Friday, April 23, 2010

Why Everyday is Earth Day



Even though it is a part of our mission to offer eco-friendly products, I was somehow just not in the mood to jump on the ever-expanding bandwagon for Earth Day. Although I don't pretend to do it perfectly; everyday is Earth Day for me, for our business and for our family. Just a few of the things I do to be Earth Friendly and why:

1. I have been using chemical-free cleaning supplies for more years than I can count. I have sensitive skin and was making many products long before they became widely available commercially. After I met my husband, I encouraged him to look into natural products and it has now become a part of our business plan to specialize in these products.

2. I shop at thrift stores. Originally I started looking for "treasures" to sell on eBay. I then became amazed at how many things I could pick up in my hunts. I think it is a great way to "re-use" other people's trash. I have picked up dishes I use for pet food and water, pots for my plants, furniture and accessories, many I have re-purposed, tablecloths, picture frames, the list goes on. I have several "trash to treasure" books and it is a running joke in my family to see what "project" I have done for Christmas, many years giving craft project made out of somebody else's trash.

3. I go to auctions. Again, this is a great way to purchase interesting objects, saving money and preventing items from ending up in landfills. We have bought furnishings to use in our retail store, as well as furniture for our home. Many items require some refurbishing, but that's part of the fun!

4. I donate unused items to charity.

5. I use cloth napkins and microfibers, thereby eliminating paper towels and napkins in my home. There is almost nothing in my house I can't clean with the right microfiber cloth and just water.

6. I have a compost pile. A great way to decrease what we put in the garbage trucks and helps eliminate the need to purchase soil (that often comes in plastic bags) and put additives in our garden and lawn.

7. We re-use packing materials when we can in shipping products out of our business.

8. We keep eco-pads (an adult form of etch-a-sketch that comes with a stylus) at desks to write notes, greatly reducing paper usage.

9. I try really hard not to buy wrapping paper. I try to get creative with wrapping presents: using decorated paper sacks, wrapping in leftover fabric, using items I have on hand to decorate the packages.

UPDATES 3/31/2012:

10.  We now use glass straws (available in our store) instead of plastic straws.

11.  I use reusable shopping bags.

12.  We have reusable produce bags, sandwich bags and snack bags in our store.

13.  I use washable hankies instead of tissues.  We sell "Hanky Books" in our store.

14.  I no longer buy soda in plastic, throwaway bottles.  I have a SodaStream machine in my house, at our store; (also available for purchase) thereby eliminating throwaway bottles and reducing my calories and soda consumption.

15.  I have switched from our "pod" coffee machine, thereby eliminating trash and allowing me to put the used coffee ground on my compost pile.

16.  We use non-chemical pest control (except for wasps; I am allergic so chemical warfare is necessary) using herbal and natural solutions.

WOW!  I am proud of the six new Eco-friendly practices I can add to my list.  I will continue to search for other ways/practices and share them with you.  What are your practices?  

None of my ideas are new, many of them are not giant leaps. But, if everyone will take just one baby step, we can change the world.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How to change your vacuum cleaner bag

WOW! I just read an article in a magazine (that I love) about vacuuming. They had so many old and out-dated facts, I had to post a blog. The first thing I take exception with is, "When the bag is more than half full, the vacuum loses suction." NOT true with the synthetic bags. Miele
has a fantastic bag system

The layered special fabric of this dustbag has many advantages:
  • Longer suction performance.
You can fill this bag very full and still have excellent suction. Hoover, Sanitaire, Kirby and Riccar all have synthetic bags, as well. If you want to know if there is a synthetic bag for your vacuum, email us at and we will point you to a synthetic bag, if available.

Next, they tell you to "stick a piece of duct tape over the hole". Again, if you use the Miele Bags, this is not necessary.

With Miele Bags, they have an "Automatic dustbag closure for hygienic removal and disposal. "

Why would you want to use a bag that you have to stick a piece of duct tape over the hole when you can buy a vacuum that uses a bag where this is unnecessary??
Other advantages of the Miele Bags

  • 15% improved filtration.
  • Impact foil preventing sharp-edged objects, such as pine needles, glass and sand from penetrating the bag.
Last are the instructions for emptying a reusable cloth bag or plastic bin (bagless vacuum). The article suggests that you work outdoors. While this is a good idea, unless you are a commercial cleaning company that does a lot of cleaning (in this case we recommend the Sanitaire SC886) why would you want a vacuum cleaner that you have to take outside, and put the bin inside a garbage bag and shake it out. Think you won't breathe in the dust doing this? Not to mention, if you are using a bagless because you think it is more eco-friendly, I guess that is un-done by needing to empty it into a garbage bag.

There are some really good vacuum cleaners and some that will keep the dirt inside the bag and out of the air and out of your face. If you have allergies, you really should check out the Miele Vacuums. If you want some really good advice on which vacuum is right for you, read my previous post, or call and talk to Steve.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Favorite Natural Cleaning Product This Week

Know what my favorite natural cleaning product is this week? Pet Odor Eliminator by Unique Manufacturing (POE). Know why it is my favorite? Because our beloved DJ (our Lab-Husky Mix) was running through the hallway yesterday and I wondered why Bobette (our cat) was freaking out at him. Because he vomited.

DJ has an anxiety disorder and the nervous stomach to go with it. So, if he drinks too much water, finds something in the neighbor's yard to eat or for many other unexplained reasons, he tends to vomit. So, I mixed warm water with the POE (10:1 water to POE so it goes a long way), poured it on the carpet, put a warm, moist white towel on the floor and went to work. When I got home, no more odor and the stain was gone. This is an enzyme product, so it is safe to use anywhere. As you may have read in previous blogs, we also use it directly on DJ. It has so many uses, I hope you'll pick up a bottle soon.