Guilt-Free Green Tip #441: Participate in a Halloween Costume Swap

Green your Halloween with a costume swap | Eco-Mothering.com

Welcome to a regular blog feature called Guilt-Free Green Tips. These will be easy action steps you can take to be a little greener, and each mini post will feature one tip. Choose the ones that appeal to you, and learn what eco benefits a single, simple step can make. Halloween costumes extend at least as far back as medieval times when people dressed up during Samhain as the fairies, ghosts and witches they feared as a way to ward off evil spirits. They went “mumming,” performing antics in exchange for food and drink. Our modern-day costumes have become much more diverse in their range of characters, often portraying whoever is popular in current media, and because of that, Halloween costumes have become a cheap, single-use industry. It’s becoming rare to see homemade outfits sewn by hand or pieced together from items around the house. This year, look for a … Continue reading

Guilt-Free Green Tip #8: Pick Up Your Dog Poop

Reasons for Picking Up Your Dog Poop | Eco-Mothering.com

After working eight years for my local environmental organization, Save The Bay, I learned quite a bit about marine pollution and its causes. And while some causes (like stormwater runoff) are out of our hands, there are others completely in our control. One of those is picking up dog poop. In 1991, the EPA labeled dog waste as a non-point source of pollution (alongside insecticides, oil, grease and acid drainage). Which means it’s a serious thing. Poop contaminates the ground around it and can also get washed into local storm drains and waterways when it rains. Benefits of Picking Up Dog Poop Healthier Pups and People Diseases such as E. Coli, roundworms, giardia and salmonella can be transmitted through dog feces to other dogs, cats or even people. (According to Stephan Budiansky in his book, “The Truth About Dogs,” there are 65 diseases that dogs can transmit to humans — … Continue reading

Guilt-Free Green Tip #123: Use a Rain Barrel

Benefits of Rain Barrels | Eco-Mothering.com

Welcome to a regular blog feature called Guilt-Free Green Tips. These will be easy action steps you can take to be a little greener, and each mini post will feature one tip. Choose the ones that appeal to you, and learn what eco benefits a single, simple step can make. Rainwater collection dates back to ancient civilizations, from simple clay pots in Southeast Asia to complicated cistern systems of the Roman Empire. Only in the last decade, with the expansion of the green movement, has collecting rainwater become a more common practice in the U.S. And what exactly does a rain barrel do? Placed under a shortened downspout, rain barrels capture water from your roof and gutters. Whether you purchase one ready-made or make your own, a rain barrel is an easy, sustainable way to reuse water that would otherwise just sink into the ground. Use it to water your … Continue reading

Guilt-Free Green Tip #77: Decorate with Nature

Natural holiday decoration | Eco-Mothering.com

Welcome to a regular blog feature called Guilt-Free Green Tips. These will be easy action steps you can take to be a little greener, and each mini post will feature one tip. Choose the ones that appeal to you, and learn what eco benefits a single, simple step can make.  Decorating for the holidays is a fun tradition, but did you know that this year Americans spent nearly $2 million decorating for Halloween? And in 2011, we purchased $6 billion of holiday decorations for Christmas! That’s a lot of money at a time when people often stress about not having enough for other things. Holiday decoration can be much simpler, sustainable, cheaper — and really quite beautiful — when you source items from nature. Sometimes the simple placement of a few eye-catching pieces makes a bigger impression than a house full of plastic creatures. (That even sounds a little creepy, doesn’t it?) … Continue reading

Guilt-Free Green Tip #16: Take a Bike Ride

Benefits of Biking | Eco-Mothering.com

Welcome to a regular blog feature called Guilt-Free Green Tips. These will be easy action steps you can take to be a little greener, and each mini post will feature one tip. Choose the ones that appeal to you, and learn what eco benefits a single, simple step can make. I have biked to my various places of employment over the years, but my husband has done it continually for 21 years, which never fails to impress me. However, you don’t need to bike every day to make a difference. Start small. Choose to ride your bike to work one day this week. If that goes well, commit to commuting by bicycle twice a month or even once a week. If you work too far from home, try biking to run local errands or take a weekend bike ride with the family instead of driving to the mall. How Does … Continue reading

Guilt-Free Green Tip #58: Switch to Paperless Billing

Benefits of Switching to Paperless Billing | Eco-Mothering.com

Welcome to a regular blog feature called Guilt-Free Green Tips. These will be easy action steps you can take to be a little greener, and each mini post will feature one tip. Choose the ones that appeal to you, and learn what eco benefits a single, simple step can make. Even though I consider myself a bit of a Luddite (I will always prefer reading tangible books to e-books), one of the great things about technology is the ability to eliminate paper waste. Nowadays, banks, credit cards and utilities all offer electronic payment options; signing up usually takes just a few minutes of your time. Save yourself the hassle of misplacing bills, writing checks or buying stamps. With this simple step, you’ll also save a few other things: Paper Waste. The average American family discards 2,460 pounds of paper the every year. Trees. If just 20% of Americans switched to … Continue reading

Guilt-Free Green Tip #74: Bring Your Own Containers to Restaurants

Eco Packaging Tip for Restaurant Leftovers | Eco-Mothering.com

Welcome to a regular blog feature called Guilt-Free Green Tips. These will be easy action steps you can take to be a little greener, and each mini post will feature one tip. Choose the ones that appeal to you, and learn what eco benefits a single, simple step can make. This particular tip is one I used to follow and have since fallen away from, so I’m hoping that featuring this advice will inspire me to bring it back. It’s easy enough. I just toss several reusable food containers into a reusable bag and keep them in the car. The tricky part for me is usually remembering to bring them from the car into the restaurant! I have had the pleasure of seeing startled expressions on the faces of waiters and waitresses when they ask if we want our leftovers wrapped, and I say, “Oh, I’ve got my own containers … Continue reading

Guilt-Free Green Tip #103: Reduce Your Junk Mail

How to stop junk mail | Eco-mothering.com

Welcome to my blog feature called Guilt-Free Green Tips. These are easy action steps you can take to be a little greener, and each mini post will feature one tip. Choose the ones that appeal to you, and learn what eco benefits a single, simple step can make. How to Eliminate Junk Mail Your mailbox is bombarded with catalogues, credit card offers, store promotions and direct mail advertising. Aside from being annoying, that’s a lot of wasted paper. You can choose to reduce or eliminate the amount of junk mail you receive. Here’s a list of places that will do it for you (most are free). It takes just a few minutes online to sign up for a service, although it may take 60-90 days to be fully junk mail-free. Direct Marketing Association TrustedID Mail Preference Service 41Pounds.org  It costs $35 for 5 years but they claim to be the … Continue reading