In this world of change, doing what we can to help the environment is not just a good idea, or as Martha Stewart would say, “a good thing”, it’s the only thing. We are all stewards of this wonderful world we live in; making choices that support sustainability, recyclability, and minimal use of our resources is a great thing!
When I began my design practice over 15 years ago, there were very few options available. If you wanted low VOC paint, it had to be special ordered (and maybe even mixed by hand!), and it came with a hefty price tag. If you wanted an alternative to oil based stains or finishes, what was available was inconsistent at best, disappointing and a do-over at worst.
Cleaning products? You could get them by special order but they didn’t clean very well. Now, every major company has green cleaning choices for you, and you can find them in just about every grocery store! If you wanted organic clothing you had to say good-bye to those lovely high fashion pumps and hello to Birkenstock, or hello to somewhat shapeless clothing.
If you wanted organic food, you had to either grow it yourself or you had to be fortunate enough to live in an area that supported it. (California comes to mind!)
Today we have options and choices in each of these areas that doesn’t compromise our sense of style, our sense of taste or our sense of self. Today we can be who we are and embrace a way of living that is more supportive and beneficial for our health and well being as well as the health and well being of the planet.
I’d like to share some of the many items, products and choices I’ve found that help make my life easier and my world greener. Enjoy!
All major paint companies now have low VOC paints, so finding one you like is easy. One of my favorite paint companies is Benjamin Moore. A few years ago they introduced a fantastic new line called Aura. Not only is this a low VOC line, but you aren’t limited to the Aura colors, they can match any one of thousands of their other colors! This year, they introduced a brand new no VOC line called Natura and it’s available in any color! This is an incredible advancement in paint technology and it’s great quality paint at an affordable price!
Zar offers a broad range of waterborne stains and finishes.
AFM offers a broad range of waterborne stain colors and finishes
Caulk and other household repair products
Titebond makes great tub & tile caulk, painter’s caulk & kitchen & bath sealant.
AFM makes sealants for tile, concrete and floors
Breathe Easy; this company makes low VOC cabinets. They are the perfect choice for your custom kitchen or bath.
I personally like Bon Ami for scrubbing jobs (bathtubs, toilet, etc.)
Dishwasher detergent – the best I’ve found so far is Ecover, I like the tabs.
Dish soap – lots of choices, from Seventh Generation to many old, tried and true brands that have embraced green tenants, this is one of the easiest items to find.
Meyer Cleaning products clean well and use natural essential oils for a fresh scent (I love the lemon verbena!)
Shaklee products have been clean and green for ages. Effective and cost efficient.
Cleaning products are the easiest change to make. There are so many companies and products to choose from in this category, you won’t have any trouble finding something you like at a reasonable price. It’s no longer necessary to have these products mailed to you; it’s as easy as going to your favorite discount store or the grocery store!
CFL or compact fluorescent light bulbs are easy to find, last a long time and use very little energy compared to standard incandescent bulbs or halogen bulbs. You can get them in just about any size (used to be one huge size!), and they now have ‘instant on’ – perfect for those outdoor light fixtures!
LED or light-emitting diode bulbs are the newest addition in our choices for low energy use alternative bulbs. LED bulbs provide multidirectional light and are non-flickering, so for those of you that don’t like CFL bulbs, this is the bulb for you!
Smart Power Strips – these are amazing. Smart power strips look exactly like surge protectors, and while they offer surge protection what they also give you is the ability to shut down the electrical energy drain that all plugged in appliances, TV’s, computers, etc., have when they are off! It’s true, everything plugged in constantly uses power – even when it’s off! These new smart strips have an on/off switch so that you can simply flip the switch to off and everything plugged into the power strip is shut down, no electrical current. This is perfect to use at night and when you leave home for extended periods of time (work, vacation, etc.) A good one to try is Bits ltd Power Strips. (This company also makes energy monitors so you can see how energy efficient your appliances are.)
You can find bamboo fiber, organic cotton and wool sweaters, tops and pants through many catalogs, at specialty shops and, of course, online.
‘Green’ towels, rugs and drapery fabrics are now available in most of the major mail order catalogs, at the major home accessory stores and at major department stores. When you see products like these at such a diversity of retailers, you know that organic based fabric, accessories and home goods have gone mainstream.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “you are what you eat?” I choose to buy food items whose ingredients are as pure as possible. (If I can’t say it, pronounce it or don’t know what it is, I simply vote no!) And I am happy to say that you now can find organically grown food at every major grocery and specialty grocery store!
Making sustainable or green choices is more than a popular trend; it’s about making choices that help you live a healthier lifestyle. To help you in your creation of a healthier lifestyle (let’s face it, we can all do better), I am including 3 Feng Shui tips for Healthy Living.
What has Feng Shui got to do with Green, sustainable lifestyles? The principles of Feng Shui are all about living in harmony with our environment and keeping a balance in all things. Sound familiar? Feng Shui has been green all along!
Feng Shui Tips for Healthy Living
1. Take a daily walk – even if you can only manage 10 minutes, that’s enough to get you on the path to wellness.
2. Eat regular meals. Take your time while eating.- enjoy the process! Eat only what you love.
3. Take regular breaks, every day. Sitting or working non-stop doesn’t make you more productive; it makes you more fatigued.
Get up, get out of the office and BREATHE!
I think I’ll go for a walk now! How about you?
Feng Shui Teacher and Entrepreneur Laurie Bornstein, “The Feng Shui Marketing Queen” is the author and creator of ‘Feng Shui Lifestyle’, her FREE monthly ezine filled with articles and tips on how to live and work in balance, visit http://www.fengshuimarketingqueen.com to learn more.
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