Personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and cosmetics can contain almost any ingredient the company wishes to use, including some that may be considered hazardous. Launched in 2004, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep database rates personal care products for safety (based on toxicity of ingredients), allowing consumers to make informed decisions about the personal care products they purchase. The database allows you to search for specific products or browse by a variety of different categories. For more information about the rating system or to find out where EWG gets their information, check out their About Skin Deep/Methodology page.
Public Green Blog
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes an annual Guide to Sunscreens. Besides listing the best and safest sunscreens (based on toxicity), they provide tips for protecting adults and children when exposed to the sun. Also provided are ratings for most all sunscreens on the market today (over 700 are included) so you can search for your current brand to see how it compares to the 149 they deem the best.
Do you often find yourself standing in the produce section of the market, wondering which fruits and vegetables are most contaminated with pesticides? Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases information on which fruits and vegetables are most likely to be contaminated with pesticides, broken down in two helpful lists, thus making it easier for consumers to decide between purchasing organic or conventionally grown produce. This shopper’s guide was recently updated for 2014 and is available on the EWG website. After you take a look at the shopper’s guide, take some time to read through the report for more information.
How much do you know about what you’re eating? Do you worry about GMO labeling and safety? Check out these informative and entertaining documentaries on DVD for answers to your questions. Please see the Reference Desk for more information.
If you have ever considered joining a CSA, now is a great time to sign up and ensure your spot for the 2014 season. CSAs are generally run by local independent farms. Your investment in the farm is paid back in the form of weekly or bi-weekly baskets of locally grown fruits and vegetables. You can expect to prepay a set amount for the season and you will receive a share of the farm’s produce on a set schedule throughout the late Spring, Summer and early Fall. This is a great way to receive an assortment of fruits and vegetables (and some CSAs also offer eggs, dairy products and meat for an additional fee.) There are many websites such as whole living, the Kitchn and Pinterest that are chock full of ideas on how to use your bounty. If you want to ease into joining a CSA, buy a half share, which costs less and will consist of a smaller box once a week or a full size box every two weeks. Local Harvest is a good site to use to find the perfect CSA for you. Simply enter your zip code to find a list of CSA farms, as well as pickup dates and locations. Stop in the library to check out some books on the subject, including The Locavore Way by Amy Colter, The Sustainable Kitchen by Stu Stein, and Gaining Ground : a Story of Farmer’s Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm by Forrest Pritchard.
See below for links to materials related to the May 13 program: “Chemical-Free Home Landscaping,” presented by Sarah Neville from the Midwest Pesticide Action Center.
ChemicalFreeLawnCare –this is the powerpoint she presented.
The Food Network has 10 Eco Friendly Kitchen Tips on their website. Here are just a few ideas that offer some very simple ideas to help make a difference.
Keep an eye on the “9.”
If the numbered stickers on fruits and veggies start with the #9, that means your produce is organic and free of pesticides.
B.Y.O.B. – “bring your own bag.”
More and more supermarkets are selling reuseable shopping bags. Take advantage of this option and stop using plastic bags whenever possible.
You can reduce the cost of Air Conditioning bills by grilling outdoors. An outdoor grill not only takes less energy than your stove but also helps keep heat out of the house.
Another way to save cooling and electicity costs is to fill empty space in your refrigerator or freezer with crumpled newspapers or full water bottles.
To see the entire list go to the Food Network: 10 Eco Friendly Kitchen Tips
Would you like to get less junk mail and get a fresh start on the New Year? According to the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC): “The average American receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year, of which 44% ends up in a landfill. There are environmental and monetary costs to create, transport, sort, process, manufacture and dispose of these materials.”
Take a look at this link on the SWANCC website. This will provide you with information on removing your name from many lists to eliminate junk mail from things like; charities and non-profit organizations, flyers and advertising supplements, and everyone’s favorite the pre-approved credit card offers, just to name a few. Give it a try and start reducing that paper from your mailbox.
Do you still have gifts to wrap before the holidays?
Before buying anymore gift wrap, consider some alternatives that are more environmentally friendly:
*Giving clothes or blankets as a gift? Consider also using these items to wrap gifts for the same person.
*Reuse paperbags to wrap gifts. You can even make the brown paper more festive by drawing on it.
*Place gifts in a reuseable shopping bag, so the bag becomes part of the gift.
*Reuse comics as wrapping or newspaper to protect breakable items.
*Sew your own gift bags using left over fabric scraps and let the receiver keep the bag as part of their gift.
*Use reuseable gift bags and encourage your giftees to reuse the bag as well.
*Use clean recycled aluminium foil to wrap gifts.
*Wrap gifts in old road maps.
*Ask friends and family members to try not to tear the wrapping paper so that it can be reused next year.
*Have large cans to recycle? Clean and dry them thoroughly, place gifts inside and cover with shredded paper, fabric or yarn scraps.
*Save the cards you receive and reuse them by cutting them apart and using the picture as a gift tag.
Want to do away with wrapping completely? Inform your friends and family that you will not be wrapping gifts in an effort to reduce your footprint. Use the money you save to upgrade their gift or donate the money to your choice of charity. Or purchase your gift online and have it sent directly to the recipient’s home.