Be Green...The "Go Trash Free" Challenge!

We all have a very hard time tossing anything knowing it's final destination will be a landfill, inevitably polluting our water, air, and Mother Earth. We breath the air. We drink the water. We grow food in the land. So, why on Earth would I want to pollute it?! However, everyday we see it happening. Trash left in piles and heaps waiting for the trash truck around our neighborhoods. Litter tagging along on our walks through our communities and even out on remote hiking trails.

Don't you think it's time we all do something about it?

The "Go Trash Free" Challenge Now is the time we all start moving in that direction: Go trash free. Yep, that's right! Totally and utterly trash free.

What does that mean, you say? Well, that means you leave nothing out for the trash man on Monday or any other day. You compost everything you can, reuse, recycle, or just don't buy it (aka: reduce consumption). It's pretty simple on the surface. However, when you take on the challenge, it gets a bit more complicated.

You see, we've been born and raised in this materialistic polluting society:
  • You go out to eat, you take home your food in Styrofoam containers that can end up in the landfill.
  • You are religious with the 3 R's in your kitchen, but you forgot about the waste basket in the bathrooms, laundry room, garage.
  • You have guests over and they don't take heed to your cute little signs above your recycle and trash containers and toss out everything.
Ok, so you see where I'm going with this. If you want to take on this challenge, it's a full-time commitment. You can't just use the "I'll do it next time" routine. You have to commit mind, body, pocket book, and spirit to the cause.

So, are you ready! Are you stoked! Here are some ways to help you stay on your game. And remember, no trash means nothing to the landfill. You can recycle till your heart turns, well, green. But no trash. No toss. No more ;)

1) Vow to never use Styrofoam again.
Whether you are buying meat at the store, taking leftovers home from the restaurant, or picking out a nice pair of new pumps, remember: Styrofoam cannot be recycled. If you can't recycle it, can't reuse it, reduce it. Just don't use it. Instead, bring your own containers for food leftovers. You'll be out to eat with other greenies, so you won't have to worry about looking like the crunchy hippie you'll fit right in ;)

2) Compost everything!
I have a nifty-difty little sign above my, now empty, garbage can in my kitchen. It reads "No veggie scraps. No egg shells. No fruit peels. These go in the compost bin! Thanks, Management :)" Don't toss out that soon-to-be black gold for your garden. Make sure everyone in your home is on board with this one. And if that means being a compost police for a while 'till they get the hang of it, so be it. Why would you want put that in a plastic bag to stink up the house anyway? Get a kitchen counter top compost bin, fill it up with all your kitchen scraps (minus the meat, bones, and milk products) and toss it on your compost heap every few days.

3) Remember the 3 R's.
When you are out shopping, before adding something to your cart, ask yourself, "Can this be recycled? Can it be reused? Do I have something already like it?" The bottom line for all purchases should be that if it doesn't fit in the 3 R's, you really need to rethink the item. Chances are, yes, with a little ingenuity and creativity you can find another way to satisfy your need...or want...craving...just gatta have it!!! Yes, we were born into this compulsive consumpting society, but if you are going to be trash free, you have to "be the change you wish to see in the world". Go Gandhi!

Now, having said all this, there are some things that I have yet to figure out how to fit into the 3 R's, compost, and not buy. I eat meat, so there are the bones from food that can't go in the compost and can't be fed to the dogs (mine are rather small dogs). So what about those? There are a few items that people will struggle with finding alternative ways, so let's open up a forum to find some solutions. What about Styrofoam?!??! What do we do with this stuff? How can we reuse it? What if it was bought with meat from the grocery store? Oops. What then? Can you really reuse it?

Here is the question to ask yourself, if you want to enter this challenge...Are there really certain things that just HAVE to be tossed? I think we can find alternatives to all of these items that we've been sold on having to toss out. That's where the NO TRASH challenge comes into play.

So, let's jump in and start the challenge!!

Start with a week. One week. Go trash free. Then add another week. Once you get the hang of it, be daring. Go for a whole month. Let me know how long you can make it and what made you break. What are some of the great alternatives you have come up with? Did you find the secret? Can you share it with the rest of us?!

I think this is a great thing for us to do. Why do we need to add to the landfill. Our ancestors (yep, I'm pulling out the oldies) made it just fine without trashing our Mother Earth. Now we're destroying it for our children and our children's children.

Make the commitment. Test yourself. See how far YOU can make it. Be green! Be trash free :)

The Story of Stuff...

How much stuff is too much stuff? And where does our stuff come from? Or maybe more importantly, why do we feel we need so much stuff?!

Annie Leonard - who spent 10 years tracking how our stuff is created and then disposed of - presents with clarity how stuff creates the excessive amounts of pollution and problems we now have for all people and our beloved planet.

The Story of Stuff...

Watch it. Have the kids watch it. Pass it along to all those skeptics in your family...


Cloth Diapers...Really?!?!?!?!

I have found the reaction to my decision to use cloth diapers quite shocking. Even before I planned on getting pregnant I knew that I would use cloth diapers, there was never even a debate. Why would I use disposable diapers and add to our landfills? I knew the statistics, disposable diapers are estimated to take 250-500 years to decompose. How on earth would I feel comfortable putting something that takes that long to decompose on the most precious thing in the world, my baby's butt!

We've come to live in a disposable world, we want the easiest quickest product and that product almost always is a one time use product. Look down the aisle of the grocery store, you'll see fruit packaged in a nice convenient plastic container so you can have fruit in your lunch, well isn't fruit already in the perfect package? It's own skin! Then there's the drink aisle where you can get yourself a 30 pack of bottled water, last time I checked water was free. Why not just buy a reusable bottle or canteen and fill it everyday for yourself. Then there is the baby aisle, not only can you find disposable diapers, there's also bibs, spoons/forks, bottles, sippy cups the list goes on and on. What a great lesson to teach our kids from the moment of birth, we're too busy so just buy something use it and throw it away.

My decision to use reusable diapers wasn't hard and I didn't think twice, so why is it that everyone who finds out I'm using cloth diapers is in total shock and disbelief? I can't believe the reaction I've been getting, it's actually quite disheartening. The first reaction I get is "I didn't know those still existed," and then I get "well that's just going to be way too much work you're not going to be able to keep up with all the laundry and a newborn." Now I can't speak from experience seeing that this is my first baby, I can only speak from what I've been told and what I expect to happen. From what I know though you do quite a bit of laundry when you have a baby and a family for that matter. And when did laundry become such a big deal, you put everything in the washer, add soap hit start, when it's done you put it in the dryer. That's what 5 minutes of my day? Not to mention the bigger irony here, this is coming from people who never once considered anything other than disposable diapers, it's like their trash happy alter ego has taken over control of their mind and body.

I found a great company that has reusable diapers of all kinds, and have great customer service. I personally went with Fuzzi Bunz. Mama Lia had already used them and loved them. If you're interested in reusable diapers and don't know where to go to get information and want to see your options I recommend Nurtured Family.

Fuzzi Bunz -

We're Back!

Sorry Mama Lia and I have been MIA we've been on vacation...together. It's been a little while since we've seen each other and Lia flew out to CA for my baby shower which was last Saturday. It was so great to see each other. We had such a great time and realize how much we wish that we lived closer together.

We're back, her on the East Coast and me on the West.

I am less than a month from my due date and cannot believe how close I am to holding my little one in my arms.

Join me on my journey from pregnancy to motherhood.

Read Your Labels! What to Ingredients to Avoid

If most of your time shopping is spent reading labels, you're not alone. More and more moms are wising up and informing themselves about the beneficial and harmful effects ingredients in everyday products have on their families.

You do your homework. You read your labels. But do you know which ones you should be avoiding and why?

Pull out some of the things you already own at home: shampoo, sunscreen, toothpaste, hand soap... You've checked them before, but check them again. You might need to rethink your choices and find more healthy alternatives for you and your family.

Here are some of the worst offenders in ingredients, along with what they may be doing to you and your family:
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) - skin irritant with mutagenic effects

  • Parabens - causes breast cancer

  • Propylene Glycol - alters skin structure for other chemicals

  • Phthalates (aka: fragrance) - disrupts hormones; decreases sperm mobility; genital abnormalities in baby boys; linked to asthma and allergies

  • Petrolatum (aka: mineral oil, Vaseline) - banned in Europe, linked to breast cancer

  • Cocomide DEA/Lauramid DEA - human immune system toxicant

  • Diazolidinyl Urea - human carcinogen and nasopharyngeal cancer

  • Butyl Acetate - skin, eye, and lung irritant

  • Butylated Hydroxytoluene - human immune system toxicant and neurotoxin

  • Ethyl Acetate - linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive deformities; skin, eyes, and lung irritant
This short list, borrowed from the Environmental Working Group, is just the tip of the iceberg. To learn more about all the dangerous chemicals found in our everyday products - and why we should be avoiding them - go to today.