Since I began my earth girl quest, I've been surprised to read so many articles giving dry-cleaning a bad rap. Honestly (and the seasoned environmentalist may roll her eyes at this), it's not something I've ever thought about.
I never asked myself what kinds of materials were used in the dry-cleaning process. I'm not sure I even had any concept of how it happens - maybe I just subconsciously assumed that a dry-cleaning fairy zapped her wand in the direction of my blouses and all the grossness disappeared.
The revelation that I shouldn't be dry-cleaning my clothes is actually pretty convenient for me. I hate spending money on dry-cleaning, especially since sometimes I feel that my clothes come back not looking that much cleaner. I'm glad that the eco-blogsphere opened my eyes to (economical) alternatives, such as:
1. Hand washing - soaking clothes in the sink with mild detergent and gently rubbing stains out with your fingertips
2. Steaming - with a hand-steamer or by hanging clothes up in the shower
3. Diluting vodka in a spray bottle and spritzing your clothes to kill the bacteria that cause odor (this one was my favorite since it means you'll have leftover vodka in the house!)
Thank Your Body has some additional suggestions and some further reading on the chemicals involved in dry-cleaning.
So far I've hand-washed two silk dresses, and after hanging to dry and getting a light press, they are looking (and smelling) as good as ever. I saved my body from some harsh chemicals and also saved about $20!
I've often despaired that every morning when I wake up, the first thing that I do is start opening apps on my phone, before I've even gotten out of bed, sometimes before I've even turned on any lights. What if, I thought, I came up with an alternative way to begin each morning, a simple series of healthy activities that would put me in the right frame of mind to have a satisfying and productive day?
After dragging my feet for a long time, I finally made the switch to 100% natural skincare products. The transition process was not easy, but I ended up finding some natural products that my skin loves and that are environmentally friendly in both their ingredients and their packaging.
On a recent trip to Austin, Texas, I had a chance to catch up with my friend Cory, a former house mate from my New York City days. He's now the co-owner of Hi-Fi Mycology, a commercial scale mushroom farming operation, supplying fungi to distributors and restaurants all over Austin.
Anyone who suffers dry skin like mine will understand - when your skin is dry, cracked, and red in the cold winter months, you’re willing to use anything that works.
When I first decided that I wanted to start working towards zero waste, one of the first things I did was to swap my plastic toothbrush for a natural, compostable, biodegradable bamboo toothbrush. An easy swap, and I don't think anyone will argue that bamboo toothbrushes are just better looking than their plastic counterparts. Double win.
The only downside to buying second-hand is that you aren’t necessarily guaranteed of the condition of the various components (parts) of the bicycle. However, by asking a few questions and giving the bike a good once-over, you can ensure that you’re buying a quality machine.
Since my recent move to the UK and my subsequent endurance of the perpetually dreary weather here, I've noticed a significant increase in my desire for three things: sleep, baths, and soup. I've never been too mad about soups in general, and have rarely ever made them at home, but they are the perfect comfort food for a rainy weekday evening.