Messages of Gratitude

download“Fan mail from some flounder?” A one liner from my youth that never fails to bring a smile to my face. It also serves as a reminder that messages do matter – especially ones of gratitude. Click here to read my latest Enews and its dedicated message about the power of cultivating gratitude in your home and in the world.

Now For Some Good News

IMG_20190526_153349.jpgWhew! Lots of bad news going around these days. But there’s plenty of good stuff, too. Starting with a recent cover from The New Yorker, I talk about tending the garden that is your heart.  I also share a personal story about my Dad and suggest a way that you can focus your good energy and really make a difference in the world. I even threw in a little green tip on mighty arugula. Take a moment and read the June issue of ACP Enews.

Here’s to making it a good news day everyday!

Illustration by Tom Gauld courtesy of TNY. 

A Loss on the Toss

skipthesliplogo_final no backgrndYou may know of the hazards of BPA coated receipts but I’m guessing most of you DON’T know that they cannot be recycled. That’s right. NO tossing them in your recycle bin. If that’s not motivation to nix receipts altogether I don’t know what is. Especially when you get those two foot long ones popular at pharmacies and big box stores. That thermal coating that harms your skin also means it has to go in the garbage. Talk about waste. What can we do? There are some calls to action. Green America has a petition going to get the CVC giant to expand its digital receipt options and start using plain paper for printed ones – more on that below. And this month, CA became the first state to propose a bill that requires all businesses to provide receipts electronically as the default starting in 2022. They got rid of plastic straws so I’m optimistic. On the home front: skip the slip whenever you are given the option. The IRS accepts digital receipts so don’t fear the audits. If a paper receipt is the only option, don’t stockpile them!  That tends to be one of the biggest causes of paper clutter. ONLY keep receipts for big ticket items like furniture and appliances and keep those in a labeled manila envelope. If there is a user’s manual for your purchase, tape the receipt to the inside of the front cover. In addition, take a photo of the receipt and keep in a digital folder. This is especially a good idea for jewelry, laptops and artwork.

TAKE ACTION: Producing CVS’ notoriously long receipts takes over 35,000 trees and enough energy to power 84,800 refrigerators every year. The pharmacy’s receipt production emits 44 million pounds of CO2 and produces the same amount of solid waste generated by half a million people every day. The phenol coating makes them unfit for recycling, adding even more waste. CVS receipts have been tested and found to have BPS in their coating, which poses health risks for workers and customers. CLICK here to sign the petition to Skip The Slip. 

Air Wick-ed Buyer Beware

PhotoGrid_1535683158903.jpgWhat do Air Wick, d-CON and Sani-Flush have in common? They are just a few of the 30+ power brands produced by the humongous conglomerate known as Reckitt Benckiser (RB for short). I’m focusing on Air Wick today as, once again, I am incensed by their continued false ad campaigns. Inspired by the latest blast by Truth in Advertising, I did some more digging. I wanted to know how a product that contains Dipropylene glycol monomethyl ether, Hexyl salicylate and a chemically derived camphor was getting away with it. Easy. They don’t list the ingredients on the label. None of their products do. Instead, they refer you to their website where you’ll find all the ingredients conveniently entitled “fragrance components” – wow. What’s more, RB has the nerve to claim that their Air Wick products “help people lead healthier lives” – really? I guess they’re counting on consumers ignoring the product ratings from EWG (Environmental Working Group) which has given every one of Air Wick’s 104 products a D or an F (scale of A to F) with warnings like: “Potential for skin irritation/allergies/damage; acute aquatic toxicity; nervous system effects.” So here’s my annual Buyer Beware reminder: There is no regulation for the terms fragrance, natural or pure. Branding pros can slap that on a label with no accountability. When in doubt, avoid anything with the word fragrance. Ditto the word scented. Never buy anything that doesn’t list the ingredients on the label. I use authentic essential oils daily and have for years but whether it’s oils, herbs or supplements – know your source and use wisely.

Keeping Your Cool

IMG_20170904_114339Temps are climbing to 100 degrees today, pollution levels are high and our long hot summer continues to test people’s patience and wellness. Here’s one way to help keep both you and your space calm and cool. Use a blend of lavender, lemon and peppermint essential oils in your diffuser. This combination aids in purifying the air, lifting your spirits and balancing energies. You can add more or less of any one of the oils depending on your preference (easy on the lemon as it’s more astringent). For even better results, place the diffuser next to your fan for greater dispersement! No diffuser yet? Add the oils to sea salt and place a handful in the corner of your shower to dissolve while you shower. Or toss the salt blend in tepid water for a foot soak. TIP: Make your oils go further. Fill the empty bottle with spring water and replace the cap. Shake. There’s enough residual oil left so you can refill up to three times before recycling the bottle. See my resource section on Essential Oils for more tips. 

Solution for Styrofoam Scourge

Styrofoam (1)The waste industry has made major strides in coming up with ways to recycle our refuse. Everything that is except those ginormous blocks of Styrofoam. You know the ones – hermetically sealing everything from flat screen TV’s to furniture and glassware. Even if you break them down into tiny pieces, the choice for disposal is still an ugly one: landfill. UPS takes peanuts but not blocks. The only recycling center in Portland that took Styrofoam stopped accepting it in March. Now what? Enter Agilyx – an energy alternative company located in Tigard, OR. Implementing new technology in renewable energy and chemical recycling with a focus on environmental impact; the company broke ground this year on a facility that will convert polystyrene foam (foam cups, packaging materials) into styrene monomer. Reducing to the monomer form allows for global reuse in tons of ways. Fuel, helmets, housing … sky’s the limit. Best part for Portlanders? Consumers can drop off their Styrofoam for free. YAY! I spoke with the folks at Agilyx to confirm the free part and they shared that there are bins available 24/7 at their facility. Make sure your foam has the “6” on it and that it is clean and dry.  If you are a business or have more than a truck load, contact Agilyx  at 503-217-3160 to schedule a drop off time. Click here for map and more info. Not in the PDX area? Visit Home for Foam to find recycling near you. Until manufacturers are mandated to use earth friendly packaging, let’s do our best to dispose of stuff mindfully. Here’s to creative solutions and making Earth a clearer home for everyone.

Photo courtesy of NRWS, Paradise, CA.

What’s Behind YOUR Dryer?

IMG_20170517_132211You’re looking at what I found behind the dryer in my new apartment. Yep. A collection from the former tenant of stuff that went astray. At least nothing had legs. (I’ve heard some pretty scary stories involving bones and antennas.) Keeping it clear around appliances is an often overlooked task. Do your space – and your energy bill – a favor. Put time on your calendar to check and clean these hidden areas at least twice a year. Use a vacuum nozzle or microfiber brush to remove dust and lint build-up behind and under your washer/dryer. And, of course, empty the lint tray after every use. Clean ducts annually.  In the kitchen, pull that fridge out and vacuum the coils. Wash the floor and wall before sliding back in place. If you can’t move the stove, at least pull out the bottom storage drawer (if your model has one) and clean the newly exposed area that way. It’s a hassle well worth the effort. And who knows? You might unearth a long lost treasure. Ready to clean some more? Here are some easy tips on cleaning the inside of appliances (including the garbage disposal) worth a look: Washington Post. Okay – one last favorite item on laundry that’s good to know anytime of the year. Read my tip on this easy energy saver!