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May Green Initiative

June 9, 2008

Last month, due to the extra influx of cash, I funded a small green initiative for myself. Here are some of the changes I implemented.

Personal Care:
Boy was I wrong when I thought I already had non-toxic shampoo. It is called Purology, which sounds fantastically… pure! The press materials advertised that it was vegan so I thought “organic, natural, etc.” I think all that meant is no animal testing! I looked at the ingredients, and they were anything but natural: SLS and all sorts of chemicals! To remedy this, indulged in two shampoo bars from Lush, the Seanik and the  Ultimate Shine, for about $8 or $9 each. So far I’ve been using the Seanik, and it seems to make my hair a little dry, so I might try shampooing every other day.

For conditioner, I actually tried three kinds. First, I picked up a whole foods store brand (365 Everyday Value) conditioner for just $2. I didn’t like it at all. It didn’t feel like conditioner. It wasn’t slippery or moisturizing, and I felt like I’d have to dump the whole bottle on my head. After that, I was wary of organic conditioner, so I bought two sample sizes. One was Alba, and the other was Avalon Organics. Of the two, I preferred Alba (though both beat the Whole foods brand by far), but I’m not yet convinced I’ll buy a full sized bottle.

For other personal care items, I’ll replace as I run out. I did buy some mineral make-up (like) and organic moisturizer (decent, but feels a little weird), but I’m not about to replace my whole bathroom arsenal.

Home care
Frugal and non-toxic cleaners are a great step anyone can take, especially if you have kids (I don’t). For less than $20 (including a spray bottle, which was the most expensive part) I bought ingredients to make my own homemade non-toxic cleaners. These supplies will last me forever, and can be used to clean almost anything! I do need another spray bottle or two, but want to find a good price.

I already talked about my light bulb failure, but I did take down one of the three kitchen track lights, so I at least cut out 60W of energy. I might work on my bathroom lights, but they aren’t on that often anyway.

I bought one reusable grocery bag for $4 from Trader Joe’s, and also got a free one while strolling trough the farmers market (Honda promotion). I get a .05 bag refund at Ralph’s and Whole foods, so after 80 grocery trips, it’ll pay for itself!

I tried some absorbent dish cloths from Trader Joe’s, based on this review, and I like them. Paper towels are still easier, but these are a good alternative. I’ll still use paper towels sometimes, but I have certainly cut back.

I’m ashamed to admit my first list didn’t include the most obvious green task. In grade school, Ronald McDonald came to our school and taught us a rap to help save the environment: “Reduce, reuse, recycle, YO!” I reduce and reuse, but do I recycle? Not really. Well, I do now! It was easier than I thought, I found bins right out behind my apartment complex. I’ve dropped my recycling in the bins twice so far, and I feel bad that I didn’t do this in the past.

So that’s it! The next step is really quite major, but probably important. Taking the bus to work. I’m not a morning person, and this will require me to walk .7 miles (10 minutes? 15?) then bus for another 15-20 minutes, than another short .3 mile walk (5 minutes?). As opposed to getting in my car and taking maybe 15 minutes from doorstep to desk. It’ll save me a little bit of cash, but not enough to make the monetary value worth it. Anyway, busing to work is still on the “I’ll keep thinking about it” list. Perhaps I’ll try it for just a couple days a week and see how it goes.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 9, 2008 11:12 am

    why not bike to work instead?

  2. June 9, 2008 11:19 am

    @zero – Maybe. I’d have to first buy a bike+helmet+gear, which I think I’d have to store inside my small apartment (not impossible, not ideal). The route is a little scary with highways and lots of cars, but one could do it. It is a possibility in the future, but not in the immediate future.

  3. yeah permalink
    June 9, 2008 11:25 am

    Vegan means no animal ingredients and no animal testing. It has nothing to do with whether a product is organic, “all-natural,” etc., although a lot of products are both vegan and organic, or both vegan and natural.

  4. June 9, 2008 12:09 pm

    I like to bike or walk/bus. It’s a little bit of a pain, but it gets to be routine after a while. I also enjoy the time to myself…which I feel like I don’t get in the car (plus, no road rage).

  5. June 9, 2008 12:35 pm

    @saving diva – I suppose I should try it before I decide I don’t like it. My commute is really easy, not much traffic, and I listen to NPR. So my incentive to change isn’t that high. But I will give it a shot.

  6. June 9, 2008 3:01 pm


    I really wish more companies paid for public transportation because I think more people would take it if it was compensated – I would anyway.. but I do it anyway because I don’t like cars…

    And I like being alone too 🙂 I enjoy listening to music and just chilling out lol

  7. Jenn permalink
    June 9, 2008 6:58 pm

    I also live in LA and recently started cycling. Now that I’m looking for them, I keep noticing bike lanes that I never saw before!

    Also you may want to watch out for products labelled organic. The organic consumers association recently tested a lot of natural/organic products only to discover a known carcinogenic.

  8. June 13, 2008 5:59 am

    I am totally biased against “organic “and/or “natural” conditioners. The whole purpose of it a conditioner is to moisturize and detangle, and with organics, I’ve found I can’t even run my fingers through my hair in the shower! There may be some really good ones out there, but until I find them, bring on the methylbutylsulfateoxinates…or whatever 😛

  9. June 13, 2008 7:56 am

    @Sarah – I agree. The first one I tried, I was shocked at how crappy it was. The Alba conditioner worked well, but i haven’t examined the ingredient list.

  10. Jamillah permalink
    June 13, 2008 11:54 am

    It is hard but worth it. After Earth Day, I made a concious effort to start in my own environment. I started using the Clorox Greenworks line which is very good. I break down all packaging: cardboard, plastic/glass, paper, newpaper/magazines. I use my paper bags to tote all of that to recycle, plastic for plastics. I bought two gocery bags from my grocery store for .99 per bag. I get .5 off my bill for each bag. I also have a plain one for going to the fruit stand. I have a limit on what goes into my car, make a mental note of who has lower gas, and not to speed. I can get by on almost a week before refueling…Same day every week (Wednesdays), prices jump on Thursday.

    IF you have it in your area watch Planet Green. It is a cool channel with all a bunch of shows about the environment. My favorite’s are G-Word, Hollywood Green, Alter Eco, and Supper Club.

    Good luck going green.

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