Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Posts tagged ‘Easy Greening’

Green Dry Cleaning

Green Dry Cleaning

 Green Dry Cleaning

Dry Cleaning: Some Facts, Do It Less, and Go With a Green Cleaner Instead

1. You know that sort of chemical smell or dry smell on your clothes after they’ve been dry cleaned? That’s perchloroethylene (perc) and it’s a known carcinogen.

2. All those clothes that say “Dry Clean Only”? Not so. Polyester is plastic. So is rayon. Silk is the oldest material out there. (Do you think the Chinese were dry cleaning silk during the Ming Dynasty?) Wool is infinitely hand-washable. Wash all of the above, by hand, in cold water with a very little soap. Don’t even think about putting in the dryer.

3. Dry cleaning isn’t really dry. In the perc method, your clothes are immersed in a chemical bath to clean them.

4. The new Green cleaners are not perfect, but they are better than the old dry perc cleaners; for you, for your kids, for your planet. They employ one of three other cleaning methods, using C02, silicone or hydrocarbons, as opposed to the aforementioned Perchloroethylene. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great step in the right direction.

For a more in depth analysis of conventional versus green cleaners, read this Wall Street Journal article by Gwendolyn Bounds.

No time for the whole article? Check out Gwendolyn’s recommendation for finding green cleaners in your neighborhood: “For now, the Web is the best bet for consumers hunting for a non-perc cleaner in their neighborhood. CO2 cleaners are listed at findco2.com, wet-cleaners at professionalwetcleaning.com and GreenEarth cleaners at greenearthcleaning.com. There’s also nodryclean.com, which lists various cleaners by method, and igreenclean.org.”

Even though the article is from 2008, the dry cleaning chemical facts in this post by Melissa Breyer are detailed and accurate. Terri Hall gives some great instruction for hand washing wool, silk and rayon in her article, and Annie B. Bond points out various toxic chemicals lurking on our clothes and in our closets and how you can get rid of them.

-Jocelyn Broyles

Photo © Blaze86 | Dreamstime.com

Healthier Food For the New Year

Healthier Food For the New Year

Healthier Food For the New Year

As I have written about before, the simplest way to support a healthy food system is to eat food grown by sustainable farmers or growers. This means buying from them and supporting them to keep them in business.

Sustainable farming not only improves an individual’s health, but also the health of our planet and even the economic health of a local community. What exactly is sustainable agriculture?

A simple definition comes from one of the preeminent organizations in the field, the University of California’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

“Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals–environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.” For them, this means meeting the needs of the present without comprising the needs of future generations and stewardship of natural and human resources.

A great place to start is to think about what foods are in season, and where certain foods are grown. Whenever possible, eat seasonally and locally, like our ancestors did, by eating fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season in your area or region. Locally grown, seasonal food doesn’t have to be transported as far as nationally or internationally grown food, so it cuts down on gas emissions, especially food that is transported by air, which releases tons of global warming emissions.

A great place to find out all about seasonal produce is Sustainable Table. They offer a guide that provides information on food miles and local eating from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The great part is that they list every state and seasonal availability. A search on this tool found that even for the state of Wisconsin, where there is no winter produce available, there is produce available from neighboring states such as apples, carrots, lettuces, and more from Iowa and Minnesota.

One of the easiest ways to eat seasonally is to shop at a local farmers’ market. There are over 4,900 farmers’ markets in the United States, and you can find your local farmers’ market via several web sites including the USDA site, or at Local Harvest.

While it might not be possible for everyone to directly buy at a farm or farm stand, or farmers’ market year-round, you can help support a sustainable food system when you shop at your local supermarket. Ask for the kinds of fresh food that you want. Ask where your food is grown, who grew it, and when and how it was grown. Look for “Buy Local” campaigns and signs at your local supermarket, showing that the food was made in your region or state.

For those lucky enough to live in an area with farms and farm trails, go to them and take your children to teach them where their food comes from. Initiate a farm day at your school, or invite a farmer to talk at your school or community organization.

You can also join American Farmland Trust’s “No Farms No Food” campaign and support their work in preserving farmland and local food.

by Judi Gerber
Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: