September 12, 2009
10 Things Never to Buy Again
This came to my inbox from Leila, 10 Things Never to Buy Again was written by Green America (formerly Co-op America) and commented on by April Moore (following the item listed) and then Tira (as shown by ~~);
1. styrofoam cups-These are relatively easy to avoid. For picnics and other large events, heavy paper cups are available. Even better, gather a collection of mugs that can be washed and reused.
~~ Easy to avoid as you say, and mugs are so much nicer then plastic or paper.
2. paper towels-This is the hard one for me. I don’t use paper towels routinely to dry my hands or wipe the kitchen counter, but when it comes to cleaning mirrors and bathroom fixtures, or wiping up cat vomit, paper towels seem like the best thing. I’m going to try using rags for these projects and see if I can wean myself from paper towels. Two intermediate alternatives that waste less paper, however, are to buy the thin, rather than thick paper towels, and to buy the rolls whose towels are only half as wide as the regular size.
~~ Okay, I admit it, I bought the Sham-wow and must say this product absolutely lives up to its name and to the hype. I use the Sham-wow for mopping up spills in the kitchen and I use tea towels and dish cloths for wiping things up and cleaning. I use the free local newspapers — which the paper boys will deliver no matter how often I ask them to cease and desist — for peeling veggies, etc.
3. bleached coffee filters-This is one of the easiest. Melitta, for instance, sells natural brown paper filters advertised as 100% chlorine-free. Even better is a cloth coffee filter that can be rinsed and reused.
~~ Good one.
4. teak and mahogany-Indiscriminate, unmanaged cutting of these beautiful woods has devastated rainforests and native communities in Brazil, Thailand, and elsewhere. Furniture made of other kinds of wood-oak, maple, and pine-is readily available.
~~ Ask for things made of blue pine and you will help BC and Alberta a lot. We have a pine beetle infestation that is destroying the pine forests here — due to climate change. The beetles kill the trees and the wood turns blue. The wood is perfectly fine but it is blue so the dead trees are left standing because the loggers can’t sell the wood. If there were a market for blue pine the trees would be harvested and no longer pose a fire threat and would also help the living forests.
5. conventional household cleaners-Fortunately, there are earth-friendly alternatives to just about every commercial household cleaner. I am a fan of white vinegar, and it can be combined with water to make an all-purpose cleaner (1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water) or glass cleaner (1/4 vinegar and 3/4 water). Vinegar has many other cleaning uses. See “I Sing the Praises of Vinegar!’ posted on my site, by clicking
~~ Want a nice bathroom air freshener that is non-toxic? Pour some regular Listerine into a spray bottle and spritz it around. Don’t breath it in though! Listerine is nothing but Eucalytus, Mint, and Thyme oil in alcohol with some soap and water. I also splash it on to cool off and freshen up on a hot summer day.
6. chemical pesticides and herbicides-Organic methods of gardening and controlling weeds have become very popular, and information about earth-friendly practices is readily available. For a practical introduction, click on the following article: