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10 Uses for Tea Tree Oil

I was introduced to tea tree oil years ago, in a dandruff shampoo.  It worked better than Head & Shoulders and it smelled good, too!  After that, I began using tea tree oil to treat break-outs and it dried those pesky zits right out!  I soon learned that there are tons of uses for tea tree oil, and not just for personal care.  

Tea tree oil (also called melaleuca oil) is a clear or yellowish essential oil taken from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, native to Australia.  The Bundjalung people of Eastern Australia use it to treat colds, and more recently, commercial tea tree oil became available in the 1970s and 1980s.  Now it's available all over the place, and it can be used in many ways, from cleaning your home or freshening your breath!

Here are some more ways that you can use tea tree oil:... read more

A Green Holiday Season

It's easy for people to get sucked into the commercialism of the holiday season, but it doesn't have to be that way.  Go back to the roots of the holidays, and use it to spend time with loved ones and show them how much your appreciate them with tokens of affection.  And do it all the "green" way! 

If you're hosting a holiday dinner, free range turkeys aren't just for Thanksgiving.  Learn more about buying a turkey from a local farm.   Buy other locally grown food if it's seasonal, like yummy butternut squash!  

If you celebrate Christmas, buy a real Christmas tree as opposed to an artificial one and light up the tree with LED Christmas lights.  Buy ornaments made by local artisans or make your own!  If you have kids, make ornaments out of things like egg cartons, yogurt containers, or other things that might otherwise get thrown in the trash.  

If you're going to send traditional holiday cards, buy ones printed on recycled paper.  The even better option is to send e-cards!

What about when it comes time to shop?  (Don't forget to try to make Black Friday a little greener if you feel the need to brave the crowds!)  Before going shopping, ask your friends and relatives what they need and want.  It's not good for the environment to just give little trinkets that might be made overseas with PVC especially when they might end up just catching dust.  Avoid buying cheap junk just for the sake of giving a gift.  

Here are some green gift ideas:  ... read more

Biodegradable Products

 

US Composting BiodegradableOne word you see being thrown around on packaging for "green" products is biodegradable.   My advice?  Caveat emptor before buying something that simply says it's biodegradable.   I've gotten suckered into buying products labeled biodegradable more than once.  However, it's another one of those greenwashing terms that actually means nothing, much like products that tout being "all natural." 

According to the FTC,  a product must "return to nature" when disposed.  What does that mean?  Nobody even monitors or enforces this claim, and it's awfully vague.

To ensure that something is indeed biodegradable, there are two official seals to look for:... read more

Green Flea Remedies for Pets

Poor Fido is scratching away, and you know you need to do something to get rid of his fleas.  But, do you want to put poison on man's best friend?  Probably not.  The hazards of traditional flea and tick products are really startling.

Luckily, there are some non-toxic and green alternatives to flea control.

Neem:  Neem is a tree native to India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Pakistan.  It's used for medical purposes so commonly in India that some of its nicknames are "Heal All" and "Nature's Drugstore." You can buy pet shampoos and oils made of neem and it will not only kill and repel fleas, but it will help soothe your pet's skin which is likely irritated by all of the scratching!... read more

Reusable Household Items

paper kitchen towelsWe live in a disposable society.  Right now, the norm for many products is that they're for one-time-use.  From napkins, to water bottles, to coffee filters, you use them once and then dispose of them immediately.

While we do keep some disposable items in our home, we try to use them as seldom as possible.  Depending on what you are cleaning up, paper towels, paper napkins, and even dirty tissues can be composted, so when you do use a paper towel to wipe up that marinara sauce you just spilled all over the counter, you can toss it in the compost bin instead of the trash.

Of course, it would be even better to wipe the counter with a kitchen towel.  A paper towel is a one-time-use product, but a good kitchen towel can last you a very long time.  Any kitchen towel is better than a paper towel, but to be your greenest, you can buy ones made of organic cotton, bamboo, or hemp.... read more

Have an Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving with Free Range Turkeys

green thanksgivingGobble, gobble!  Can you believe that we're a month away from Thanksgiving?

If you're hosting Turkey Day at your house, there are many things you can do to make sure it's as green as possible.  I won't bore you with the tips of the "don't forget to recycle on Thanksgiving!" variety, but there might be something you hadn't thought of in terms of greening your Thanksgiving:  buy your turkey directly from a farm!  ... read more

Green Up Your Bathroom!

You've got your compost bin, homemade dishwashing detergent, and homegrown organic tomatoes in the kitchen, but now it's time to think about "greening up" another room in your home.  Let's green your bathroom!

- Take the toilet paper challenge!  Michelle wrote a great article earlier this year about reducing toilet paper consumption.  You can also use the Greenpeace Shopper's Guide to toilet paper to figure out the most environmentally friendly TP out there. 

- Make your own cleaning products using items like Castile soap, baking soda, and vinegar... read more

The Green Providers Directory

If you're in the UK and looking for an extensive directory of green, organic, and fair trade products and services, check out The Green Providers Directory

The Green Providers Directory is a free, not-for-profit directory founded by Dr. Gary Robertshaw in 2005.  You can find all sorts of products and services, from wine to clothes to renewable energy suppliers. You'd be surprised at how many green products and services are available.
... read more

Small Australian Town Banned Bottled Water

In 1998, Americans drank about 4 billion gallons of bottled water.  Can you guess how many gallons of bottled water Americans chugged in 2008?  8.6 billion gallons.

In recent years, there's been a bit of a bottled water backlash, and rightfully so when you consider the waste builds up from these bottles.  In 2009, the first community in the world stepped forward and banned the sale of bottled water.
... read more

Indoor Gardening

It's been an unseasonably cool year in New England, and after having our first frost warning come this week (really early!), we quickly picked our tomatoes to let them ripen inside.

If you're like me and you love the taste of garden fresh fruits and veggies as well as the eco-friendly benefits of organic gardening and local produce, but you live in a climate where you can't garden year round, there is the option of indoor gardening.

aerogardenThe easiest way to garden indoors is by using an Aerogarden.   It's a hydroponic method of gardening.

At first I was concerned about the energy consumption of it, but it only uses as much energy as a 60 watt bulb.  Not bad!  We've only grown herbs in it (the picture on the left is of the very, very early slepts of that), but now that it's too cold to garden outdoors, we'll be doing some peppers and tomatoes.  It is really easy to use, even if you don't have a green thumb.  It lights up when it needs more water, so it's really hard to mess up.  We had fresh herbs all winter long!  We ate insane amounts of pesto.  The things you grow from the Aerogarden are also typically organic, because you don't need pesticides since the garden is inside.... read more

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