Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Green Dry Cleaning

Green Dry Cleaning

Green dry cleaning

Clean your clothes without harmful chemicals

You may recognize it. That faint solvent smell on clothes fresh from the dry cleaners. But those clothes are anything but fresh if they were cleaned with perchloroethylene (perc or PCE). Minor exposures to this solvent can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, and respiratory irritation. Sustained exposure may cause a host of adverse health effects, including kidney and liver damage and cancer. Perc released to the environment pollutes the air and can contaminate groundwater supplies.

Fortunately “green” dry cleaners have been sprouting up all over. Here’s how to tell the real environmental innovators from the imposters–and keep your old clothes looking great.

Top Tips

At home

  • Wear an undershirt. Having something underneath your dry-clean-only items will allow you to wear them longer between cleanings.

  • Handwash or use the delicate cycle. Many fabrics can be safely hand or machine washed at home, even if the tags say to dry clean them. This is because manufacturers, who may be held responsible if the cleaning method on the tag causes damage to your clothing, tend to play it safe by recommending dry cleaning more often than necessary. Handwash with cold water, or use your delicate cycle with a mild detergent and line or flat dry. Cashmere can be safely washed at home. Silk, wool, and rayon can, too, if you watch the temperature and agitation to eliminate damage and shrinkage. Wool items must be “blocked”–laid flat and stretched to correct size and shape before drying. But bulky wool items such as jackets are probably best taken to a dry cleaner.

  • Air out. If you do get your clothes dry cleaned, keep in mind that they can release perc into your home. While the levels are highest in the room in which the clothes are stored, perc will spread throughout your home for as long as a week. So, you might want to hang your clothes in the garage or outside before bringing them in.

When shopping

  • Buy clothing that doesn’t need to be dry cleaned.

  • Try wet cleaning. Water-based cleaning systems use water and biodegradable detergents in special computer-controlled equipment. That’s right–water replaces the perc as the solvent. Many different formulations are used for the detergents, but the EPA has examined the human health and environmental hazards of the primary components and found no expected health risks. The process is gentle on delicate fabrics and uses less water and energy than traditional perc dry cleaning. The results are usually comparable to perc dry cleaning and the cost about the same. Not all businesses do a top-notch job though. To avoid unpleasant surprises, you might want to test your local wet cleaner before handing over your favorite clothes.

  • Try carbon dioxide. A relatively new alternative, CO2 dry cleaning has no reported health risks. Under high pressure liquid CO2 from existing industrial and agricultural emissions is used as the cleaning solvent. There’s a downside, though: The equipment is expensive, and the process uses detergents and spotters that may contain volatile organic compounds.


  • Solvair machines. If your dry cleaner says it uses carbon dioxide, ask whether it uses a Solvair machine. Dry cleaners using Solvair may rinse the clothes in carbon dioxide, but this isn’t the carbon dioxide process described above. Instead, glycol n-butyl ether, which is suspected of causing adverse health impacts, including hormone disruption, is used as the solvent.

  • Hydrocarbon solvents. A number of dry cleaners that claim to be natural, green, or earth-friendly use “high flashpoint hydrocarbon solvent” technology. These use hydrocarbon solvents, such as DF2000, PureDry, EcoSolve, Shell Sol 140 HT, or Stoddard solvent. Hydrocarbon solvents are petroleum based, so they still emit volatile organic compounds.

  • GreenEarth. A process already widely used in California, GreenEarth uses methyl siloxane, or D5, as the dry cleaning solvent. The EPA is still assessing whether siloxane is safe, although an EPA study of rats found a significant increase in uterine tumors following exposure to D5 at high concentrations. Another concern is that manufacturing D5 requires chlorine and may release dioxin.

  • N-propyl bromide (1-bromopropane). This technology, also known as DrySolv, has the advantage of being usable in machines that once used perc. But animal studies have shown that n-propyl bromide causes sterility in both males and females and harms developing fetuses.

Other Considerations

  • Those plastic bags you get at the dry cleaners aren’t particularly friendly to the environment. Reuse and recycle them. Better yet, if you have a lot of dry cleaning, purchase a reusable cloth garment bag for your dry cleaner to use.

  • And what about those wire hangers? Take them back to your dry cleaner to be re-used. Or ask your dry cleaner to use your own hangers. Another alternative? Try hangers made from 100% recycled paper.


…to your health

Skipping perc dry cleaning will reduce your exposure to air contaminants and probable human carcinogens.

…to your wallet

If you skip dry cleaning entirely–or at least reduce the number of items you clean this way–you’ll save money.

…to the Earth

Saying no to perc dry cleaning will help clean up waterways. (In California alone, perc has contaminated one out of every ten public drinking water wells.) You can also save resources and reduce waste by bringing your own hangers and using a cloth garment bag when you go to the cleaners.

Common Mistakes

Not asking questions. Find out what process your “green” dry cleaner is using. Ask for specifics.

Getting Started

  • Figure out which clothes can be safely cleaned at home.

  • Locate a green dry or wet cleaner.

Related Products & Services

A Green Las Vegas

Stacking Green Chips in the Silver State

greenchipLas Vegas Launches it’s Plan for Green Investments and Green Jobs

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and Nevada’s two largest gambling companies (Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., and MGM Mirage) along with local leaders have come together in the hopes of making not only Las Vegas, but the entire state of Nevada, a leading “green” place to live.

This week, Goodman — along with other local businesses, casinos, utility companies and law firms — organized a non-profit program promoting environmentally friendly training programs and green projects throughout the state. “Green Chips” will develop demonstration projects such as energy audits for low-income households, solar energy retrofit to help save power, and energy efficient construction in communities throughout the Las Vegas area.

Along with the casinos, the cities of Henderson and North Las Vegas, Clark County, the Nevada Water Authority, Nevada State Bank, the law firm of McDonald Carano Wilson LLP, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and NV Energy are all participating as members of Green Chips.

Mayor Goodman Goes Green

oscar-goodmanQuoted in the Las Vegas Review Journal, Mayor Goodman says that “The goal is to have Green Chips serve as an umbrella organization that coordinates with other programs working on renewable energy, conservation and efficiency projects.”

As the non-profit’s chairman, Mayor Goodman is seeking grants and donations while giving away commemorative green chips to donors. The chips would be in $5, $25, and $500 increments respectively.

“We’re going to accomplish so many things,” Goodman said. “We’re going to get down and dirty, so to speak.”

With the start of this organization, not only has green quality living and conservation officially arrived in Vegas, but this will also serve as a launching pad for new green jobs to an economy desperate for an economic boost. Green Chips says that it also plans to provide low-interest loans to homeowners and businesses for overall energy-efficiency, carbon-reduction projects, and resource-preservation.

All Aboard Nevada


“We will encourage seemingly small things like changing the light bulbs, to very large things like saving thousands and thousands of dollars retrofitting laundry equipment,” says Marybel Batjer of Harrah’s Entertainment.

With their new energy-efficient washing machines, Harrah’s laundry facilities clean 250,000 pounds of bed sheets, pillow cases, towels and other cloth items per month. Before the new washers, they were using over 18 million gallons of water in comparison to seven million gallons today. With casinos being the city’s prime attraction, Harrah’s is setting a great example for its competitors, and big businesses to follow, while at the same time saving thousands of dollars for shareholders in the process.

According to an article written by, ninety percent of all the construction materials for Las Vegas’ new CityCenter work site are recyclable, which is the idea behind the Green Chips’ organization. Mayor Goodman says that Las Vegas has always been the “Entertainment Capital of the World”, but now he’s shooting for possibly a new title…. “Greenest City of the Future”.


Other Reading & Resources

Green Chips Website

Green Chips in Vegas from the Las Vegas Review Journal

Vegas Goes Green from Las Vegas Now

Free & Low Cost Solar Energy


Green Chip

Oscar Goldman

City of Las Vegas

Friday, August 21, 2009

Water Shortages

While it may shorten your life, you can still live and breathe with poor air quality. Such is the case for many citizens of industrial megacities like Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, New Delhi, Mumbai and Beijing, among others. When it comes to water, however, cleanliness and freshness is essential to support life. In a growing number of nations, fresh water for drinking and hygiene is either not readily available, or, available only to those who can pay for it. Every human being is entitled to free air to breathe, but what about water to drink?
The shrinking supply of clean drinking water worldwide is on a collision course with its relentlessly growing population. And in a number of developing world countries such as Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Angola, and others, private for-profit corporations are taking over the water supply and charging high prices for this previously free commodity. In many cases, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank are behind this strategy....

For the full article, go to

Graywater Systems 2.0

As a professional greenie, I am especially conscious of wasting water. When washing dishes in the sink, or taking showers, I think about the precious commodity that our water is -- especially in the parched Southwest -- and how it is literally going down the drain. I have even caught myself timing my showers and challenging myself on how quickly I can soap up and get out.
Gray water systems provide a way to retrieve this used but not useless water. Of course you wouldn't drink it, but for landscaping irrigation and just watering the flowers, it can be safely reclaimed in many cases, potentially saving millions of gallons of water per year. For homeowners with larger lots of, say, a quarter acre and up, gray water systems can make an immediate impact on preserving this precious resource while reducing your water bill significantly. Guiltless landscaping, quite the concept, eh?

For the full article go to

Drywall Dangers

This is not another case of "everything causes cancer." Believe it or not, a limited number of homes, mostly built between 2004 and 2006, seem to have walls that give off poisonous fumes. How and why? It seems that drywall imported during that period from China, with its main ingredient, gypsum, gives off noxious fumes and has caused residents to experience ailments like dizziness, headaches, insomnia, not to mention a constant rotten egg smell. Homebuilding giant Lennar has admirably stepped up to this issue, offering to re-do the interiors of these homes for residents, but lesser firms are either out of business or in denial.
Drywall usually is not imported, but during the homebuilding boom materials were scarce so some drywall was brought in from overseas. As is often the case, the Chinese manufacturer (actually a German company, Knauf, and its Chinese subsidiary) denies any wrongdoing. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission is looking into the matter as we speak....

For the full article go to

Careful where you toss that!

pizzaoutofbinSurprises in the world of recycling

Most of us are not strangers to recycling. We are familiar with the multi-colored bins and the appropriate way to sort our recyclables. Despite our dedication and commitment to recycling, many items are ultimately diverted out of our recycling bins to landfills.

Before depositing any unwanted items into the bin, you should determine if they are accepted by your local recycling center. Most will provide you with a list of items they collect in each designated bin (ex: plastic #2 in the blue bin). Even though some can appear recyclable, they may in fact be sorted and placed into the trash. By acknowledging the following items as non-recyclable you may continue to make appropriate choice by investing in alternatives, reusing the items, or by simply reducing your consumption of them.

Common things which are actually non-recyclable

  • Pizza boxes


Even though pizza boxes are made out of recyclable cardboard, once the paper comes in contact with food oils and animal byproducts it can no longer be recycled. Simply stated: water and oil don’t mix in a paper slushy. A grease stained pizza box can cause a whole recycling bin to be contaminated and ultimately be diverted as trash.

Best alternative:

The most eco-friendly and fun substitute for a hot-and-ready pizza, is to make one yourself. This will allow you to eliminate the unnecessary packing associated with a ready or frozen pizza.

  • Styrofoam


Recycling centers do not collect styrofoam because the chemicals required to breakdown the product are extremely toxic. If processed, it can only be chopped or compressed into other styrofoam products. In addition, styrofoam is not biodegradable, thus when thrown away it can contaminate water ways, soil, and poison wildlife.

Best alternative:

When confronted with styrofoam at a restaurant (take out boxes, cups, plates, etc.), opt for an aluminum or paper container. In packages, styrofoam peanuts can be replaced with old newspapers, plastic bubbles, and even textiles.

  • Plastic coat hangers


It is difficult to determine what type of plastic is used to create hangers, thus recycling centers will not accept them. Even if marked, centers will sort your recycling bin and dispose of your unwanted hangers because the recycling machine can be damaged by wedged hangers.

Best alternative:

When shopping for a substitute, purchase 100% FSC certified wood hangers. Bamboo is a highly recommended wood due to its renewable and sustainable qualities. If you truly want to invest in an eco-friendly way to store your clothes, invest in a standing closet or organic hanging canvas shelves. Or, use a green dry cleaners that recycles the metal hangers for you. Many cleaners do provide re-use of hangers if they are returned in a neat stack.

  • Mirrors


The glass used for mirrors is non-recyclable due to its chemical composition. Since mirrors are made out of various components, there is not easy way to disassemble them for recycling. In addition, mirrors may contain various levels of lead, which if recycled and leached can pose a threat to the environment.

Best alternative:

If you are looking to purchase a new mirror, invest in one that is distinguishably marked lead-free. The best alternative would be to buy a vintage/antique mirror or to relocate an old mirror to remodel the room.

  • Juice boxes


According to the University of Michigan, Americans consume 4 billion juice boxes a year, all of which end up in landfills. Juice boxes which contain bright graphics and metallic insulation are non-recyclable because the bonded material are inseparable, thus preventing the recycling process to take place.

Best alternative:

When purchasing juice, get the kind which is sold in a recyclable plastic container. Avoid buying small individual bottles, packs, or boxes, instead purchase a large gallon of juice to refill your glasses or reusable bottles.

Learn More:

Eco Water Bottles

Bottles & Sippy Cups

Recycling by Force

Raising Healthy Children

Water Conservation Overview

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

7 Wonders of the World Going Natural

Do these places make your list?

The New 7 Foundation released 28 finalists for the 7 Wonders of Nature contest, voted on by the public. Below are brief descriptions and images of some of the best-known finalists.

The Amazon Rainforest-

Located in South America, the Amazon Rainforest is the largest forest in the world, covering 1.7 billion acres. It is hometo over 500 mammal species, thousands of fish including many that are unique to the region, 300 types of reptiles, 30 million insect types, and one third of the world’s birds, not to mention the many other species that have not yet been discovered. This magnificent forest faces constant danger from the reality of deforestation brought on mostly by the need for more agricultural fields and cow pastures to feed Brazil’s growing population....

For the full article, go to

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Turn Your Wedding Green

Hear the eco-friendly church bells ringing

When planning your wedding, remember that a truly green event doesn’t have to be expensive or damaging to the environment. By planning ahead you can establish a budget and eliminate unnecessary investments. If possible, always incorporate reusable, biodegradable, recycled and recyclable items into your ceremony.

Now let’s get into some specifics:

  • Invitations

The best paper invitations are made out of recycled paper using soy or sustainable inks. If you want to be truly green, opt for an online, paper-free wedding invitation. Online invitations come in a variety of templates, colors, and designs that are available for you to choose from. In addition, save some paper and money on your engagement announcement, menus, and guest information by creating an inexpensive wedding website that your family and friends can view from any computer.

  • Transportation

Transportation is a huge part of any wedding ceremony. Many couples choose to rent a limo or carpool with their family members and friends. But when deciding your transportation, remember to consider your carbon output. The best choice for the environment would be clean fuel vehicles, biodiesel powered buses which promote carpooling, compressed natural gas vehicles, and of course hybrids.

  • Bling Bling

Jewelry is important to any engaged couple and their wedding party. Many couples chose to present their groomsmen and bridesmaids with various gifts like matching necklaces, earrings, or cufflinks. But did you know that there are sustainable options available, from the engagement ring to the wedding bands to the matching bridesmaids’ jewelry? As the groom, when shopping for an engagement ring, make sure your purchase is certified conflict-free. This means that your gold, diamonds, or gems have been purchased using fair-trade, and have not financed regional destruction or corruption. In addition, consider purchasing recycled gold or vintage/antique jewelry. As the bride, when shopping for your bridesmaids’ gifts remember to purchase sustainable products that are composed of man-made gemstones or are responsibly mined.

  • Flowers & Decorations

From handheld bouquets to church decorations, exotic hues and flower species are expected at most weddings. It’s important to realize that your roses and birds of paradise stems need to travel across the world to attend your wedding ceremony. To conserve money and expended fuel, purchase local or homegrown flowers. For a wedding keepsake, instead of drying your dying bouquet, purchase elegant artificial flowers that you can reuse in your home.

The best eco-friendly approach to decorations is to make your own centerpieces, take-home gifts, name placements, and other decorations you may have in mind. Be creative! Go to your local textile store and purchase sustainable (organic) fabric that truly defines you, then modify it to use as table cover or runner and napkins. The best part about designing your own decorations is that you can reuse them and save money on commercially-bought products. Encourage your wedding party and friends to help make decorations and favors; this will truly make your wedding personal and unique.

  • The Menu

Surprising your guests with a unique assortment of food and cake doesn’t have to be expensive or exotic. Shop locally or from homemade caterers, this will promote your local community, in addition to saving energy and money on shipping costs. Use the money you saved by buying locally to upgrade your food to a delicious organic menu. Buying organics promote pesticide-free, sustainable agriculture. Various cake caterers and beverages (including alcohol) are available as organic and/or vegan.

  • Party Favors & Gifts

There are many options for sustainable party favors and gifts. Instead of giving your guests the traditional commercial bought presents, take the time to make your own little gift bags or baskets. You can include framed pictures, customized candy, or even little tree seedlings. If you wish to motivate your wedding party to be more eco-conscious, make a donation to a rainforest or conservation fund in their name, and present them with the certification as their gift.

  • Location

By holding your reception at home you can save a lot of fuel and money. If most of your guests will be traveling locally, the carbon footprint of your marriage will be significantly smaller than that of elaborate weddings held on a cruise, and you will save money on family accommodations.

Learn More:

Pretty In Green

Tips to Turn Your Pet Into a Greenie

10 Quick Ways To Green Your Home

Green Cleaning… Not Just for Spring

Greywater Systems

Going Grey to Get Green

From taking a bath to watering your lawn

What do you do with the water that remains after a long, hot bath? Send it down the drain, most likely. Before you pull the plug in your bathtub, consider reclaiming the sudsy but still valuable H2O to water your lawn. Sound strange? It’s not. Millions of Americans are reusing their “graywater” everyday to water their landscape, saving gallons of water and pocketfuls of money.

Amidst severe drought, California recently made some changes to its graywater laws so that more citizens can partake in this eco-friendly practice. Californians can now install simple graywater-reuse systems without buying a construction permit or paying installation fees which should dramatically increase the number of of graywater recyclers. In California alone, an estimated 1.7 million water-reuse systems are installed, most of which were technically illegal because homeowners avoided paying permit fees. With the passage of California Assembly Bill 313 these consumers most likely would now be legal.

What exactly is graywater?

Graywater is untreated water from your house that has not been in contact with toilet waste, like used water from baths, showers, bathroom sinks, and washing machines. Graywater does not include water from kitchen sinks, toilets, and dishwashers. This is called blackwater, which needs to have a separate plumbing system due to high bacterial content which is unsuitable for irrigation.

Why is it so important for you and water conservation?

According to California state officials, an average home produces 160 gallons of graywater per day, or 60,000 gallons per year, most of which is not reused; however, if a family of four reused graywater from washing machines, they could save 22,000 gallons of water a year. By reusing greywater to irrigate landscaping and to fill toilets, you can conserve water, and reduce your water and sewer bills. About 60% of your home’s water outflow is graywater which you can reuse, even during droughts when outdoor water may be limited. Graywater is used for landscape irrigation which can keep your lawn looking pristine, adding value to your home.

How to get started

To reuse graywater, your home first needs a special system that separates graywater from blackwater. Before California’s graywater laws were revised, a construction permit was required to install even a simple system, however, the urgency of California’s water situation eliminated this requirement and, along with it, permit fees. Simple graywater-reuse systems are used to collect water from a single drain attached to a washing machine, showers, or other acceptable sources. Homemade systems can cost as little as $200 while still being effective. If you want to install a system yourself without the help of a landscape contractor, keep these tips in mind.

1. A typical graywater system consists of the following:

  • A three-way diverter valve (as pictured) which diverts water to a sewer or irrigation system.

  • A treatment facility such as a sand filter, and a bilge pump to keep your water clean.

  • A holding tank which cools the water and temporarily keeps it from the drain hose

  • An irrigation system.

2. You must determine if you have enough land to install a graywater system. State guidelines state that there must be minimal to no contact between homeowners and graywater, which requires the area of water released to be covered with at least 2 inches of rock or mulch. Generally, if your home is located on a lot of a quarter acre or larger, with some buffer space between you and your neighbors and/or a yard, you should have a good chance of meeting the specs

3. Your graywater system must release water to an irrigation field or a sewer.

4. You cannot use your graywater system to water root vegetables like carrots and turnips.

5. After designing your graywater system, you must submit the design plan for review and approval by building inspectors adhering to graywater standards.

6. After approval, you can install your system. Upon completion, it must be checked by an inspector.

For more information about

Installing a greywater-reuse system

Newly Revised greywater laws

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Saving Water during the Days of Summer

Dirty Cars and Brown Lawns

It’s hot as heck this summer in the Southwest, and water rationing has gone into effect in many communities. For those of us who were careful with water usage over the past couple years, reducing consumption even more is a challenge. Especially since the new higher rates are based on previous years’ usage, so, if you were on the edge already, what to do now without going into the “red zone”?

I like clean cars, lush green landscaping and fresh flowers. These pleasures of daily life are tough to change once they become a given. However, part of being truly green is making small everyday sacrifices for the greater good.

So, I guess at least in the summer months, I am adding dirty cars and brown lawns to my list of things we can do to save water. I have also given up baths and while I like a long, hot, decadent shower, I have shortened the proceedings in the name of water savings.

My husband cleans the windshield and we let the cars get dusty. We keep the interiors tidy, but being able to eat off the hood is a thing of the past. I have to be careful not to brush against the car door in my white linen suit, as a trip to the (green) cleaners will result.

We are stuck with quite a bit of landscaping – which I will admit, we really like — as our home exteriors were designed years ago. Brown and scraggly instead of green and lush does ruin the look of our property. But during the summer, there is no choice. Turn your irrigation systems down to the point that the landscaping won’t die, but there will be a some brown areas. Not so pretty, admittedly, but we can save Herculean amounts of water this way.

Last but not least, turn the water off when brushing teeth. This small inconvenience can save thousands of gallons per year, particularly if you can train your children to follow suit.
And finally, let’s all pray to the rain gods for a seriously wet fall and winter.

Blog from SCGH's Director of Sustainability Jennifer Schwab

Monday, August 3, 2009

Green Products

Pretty In Green
From refreshingly eco-friendly armpits to natural hair conditioners

By replacing your mass produced hygiene products and investing in eco-friendly ones, you can make a positive impact on the environment, your family, and your wallet. Make sure to read more than the price tag of your hygiene products, as most are not biodegradable or handmade. Purchase products that are marked cruelty-free (not tested on animals), organic, eco-certified, and made out of recycled content. Also, look for products marked paraben-free. Parabens, similar to phthalates, have been reported by the Food and Drug Administration to cause tumors, hormone malfunction, and other health issues.

Follow the guidelines below to green your shopping list.

1. Make-up Galore

Most cosmetics can clog your pores and cause various skin irritations because they are petroleum based. Such make-up also negatively impacts the environment because it promotes the extraction of a non-renewable resource, petroleum or crude oil. Purchase items that are labeled organic, cruelty-free and petroleum-free. Organic products are made from plant materials and do not include pesticides, harsh chemicals, or preservatives. Let your eye-shadow reflect your respect for nature and wildlife.

2. Your pearly-whites

Popular toothpastes include fluoride, sweeteners, and artificial preservatives that give you that ‘ahh, fresh’ feeling. Artificial cleaning solutions are not only an empty investment, but they’re also bad for the environment. Chemicals can concentrate in your septic tank or local water source. Many environmentalists confirm that a little baking soda on the end of your toothbrush gets the job done just as in commercial toothpaste. If you prefer to use a store bought toothpaste look for one that is fluoride-free or lower in fluoride, especially for children, according to the American Dental Association). It is reported that a high dose of fluoride can discoloration, decay and can damage tooth enamel. In addition, shop for a paste with no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, coloring, or harsh abrasives. Most green toothpastes are organic and may contain interesting ingredients like seaweed extract, ginger, cinnamon, or even tea tree oil.

3. Feminine Products

There are numerous feminine product options available but the best ones are marked as 100% USDA Organic and contain the Leaping Bunny Logo which is used to identify various items as free of animal testing. Organic products do not include the bleaching agent dioxin, a known carcinogen and pollutant. If you are looking to eliminate packaging waste, reusable options are also available. You can get more knowledge on such products online and in local stores.

4. Care for your locks

Shampoos, hair conditioners, hair gels, and styling mousses haves been modified numerous ways to accommodate consumers’ desires. Currently, there are many natural and herbal products available. Avoid artificial waxes and protein-stripping enzymes when purchasing hair products. The best way to ensure that you are applying an all-natural product to your hair is by using homemade herbal recipes like henna or honey mixtures. When shopping, look for paraben-free, organic hair products that are made with fruits or vegetables.

5. Deodorants

Conventional deodorants are usually made in bulk and include aluminum, which prevents our sweat glands from producing perspiration by inducing cell inflammation. Studies show that such artificial inflammation can be bad for your health, so shop for aluminum-free products. In addition, handmade and vegan deodorant options are available in stores nationwide. Buying a biodegradable, natural deodorant will decrease your ecological footprint when the time comes to dispose of your antiperspirant.

To Learn More Visit

Phthalates: The “Rubber Ducky” Chemical

Green Cleaning… Not Just For Spring

Children Toys

Turn Your Pet into a Greenie

10 Quick Ways to Green Your Home

Hippies vs.Tree Huggers: The Battle for America’s Greenest City

The Battle of the Bio-Titans

On July 6th, Seattle residents had their voices heard as the city council voted on Mayor Greg Nickel’s proposal to ban foam containers and impose a fee on plastic and paper bags at supermarkets. Starting immediately, all foam products will be banned, but grocery stores would be allowed to make a change to plastic products if they have not found a biodegradable replacement, according to The Seattle Times. Then in January of 2010, all plastic products will be banned, leaving only biodegradable choices. Consumers who choose not to use environmentally friendly bags or containers will be charged a 20 cent per bag fee at the checkout counter. Not surprisingly, retailers are complaining, as are some residents who say they already recycle their bags and reuse them for trash and doggy poop.

Regardless, Seattle is one of the most active cities in America in protecting the environment. Policies that encourage hybrid transportation, green fuels, and energy conservation technology have demonstrated Seattle’s dedication to green living. But with Tuesday’s vote, the city has shown it will continue to be on the cutting edge when it comes to future green issues.

Regardless, Seattle is one of the most active cities in America in protecting the environment. Policies that encourage hybrid transportation, green fuels, and energy conservation technology have demonstrated Seattle’s dedication to green living. But with Tuesday’s vote, the city has shown it will continue to be on the cutting edge when it comes to future green issues.

The San Francisco Treat

The board of supervisors in San Francisco on June 9th voted 9-2 approving Mayor Gavin Newsom’s proposal for the toughest, mandatory composting and recycling law in the country. It’s an aggressive push to cut greenhouse gas emissions and have the city sending nothing to landfills or incinerators by 2020, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

San Francisco has the best recycling and composting program in the nation,” Newsom declared while praising the board’s vote. “We can build on our success.”

The legislation called for every residence and business in the city to have three separate color-coded bins for waste: blue for recycling, green for compost and black for trash. Failing to properly sort your refuse could result in a fine after several warnings, but Newsom and other officials say that fines will only be levied in the most egregious cases. There is a moratorium on fines until at least July 2011 for tenants and owners of multifamily buildings or multi-tenant commercial properties to help get people used to composting. Buildings where recycling carts won’t fit inside can get a waiver.

In any scenario, there will be repeated notices and phone calls before we even start talking about fines,” say Jared Blumenfeld, the head of the city’s Department of the Environment. “We don’t want to fine people.”

The proposal is thought to be an effective way to cut about two-thirds of the 618,000 tons of waste that the city sent to landfill in 2007. But this new proposal drew resistance from some apartment building owners when the news of Mayor Newsom’s proposal emerged about a year ago. And some residents were upset over the possibility of inspectors checking their garbage.

About 36 percent of what San Francisco sends to landfill is compostable, and another 31 percent is recyclable. By the city’s count, it currently diverts 72 percent of its waste which is the best in the nation. If recyclables and compostables that make their way to landfills were diverted, the city’s recycling rate would jump to 90 percent, Blumenfeld said.

So who’s greener?

Seattle and San Francisco are both extremely progressive cities in the U.S. as it pertains to green living. Both cities are hosts to numerous green living festivals, conventions, and continue to pass legislation that will help protect the environment for years to come. ranked Seattle as America’s number one green city with San Francisco coming in at number two. Other publications including Popular Science magazine, have San Francisco rated above Seattle. Whichever city is “greener”, both cities have proven to be great examples of the progression that green living has had on not only America, but around the world.

Other Reading

America’s 50 Greenest Cities

Recycling By Force

Green festivals

San Francisco: Composting

Home Composting