I gave up paper towels when I first went plastic-free since all brands come wrapped in plastic. Later, I realized how wasteful the whole idea of paper towels is in the first place. So I switched to natural cellulose sponges and cut-up rags. (Microfiber cloths are a no-no for the plastic-free crowd because they’re made from… uh… plastic.)
The thing is, sponges get gross and don’t dry out quickly, so they tend to smell bad after a while. And the rags I was using weren’t particularly absorbent. Then, a few weeks ago, I read about Skoy cloths on the Crunchy Domestic Goddess blog, and thought they sounded like a great idea.
Skoy cloths* are 100% biodegradable, as they’re made from cotton and cellulose. They’re also chlorine-free and contain water-based colors and inks. While highly absorbent like sponges, they are thin and dry out fast. The company claims that one Skoy cloth can replace 15 rolls of paper towels… Read the rest
Nowadays, I stick to buying clothes that can be washed at home rather than dry cleaned. Dry cleaning is expensive and environmentally harmful. But I do still have several items of clothing, as well as some wool blankets, that cannot be machine laundered at home, and for those I need a good outside cleaner.
In the past, I have taken clothes to the dry cleaner down the street, not thinking about much more than the fact that I didn’t want any plastic bag covering my clothes. The cleaner would comply with my request, and I’d do an extra bit by returning my used hangers to them. This takes care of the waste problem, but not the more serious problem of the toxic chemicals used in the cleaning process itself.
Thanks to Big Green Purse, I’ve learned a lot about dry cleaning recently. Which is great because I was almost taken in by the “green cleaner” down the street. Rockridge Royal Cleaners on College Ave has posters in its windows … Read the rest
June 13, 2008
Citra Solv, LLC
PO Box 2597
Danbury, CT 06813-2597
Dear Steve & Melissa,
I purchased a box of CitraSuds natural laundry detergent today at the Ecology Center in Berkeley, CA. I am always on the lookout for environmentally safe products and was happy to learn that your laundry powder is biodegradable and contains no chlorine bleach or synthetic perfumes or dyes. I was also happy to read on the box that the package is made from 100% recycled paper.
However, after opening the box, I was disappointed to find a plastic measuring scoop. While I realize the scoop may be made out of recycled plastic, the fact is that it is not biodegradable and cannot be further recycled — not where I live anyway. Therefore, I am returning the scoop to you in the hopes that you can find a use for it. I don’t need it, and most of the people I know do not need a brand new scoop each time we buy a box of detergent.
There is another brand of laundry soap, Ecover, which… Read the rest
I was planning to write about DIY hair care products this week. But so far, my experiments have been less than successful. Take, for example, the sugar water hairspray, exhibit left. Here’s the recipe:
Dissolve 1 tablespoon sugar in a cup of water. Boil 3 minutes. Be sure the sugar is completely dissolved. Add 1 tablespoon vodka and 2-3 drops essential oil of your choice for scent. Pour into a spray bottle.
The instructions should also have said, “Keep out of the reach of ants!” But then, I guess the writer figured most sane people are aware that sugar attracts ants. Just to clarify, this hairspray ant invasion happened a month BEFORE last week’s sugar incident. You’d think I would have learned. And you would be wrong.
So, about the hairspray. It didn’t work anyway. Still looking for a plastic-free alternative. But that’s not what I want to talk about in this post.
What I want to talk about is letting go of … Read the rest
After all my hoopla about using hydrogen peroxide to clean the inside of tomato sauce jar lids, I’m now having second thoughts. Sorry to get prematurely excited.
A few days ago, after “bleaching” the tomato stains out of a couple of lids with hydrogen peroxide, I noticed that the smell was not completely gone. So I added another round of hydrogen peroxide and left them in the sun some more. Well, this time, not only did the tomato break down, but so did the coating on the inside of the lid! And that got me thinking…
Could the coating on the inside of prepared foods jar lids be the same stuff (polycarbonate) that lines the insides of aluminum cans these days? And if so, does using hydrogen peroxide on it cause it to leach Bisphenol-A?
I’ve been trying to find information on the web about what that coating is, but I’m having a hard time finding a definitive answer. So I sent e-mails to several companies (Classico, Newman’s… Read the rest
8/28/07 Update: It turns out that cleaning pasta sauce jar lids with hydrogen peroxide is not such a good idea. H202 eats through the coating inside the jar lid. Read more here.
Pasta sauce jars would be a great replacement for plastic food storage containers, if it weren’t for the tomato stain and smell that penetrates the rubbery inside of the lid and causes any food in the jar to take on the taste and smell of the sauce. (Tomato-flavored soy milk, anyone?) For weeks, I tried everything I could think of to clean them out (short of chlorine bleach, which we don’t buy) to no avail. Things I tried: white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, salt, vinegar and baking soda, lemon juice and baking soda, dish soap, scrubbing really hard. I even found a web page dedicated to this very topic, but none of the non-bleach suggestions worked for me.
And then I remembered reading somewhere a few weeks ago about leaving them out in the sun to get the smell out. So… Read the rest