Inspiring DIY projects, beauty recipes and advice to green your daily routine.

Posts by Kim

Bulk Shopping Facts And Fiction

Posted by on Apr 7, 2015 in Food & Recipes, Lifestyle | 2 comments

Bulk Shopping Facts And Fiction

Next time you’re putting your groceries away, pay attention to how many items have a plastic component to the packaging. On a recent trip to the grocery store I bought about 35 items and only a handful were completely plastic-free. My cereal was double-packaged in a plastic bag resting inside a cardboard box. My rice, nuts and hummus were all packaged in plastic too.   Plastic Is Downcycled, Not Recycled I never thought this was a big problem until I stumbled across an article that changed the way I think about plastic recycling. It said that recycling plastic is better than throwing it away but only “barely.” That’s because plastic can only be reused a finite number of times and the process of recycling it is relatively inefficient.   So I started thinking about ways to consume less plastic and packaging at the grocery store. First, I went for the low hanging fruit like buying orange juice in a cardboard container and choosing glass jars when the cost difference is reasonable. I also decided to do more of my shopping in the bulk bin section. If I brought my own bags, this shopping would be zero waste. It doesn’t get any better than that! Bulk Shopping Mythbusters I’ve long been reading about the advantages of bulk shopping, I wondered if the claims were all they were cracked up to be. Through the last month, I’ve been putting some of the myths to the test.  It’ll save you money.  This is the big one. Who doesn’t want to save money? But if bulk bins are so much cheaper why do so few people shop them?  I did some bulk bin comparison shopping and here are my field notes from my local stores: Yes, some items can cost significantly less. Pecans cost $7.99/lb in bulk and $9.99/lb prepackaged, a savings of $2 per pound. Organic is the only option for some items which can drive the price up. For example, I typically buy conventionally grown peanuts for $3.49/lb in a plastic jar but the bulk bin only has organic peanuts for $5.99/lb. Grains and rices seem to be fairly priced. For example, basmati rice costs $1.99/lb in bulk and $2.30/lb prepackaged.  Spices can be a good deal. I bought herbs de provence for a specific recipe at $1.99/ounce in bulk. The amount I needed cost me less than $0.50. The same spice pre-packaged in a spice jar would have cost $4.69 for less than one ounce. Even when the item costs more, the ability to buy only what you need can make a big difference, especially if you’re making something for a special occasion or trying a recipe for the first time. This myth is PLAUSIBLE but you need to know what you’re buying. TIP: Compare one or two new items each week so you can become familiar with the price differences.  The food is fresher. While I don’t know how long the food sits in the bulk bin, it seems likely that the bulk food would be fresher than the stuff on the shelf. More importantly, you can buy just what you need which means that you...

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A Plastic-Free Lunch That’s Kid-Friendly

Posted by on Mar 10, 2015 in Food & Recipes, Lifestyle | 0 comments

A Plastic-Free Lunch That’s Kid-Friendly

When I was snowshoeing with two athletic and environmentally-minded friends we got into a conversation about plastic. They had both seen reports that BPA-free plastic may be just as bad as plastic with BPA. BPS, the chemical that replaced BPA in plastic, was thought to be a good alternative because it was less likely to leech into food or water, according to Scientific American. But it does leech and it’s showing up in our bodies. The article cites studies done on zebra fish and rats as evidence that the chemical is dangerous. At the same time, other articles that say more research needs to be done to determine if BPA and BPS are safe or not. Regardless of where you stand on the science and the debate, my friends were concerned about the safety of the containers they and their families use for their food and drink. While it’s fairly easy for an adult to give up plastic and use glass containers, you can’t send kids to school with glass, which can be heavy and breakable. So on our snowshoe hike, we discussed what it would take to pack a lunch without plastic food containers for my friend’s kid. That means: no glass reasonable prices in case the container(s) accidentally get lost a format that supports variety (I was informed that kids like options.) What a challenge! We didn’t have all the answers right away, so I went home to do some online research. Here’s what I found:   LunchBots has reasonably priced stainless steel bento boxes and ECOlunchbox has containers with stackable layers.     Silicon is considered safe and comes in the form of collapsible lunchboxes – a great space-saving solution!     Small stainless steel containers from Kids Konserve can be an alternative to plastic containers.      Cloth sandwich bags are a thing.     Sending kids to school (or yourself to work) with a plastic-free lunch can be done. But if you’re not ready to give up your reusable plastic containers right now, there are steps you can take to minimize the potential for plastic to leech into your food. Recommendations from Earth 911 are: Make sure plastic food containers are #2, #4 or #5 Don’t use scratched, worn or cloudy containers because they’re more likely to leech Keep the containers away from heat, so don’t put them in the microwave or dishwasher Do you have any experiences with packing plastic-free lunches? Please share in the comments below. Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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What To Do With Old Electronics: Recycle, Sell, Donate

Posted by on Feb 9, 2015 in For Your Home | 0 comments

What To Do With Old Electronics: Recycle, Sell, Donate

My vintage desktop computer was going to turn 10 this year. I turned it on occasionally (maybe once or twice a year) to access old files, but trying to do any meaningful work on it tried my patience. It was painfully slow. Alongside my desktop, I had an ancient flip phone and a new-er smart phone that I didn’t need. Together, the devices—along with their chargers, wires and other accessories—had created a pile of digital trash that took up precious space in our spare room. When I had a few weeks off around Christmas and New Years I decided to finally figure out what to do with these old electronics. Back Up & Delete Data I kept my old computer for so long because it had information I needed. Most of the files were backed up on an external hard drive but I never took the next step … putting them on my laptop so they’d live in two places in case one device failed. Backing up data is a crucial first step before selling, donating or recycling electronics. Failing to do this could mean losing all your contacts, photos and files. Only after all the important information from the device is backed up, is it time to restore the device to the factory settings. For cell phones, there are usually three steps to restoring the device to the factory settings: Remove the SIM card, which is often stored near the battery. If you installed a memory card in the phone, take that out as well. Reset the phone to the factory setting. The easiest ways to learn how to do this for your phone are to look at the manual or Google the directions. For computers, consider what will happen to the device. If donating, selling or giving away the computer so it can have a second life, reset the hard drive so it can be used again. The computer’s manual will have instructions on how to do that. If the computer is destined for the recycling center, there are a few options: reset the hard drive or remove and destroy the hard drive (which can be interesting and fun). The latter gives you the opportunity to take your computer apart without needing to worry about damaging it and, once you’ve removed the hard drive, you can take your aggression out on it if you wish. Some people decide to smash them with hammers. If that’s the road you want to take, use safety goggles and be safe! Resell One of my cell phones was an older Samsung Galaxy in working condition. It had some value so I chose to sell it to the online buyer/reseller Usell. Usell was offering the biggest paycheck and, by selling to them, I didn’t have to deal with listing the device myself on Craigslist or eBay. It was fast and easy. Usell mailed me an envelope that I used to send the phone to them. About a week later, I received a check in...

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Unbelievably Effective Homemade Stove Top Cleaner

Posted by on Jan 6, 2015 in Green Clean | 1 comment

Unbelievably Effective Homemade Stove Top Cleaner

Over-sprayed cooking spray. Dinner boiled over. Hot oil that popped out of a pan. Bits of ingredients that didn’t make the pot. These minor mishaps happen to all of us and they add up. The worst part? The evidence is visible to anyone who walks in our house. On and off for months, I’ve been trying to remove the baked-on remnants of meals past from my stove top. I dreamed of once again having a completely white stove. Regardless of how desperately I scrubbed though, my mixtures of baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and oils were as ineffective as store-bought cleaners specially made for the job. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon a magical mixture of two pantry staples that my problem was solved. It’s not “all-natural” or organic, but it is easy, effective and FDA-approved. I’d rather wash these two ingredients down the drain than toxic cleaning solutions.  What solution succeeded where all others failed? … drum roll please  … Baking soda and Coke. Those two inexpensive, easy-to-find ingredients work magic on greasy stove tops. For an unbelievably effective homemade stove top cleaner, all you need to do is mix those two ingredients into a paste and let the paste sit on your stove top for 10 minutes. Then, use a little elbow grease and a damp cloth to rub away any leftover residue. Like magic, your stove top will look new again.  Warning: this recipe is not recommended for glass stove tops or anyone who wants to continue enjoying Coke without thinking: “If it destroys grease that easily, what’s it doing to my insides?”  Homemade Stove Top Cleaner 2014-12-26 10:28:06 Two pantry staples make an unbelievably effective stove top cleaner. Write a review Save Recipe Print Ingredients Baking soda Coke Instructions Pour Coke into a bowl and mix in baking soda until you have a paste. Spread the paste onto the dirty areas of your stove top and let it sit for 10 minutes. Scrub the paste off the stove using a damp cloth. Wipe the stove top with a clean damp cloth to remove any remaining residue. A Green Routine http://agreenroutine.com/ Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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Top 10 Posts And Top 3 Green Products In 2014

Posted by on Jan 1, 2015 in Lifestyle | 2 comments

Top 10 Posts And Top 3 Green Products In 2014

2014 was an incredible year for A Green Routine thanks to you, our awesome readers who share your experiences, give us new challenges to solve, and test some our latest creations to tell us if they’re blog worthy. Although our pace of posts slowed a bit this year as we both had some big career and life changes that soaked up the free time we typically spend on this blog, it was rewarding for us to have such highly engaged readers with whom we could share. Before we start to fill the blank slate that is 2015, we took a look back at your favorite posts and green products in 2014. In case you missed any of these, here are our top 10 posts and top 3 green products for 2014: TOP POSTS 2014 #10 Homemade Comfrey Salve Recipe  A favorite homemade remedy for our family and friends with osteoarthritis and runner’s knee. #9 How To Clean Makeup Brushes Naturally So simple, so sanitary. #8 What To Do Peach Peels & Pits? Make Peach Jelly! Zero waste and a tasty treat. Save this recipe for next summer! #7 Switching To An All Natural Shampoo Haven’t gone no-poo yet? Try it. Your hair will love you. #6 Luxurious, Rejuvenating Homemade Lotion Oatmeal, milk and honey. It sounds almost good enough to eat.   #5  DIY Deodorizing Disks For Trash Cans  An easy, inexpensive fix for smelly trash cans and diaper pails. #4 The Borax Debate: Is It Safe? Is It Green? Natural does not always mean safe. Be selective and careful when using borax.   #3 Rice Water Toner Recipe Two simple ingredients tighten and tone your skin. #2 Jewelweed: Natural Home Remedy For Poison Ivy  If you suffer from poison ivy in the summer and are looking for a natural treatment, you’re not alone.  #1 Homemade Laundry Detergent Without Borax  I never ever thought I’d make my own laundry detergent, but it works.     TOP GREEN PRODUCTS 2014 Below are the most popular products purchased from our Amazon store to support your eco-friendly lifestyles.  #3 DIY Beauty Essentials These bamboo spoons and a wide range of essential oils are a great start to your all-natural beauty routine.  <br /> #2 Reusable Produce Bags These produce and bulk item bags should almost eliminate your need to take home any plastic bags from the grocery store. Simple Ecology’s bags were the most popular in our store this year. <br /> #1 Foaming Soap Dispensers It seems a lot of readers were inspired to make their own hand soap this year! <br /> Thank you for a great 2014 and happy new year! Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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Shop Your Conscious This Holiday Season – Green Gift Ideas

Posted by on Dec 8, 2014 in Lifestyle | 0 comments

Shop Your Conscious This Holiday Season – Green Gift Ideas

‘Tis the season for gift giving … and maybe doing a little shopping for ourselves too! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite eco-conscious products and retail shops to help you find the perfect gifts. Shop Your Conscious With Rodale’s Rodale’s has curated their shop with nurture (how it makes you feel), nature (how it’s made) and neighborhood (where it comes from) in mind. The result is an eco-conscious shopper’s delight. Start by browsing their gifts section by category or price or checking out the holiday decor for fun ornaments and party supplies. For women, the jewelry shop has some great pieces, many made with recycled or vintage materials, and the apparel section has a wide range of clothes made with natural and organic fibers. Need to buy something for a foodie, how about a butter churn? OK, maybe that one’s a little over the top but browse around and see what you can find. Upcycled Toys for Girls and Boys We’ve listed Green Toys in past holiday gift guides and they continue to be a huge hit with the little ones so here we go again! From tea sets to fire trucks, Green Toys makes colorful, high-quality toys from post-consumer recycled plastic milk jugs. They’re all manufactured ;in the U.S. to minimize emissions from shipping too. Parents will love that the toys are dishwasher safe so they’re easy to clean. Go Glass We all have at least one person on our list whose must-have accessory is a water bottle. For that special someone who’s always willing to let you snag a sip, pick out a fashion-friendly Lifefactory water bottle in their favorite color. The glass bottle leaves liquids tasting great while the silicone sleeve ensures the bottle can travel safely without breaking. I’ve been using mine for a few months now and love it. If your water bottle toting bestie has a baby, why not get matching baby bottles too? For those who might need a more rugged water bottle, we also love Sigg drinking bottles made of eco-friendly, light weight aluminum and certified as free of harmful chemicals. Their eye-catching designs make the bottles really stand out. Slay Power Vampires And Keep Batteries From Burning Out Whether you’re buying for an eco-conscious friend interested in saving energy or a gadget geek who wants their devices’ batteries to last longer, Velvetwire’s Powerslayer may be the perfect gift. Phones, tablets and other devices continue to suck in electricity as long as they’re plugged in. This means the batteries are overcharging regularly – especially when we charge devices overnight – which gradually ruins the battery life. Powerslayer helps by powering off when the device is fully charged so the battery lasts longer and no electricity is wasted. For more information on Powerslayer, read our review. Manly Pampering Delight the gentleman in your life with a stylish shaving set that will turn a mundane task into a pleasurable experience. Beaver WoodWright, located in western Pennsylvania, crafts handmade shaving sets and soaps. This...

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CSA Adventures: Storing Winter Squash

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 in Food & Recipes | 0 comments

CSA Adventures: Storing Winter Squash

The growing season’s coming to an end in many parts of the country but with the right techniques you can store some of your squash and enjoy it for weeks and months to come. Check the squash to make sure there are no bruises or blemishes and the stem is at least two inches long. Wash the squash to remove dirt and the blossom if it’s still attached. Then, let the squash dry completely. Put the squash in a place with good circulation and where the temperature be 75°-80° F for 10 days. If you’re going to store acorn squash, you can skip this step as it does not cure. Store the squash in a cool place (about 50° F) with good circulation and low humidity. Most winter squash will last 3 to 6 months. Acorn and spaghetti squash will only last about 4 weeks. Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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CSA Adventures: Lemon Cucumbers

Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in Food & Recipes | 0 comments

CSA Adventures: Lemon Cucumbers

When you think about colorful vegetables, cucumbers don’t usually come to mind. But I’ve gotten green, white and, now, yellow ones in my CSA share this year. Lemon cucumbers are round, yellow cucumbers with a slightly milder flavor than a regular green cucumber. Since the yellow skin is tender, they’re the perfect quick fix for adding color to a salad. Just wash and slice. Or you can quickly pickle cucumbers with salt, vinegar and sugar. These Sweet and Sour Cucumbers are ready in less than a half hour. Like this post? Subscribe to our email list, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest for more green living...

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