Great green tools I use:
Glass or metal water bottles. After learning about how little we understand the compounds in plastics, I’ve tried to phase them out as much as possible. I’ve had a Lifefactory glass bottle for awhile now and am pretty happy with it. Note that it’s not indestructible, but you can get a replacement glass for eight bucks if it breaks. My kiddos love their Foogo metal water bottles, which hold up well to abuse and can go in the dishwasher.
Misto oil sprayer. Get just the right amount of oil, whichever oil you choose, and no chemical additives or propellant. If you use cooking spray a lot, this pays for itself very quickly.
Home soda maker. Store-bought soda and seltzer have a pretty gigantic ecological footprint, and you can make your own at home without all the artificial flavors and additives. Fresh fruit or a little juice in seltzer makes a terrific spritzer, and you’ll save a bundle not buying all those cans and bottles.
Squeasy Reusable Pouch. Like many a parent, I found those now-ubiquitous baby food pouches incredibly useful for feeding little ones on the go. I’ve since tested out a number of reusable pouches, and this one stands out for ease of use. It’s far simpler to fill and clean than any other I’ve tried, plus it’s made of silicone, currently thought to be the least likely to leach problematic compounds into food of all the storage options besides glass, metal, or ceramic, which obviously aren’t pouch materials. This pouch packs well in my kindergarterner’s lunch box, holding yogurt smoothies and applesauce without leaking. Will pay for itself over the disposables quickly, and keeps so much plastic out of the wastestream.
Air popcorn popper. If you’re looking for an affordable healthy snack, you need one of these awesome machines. Organic popcorn costs under two bucks a pound in the bulk bins; a pound will make numerous bowls of this low-calorie, high-fiber treat. Satisfies that salty-crunchy craving without screwing up your healthy diet.
Bike trailer. Vital for toting tots on errands of all sorts, and great for hauling groceries, with or without kiddos. There are tons of options out there, but we’ve been very happy with the Schwinn given to us before baby #1 showed up.
Bike panniers. Also fabulous for grocery shopping. They come off the bike easily and can be carried in as grocery bags. They easily hold gallon jugs of milk and plenty more.
Bike fenders. A must for using your bike to commute. No ruined dress pants!
Plant-based hand sanitizer. I generally prefer soap and water, but when you’re out and about, it’s nice to have one of these spritzies, without having to worry about consuming all the chemicals in most sanitizers.
Though much of our food comes from local farmers or is bought unpackaged at our coop, some packaged foods I keep on hand include Annie’s whole wheat bunny crackers (it has proven surprisingly difficult to find an organic whole grain cracker kids will eat).
Rechargeable batteries. I’m not sure why anyone still gets disposable rather than reusable batteries for most devices. Save a bundle and keep all that unnecessary waste out of the landfill by getting one of these fast chargers.
You can find other guides to green and healthy products using the links below:
Some inspiring reads:
I’m a huge fan of Michael Pollan. In Defense of Food is a good place to start if you want to know more about why you should eat real food rather than processed junk. He’s an amazing writer, who even makes bacteria fascinating: here’s his New York Times piece on the critters inhabiting our guts and why you should feed them carefully.
Square Foot Gardening is the go-to resource for intensive gardening, allowing those of us with limited space to produce far more food than with traditional row gardening.
The Union of Concerned Scientists put together a marvelous book called Cooler, Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living, breaking down the biggest sources of carbon in our lives and offering actionable suggestions for how to reduce our emissions. (If you don’t have time for a 250-page book, I give a condensed version in this Eartheasy post.) Their website and action center are also excellent resources.
I’m a magazine junkie. Below are some of my favorites, with great searchable websites. Whether you’re looking for health tips, recipes, or information on natural cleaning, these are worth checking out:
- Mother Earth Living is full of information on all sorts of natural cleaning, healthy living, food, and gardening:
- Eating Well magazine has inspiring recipes and great information on healthy food of all sorts.
- Health magazine has up to date health news. tips on everything from exercise to sleeping better, and some good food ideas as well.
Other websites worth checking out:
- The Environmental Working Group maintains an impressive array of consumer guides and databases about the chemicals in our food, personal care products and home cleaners. Their scientists research the safety of chemicals our government does not bother to test, and their policy arm advocates for toxic policy reform. I’m a huge fan. Check them out (and consider supporting their work).
- 100daysofrealfood has some excellent whole-food recipes as well as great suggestions for kids’ lunches.
- Eartheasy.com is a one-stop-shop for comprehensive guides, informative blog posts (admittedly, I’m biased because I wrote some of them), and earth-friendly products ranging from gardening supplies to camping equipment.
- Minnesota Pollution Control Living Green resources includes numerous well-designed handouts great for sharing with friends or using for your own green campaigns.
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