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The Fruity Alternative to Making Kvass

a guest article by Nanette Achziger

Beet kvass is not your only option. Try these fruity varieties instead., via SustainableBabySteps.com

Kvass originates from Russia and has been around for centuries. It appears that early Kvass was made from old bread or grains, however there are many variations and one of them is made with fruit. "Sweet," I think, "Fruit kvass it is for my next experiment!" Not much difference from the original beet kvass recipes, except to change out the beets and salt with fruit, honey, and whey.

I made a strawberry and lemon kvass to start, and it was a hit! It was like summer in a glass, so crisp and refreshing. Fruit kvass is a welcome change of pace from sugary sodas and fruit juices, not to mention its probiotic punch.

Give this a try and see how delicious and versatile it can be!

Continue reading "The Fruity Alternative to Making Kvass"

Paleo Banana Matcha 'Matchanana' Ice Cream

Ice cream has never been healthier! During my exploration of possibilities for a Paleo ice cream recipe that would be one of a kind, I stumbled upon

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Vegan Oil-Free Pasta + Veggies

It's vegan, it's oil-free, it's whole wheat, and it's filled with veggies! Doesn't that sound like the healthiest and yummiest recipe ever? It is! I have

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Dont throw away those paper towels!

After you wash your hands at a restaurant, hospital, school, etc and dry your hands with paper towels, DONT THROW THEM AWAY! They are clean! The water

Continue reading "Dont throw away those paper towels!"

Planned Obsolescence: What In The World Does That Mean?

Most people have not heard the term "Planned Obsolescence", but they have heard the phrase "they don't make things like they use to". And you know what? It's absolutely true. And it's 100% on purpose.

Manufacturers have a very specific reasons to make things that are made to be replaced quickly: the more often they break, wear out, or become obsolete the more often you'll come back to buy more. Seems counterintuitive, doesn't it? That we would buy something again once we see it's cheaply made and won't last?

But that's actually part of the plan.

Click here to read more (and watch a great video!) about Planned Obsolescence.

Continue reading "Planned Obsolescence: What In The World Does That Mean?"

The Best Natural Mascara: A Review of 7 Brands

A Review of 7 Natural Mascara Brands, via SustainableBabySteps.com

With so many brands out there, it's hard to know who has the best natural mascara. Between the ingredients, how it applies, how long it lasts, and how much it costs, a lot of factors go into deciding which to invest in.

I asked you, our lovely readers, which mascaras you were most interested in learning about, and you replied with a long list. Of over 20 approached I approached, only 7 brands agreed to being reviewed. They each agreed to send a black, non-waterproof mascara for review.

Most of the companies taking part sent one mascara to review, but two of them sent two or more. The mascaras and links to each company are below with their review:

  • 100% Pure (submitted 4, but only one was black for review)
  • Arbonne
  • Beauty Without Cruelty (submitted 2 black mascaras for review)
  • Ecco Bella
  • Honeybee Gardens
  • Juice Beauty
  • Real Purity

Read more about the best natural mascara hunt here...

Continue reading "The Best Natural Mascara: A Review of 7 Brands"

What's in Your Mattress: Toxins, Mold and More?

Is your mattress safe? Learn about the toxins found in almost all mattress and how to protect yourself, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Have you ever stopped to consider the mattress toxins you may be sleeping on? Below is a guest article from a mattress specialist, someone who has turned toxic-free sleeping into his career to ensure consumers know the safety of choosing the right mattress.

Traditional mattresses are full of toxins and other substances that most people aren't even aware of. With the following information and the accompanying infographic, the hope is to raise awareness about what many popular types of mattresses introduce into one of the most intimate spaces in your home (your bedroom), which just also happens to be where you spend approximately one-third of your life inhabiting.

Read more about mattress toxins and how to avoid them here...

Continue reading "What's in Your Mattress: Toxins, Mold and More?"

5 Starter Tips for Eco-Friendly Pets

Learn the basics and get started with our eco-friendly pets with these simple-to-implement strategies., via SustainableBabySteps.com

Raising eco-friendly pets should be easy, right? After all, most animal species exhibit innate eco-friendly behavior – cats give themselves baths, goats eat anything and everything, and birds weave beautiful nests of re-purposed material worthy of a Pinterest post. But when animals become dependent on their owners for food, shelter and waste disposal, the environmentally conscious decisions must be made by the humans. There are several benefits for you and your pet to living a “greener” life, some of which are described below in these simple strategis to consider first.

Click here to read more about eco-friendly pets.

Continue reading "5 Starter Tips for Eco-Friendly Pets"

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle (80+ Goods for .40 Each!)

We all want to make better healthy living decisions for ourselves and those we love. We want to lose some weight, have more energy, use greener products, create nutritious meals for our families, get fit, and feel confident that we're doing all we can to prevent serious diseases.

But it's so easy to feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the masses of healthy living advice out there - to the point where we're frozen into complete inaction instead!

That's where The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle comes in. For the ridiculously low price of just $29.97 (for the PDF version) or $39.97 (for the eReader version), you can get access to a carefully curated collection of eBooks and eCourses with a total combined value of $1,030.

The bundle contains a wealth of information from the very finest healthy living writers out there - but there's no risk of getting overwhelmed! A useful Getting Started Guide is included with your purchase, which will help you identify the most valuable resources for your specific health priorities.

The Ultimate Bundles team has done all the hard work for you - finding the top experts across a number of healthy living fields and combining their products into one essential collection. If you want to take control of your health, there's no better way to start!

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle will only be on sale for 6 days - from 8am EST on Wednesday, September 10 until 11:59pm EST on Monday, September 15.

But don't wait until the last moment - there are only 30,000 bundles available and once they're gone, they're gone!

You can buy with confidence because your purchase is covered by the Ultimate Bundles one-year guarantee: you have a full year to enjoy all the books and courses in the bundle, and if you don't feel like it's made a huge difference to your family's health, you'll get your money back in full!

Click here to learn more about the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle!

Continue reading "The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle (80+ Goods for .40 Each!)"

40+ Benefits and Uses of Marjoram Essential Oil

Learn how to use marjoram essential oil, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Marjoram essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves of the plant. It has been used historically for both physical ailments and spiritual rituals. It can be used in food flavorings (only a teeny, tiny bit is needed!), as well as to complement your health supplements.

It's thought to promote the cardiovascular, muscular, and structural systems of the body, and has a calming affect.

Emotionally, it's thought to relate to the heart center and help you build healthy relationships with others. In this way it may also be good for anyone with trust issues, who struggles to let others in or has their guard up (unnecessarily), or who might feel distant or cold to others. It may help you to feel safe sharing your heart with others.

Read more about marjoram essential oil here.

Continue reading "40+ Benefits and Uses of Marjoram Essential Oil"

12+ Benefits and Uses of Cassia Essential Oil

Cassia Essential Oils for immune support, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Cassia essential oil is somewhat similar to cinnamon essential oil, hence why the photo above looks like cinnamon. Both are from the same botanical family (Lauraceae) and both are derived from the bark of the plant. But they are actually from two different plants. Cassia is from Cinnamomum cassia, while cinnamon is Cinnamomum zeylanicum.

The chemical constituents are also similar, both being high in something called trans-cinnamaldehyde. However the levels of their chemical constituents (cassia has more trans-cinnamaldehyde than cinnamon bark oil), as well as secondary constituents, vary.

In addition to the multitude of health benefits cassia may offer, it also supports the emotions and mind. Cassia essential oil is said to encourage a person's sense of self, inner strength, and courage. In this way it may be helpful to support a person's confidence, ability to "put themselves out there", or try new things as they feel self-assured in their ability and worth.

Click here to learn more about Cassia essential oil.

Continue reading "12+ Benefits and Uses of Cassia Essential Oil"

28+ Benefits and Uses of Jasmine Essential Oil

Jasmine Essential Oil for everything from sensitive skin to childbirth, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Jasmine essential oil is a pricey and more rare oil to find. Most brands will sell their jasmine highly diluted in alcohol or carrier oil. In fact, if you find it for sale under $100 it's a pretty fair bet it's been highly diluted.

It has a sweet aroma (almost sickly sweet to some noses), very floral and stronger than the flowering plant itself. It's most commonly created by an "absolute extraction" of the flowers, a method of using a grain alcohol or hexane to extract the oils. This method is commonly used when the process of steam distillation would damage the oils. After processing, the hexane is removed or the grain alcohol is allowed to evaporate and you're left with only the oil itself.

Read more about the many uses of Jasmine essential oil.

Continue reading "28+ Benefits and Uses of Jasmine Essential Oil"

How to Get Rid of Flies and Fruit Flies Naturally

How to Prevent and Get Rid of Flies and Fruit Flies, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Need to get rid of flies too, huh? We had this question come in from one of our readers:

We seem to get either a daily batch of ladybugs or flies this time of year. Right now it is flies. Is there some reason they come inside this time of year and what is the best way to get rid of and prevent them?

Just like spiders or other insects, flies tend to come inside for two reasons: either to get out of the cold or to find a food source.

To some extent this is going to be unavoidable. In other words, we're always going to find an insect or fly here or there. Creating a completely sterile environment is going to be impossible unless you want to resort to massive amounts of chemicals, which if you're here, I'm pretty sure you don't.

Learn how to get rid of flies and fruit flies here.

Continue reading "How to Get Rid of Flies and Fruit Flies Naturally"

Tips and Ideas for Removing Odors Naturally

How to remove odors and freshen rooms naturally, from SustainableBabySteps.com

I'm always surprised at the chemical companies that offer a product for removing odor. They show illustrations of dirty things that smell good, without ever talking about how clean things don't have a bad smell to begin with.

That's not to say there aren't occasions when we need to neutralize odor, but it's about cleaning and freshening up, not "covering up odors", which is what products such as Febreze actually do - they don't remove the molecules causing the odor, just 'trap' it within chemicals so that you can't smell it anymore.

And then, of course, are the dangerous effects of using chemicals in our home. As explained in this article on Febreze, such products contain chemicals that can be linked to everything from cancer to auto-immune disorders.

And think about this: We're not suppose to inhale chemicals, but the entire purpose of air freshners, such as Febreze, is to inhale it in order to smell it!

There is a healthy alternative. Below are the natural ways of removing odor without having to resort to using a dangerous chemical in your home, especially one whose entire purpose is to inhale it.

Learn how to remove odors naturally here.

Continue reading "Tips and Ideas for Removing Odors Naturally"

28+ Home Cooling Tips and Alternatives

28+ Home Cooling Tips & Alternatives

Home cooling does not have to mean switching on the air conditioning and watching our energy bill skyrocket or cringing over our carbon footprint.

Depending on your climate, between 20-50% of your annual energy consumption goes to cooling your house and accounts for 5-15% of your carbon footprint.

Now is the time to make some adjustments to cut back on your AC usage, saving you money and decreasing your carbon output. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Click here to find ideas for natural home cooling and alternatives.

Continue reading "28+ Home Cooling Tips and Alternatives"

Attracting Beneficial Insects in the Garden

How to attract beneficial insects for your organic garden, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Attracting beneficial insects in the garden is a great way to avoid the use of dangerous pesticides and create a bio-diverse and thriving environment.

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It's important to remember that seeing a few "bad" bugs is not a bad thing.

In fact, a balance of beneficial and harmful insects is important to the balance in your garden. And if you don't have enough harmful bugs, your beneficials won't hang around long!

Continue reading "Attracting Beneficial Insects in the Garden"

28+ Benefits and Uses of Fennel Essential Oil

28+ benefits and uses of fennel essential oil for digestive, hormonal, and other support, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Fennel essential oil is known to be a potent and powerful aid for digestive health. It's strong licorice flavor and aroma is gained from the steam distillation from the crushed seeds of the plant. Its use traces back centuries for its emotional and physical benefits.

Click here to read more about fennel essential oil.

Continue reading "28+ Benefits and Uses of Fennel Essential Oil"

27+ Benefits and Uses for Rose Essential Oil

27+ Uses of Rose Essential Oil via SustainableBabySteps.com
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True, unadulterated, and pure rose essential oil is hard to find. In almost all cases you will find a highly diluted oil, usually no more than 5% rose oil in a base of oil (or even alcohol). This is because of the high cost of extracting rose, an oil extraction through the steam distillation of its petals. (Did you know it takes 12,000 petals to produce one single 5ml bottle of rose oil??) Despite these obstacles it's still a highly coveted and much loved oil, both for it's aroma and its benefits.

Read more about rose essential oil here.

Continue reading "27+ Benefits and Uses for Rose Essential Oil"

32+ Benefits and Uses of Tangerine Essential Oil

32+ Benefits and Uses of Tangerine Essential Oil, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Tangerine essential oil is a cold-pressed oil from the rind of the fruit. It's a lesser used oil, so I feel it's benefits are still being discovered, but a look at it's popular properties can give us some clues.

Read more about tangerine essential oil here...

Continue reading "32+ Benefits and Uses of Tangerine Essential Oil"

20+ Unique Ways (and Tips) to Recycle Tires

20+ Unique Ways and Tips to Recycle Tires, Step-by-Step, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Did you know that despite the small effort it takes to recycle tires, a whopping 240 million of them get thrown away in the United States alone? Less than 7% of them are recycled, with 11% becoming fuel and about 5% of them being exported out of the country. The rest are stockpiled, thrown away illegally into the environment, or sent to the landfills. And 190 million tires waste away in the sun or somewhere else around the US each year. They are a huge problem that will only grow worse in time.

They can however be used as building materials and more, as we'll show you below, or even as the building blocks for better roads with Rubberized Asphalt Concrete (RAC). RAC is essentially shredded tires mixed together with asphalt for a more sturdy road that needs less maintenance.

The ecological effects of tires can span a long time due to their slow decomposition, but they can be used in a great number of ways thanks to that same longevity. Below are some tips and ideas to help you get more us of them before you considering ending them through a recycling process.

Read more about tips and ways to recycle tires here...

Continue reading "20+ Unique Ways (and Tips) to Recycle Tires"

Non-Toxic, Natural, Low-VOC Paint: Which is the best?

We compared 8 brands of low-VOC paint to find out which one is safest and works the best for interior walls., via SustainableBabySteps.com

We recently reached out to a long list of low-VOC paint companies to request samples to try. Our motivation? To determine which ones actually work, while still being green or sustainable.

We were not compensated in any way by any of the companies for their products or our review, except with product to try (and maybe sore backs from all the painting we did).

One of the most common things to avoid in conventional paint options is the prevalence of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Generally speaking, the lower the VOC content the less odor you'll notice. VOCs contribute to indoor air quality problems, respiratory issues, liver and kidney issues, nervous system problems, and cancer, as well as much more. In addition, a paint may include solvents, biocides, and much more. And truthfully, the list of potential ingredients is so long and many so under-tested that it's hard to know what to trust.

Of the no- or low-VOC paint companies who chose to take part in our review, we broke them down into two categories: milk-based paint (Homestead House, Old Fashioned Milk Paint, and Real Milk Paint), and low-VOC paint (Dunn-Edwards, Portola, ECOS, and Earth Safe Finishes).

Click here for our low-VOC paint comparisons.

Continue reading "Non-Toxic, Natural, Low-VOC Paint: Which is the best?"

Natural Wood Sealer: Which is the best?

We compared a vaiety of natural wood sealer brands to find the one that works the best for home projects. via SustainableBabySteps.com

I recently reached out to quite a few natural wood sealer companies to request samples of their product to try. My husband, being a master carpenter, was given the job of guinea pig, testing out each brand to find the best sealer.

One of the common concerns in using a conventional wood sealant is the impact any potential arsenic in the product has on your health. According to the World Health Organization, arsenic can cause vomiting, abdominal/digestive issues, numbness or tingling, muscle cramps, skin lesions, skin cancer, lung and bladder cancer, and more. Another common ingredient is petroleum distillates, linked to everything from respiratory issues to liver and kidney dysfunction.

Traditionally, an eco-friendly wood sealant would have been made with an oil or wax, such as tung, beeswax, or linseed, and something like vinegar or mineral spirits. Recipes abound on line for how ot make these, but their results may vary. Some people complain of having to reapply too frequently or of mold issues. Truth be told, if we want something totally natural and traditional there WILL be more work involved. But what happens if you still live in the modern world, can't swing the homemade version, but aren't willing to compromise on safety for yourself or the environment?

This is what we wanted to know when we contacted a multitude of natural wood sealer companies and asked them to take part in our review. In total the following companies offered their samples: ECOS, Safecoat (2 samples), EarthSase (2 samples), Homestead House (4 samples), and Master's Blend (2 samples).

Click here for natural wood sealer comparisons.

Continue reading "Natural Wood Sealer: Which is the best?"

Natural Wood Stain: Which is greenest, which performs best, and which do we prefer?

Comparison of 3 natural wood stain brands to find the best, via SustainableBabySteps.com

I recently reached out to quite a few natural wood stain brands to request samples of their product to try. My husband, being a master carpenter, was given the job of guinea pig, testing out each brand to find the best wood stain.

Traditional wood stains contain pigment, solvents, and binders of various sources. According to OSHA, the health risks to wood stains and solvents in general include "toxicity to the nervous system, reproductive damage, liver and kidney damage, respiratory impairment, cancer, and dermatitis". However, discovering the specific ingredients used in different wood stain brands can be challenging, so discovering the true adverse effects can feel impossible. Even reading the MSDS on a specific brand might not give you the complete story of new research being done and potential health risks being discovered. To read more about potential risks, check out Green Seal's Choose Green Report on stains and sealants.

Of the 10+ brands we contacted the only 3 who chose to participate included SafeCoat, WoodShield (with 2 samples), and Earthsafe (with a stain + sealer).

Click here for our natural wood stain comparisons.

Continue reading "Natural Wood Stain: Which is greenest, which performs best, and which do we prefer?"

2 New Essential Oil Articles on SBS!

We've got three brand new articles on essential oils to share with you! Click the banners below to check out each one...

Learn how to use geranium oil, via SustainableBabySteps.comRead more about geranium essential oil here...

Learn about Hawaiian Sandalwood essential oil, via SustainableBabySteps.comRead more about Hawaiian Sandalwood essential oil here...

The Dangers of Genetically Engineered Foods

Learn the dangers of genetically engineered foods #gmo #eco #green #organic, via SustainableBabySteps.com

The topic of the dangers of genetically engineered foods is a big one with many different facets and risks. This is why I've invited Angela Malson, environmental expert and activist, to share her knowledge om GMOs and the steps we can take to make a difference.

What is genetically modified food or GMO's?

GMO's are "Genetically Modified Organisms", essentially the splicing genes to create unnatural combinations of animal, plant, bacterial and viral genes into one seed.

One example is taking a gene from a fish and injecting it into a strawberry to make it grow longer into the season; you then have a strawberry with a fish gene, thus the "modification" or mutated existence. GMO's are also created with their own pesticides injected into them that can release on their own and are grown to withstand huge amounts of herbicides.

Read more about the dangers of genetically engineered foods.

Continue reading "The Dangers of Genetically Engineered Foods"

43+ Uses and Benefits of Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood Essential Oil , via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Sandalwood essential oil is derived from the steam distillation of the wood from the sandalwood tree. It's woody, and earthy aroma is incredibly grounding.

Read more about sandalwood essential oil here.

Continue reading "43+ Uses and Benefits of Sandalwood Essential Oil"

Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 of Fruits and Veggies

Every year the Environmental Working Group launches their list of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 of produce. These two lists are helpful in assisting you in finding which fruits and veggies you should prioritize in your organic food budget and which are safer to "cheat" on.

The first is a list of 12 or more produce items that contain the highest pesticide residues among conventional produce. The second lists the fifteen items that contain the least.

First, keep in mind that just because it's on the Dirty list doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't ever eat it; although organic is always preferred (both for your own health and the health of the environment) eating conventional produce is better than eating none at all. And properly washing your produce will also go a long way in decreasing your exposure to harmful chemicals.

Also remember that just because it's on a Clean list doesn't necessarily make it the best option. You'll notice that many of the cleanest fruits are tropical, which means they might not be local to you at all (meaning a big eco-footprint to get it to you in the first place), or may still be genetically modified (GMO) and perhaps why it has such low pesticide residue (because the pesticides are actually in the genes of the plant now!).

So as always, use this as a guideline to help you make informed decisions, but not as your only resource.

See and share both graphics Dirty Dozen and Clean 5 graphics here.

Continue reading "Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 of Fruits and Veggies"

23+ Uses and Benefits of Black Pepper Essential Oil

Black Pepper Essential Oil, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Black pepper essential oil is steam-distilled from the berries (peppercorn) of the Piperceae. Although black pepper itself is frequently used, the oil is not so widely known.

Read more about black pepper essential oil here.

Continue reading "23+ Uses and Benefits of Black Pepper Essential Oil"

The Myths of Biodegradable Waste

The Myth of Biodegradable Waste #eco #recycle #compost #green, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Oh yes, "biodegradable waste" is a huge fallacy for most homes. And although it seems like everything is marked "biodegradable" anymore, even styrofoam derived from corn, we're far from being in the clear by opting for it over other options. Since because they CAN doesn't mean they will.

First, what does biodegradable mean? It simply means a product will break down over time with the help of microbes, oxygen, sunlight, and water, and return back to the natural resources from which it came. Anything nature-made will do this (given enough time), but man-made objects are usually put through a process that renders them incapable of breaking down, making them non-biodegradable and the stuff archeologist will be digging up and using to define us centuries from now. (That's gotta make you wonder what they'll think!)

It's tempting to think anything biodegradable is sustainable or green. It's usually not. When it comes to shampoos, soaps, or cleaners, it's certainly helpful to ensure you're not using chemicals that will hang out in the environment for centuries. But there are several myths and dangers to biodegradable products that are important to look at below.

Click here to understand more about "biodegradable waste".

Continue reading "The Myths of Biodegradable Waste"

35+ Alternatives to Common Plastic Items in Your Home

35+ Alternatives to Common Plastic Items, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Are you ready for a long list of alternatives to plastic you commonly use and might think you can't live without?

Yes, it possible, affordable, and/or easier to go plastic-free around your home. It might be challenging to make the switch to 100% plastic-free, and it might take some time. But with the health and environmental dangers of plastic, it's worth it.

For the most part you're looking for things made from natural materials: glass, wood, cotton or other natural fabric, stainless steel, hemp, jute, rubber, and so on.

And there are very few things you can't swap out! Comb through the list in this article for the plastic you think you can't get rid of and find a better alternative (and be sure to reuse and recycle the plastic you end up with):

Click here to find 35+ alternatives to plastic.

Continue reading "35+ Alternatives to Common Plastic Items in Your Home"

7 Types of Plastics, Where You'll Find Them, and Which You Should Avoid)

Do you know which types of plastics are making us sick?, via SustainableBabySteps.com

It's important to know that not all plastics are the same. Of the 7 different types of plastics some or more dangerous than others and should be avoided. Of the others, it might be a good idea to limit or avoid those as well. Below we'll look at each type individually to see where you might find it and how you might replace it.

Important: Although some plastics are considered "relatively safe" they still contain chemicals that can leach into your food, or environment, especially as plastic begins to age. It's a much more sustainable route to choose long-lasting, renewable, and natural materials instead. Not only will you decrease the likelihood of off-gassing in your home, you'll also reduce resources and save money over the long-run by investing well upfront.

Click here to read more about which types of plastics you should avoid.

Continue reading "7 Types of Plastics, Where You'll Find Them, and Which You Should Avoid)"

Helichrysum Essential Oil: 65+ Uses and Benefits to Your Health

Helichrysum Essential Oil , via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Helichrysum essential oil is made from the steam distillation of the flowers of the plant. It's not one of the more common essential oils, but after reading all this I'm sure you'll agree, it probably should be.

Read more about helichrysum essential oil here.

Continue reading "Helichrysum Essential Oil: 65+ Uses and Benefits to Your Health"

25+ Uses for Dill Essential Oil

Dill Essential Oil, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Dill essential oil is a rare oil created through steam distillation of the plant. A lot of people don't necessarily know how to use this oil but there are actually many uses.

Read more about Dill essential oil here.

Continue reading "25+ Uses for Dill Essential Oil"

Cement Recovery

New portable light weight forms allow for the recovery of cement on the jobsite while producing a value added landscaping product. As most are aware concrete

Continue reading "Cement Recovery"

Eco-Facts and Tips on Inflating Tires

How to properly inflate tires to save gas, via SustainableBabySteps.com

You would think properly inflating tires on a vehicle would be an obvious maintenance routine. But according to one study done by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 33% of light trucks and 25% of cars have at least one underinflated tire. 3-8% had all four underinflated!

Why does this matter? Well, lots of reasons:

  • It decreases your fuel economy by 10%, by creating "drag" between the tire and the road
  • Reduces the life of your tires by about a year
  • Makes handling more challenging and leads to accidents
  • More likelihood of tire damage while driving
  • Creates more greenhouse emissions and pollutants in the air

Checking and properly inflating tires on your vehicle is good for your vehicle, your budget and the environment.

Click here for how (and how often) to properly inflate your tires.

Continue reading "Eco-Facts and Tips on Inflating Tires"

Why Go Green: 9 Reasons to Re-Examine Your Lifestyle

Why Go Green? 9 Reasons to Re-Examine Our Conventional Lifestyles, by SustainableBabySteps.com

There are likely as many answers to the question "Why Go Green?" as there are people who live a sustainable lifestyle. It is a deeply personal, encompassing choice that is usually embraced wholeheartedly by the individual.

I've laid out the most frequently discussed reasons below. Many reasons will vary greatly from each other. Some people will disagree with some of these ideas while others draw from several of them when discussing their decision.

Despite disagreements, within every person living sustainably is a common thread: the strong conviction we feel for our lifestyle and the empowerment we experience through our actions. Whether it's a lifestyle given to us by our culture or our own research, we live this way because it fulfills us. And despite what some may feel about another person's answer to the question "Why Go Green", it is a source of inspiration to be able to bond through our animation and personal convictions.

This is a lot of really heavy information. You may want to grab a cup of something and take your time reading through it. Or you might want to just skim through it before delving into The Steps. Whatever you do, don't let it overwhelm you! It's here only as a learning resource, not to depress you.

Click here for 9 reasons to go green.

Continue reading "Why Go Green: 9 Reasons to Re-Examine Your Lifestyle"

Eco-Friendly Spring Cleaning Tips for a Non-Toxic Home

Spring Cleaning Tips for a Non-Toxic Home, via SustainableBabySteps.com

The sun is shining, the breeze is cool and you're ready to freshen your home with a few spring cleaning tips.

Spring cleaning shouldn't mean choking on cleaning fumes or burning your eyes and skin. But sadly, almost all spring cleaning supplies contain dangerous or questionable chemicals119, such as:

  • Ammonium chloride found in toilet bowl cleaners or deodorizers are permanently corrosive to the eyes.
  • Aliphatic petroleum solvent found in carpet cleaners is a neurotoxin, damaging the nervous system.
  • Crystalline sillica in many popular cleaners is a carcinogen, eye, skin and lung irritant.
  • Tripropylene glycol monomethyl ether found in floor cleaners, waxes and polishes has been linked to narcosis and kidney failure.

Spring cleaning (and spring cleaning supplies) should rejuvenate us, not make us sick!

That's why all the following spring cleaning tips will help you accomplish your goal in a safe, non-toxic way. We'll start with the essential spring cleaning supplies.

Click here ot red more eco-friendly spring cleaning tips.

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Zero Waste Home: How to "Recycle" Waste That Can't be Recycled

Zero Waste Home: How to Recycle Waste That Can't be Recycled with Bottle Bricks, via SustainableBabySteps.com

A Zero Waste Home probably sounds impossible. You might already recycle properly and compost your compostables, but what about the other little things that come into your home? Plastic wrappers, miscellaneous styrofoam that sneaks in, the foil wrappers from snacks...you can't compost them or recycle them, so what can you do?

This is where "bottle bricks" come into play. It's a bigger step, for sure, but it is also a fun, creative, and conversational step. It can be a great way to create awareness in friends or family, or even create a community effort at schools, community centers, churches, etc.

Here are what others are doing with their bottle bricks...

How to recycle waste that can't be recycled, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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How to recycle waste that can't be recycled, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Click for more inspiration and to learn how to have a Zero Waste Home.

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The Dangers of and 3 Alternatives to Plastic Food Storage Containers

3 Alternatives to Plastic Food Storage Containers, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Plastic food storage containers have become "the norm" in most kitchens. It's almost impossible to avoid them completely, and it's certainly a challenge to find plastic alternatives at most stores.

But plastics come with health concerns and challenges that are worth the effort to avoid. For instance, most plastics contain BPA, bisphenol A, a chemical found in the processing of plastics that had been found to leach into foods and have been linked to a disruption of hormones and many other health issues.

Even the plastics marked BPA-free may still be dangerous, containing BPS instead. Still a bisphenol, it has shown the same hormone-disrupting dangers of BPA. (BPA and BPS can also be found in things such as the lining in canned goods, not just plastics.)

Also as plastics begin to wear down and shown signs of aging (splintering, scratches, etc) the likelihood of contaminating your food goes up. Many plastics on the market these days are only meant to last a few months; others may last up to a year before showing signs of needing replacement. This is not only bad for your health, but for your budget, and the environment. And if your local recycling facility doesn't accept all types of plastics, you may find yourself with no alternative but to throw them in the trash.

Read about 3 safe alternatives to plastic food storage containers here.

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Guest Article: Sustainable Timber for Eco-Friendly Building

Learn about sustainable timber for eco-friendly building, indoors and outdoors. via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Sustainable timber is big right now and so it should be, as we want the forests of the world to be there for future generations to enjoy. Go back a few years and if you wanted to make sure the timber in your doors, gates or whatever was sustainable, you'd be hard-pressed to find any useful information on the subject.

The basics behind sustainably harvesting trees is pretty simple: every time a tree is cut down and harvested for its timber, a new tree is planted; but obviously on a major scale. The way this is achieved is through whole areas of forests being felled in rotation; as one area is cleared, it is re-planted and then several years later, a new area is felled within the same forest.

Click here to read more about sustainable timber.

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Are you interested in submitting a guest article to SBS?

The growth of this site is in thanks to all of you lovely readers, and the hard work we invest in growing the content of the site.

However, a truly sustainable community includes voices from more than just one person!

That's why I'd love to invite you to contribute an article of your own and share you knowledge and experience with over 2,000,000 readers a year!

We are highly interested in articles about:

  • Sustainable recipes
  • Earth Day crafts and activities
  • Home remedies
  • Homemade beauty and personal care products
  • Organic gardening tips and tricks

Have an idea of something you'd like to contribute to the community?

Click here to read our guest submission guidelines and contact us with your ideas!

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26 Home Heating Tips and Energy-Efficient Alternatives

26 Home Heating and Energy Efficient Alternatives and Tips

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, home heating accounts for approximately 40% of our entire energy consumption. And over 95% is done with non-renewable fossil fuels; such as oil, natural gas or electricity from coal plants.

With environmental impacts increasing and energy costs on the rise, home heating alternatives are at the forefront of our minds. Not only can these energy-efficient ideas lessen our impact on the environment, they will save money too.

Much of our effort to warm our home is lost through improper or inadequate insulation and drafts. To start the list are the many ways to insulate your home and keep accumulated heat from escaping. Following those imperative measures are ideas to keep your home warm, use less energy in keeping warm and acclimate to the seasons.

Click here to read more about energy-efficient home heating strategies.

P.S. South of the equator? Click here for home cooling strategies!

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7 Tips for Tiny House Design, Decorating, and Organization

Part 6 of a series by Andrew Odom

7 Tips for Tiny House Design, Decorating, and Organization
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There is a little known secret to tiny house design or small space living that is well hidden and kept within the cloisters of some stale fortune cookie in New York's Chinatown so that we tiny folk don't appear to be as disorganized and messy as we sometimes are. It is figuratively (and sometimes quite literally) our dirty little secret.

Small spaces get messier and more disorganized much faster and much more chaotic than a larger space.

In fact, the rate of messiness is probably proportional to the actual square footage of the space. I sometimes wonder if a lesser-known mathematician didn't come up with a formula that reads J2 + C3 ÷ Xft2 = messiness where J=junk and C=chaos. The reasoning however is pretty simple. There is less space in a tiny house to actually commit to solid organizing. Right? WRONG! What there is more challenge to overcome. But it can be done and the following tips explore those victories.

Click here to read Andrew's tiny house design tips...

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Plarn Octopus and Coral Reef

I have been crocheting for many years, and have been crocheting with “plarn” for about two years. I normally make tote bags that can be used for grocery

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