tablespoons – ¼ cup per load of laundry depending on size. You can be conservative with this soap.

 

** A Note on Essential Oils.

Any of these recipes can be made fragrance free simply by omitting the essential oils. You are also welcome to add more or less, depending on your preferences.

For laundry, we prefer calming scents like lavender.

For dish cleaning products, citrus scents are nice and refreshing.

For surface cleaners you can try essential oils with antibacterial properties, like peppermint, lemongrass or eucalyptus.

 

 

So we hope that on this Earth Day 2024, you'll take a moment to congratulate yourself for all the things you're now doing and consider other changes you could make to help our beloved planet Earth return to health and wellbeing. 

 




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