Be A Manly-Man With Lemon Essential Oil

Although essential oils are pretty, smell nice, and can be used in a variety of craft and cooking projects, they’re not just for women! As a matter of fact, any manly-man’s toolbox could greatly benefit from a few vials of doTERRA oils. Want poof? Check out this list of ways that Lemon essential oil can be handy when you’re, well, being handy:

  • 1-2 drops will remove even the nastiest grease from your hands
  • Soaking a cloth with Lemon EO and rubbing it on leather will nourish it and prevent it from splitting
  • 2-3 drops of Lemon on a rag can remove grime from tools and make them look like new again
  • A cloth treated with Lemon can remove early stages of tarnish on silver and other metals
  • Can be sprayed on shoes to neutralize their odor
  • Removes sticky residue from pretty much anything

Stay tuned to our blog this week for more tips on using your doTERRA essential oils to their greatest capacity!

Organic Materials

Cotton farming is one of the United States’ biggest industries, raking in a total of about $25 million annually. Conventional cotton farming can attribute much of its success to the usage of pesticides, which endanger the very people who spray them. Pesticides also pose a threat to citizens in the communities surrounding conventional cotton farms, as they can easily seep into the water supply.

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Side-effects of pesticide exposure include (but aren’t limited to) such lovely conditions as reproductive disorders, immune system deficiencies, and birth defects. Many pesticides (such as cyanide, dicofol, naled, propargite, and trifluralin) are considered some of the most toxic chemicals in the world, and are known carcinogens. Why would you want their remains littered throughout your clothing, sheets, or baby’s diapers?

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Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, instead relying on safer and more environmentally-friendly methods like strategic weeding and the usage of beneficial insects. No toxic chemicals are sprayed over the crops of an organic cotton farm, which makes the conditions safer for farm workers, and protects the health of consumers who buy their products.

Gary Oldham, an organic cotton farmer since 1992, has this to say about the benefits of organic cotton:

“When you buy organic cotton, you’re supporting a lifestyle that benefits the land and prevents chemicals from entering the body. We need to leave something for the next generation,”

Gary was one of the original pioneers of an organic cotton industry that is now booming– but still faces fierce competition from conventionally-grown cotton. Approximately 3 million pounds of organic cotton are harvested annually, compared to 9 trillion pounds of conventional cotton. However, as the demand for organic cotton continues to rise, production will rise, and prices will decrease. Supporting organic cotton is beneficial in multiple ways, from improving your carbon footprint to promoting safe working conditions for farmers. Stay tuned for our next blog to find out the benefits of organic bamboo!

Paper vs. Plastic: Choose Neither

Although it’s possible to recycle disposable grocery bags, it’s still a major drain on our environmental resources, and isn’t really worth the trouble. A reusable bag will last forever, and is 95% less likely than a disposable bag to bust open just because you tried to bring home 2 bottles of wine. Still need convincing? Read on to discover why your answer to “paper or plastic?” should be “neither.”

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  • More than 1 million plastic bags are discarded per minute
  • Plastic bags contaminate food and water
  • When an animal ingests a plastic bag, these toxic chemicals also enter our own food chain. Yummy!
  • Retailers spend approximately $4 billion annually on providing disposable bags– money that could instead go toward improving employee wages, or spiffing up that awful public bathroom
  • Plastic bags are so invasive and so darn indestructible, they’ve even become a major litter issue in Antarctica
  • Plastic bags are the number one source of ocean pollution
  • The manufacturing of paper bags wastes tons of water, too, rendering it completely unsuitable for human or animal use
  • The sediment from paper bags causes toxicity in fish and other marine wildlife– and, as you probably know, plastic bags have a horrible reputation for strangling and suffocating all kinds of critters the world over
  • A single reusable bag has the capability to replace 1,000 disposable grocery bags in its lifetime

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If you carry a purse and are only purchasing one or two small items, consider putting your items in there instead of getting a disposable bag. To make sure you’ll actually remember the reusable bags you put so much earth-friendly effort into retrieving, keep them stashed in your car, or even in an office drawer. If you need something hardier than a bag for your shopping spree, try using a plastic crate!

Stop by The Greener Good to check out the reusable bags we have in store. Our extended holiday hours have begun, meaning that we’re open until 6 PM Tuesday through Saturday!

Paper vs. Plastic: Recycling

Yesterday’s blog focused on the manufacturing processes behind paper and plastic grocery bags. The volume of resources that both kinds of bag require seems pretty outrageous– especially when it comes to paper. Although recycling may seem like a great way to get more bang out of a disposable bag’s materials, it’s not exactly a simple or cheap endeavor.

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When paper bags are recycled, they must be returned to their pulp state. This is achieved by breaking down the paper with hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide, sodium silicate, and other freaky-sounding tongue-twisters. After the bags have dissolved into pulp again, the fibers are bleached and re-dispersed, then cleaned and run through a screen to remove contaminants. Because most bags are printed with ink, the pulp also has to be washed with clean water.

The rest of the ink-removal process is tedious and difficult. When dunked in boiling water, ink particles float to the top of the vat in the form of bubbles, which must quickly be removed before they pop and float down into the pulp again. Waste from the recycling process that is not suitable for paper products is cleaned and sorted for other purposes, such as making fertilizer or bricks.

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Over half of all plastic bags go straight to municipal landfills, where they make up a whopping 18% of the landfill’s waste. However, plastic is much easier to recycle than paper, as it only needs to be melted and re-molded. Cleaning isn’t necessary, because the temperatures used to melt the bags also sterilize them. Plastic can be recycled and repurposed many times over without a significant loss of quality, and even brittle plastic that’s a little past it’s time can be used in products like ashtrays. Studies have also found that it takes 91% less energy to recycle a pound of plastic than it takes to recycle a pound of paper.

Unfortunately, only 5% of plastic bags are recycled. Paper bags are recycled at a similarly dismal rate of about 10-15%. Because recycling grocery bags requires so much energy and so many resources, many wonder if it’s even worth it. What’s the green alternative to paper or plastic, then? Check out tomorrow night’s blog to find out!

Paper vs. Plastic: The Controversy Continues

It’s the dreaded question you’re asked every single time you head to Central Market. “Paper or plastic?” Suddenly hit with a wave of insecurity and unsureness, you desperately grapple for the “correct” answer. You want to be green! You want to recycle! You want to show the cute hipster cashier that you care about the environment! Which choice is truly better, then? To give you some much-needed insight, this week’s blog series will focus on the production processes and environmental impact behind paper bags and plastic bags. Read on, conflicted grocery shopper!

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Paper is made from the pulp of logs (known on the street as trees), which are felled in forests at a rate of 14 million per year. After their 3-year-long drying process is complete, the logs are hacked into itty-bitty 1″ cubes, and stored for later use. When it’s time for the cubes to grow up and become paper, they are cooked with tons of heat and pressure, and are “digested” with limestone and sulfuric acid. Thousands of gallons of fresh water are then used to wash and bleach the pulp, which is cut into finished sheets of paper. Cutting, printing, and packaging of paper bags can be quite expensive and labor-intensive, requiring much time and energy.

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Plastic, on the other hand, is a by-product of oil refinement, and burns through 12 million barrels of oil a year. Plastic bags are made from a certain genus of plastic called “polyethylene,” which comes in the form of charming resin pellets. Machines heat the pellets until they can be pulled out into long, ultra-thin tubes, which are then burned with a hot rod to separate one bag’s end from another bag’s beginning. Bags are separated individually, and then handle-holes are cut out with a large stamp.

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Overall, plastic is actually cheaper to produce, and requires less dangerous, exhausting labor. Plastic also uses less energy, operating off electricity alone, whereas paper requires massive amounts of natural resources like trees and water. However, plastic bags create 4 times the solid waste that paper bags do, and they can last forever. Even “biodegradable” plastic bags will never truly break down- just separate into millions of tiny, obnoxious, immortal pieces.

If you’re thirsty for knowledge on what paper and plastic recycling is like, stay tuned! More fascinating facts about your not-so-mundane grocery bags are coming up in our next blog post tomorrow.

Holiday Gift Guide, Continued

Our last blog featured some great gift ideas for children, fashionistas, and stocking stuffers. However, if you’re reading an article on selecting the perfect gifts for your friends and family, we suspect that you might have a few more folks on your holiday shopping list! Here’s the conclusion to our riveting guide for buying irresistible presents this Christmas season.

Manly Merchandise

PATCH HAT GREY

If you’ve got a trucker in your life who needs him a new hat, we’ve got the cap for you! Bursting with made-in-America pride, this trucker hat from Locally Grown is both green and man-tastic. If your dude is into music, check out our awesome products made from recycled records, or get him a manly bracelet (TM) made from a recycled guitar string. Better yet, get him both! Our local artisans and local junkyards will be equally grateful. Did we mention that we also have the perfect accessory for an avid fisherman? The Greener Good might just be your one-stop shop for everything masucline this Christmas!

Home for the Holidays

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Kick back this holiday season in cozy Fair Trade fare from Jenny Krauss! These embroidered wool pillows are hand-loomed and embellished by artisan women in developing countries, whose wages from Jenny Krauss serve to elevate them and their families from poverty. Similarly, our quilts made from upcycled saris benefit craftswomen in India, serving not only as an outlet for beautiful vintage saris that would otherwise be thrown away, but also as a symbol of their timeless culture and tradition. Each Sari Sak quilt is completely unique, respresenting the lives of the women who make them. If your gift-ee hates pillows and blankets, however, there is still hope– in the form of our awesome bicycle-chain picture frames! These quirky frames are made by Resource Revival in the USA, and are perfect for your friend or loved one who has an affinity for bicycles. Or recycling. Or rebicycling.

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We’ve also got LOADS of seasonal decor in our store, from cinnamon-scented Christmas trees to wreaths made of driftwood. Drop by The Greener Good Monday-Saturday to check it all out!

Holiday Gift Picks

Welcome to part two of our Holiday Gift Guide! In our last post, we explained the four most important factors to consider when buying a gift. Luckily for you, The Greener Good has already sniffed around for the most eco-friendly, organic, green products on the market, so you don’t have to do a lick of research! Just take a peek at our fabulous holiday gift recommendations!

Treats for Tots

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There’s not much better than seeing the grin on a child’s face when they open up the perfect present– except for knowing that said present is good for them and the environment! For instance, our colorful nesting blocks from Petit Collage are made of 80% recycled material, biodegradable, made in the USA, and they’re a wonderful way to stimulate your little one’s thirst for knowledge. For more educational fun, check out Petit Collage’s puzzles and games, too, which are all printed with nontoxic vegetable ink! Whimsical stickers from Box Play turn ordinary household items (like milk cartons and toilet paper rolls) into fire trucks and rocket ships, which saves you a fortune on purchasing the real deal. Did we mention the stickers are silicone-free and totally recycled? Please, contain your overwhelming surprise!

Stocking Stuffers

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Unlike so many other things in life, stocking stuffers are fun and simple. Our adorable small heart dishes from Fire & Light are made of 100% recycled glass, and perfect for holding tiny trinkets. For the discerning automobile connoisseur, we offer up our Bamboo Mini Cars by Hape, which are made with renewable bamboo shoots and nontoxic paint, and are just the right dimensions for filling an oversized sock! Finish off your stellar stocking stuffing with a pot of organic, Fair Trade hot cocoa from Equal Exchange, which supports small farms all over the globe, and will give your gift-ee all kinds of warm, fuzzy feelings.

Fashionable Finds

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Hand-embroidered by women’s cooperatives in rural Peru, these gorgeous fair trade belts by Jenny Krauss are a surefire conversation starter. If there’s a fashionista on your list, you may also be interested in our handwoven purses from JadeTRIBE, which are a fair trade commodity created by village-women in Laos (are you beginning to see a trend, here?). Accessory aficionados need look no further than our polished tagua jewelry from Andean Collection, which is made of nuts and seeds found in the forests of the Andes. Your gift recipient won’t believe their ears when you tell them that their new jewelry is made of organic, biodegradable materials… that come from bushes!

Check back for more great gift ideas tomorrow! Remember: at The Greener Good, it’s all good.

Holiday Gift Guide

‘Tis the season to be shopping! For the environmentally-conscious consumer, however, that can be an absolute nightmare. How do you find products that are socially responsible? Where are all the ethical companies hiding? Which gorgeous piece of recycled Fire & Light glassware should I get my mother? Don’t fear, Greener Gooder– we’ve got answers in store for you! To kick off our Holiday Gift Guide, we’d like to introduce four important things you should pay attention to when choosing to make a purchase.

1. Quality of Finished Product

This one is self-explanatory. Poorly-made products are easy to spot, and although they may be more affordable than their high-quality counterparts, that cheapness comes at a price. Additionally, a gift should be functional. Useable, high-quality gifts (like any of our baby products) mean less waste in a landfill, and more cheer in your holiday. To find out what contributes to the quality of a finished product, read on!

2. Quality of Manufacturing

Planned obsolescence is a widely-used practice in the manufacturing world in which a designer purposely plans a product to have a limited useful life. This can be done in a myriad of ways, such as making a new version of software incompatible with an old version of software, or manufacturing a product to break within a certain length of time. This method is a strain on consumers and on the earth, as it generates massive amounts of pollution and waste. Well-manufactured goods should be backwards-compatible (meaning they can interact with older versions), and should not require replacement parts or repairs.

3. Quality of Materials

Is the prospective gift sturdy and made of recyclable materials, or flimsy and made of non-biodegradable plastic? Certain materials, such as coltan, have a reputation for being harvested in nefarious ways, which makes any manufacturer who uses them guilty of contributing to unethical labor issues. Other seemingly-innocent materials, like the parabens so frequently used in personal care products, put consumers directly in harm’s way. Always research the materials listed in the products you buy, and ensure that you are not supporting business who exploit their suppliers– or endanger the consumer.

4. Labor Practices

Does the company have a reputation for being discriminatory in their hiring practices? Are any laborers forced workers? Are any laborers children? Is their work environment safe and healthy? Is overtime work consensual? Does the workers’ compensation adequately cater to their needs? The answers to all of these questions should factor into your choice to buy from a certain company. When labor practices are ethical and fair, productivity and quality are both increased– which means better stuff for you, and better gifts for your loved ones!

For more tips on buying gifts for your holiday season, check our blog throughout the week! We’ve got lots of fairly-traded, well-manufactured, good-material’d, high-quality goodies coming your way! Remember: at The Greener Good, it’s all good.

The Dark Side of Organic Food

First of all, happy Small Business Saturday! There are some great deals going on in our store right now to celebrate. Learn more on our facebook page! Secondly, the time has come for the final segment of our “Buying Organic” blog series. We’ve exalted the virtues of organic farming and explained how you can buy organic to make your Thanksgiving greener– but, as with everything, there’s a downside to organic produce. We doubt that those of you who shop at Whole Foods regularly will be shocked by any of these facts!

Organic food is free of contaminants like pesticides, but that comes at the price of being less productive than “conventional” farming. Some studies have found that organic farms tend to be only half as productive as conventional farms. Because of this, organic farms require more land to produce the same amount of food, which could lead to massive amounts of deforestation in the future.

Organic farming is much more labor-intensive than conventional farming, requiring a large time commitment and lots of tender, loving veggie-care. Add to this formula the costly process of USDA certification, and you’ve got an equation for some expensive produce. Higher cost makes healthy organic goods less accessible to underprivileged families, and even poses a strain on the common consumer as well, who pays up to 40% more for organic foods than for conventional ones. Although increased demand for organic goods could alleviate this problem, it could also cause several others, such as poor working conditions for organic farmers.

Additionally, organic food is not coated with preservative chemicals, which means that it has a shorter shelf life, and will spoil faster. For foods that are transported across long distances, this poses a major problem– but that problem can be alleviated by buying local organic produce! Just make sure you’re positively certain that you’re going to eat that kale within a few days!

Why Buy Organic?

In our “Green Thanksgiving” post, we made some recommendations for making your holiday celebration a little more eco-friendly, which included the suggestion to buy organic produce. If you’re wondering what the big deal about buying organic is, read on to discover some appalling facts about GMOs, along with some thrilling information on how organic food can promote healthiness and a cleaner world.

GM (Genetically Modified) food, which has become the default staple of grocery stores nationwide, has been scientifically altered to create larger, hardier, more profitable yields– whether it’s a bug-proof corn stalk or a dangerously obese cow. Although some arguments claim that GMOs help farmers thrive and are a solution to the world hunger crisis, counter-arguments state that GM food is unsafe, unnecessary, and even toxic. The insecticide produced by genetically-modified corn, for instance, has been found in the blood of pregnant women and their fetuses– not exactly an awesome baby formula. GMO studies performed on animals have resulted in organ damage, immune disorders, gastrointestinal issues, accelerated aging, intense allergies, and infertility. Alarmingly enough, no safety testing is required for GMOs that enter our food supply. All that’s required is a nice, shiny patent. There doesn’t even need to be a label saying “hey, this food has been injected with viruses, pesticides, and 100 helpings of canola oil!” Also, because the seeds of GMO crops can easily travel and cross-pollinate, these dangerous frankenfoods have the power to contaminate non-GMO food supplies, and threaten the health of future generations for who-even-knows how long.

Organic food, on the other hand, does not contain pesticides, heavy metals, or dangerous artificial flavors/colors/preservatives. It’s more nutrient-dense than GM food, packed with natural antioxidants, and is lower in nitrates. Buying organic food promotes a less toxic world, reducing off-farm pollution and protecting delicate natural resources. Also, the tasty animals raised on organic farms are treated humanely, allowing them to interact with their natural environment and live healthier, more fulfilling lives. Even the soil benefits when organic crops are grown, as GM mono-cropping and chemical fertilizer dependency have led to a tragic loss of topsoil nationwide. The hasty science behind GM food was rushed onto the market without consideration of healthiness or long-term impact on consumers– but organic food has proven itself to be healthy and beneficial since (approximately) the dawn of mankind.
If you’re a fan of being healthy, having biodiversity on your planet, helping out small family farms, or living green, then buying organic may be your next step toward self-actualization! For more tidbits on what buying organic is like and how you can begin your journey, stop by The Greener Good and talk to one of our associates.