Earth Day 2021

No fanfare this year, the world is still in pandemic mode.

Two years ago, I challenged myself to make everyday earth day.  What does that mean?

It means to make the earth day challenges a part of your daily life and routine. Let’s see how I did.

Plastic bags:  Since the pandemic, some grocery stores are not allowing us to bring in our own bags.  Getting those plastic bags every week, has made me recycle those bags.   But how many bags are getting recycled? According to The Center for Biological Diversity, a plastic bag is used for 12 minutes and only 1% of them are recycled in the US.   This is such a sad number.   I might carry a bag of bags for a few weeks, but they get into the recycling container eventually.    My mom made me a few bag savers that just hang on the door know.   All my bags go there!   Let me know if you want one, I’ll have her make some more!

Water:   Our Rain Barrels are used to water the side garden.   Hoping to add a few more to water the front and back.   Within our storm water district, we can receive a credit on our bill if we are able to show runoff capture, rain garden or replacing impervious surfaces on your property.   Do you really need a financial incentive to do this?  What about drinking water?   I am worried about what is in our drinking water.   I have long used filtered water or bottled water.   We filter our water within our fridge (immediate cold water and ice cubes are filtered), but also the water we cook with.   I gave up on bottled water, when I learned that Asian nations were not accepting the US collected recyclables.   A friend introduced me to a home water carbonator.   What I save in water bottles is amazing.   With the pandemic I learned of a company that offers refillable CO2 containers via the mail.  I don’t have to leave the house and still receive my bubbly water.

Greening my home:  We replaced windows with more efficient windows and added more insulation in the last two years. I’ve chosen two ways to green my home.   I use the Shaklee products for cleaning.  Laundry, dishes, anti-bacterial cleaning.    The products are safe for you and your home.  Although the Shaklee products are great, I struggle with the amount of plastic.      I’ve also explored refillables for personal care.   Check out Plaine Products for refillables.  What other refillables are out there?  

This past year, we had to do some replacement of water runoff lines and lost trees in the process.   We just planted four trees and used our local tree program to purchase native trees.   Trying to be good stewards of our little area of land.   Our little organic garden lasts year provided onions and garlic, basil, parsley, oregano, basil, tarragon, cilantro, chives, thyme, and marjoram.   The vegetables included cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, kale, and acorn squash.  This year the potatoes are already in and ready to go!

 How are you making earth day everyday?

—–EARTH DAY 2019–

Every year we hear something about Earth Day and it becomes apparent that Earth Day is just another day to may people. Why do we need an Earth Day? What started Earth Day?

I started reading Silent Spring about a month ago and was impressed that Rachel Carson published this book before I was born. She saw and documented widespread usage of pesticides and how it affects the environment back in 1962. This book is hailed to be influential to the environmental movement in the US and may have helped create the Environment Protection Agency. As I was reading the first chapter a term came to my mind: bioaccumulation. If I am anything, I am not a scientist. But I am concerned about the affects of chemicals not just on myself but on the human race. We’ve created things that we don’t understand and we need to deal with those consequences afterwards.

Back to Earth Day… When we think of Earth day, do we equate Earth day with Recycling? Do we think about our environmental impact on the earth as a single person? What can a single person do? I’ve always recycled, I’ve always worried about reducing the chemicals in my own home. Until recently, I hadn’t thought much more about plastics until seeing a video of Plastic Ocean ( ). These graphics / videos really move me to be more mindful of what we do as a family related to plastics.

I have always felt that bringing my own reusable grocery bags when I shopped was an easy win. But we still had plastic bags that showed up in our home. I found that there are local locations to manage recycling just plastic film. Search for a location near you that offers recycling at:

What about purchases that are always in plastic? I thought about products that I purchase on a regular basis: cleaning products, hygenic products, food purchases. Purchasing in bulk doesn’t always mean that there is a reduction in plastic- sometimes the packaging has even more plastic.

I found a local company that provides cleaning products in which you are able to refill your containers. I went to refill my containers the other day and was told that I was one of the few people using this service. It really made me wonder, where are we going wrong? What about bulk food purchases? Is there one item you purchase weekly, monthly… that could be purchased in bulk? If you have a local farmers market or an Earth Fare near you, you are able to purchase many staples in bulk. Taking advantange of both of these options has helped me bring less packaging into my home.

As Earth Day approaches, I encourage you to find chemical free ways to clean your home and ways to reduce the plastics that you bring into your home. It’s not a once a year thought, but it needs to become a daily thought. How do we honor our Earth? Small changes make big differences. It does start with one person- look at Rachel Carson- her one book has influenced generations. It has been suggested that her book is one book to list, along with Origin of Species that has changed science.

Chemistry in the Shower

Recently, I found out that I’m allergic to the ethylenediamine dihydrochloride, or edetic acid.  What’s interesting is that even after pulling edetic acid out of my diet, my symptoms didn’t subside until I also took EDTA out of my environment. EDTA is in a ton of different things, from detergents and fabric softeners to soap, shampoo and conditioner.   It is also found in a number of allergy medications.  OK, so I thought going gluten free was hard, this is harder.  This isn’t an easy allergy, it’s a lifestyle change.

Now that I know what allergen is bothering me, I now have to get it out of my household, or at least get it out of my immediate vicinity.  My doctor immediately went through my medications and pulled a few medications.   She sent me home with all sorts of reading.  My initial thoughts were that it  could be in detergents and fabric softener.  So I changed from my Shaklee fabric softener and detergent. I’ve sent Shaklee a request for ingredients in those products.  My symptoms didn’t get better, so I started reading more labels around the house.   Sodium EDTA or EDTA is in sensitive skin soap, dermatologist recommended creams and cleansers, shampoos, hair conditioners, and lotions.  I took a shower and thought about the chemicals that are in my shower.   Most of us use soap, shampoo and hair conditioner.   I also use a separate facial cleanser. In my shower, I can only use the facial cleanser.   When I got out of the shower, I read all the labels of the cosmetics that I used.   I could use the facial moisturizer, but couldn’t use my whole body lotion.   Of all of the lotions in my home, I could only use one.  Oh my-   I’m going to throw away a LOT of products.   That’s a lot of money down the drain.

So you might ask, what products am I using?  I tried making my own laundry detergent out of Washing Soda, Borax and Zote soap. I’ve even tried soap nuts.  This past month, I’ve tried using a goats milk soap from the local health food store.    I’ve used an olive oil based soap and have a friend who made me some lye based moisturizing soap.   I love it much better than the goats milk soap that I purchased.  I’ve gone back and forth between soaps and shampoos and detergents  from different companies and home made.

Update (April 2019) Although I love the Shaklee promise and the non-toxic nature of the products-  I’m worried about the plastic containers in which they are packaged.   Are those plastic containers really getting recycled when I place them in the recycle bin?

I found a company that provides products that are good for my skin and good for the environment.   Instead of offering recyclable containers, they offer refillable containers.   What a concept!   The chemicals are reduced in my shower and we have a company that believes in making a difference for the environment.   Learn more about  Plaine Products sustainable products and let me know what you think!

For the first time in two years, my skin has finally cleared up from the eczema rash that I get from EDTA.  I may be able to wear short sleeves this summer!   Now that is something!