I have travertine on every inch of floor in my entire house. I also have three kids - two of them under the age of ten. What that means is that I do a lot of floor cleaning. I realized recently that I was going through an awful lot of chemical products to clean my floor and that bothered me on two levels. One, I don't really like to spend money on cleaning supplies when there are so many more fun things I could be doing with it. Two, I know that most chemical products aren't exactly green or eco friendly.
* NOTE: We really like the Eco Canteen but have gotten a few comments about inflated shipping charges when ordering from the company. We recommend purchasing the Eco Canteen from Amazon. Click Here to Get the Eco Canteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle
About a month ago, I posted a blog saying that I’d soon be doing a review of the Eco Canteen metal water bottle as they offered to send me a few of their bottles to test. I finally have them…and I have to first say that my long wait in not the fault of Eco Canteen. First of all, I live in Hawaii and everything takes forever and two days to get here. Second, we don’t get home mail delivery in Hawaii (yes, seriously!) and the Mailboxes, Etc. where I pick up my mail is 45 minutes from my house. So, you can guess about how often I make the trek all the way over there just to pick up bills…
Last Friday when I finally stopped in to pick up my mail, the Eco Canteen stainless steel water bottles were waiting for me. As soon as I got home I unpacked the box and was thrilled to find two of the full-size water bottles. The lid has a clip attached so the water bottle can be easily transported. The bottles also come with an insulated tote bag that keeps in the moisture and keeps the water colder, longer.
In the past, I’ve talked about the importance of using stainless steel water bottles. In short, plastic water bottles are bad for your health and their bad for the environment. Plastic contains BPA, which can leach and cause health problems. The effects on the environment are even worse. Most people don’t recycle these plastic bottles and they break down incredibly slowly – it can take up to 1,000 years for plastic to break down. That’s not exactly the legacy that you want to leave. Also concerning is the amount of oil that’s used in the production of plastics. According to the Earth Policy Institute, more than 17 million barrels of oil are used each year in order to create the plastic that water is stored in – and that’s not including the cost to transport the water, often overseas.
Alright, back to the Eco Canteen review. In the past, I’ve used Kleen Kanteen’s water bottles, and for the most part, I’ve been pleased with them. However, I’ll gladly make the change to Eco Canteen, for a few key reasons.
First and most important (to me), Eco Canteen is a non-profit organization. That tells me that they are doing this for the right reasons.
Second, the Eco Canteen bottles are about 1/2 the price of any competitor’s bottles. The full size stainless steel water bottles are $9.95 and the kid’s sized bottles are only $8.95 vs. more than $20.00 for the same bottles sold by many competitors.
Third, after using these bottles for a few days, I’ve found the quality of these bottles to be just as good, or better, than that of other water bottles I’ve used. The insulated sleeve that comes with them is basically a free bonus, since the bottles that I’ve ordered in the past did not come with a holder at all.
If I have any complaint at all about the Eco Canteen stainless steel water bottles, it’s that they only come in traditional stainless steel. Now, that’s perfect for me. However, I have daughters who are seven and five and they are really attached to their decorated bottles. However, as I mentioned before, these bottles are half the price and they’re extremely good quality – so my daughters are just going to have to learn to love the stainless steel look!
If you’re still drinking from plastic water bottles, it’s time to make the switch.
If you are planning on updating the cabinetry in your kitchen, take the time to consider green cabinets. There are actually lots of things that you can do if you’d like to make your kitchen a little more eco friendly.
Here’s just a few green cabinet ideas to get you started:
- Consider Using What You Already Have: Yes, I know using what you have sort of defeats the purpose of new kitchen cabinets. However, it is worth considering. If you are basically happy with the layout of your current kitchen and your cabinetry is well-built and high quality, it’s entirely possible that you could reface what you already have. In case you are wondering what makes this more eco friendly than replacing the whole thing – it’s really simple. Refacing what you already have means that you use less materials. Using less material is always a green thing to do.
- Donate Your Old Cabinets: If your current cabinets are in good condition, be eco friendly and a good citizen and donate them to someone who can get additional use out of them. Habitat for Humanity has a great program called ReStore that accepts all kinds of building materials and used household items, like cabinets. Donations are tax-deductible.
- How About Buying Used: Depending on your needs, the style of your kitchen, and your budget, buying used may be a great alternative and will definitely give you green cabinets – certainly more eco friendly than buying new. Adding new hardware to a set a cabinetry that you like can make it perfect for your kitchen.
If you are absolutely set on purchasing new cabinetry for your home, here are some things that you’ve absolutely got to consider
- Check for FSC Certified Wood: If you are planning to purchase wood cabinetry, look for the use of wood that has been grown in FSC-certified forests. These are managed forests and steps are taken to make sure that trees are replanted for those that are cut down.
- Consider Metal: Metal is a much more renewable product than wood. If you have a contemporary kitchen, metal or stainless steel cabinets might be a perfect option for you.
- Buy Less or Leave Some Open: This goes back to the concept that using less of anything is a green thing to do. Consider reducing the total amount of cabinet space that you install or leaving some of your cabinets open (ie. not installing faces on them)
- Watch Very Closely for VOCs & Urea Formaldeyde: Almost all cabinets are in some way glued together. They also often have a finish added. This may be one of the most important things that you pay attention to because VOCs and Urea Formaldehyde are a health risk and contribute to poor indoor air quality. The major problem is that items that contain VOCs continue to emit them for up to 5 years, or longer in some cases. If you do purchase cabinets with VOCs, make sure that you unpack them outdoors and give them some time to air out before bringing them in your home. They’ll still emit fumes, but the majority of the harmful fumes are emitted within the first hours and days.
- Look for Recycled or Reclaimed Wood: Of course, recycled & reclaimed materials will give you a greener product than using virgin products. They also often have great character and can really give your kitchen a great look and feel.
The bottom line is that you can get a new look in your kitchen while being responsible through the use of green cabinets!
Spring is here and it's time to start thinking about your garden. There's nothing that makes me happier than getting my garden spruced up each spring and I'm always on the lookout for new plants and products to add to what I already have.