Environmentally Friendly Products


I think the main point in the article is to consider what bags you already have at your disposal before purchasing trendy, cute bags with a large environmental footprint. We have 4 from our grocery store and 2 of the large Target ones that fold up (these hold a TON of groceries) We can get an entire week’s worth of groceries for a family of 5 in those 6 bags. But we have others that we carry all over the place of other shopping. They range from the “free” bag you get with your Books-a-Million club membership to bags we’ve recieved as “gifts” for attending conferences and seminars to ones we’ve just picked up over the years. We have several good sturdy canvas bags that we got at the grocery store we used to shop at in Oregon and they must be 20 years old! Still have them. Still use them. They’ve been washed and reused SO many times. We joke about “the bag” because someone will ask me where something is and I’ll say, “It’s in ‘the bag’” “which bag?” “The one with the red handles” “Which one with the red handles?” It goes on and on. Really the only reason that I even bought bags at my local grocery store was because my dh said he felt “weird” using other store bags without buying some first. So we bought more bags.

I will admit that I still use plastic grocery bags to bring my meat home in. There is just something icky about meat that I don’t want it in my cloth bags. (yeah, it’s something I have to get over living with all these omnivores).


i dont know if this has ever been posted on kh, but i find it to be a pretty good motivator to being more green :slight_smile:



Thanks, Katie. That was a very interesting perspective.


I :heart: reusable bags.

I made two of these T-shirt bags out of my old college T-shirts. I was very sentimental about them and they had been in a box under the bed for ahem [I]about [/I]ten years. I modified Martha’s pattern so the front and back overlap and form a double layered bottom. The clerks at the stores I go to always comment on them.

I’ve also knit my own turkish string bags. I made one for my mom, sister, dbf’s mom, sister-in-law, best friend, plus two for me… some hemp, some cotton. A checker once told me I should sell them, but each one takes about 8-10 hours. I get paid $40/hour for off-contract time at my work… that’s a $320-$400 bag. :slight_smile: Fine for a gift, but not to sell. I don’t think anyone would buy one

Other products:
I love my Sigg water bottle. I used to have a Nalgene, but the number 7 plastic is the kind that is probably carcinogenic. The Sigg is aluminum, lightweight, and comes in many colors. I had a hard time finding one that was a 1.0L size locally (couldn’t actually… the news about carcinogenic plastic had just come out) so I bought online. My dbf has a Klean Kanteen that he adores. he likes the wide mouth so he can put ice cubes in it. We reuse our old Nalgene bottles to mix up organic fertilizer from our local nursery with water to water our potted patio plants and veggies. I don’t buy flats of water anymore… yay! No more plastic.

I also have switched to either Natracareor Seventh Generation organic cotton tampons without applicator. I was very uncomfortable using them at first and would only use them if I was at home (the bathrooms at work have the sink outside the toilet room… if you know what I mean). Now, I’m a pro and don’t have any problems using them all the time. Way less waste than the plastic applicator ones I’d been using before.

I just bought some Biokleen laundry detergent. The citrus liquid is ULTRA concentrated… I use a Tbsp in my front loader. I also have their dishwashing powder and am happy with it.

DBF and I do battle over eco-friendly vs. wallet friendly… so if I’m shopping, I’ll spend a little extra to get the eco-friendly (I still only get it on sale) while he gets the cheapest kind available… no matter what. :gah: It makes me crazy! :hair:

Something I’m doing for my classroom is buying a class set of used tupperware tumblers off of ebay or at local thrift stores to use for juice. Parents often donate styrofoam cups, but even if it were paper, the wasted pile of cups for 30 seconds of juice is appalling. We’ll see if it works. I might just start saving the containers from my yogurt if I can’t get enough cups.

A lot of the other products I use are already listed by other contributors. Love this thread… thanks Jan!:muah:


I saw this site today and Time’s best websites of 2008.

I’m already doing various things to do my part, but will check this out more.

Being environmentally responsible is helpful whether you believe in climate change or not.


Our older water died, it was about 12 years old and it just quit heating water. So I called up a plumber and it would cost about $1500 for one similar to the one that died, then I asked him about a Tankless Water heater. They do install them, I guess they are not that popular over here on the east coast. My husbands parents in Holland had to replace their tankless after 25 years back about 10 years ago so that gives you a idea of how long they have been around. I love it, it only heats the water when you need it, no more heating a 40 gallon tank all the time. And

Then there was half of our basement that desperatly needed to be painted and there are only 3 small windows down there. I saw a new paint called The Freshaire Choice (http://freshairechoice.com/), it has 0 VOCs which is great and a ton of other things, it is real a green choice. Even the paint chips are recyclable.


That’s fabulous, Debbie!

Is your new tankless for the whole house? I know they make them for small areas like a bathroom or kitchen, but wasn’t sure about the whole house. If it is does it heat quickly? Right now it takes what seems like forever to get hot water to the back bathroom or kitchen which really wastes water.

Also… does anyone have know about biodegradable trash bags? I bought some Bio-bags for the cat litter trash can, but the only small ones they have are intended for food waste and composting. They fit the can, but they allow heat and moisture to escape and really aren’t ideal for my intended use. I can’t flush the litter because of our low flow toilets so I need to use some type of bag.


The tankless is for the whole house, it might take a minute or 2 for the water to get up to the top floor (it is in the basement) but I use that time to get my clothes and towel together. They did say that you can install something like a circulator on the pipes to get the water to you faster but we felt it was not a big deal.


I absolutely LOVE this thread! Thanks Jan! I’ve been on here for a good three hours reading all the wonderful ideas and linked sites, so I can’t remember if anyone answered the question about CFL bulbs. After slowly replacing burned out bulbs with CFLs we now almost have a houseful of them. At first they bugged me a little (not bright enough, different color of light, etc.), but we are now used to them. The only one that took a little longer to get used to was the one in the bathroom. I had a harder time putting my makeup on, it seemed to change my skin tone. Now I don’t have a bit of a problem with it and we are seeing a difference in our electric bill, too.:cheering:

Thanks to the suggestion for the Chagrin Valley soaps. Having dry, frizzy, naturally curly hair, I have never found a shampoo I am happy with. I also hate all the waste that plastic hair care bottles create. I can’t wait for my order to come in. I also learned while I was on that site (for those with young children) that the tear free shampoos use an anesthetic chemical to make them tear free. Not something I really want going in my kid’s eyes.


Hmmm… Being a green girl, I saw so many things I was like, OH I use this or that… I should have written them all down.

Compost bins can be made with 4 pallets of the same size. These can be wired together and the air flow from the gaps actaully helps the process along.

I make reusable bags.

We buy raw milk.

We make our own detergents.

I recycle almost everything I can…

We grow our own food, pesticide free.

We raise our own animals for meat and by products (we are meat eaters, but this is so much more humane than slaughter houses… But don’t get me started on that one. :teehee:)

We use Jason hair products (for my mom and I who are caucasian… I really don’t know of any hair products for AA hair… My sister is chocolate and there are a few things better than others… But saying that some things are sorta organic/eco is like saying “the corn is organic, just not the pesticides on it.”… If anyone knows of anything for AA hair, let me know please! I do her hair myself, and I can do the stuff she needs… cornrows, poofs (not sure what they are really called). I do use Abaya hair conditioner on her hair tho.)

We use Dr. Bronners.

I try to reuse shoes as much as possible… And sometimes I just go barefoot. (Yes, I know that isn’t the greatest choice… And I have a cut in my foot right now to show for it)

We grow our own herbs.

We make our own kombucha and kefir (but I let our kefir die)

We buy locally.

Greenkarat.com has a really cool program for wedding rings.

We do a lot of other things, and I have some pretty interesting theories, but I will follow the rules and not get into that. :slight_smile:


Oh yeah… We also use Bonded Logic recycled denim insulation and Fresh Air and Mythic paints.


I just tried a new cleaner for the tub/bathroom. It’s called Green Works and I got it from Target. I love it!


I’ve gone eco-friendly & organic for purely selfish reasons – I have allergies to sulfites, soy, and corn derivatives.

I’ve had great success with just using baking soda to clean with – especially my fruits & veggies. I also use the Seventh Generation cleaning products.

Plastic & paper bags are a “no-no” so I carry my canvas bags and washable insulated bags with me everywhere. I found some fun bags at Wal-mart recently that are sort of a t-shirt material made out of organic cotton. I’m going to use one to carry my knitting around & the other for the beach because it’s washable.

I am starting to use storage containers more, instead of zippered plastic bags & use a Pur filter pitcher for cooking. I still have to buy bottled water, because the city water is treated with corn derived products & buy bigger bottles to pour into my travel cups (the bottles have deposits when purchased & can be returned for $).

Feminine hygene products are almost all exposed to corn (corn starch dusted, fragrance, or the adhesive is corn derived), so my new best friend is a Diva cup. Love this because I have heavy periods and don’t have to worry about leakage.

I use more dish towels instead of paper towels, have cut back on using one time use cups (take out at Starbucks – but am going to invest in one of their insulated iced coffee cups), don’t use paper plates, and only do full loads of laundry in cold water.

That’s all I can think of.


I tried the shower cleaner and was not impressed. I found that the Green Works worked better for me. Can’t say about the other products though.

That’s great that you are doing so much. It helps both you and the planet!

I’m changing more and more things as I run out of old products I buy better ones. Green Works for instance. Plus I bought some Biobags for the cat litter. I use the composting bags since they are the only ones they have that will fit a small trashcan. I feel better dumping it in the trash now knowing that the bag will biodegrade. :thumbsup:


The SG products aren’t the best I have found, but the only ones I can use. I do get better results with baking soda & SG non-chlorine bleach (peroxide). Some of the other corn avoiders use potato vodka for disinfecting. Not sure that is cost effective or not.

My employers have used a pit method for disposing pet waste in the past, but with the kiddos & lava landscape, we can’t really do that now.


You know, I had never looked at the composition of the Bio-bags and they are made from corn. Interesting. Not having many allergies I’ve never had to think about that, but it must be hard to have to deal with that!

Are you on the Big Island? I was there once and was amazed at how much lava there was!


I haven’t seen it yet, but others have recommended the movie “Corn King” to show others how much corn is used. I’m hoping to rent it sometime.

I’m on Maui – just arrived Saturday and am currently watching the sunrise & listening to the roosters make sure everyone is getting ready for work.


I just looked up the movie on Netflix and it’s “King Corn”. I put it on my list. :wink:

I love Maui! We stayed in Kaanapali and Napili, but have visited other areas.


Not sure where you stand on this, but Green works uses ethenol.

We also use Tom’s of Maine products. (They’ve gone green!)


I think it’s important for a product to work as well as as be as biodegradable as possible.

Greenworks are 99% petrochemical free which I feel is a good start and a much better alternative to the chemical loaded products. AND it works. :wink: If I find something even better that works, I’ll use that one for sure.