Category Archives: household goods

It’s not easy being Green (a Confessional)


If you don’t know us, you may have guessed it anyway…we are broke. We are living off a student loan which would be hard for a single person to get by on. We are doing OK, but we have been finding it difficult to afford some of the  “green products’ that we previously purchased regularly, and we are constantly looking at our buying habits to see what can go. One of the items we used to regularly by was Organic Essentials Cotton Swabs. They cost more than other “regular” brands, but I always insisted they were worth it. The packaging always bugged me a bit because the box is wrapped in plastic, so I pay twice as much for something that is biodegradable but it comes in packaging that is not. Anyhow, we couldn’t find them here in Kingston and ordering them online was looking to be too expensive, so I broke down and bought LIFE Brand cotton swabs with paper sticks. I wondered why they were not biodegradable. I mean if they were, wouldn’t they want to advertise that on the package? I have done some research and I can’t find an answer. It seems that because the sticks are paper, they should be biodegradable unless some chemical treatment makes them not so. I will have to call the company and then post an update.  If you can afford it, I  would still argue that Organic Essential are better because they are organic, and the farmers are treated and paid well. But for the time being, unless I discover some pernicious property about them, we will be using LIFE brand cotton swabs.
The other big problem we have come across is our apartment. We had to find somewhere cheap and fast at the busiest time of the year for apartment hunting, so we are in an apartment with no yard or balcony (for growing food or hanging laundry) and no ventilation. That means we have to keep the windows open even in the winter (please don’t tell the energy efficiency police) and we can’t hang laundry to dry because our apartment is so humid that any added humidity causes major mold problems.
Also, we are not always buying organic or even local-we still try, but when things are really tight, we close our eyes and go to the supermarket.

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What is the one item you can’t live without?

Have you ever noticed that most interviews of famous women (especially if they are sex symbols) include this question? Sometimes they say “What is the one thing you can’t like without” and I always think “air”, but the answers are things like “My #12 red Mac lipstick” or “My Prada stilettos”.
If I was asked that question (not that I am claiming to be a sex symbol;), I would have to answer baking soda!
We use it in baking, wash the house with it*, brush our teeth with it, put it under our arms, and now I’m washing my face with it. I tried it on my hair but that experiment failed.
I do, however, highly recommend it as a facial cleanser. I was having a hard time with finding or making a good cleanser that didn’t leave my skin dry and pimply at the same time. Yes I am a thirty something with pimples-what of it? Finally I broke down and started washing with Dr.Bronners mild baby soap, which I can buy in bulk at Grass Roots, Big Carrot or Eco-Existence. It works great! Just wet your face and rub the baking soda on until it looks like a mask. Then rinse it off,with hot water, then cold. If I need to moisturize I use a little coconut oil, and if I want to exfoliate I use baking soda. It kind of tingles and leaves my face feeling clean and soft.
* Since we have had a child we use baking soda way more than borax because borax is a little caustic. We use baking soda and vinegar for the toilet, sinks, bathtub, walls, and diaper pail. We also use baking soda on pots and pans that have had food burnt onto them. Just dump a bunch in with a bit of water and let it sit overnight before scrubbing ( a scrunched up and knotted onion bag makes a great scrubber).

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Filed under cleaning supplies, household goods, personal care, personal products, toilettalk

Fuch’s No, Preserve is a Go!

If you read my post about what I do in the bathroom, you’ll know that up until now I used Fuch’s toothbrushes because they were biodegradable. I tired the brand with Aurora and she refused to brush her teeth altogether until I figured out the toothbrush was the problem and switched her to a softer brush.
About a month ago a friend asked me how I liked Fuch’s. I hadn’t really thought about it at all, I just used them because it seemed the right thing to do. Upon ponderance ( I made up that word but I’m going to use it any way), in the three years I’ve used them I’ve never seen one break down in the compost and I’m not sure how long it takes. When I stopped to think about how I liked them, I had to truthfully answer, not very much. They are very stiff and boxy and the bristles fall out in my mouth. Fuch Fuch’s!
Said friend told me she used Preserve, so I bought one yesterday and Oh I have happy teeth! It is so soft and sleek and my teeth feel so clean. I just want to brush all the time. They are also made out of recycled plastic and you can mail it back to the company (free of charge) to be recycled when you are finished.
I’m hoping they make a child’s one because I think Aurora would like it. I think I can convert the whole family-this toothbrush is amazing.

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Filed under baby, household goods, personal care

sitting in the kitchen banging on the pots and pans

Kyle and I have been wanting to get new cookware for a long time. We had all second hand Teflon cookware and most of it is scratched-danger danger!!! We got some Christmas money (thanks to Grandpa and father-in law:) and a renewed sense of self preservation (thanks to the baby) so we are going tomorrow to buy new cookware. Ceramic, glass, stainless steel or cast iron are all safe. In fact, ceramic and cast iron are said to be good for your health.

The problem is now-what to do with the old stuff. Rhode Island recycles it, but Toronto doesn’t. I know sometimes with other non recyclable metals, you can take them to metal shops and they can use them, but I’m not sure when they’re coated with Teflon. Does anyone know? With other containers, we plant plants in them, but I don’t think the Teflon would be good for plants either. I really don’t want to just dump them in the landfill, but I would like to be rid of them. This site suggests taking the Teflon coating off with wire wool and using them still, but that makes me feel uneasy. It’s a cool site though

The weirdest thing about Teflon is everyone knows it’s bad but continues to use it. I have a few friends who have had cancer and their doctors tell them not to use it anymore, so they don’t. But why don’t doctors tell everyone not to use it and prevent some of the cancer cases?

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Compostable Plastics

We have cut down on our plastic bag use so much that we were begging people to give us some of their collection, in order to throw out the garbage we do produce, and line the green bin with (city wide compost). My thinking was that at least we were giving the bags another life or two before landfill. I also wasn’t entirely convinced by the compostable corn plastic bags. I am now. I read an article (unfortunately I can’t remember where and I can’t find them again) about it and discovered they were designed specifically for landfills. My thought before was that even if they were biodegradable, it would take forever in a landfill condition, but I was wrong. They were designed to break down in exactly that situation, and they do so quickly (within a month, I think). That seems way better than giving a plastic bag one more use before it sits in landfill forever and ever. I wish I could find the article so I knew if there was a specific brand I should be getting. May be they are not all like that?

Anyhow I picked up 20 Biosaks today, so we will no longer have to beg our friends and family for part of their bag collections. The cool part is that it was getting harder and harder to get bags because everyone is using cloth now! Yaaaaay!

PS. I also added some photos to the photo page.

PPS. Still no baby.

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Filed under household goods, shopping(not groceries)