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40+ Benefits and Uses of Marjoram Essential Oil

Learn how to use marjoram essential oil for its antibacterial, anti-infectious, or expectorant properties, 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.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of marjoram oil include:

  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-infectious
  • Antiseptic
  • Antisexual
  • Antispasmodic
  • Arterial Vasodilator
  • Digestive Stimulant
  • Diuretic
  • Expectorant
  • Sedative
  • Tonic

It's thought to promote the cardiovascular, muscular, and structural systems of the body, and has a calming affect. Studies have even found it to be pain-relieving, hypertensive, and more.

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, viral and fungal issues, and more, 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.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of this oil include:

  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Antiviral

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.

This actually makes the term "essential oil" a misnomer when speaking of jasmine. The technical term would be "jasmine absolute", but for purposes of this article, I'm using the two terms inter-changeably.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of this oil include:

  • Anticatarrhal
  • Antidepressant
  • Antispasmodic

Historically, jasmine has been used as a perfume and continues to be commonly applied in this way. However, it also has a positive and balancing effect on the hormonal system and the emotions. It may help a person open or move from their heart center, can be calming to a stressful or worried state of mind, and connect a person to their intuition, spiritual practice, and inner wisdom. In this way it may support a person's relationship with themselves and others.

Read more about the many uses of Jasmine essential oil.

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

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"

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"

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+ 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"

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.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of fennel oil include:

  • Antiparasitic
  • Antiseptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antitoxic
  • Diuretic
  • Expectorant

Although it's traditionally used for supporting the digestive system, it may also help the urinary, hormonal, and sympathetic nervous systems through its various chemical compounds and properties.

Click here to read more about fennel essential oil.

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

24+ Benefits and Uses of InTune Essential Oil

Click to learn more about essential oils for focus, clarity, brain function, ADD/ADHD and more, via SustainableBabySteps.com

InTune essential oil, or other similar blends for focus, are potent blends that support brain function, especially in terms of clear thinking.

Primarily used to support emotional balance, they usually contain oils that are also useful for the hormonal system, nervous system, and immunity. This is because the oils that best support brain function are generally those with the highest levels of terpenes (chemical constituents that have a huge impact on our health). For instance, InTune itself contains oils such as sandalwood, patchouli, and frankincense, all of which are lipid soluble and have an atomic mass unit (amu) under 500. This makes it possible for them to pass the blood brain barrier and work within the cell and DNA to promote proper functioning of the body.

So although InTune essential oil is mostly talked about as a blend to support brain function, it may also be useful in many other body systems, and support the body through various concerns from inflammation to autoimmune function.

Click here to learn more about InTune essential oil blend.

Continue reading "24+ Benefits and Uses of InTune Essential Oil"

27+ Benefits and Uses for Rose Essential Oil

27+ Uses of Rose Essential Oil, including wrinkles, infections, aphrodisiac, seizures, and more, 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.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of this oil include:

  • Antihemorrhagic
  • Anti-infectious
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Sedative
  • And more being found

Rose has traditionally is most commonly used for emotional balance and skin health, however throughout history rose oil uses have ranged from anything digestive to menstrual, including infections, heart health, and more.

Emotionally and energetically, rose oil benefits the heart as well. It's said to have the highest vibrational frequency of any other oil, and opens ones heart and soul to love and spiritual connection. In this way it may help a person dealing with fear, stress, or hard-heartedness, and even help to heal relationships with one's self and others.

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.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of tangerine oil include:

  • Anticoagulant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Laxative
  • Sedative

It also has high levels of d-limonene, which has been shown to have powerful anti-cancer properties, and overall tangerine oil benefits the immune system, skin, and emotions in its various uses, as well as a digestive aid. And according to one study, it was also shown effective against bacterial and microbial infections, as well as certain viral infections.

Emotionally, tangerine seems to be similar to Wild Orange, uplifting moods and said to impact a person's creativity. It can help to increase playfulness and happiness, helping us get out of our heads and live more spontaneously or light-heartedly. In this way it might be helpful for people who feel overwhelmed, overworked, stuck, heavy-hearted, depressed, or "blah".

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...

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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?"

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 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?"

3 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...

One essential oil blend for natural detox, cleanse, liver function, hormonal support, and more much, via SustainableBabySteps.comRead about a natural detox cleanse blend...

Learn how to use geranium oil for autism, acne, PMS, endometriosis, skin health/vitality, and much much more, via SustainableBabySteps.comRead more about geranium essential oil here...

Learn about Hawaiian Sandalwood essential oil for skin cancer, moles, tumors, eczema, acne, stress, and much more, 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"

Clove Essential Oil: 50+ Benefits and Uses - Sustainable Baby Steps

Learn about clove essential oil as a supplement for toothaches, athlete’s foot, mold, liver cleansing, and 50+ more uses.

Continue reading "Clove Essential Oil: 50+ Benefits and Uses - Sustainable Baby Steps"

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"

43+ Uses and Benefits of Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood Essential Oil for acne, overthinking, yoga, fine lines, cramps, and more, 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.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of sandalwood oil include:

  • Antidepressant
  • Antiseptic
  • Antitumor
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Astringent
  • Calming
  • Sedative
  • Tonic

Therapeutically, it's most often used for healthy skin, the nervous system, and muscles and bones. But it's emotional wellness and aromatic influence is probably more widely known.

Sandalwood essential oils are widely known for the way being a spiritual, sacred oil, used around the world during practices of prayer and meditation. Perhaps this is because of the way the oil impact a busy mind, calming thoughts and anxiety or worry, allowing a person to relax into a peaceful state, let go of their own mind/ego, and slip into presence.

Sandalwood is also an oil high in sesquiterpenes, a naturally occurring chemical compound found in certain essential oils, known for having a positive impact on health and wellness, particular in regards to the brain. Sandalwood is one of the oils with the capability of passing the blood brain barrier, a necessary component to battling brain disease, according to the American Medical Association.

Read more about sandalwood essential oil here.

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

23+ Uses and Benefits of Black Pepper Essential Oil

Black Pepper Essential Oil for quitting smoking, constipation, colds, flu, and more, 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. However, it's an oil high in monoterpenes, a chemical constituent know to have a powerful impact on the body in many ways.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of this oil include:

  • Analgesic
  • Anticatarrhal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiseptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antitoxic
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Expectorant
  • Laxative
  • Rubefacient
  • Stimulant (nervous, circulatory, and digestive)

Therapeutically, black pepper oil is mostly used as a supplement for digestive and nervous system support and wellness. For this reason many people will use the oil as a flavoring in their cooking, just as you might with crushed black pepper. However, the ratios will be MUCH different. You wouldn't use a full teaspoon of black pepper oil, but rather start off with a drop or less to find the right amounts for your recipes.

Aromatically, black pepper essential oil helps people to examine things with clarity and honesty. It allows a person to take off their own facade or mask, share their true thoughts and emotions, and unblock the flow of growth in this way. It might help a person who is dealing with repressed memories or emotions, allowing them to dig deep into their past or their present experiences. It can help you uncover hidden truths or face patterns or habits with courage. In fact, there are even studies done on the effectiveness of black pepper oil and smoking addictions (Rose et al, 1994).

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".

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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)"

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.

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

Helichrysum Essential Oil for Chronic Pain, Bruises, Sunburns, Natural Sunscreen, and more, 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.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of this oil include:

  • Antibacterial
  • Anticatarrhal
  • Anticoagulant
  • Antioxidant
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antiviral
  • Expectorant
  • Mucolytic

Because of these properties, it's most commonly used to support the cardiovascular system, as well as muscles, ligaments, bones, and joints, as well as common skin issues (such as eczema, sunburns, etc).

Aromatically, it has a much different reputation. As with most oils it can be helpful with stress, particularly anger or emotional pain or despair. For these reasons, it might be helpful for a person who has experienced trauma, even (or especially?) if it was long ago. Old wounds, present turmoil, or even feelings of hopelessness can be supported with helichrysum oil. This oil can lend a person inner strength to address what might be buried and the courage to see the healing through to the end.

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 for Cholesterol, Fungal Infections, ADD/ADHD, and more, 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.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of dill oil include:

  • Antibacterial
  • Antispasmodic
  • Expectorant
  • Stimulant

Research has shown other properties might also include: anticancer, antifungal, laxative, and more. Quite often dill is used for digestive support, specifically with constipation or gas. Because of this it makes a good flavoring agent to meals as it may assist in the digestive process. It's also sometimes found in digestive blends or used in conjunction with them.

Aromatically it has a calming affect on the mind and body. This may make it useful during times of stress, within tense relationships, or handling triggers. Because of its influence over the digestive system this may mean it's also useful for issues surrounding the sacral (second) and solar plexus (third) chakras, including feeling grounded, confident, and centered.

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"

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

Helichrysum Essential Oil for Chronic Pain, Bruises, Sunburns, Natural Sunscreen, and more, 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.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of this oil include:

  • Antibacterial
  • Anticatarrhal
  • Anticoagulant
  • Antioxidant
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antiviral
  • Expectorant
  • Mucolytic

Because of these properties, it's most commonly used to support the cardiovascular system, as well as muscles, ligaments, bones, and joints, as well as common skin issues (such as eczema, sunburns, etc).

Aromatically, it has a much different reputation. As with most oils it can be helpful with stress, particularly anger or emotional pain or despair. For these reasons, it might be helpful for a person who has experienced trauma, even (or especially?) if it was long ago. Old wounds, present turmoil, or even feelings of hopelessness can be supported with helichrysum oil. This oil can lend a person inner strength to address what might be buried and the courage to see the healing through to the end.

Read more about how to use helichrysum essential oil here.

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

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.

Continue reading "Eco-Friendly Spring Cleaning Tips for a Non-Toxic Home"

Citrus Bliss Essential Oils for Depression, Anxiety, Stress and More

Citrus Bliss Essential Oils for Depression, Anxiety, Stress and More, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Using essential oils for depression, anxiety, stress, etc can be a very wonderful way of supporting the boy and mind through the myriad of emotions that may arise.

This is because of the aromatic influence essential oils have on the brain. The brain processes aromas in the same area that it processes emotions, memories, triggers, fears, etc (the limbic system, including the hypothalamus, hippocampus, amygdala, etc). Using an essential oil with uplifting properties while experiencing those emotions and triggers, or regularly before a trigger occurs, can help the brain to rewrite the process, thus helping you to slowly move through the experience with greater and greater results. (Learn more about the aromatic use of essential oils in this free workshop.)

Of course, there is a time and place for essential oils and a time and place for medical support, so if you're dealing with this issue please reach out to a holistic health care provider or naturopath so that they can help you determine the best route for you. Nothing trumps the relationship and trust you can build with a trusted medical advisor.

Something you'll recognize quickly about many essential oils for depression, stress, anxiety, etc is that they are commonly citrus oils. This is because citrus oils have an uplifting affect on the mind and body. But based on your own body chemistry, or any underlying health or emotional needs you have, you might find they aren't the best fit for you.

So while I'm talking here about citrus oils, and specifically a blend that is specially formulated for emotional support, there are also more recommendations for essential oils for depression, anxiety, etc. below.

Read more about essential oils for depression, stress, anxiety, etc.

Continue reading "Citrus Bliss Essential Oils for Depression, Anxiety, Stress and More"

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"

52+ Uses and Benefits of Lemongrass Essential Oil

52+ Benefits and Uses of Lemongrass Essential Oil #tendonitis #whiplash #cleaning #varicose, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Lemongrass essential oil is created by steam distilling the leaves/blades from this grass. Lemongrass is commonly used in cooking, but the oil actually has many more benefits from its high concentration.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of this oil include:

  • Analgesic
  • Antibacterial
  • Anticancer
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiseptic
  • Insect repellant
  • Revitalizer
  • Sedative
  • Tonic
  • Vasodilator

It's commonly used in cleaning, and therapeutically, for support of the immune system, and muscular and joint systems.

Emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, it's said to be the oil of energetic cleansing. In this way it might be helpful in clearing energy from a home, or letting go of negative energy you might be holding onto, which may help those feeling stuck, heavy, or depressed.

Click here for 52+ uses for lemongrass essential oil.

Continue reading "52+ Uses and Benefits of Lemongrass Essential Oil"

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.

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

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.

Continue reading "The Dangers of and 3 Alternatives to Plastic Food Storage Containers"

Patchouli Essential Oil Properties, Benefits, and Uses

Patchouli Essential Oil properties, benefits, and uses: acne, stretch marks, grounding, stress, anxiety, and more., via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Patchouli essential oil has been popular for decades...and if you want to be "officially crunchy" it's pretty much a prerequisite to have before you can be admitted into the club. ;) But other than covering up body odor (which it does very well), it's actually used for many other things as well.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of patchouli oil include:

  • Anti-infectious
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antifungal
  • Antiseptic
  • Antitoxic
  • Astringent
  • Decongestant
  • Deodorant
  • Diuretic
  • Insecticidal
  • Stimulant (Digestive)
  • Tonic

It's an oil high in sesquiterpenes, naturally occurring compounds within patchouli oil that have the ability to pass the blood-brain barrier and have shown to be effective against many diseases, making it ideal for supporting your body's natural healing abilities. (You can learn more about sesquiterpenes in this free workshop.) And it's heavy base note aroma makes it longer-lasting than many essential oils.

Read more about patchouli essential oil here.

Continue reading "Patchouli Essential Oil Properties, Benefits, and Uses"

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!

Continue reading "Are you interested in submitting a guest article to SBS?"

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.

Continue reading "Guest Article: Sustainable Timber for Eco-Friendly Building"

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!

Continue reading "26 Home Heating Tips and Energy-Efficient Alternatives"

20+ Benefits and Uses of Cedarwood Essential Oil

20+ Uses for Cedarwood Essential Oil, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Remember the smell of grandmother's cedar chest? Cedarwood essential oil is a lot like that: warm, grounding, comfortable. And although it's also good for repelling moths, it has many other uses and benefits as well.

According to Modern Essentials, the properties within a quality brand of cedarwood oil include:

  • Antifungal
  • Anti-infectious
  • Antiseptic (urinary and pulmonary)
  • Astringent
  • Diuretic
  • Insect Repellant
  • and Sedative

Emotionally, it has a very grounding, calming effect...

Read more about Cedarwood essential oil.

Continue reading "20+ Benefits and Uses of Cedarwood Essential Oil"

Essential Oils for Headaches, Migraines, Tension, and Pain

Essential Oils for Headaches, Migraines, Tension, Stress, and Pain, via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Using essential oils for headaches or migraines can be a very effective way is managing the symptoms and sometimes even the underlying source of the pain. Essential oils are known to have many soothing, pain-reliever properties found in a variety of plants.

However, it's important to note that every person is different, the source of your headache will vary, and what will work for one person, might not work for you (or might now work every time). Essential oils are very subjective, meaning trial and error (with high quality oils) is necessary to find the right solution for you.

Click here to read more about essential oils for headaches...

Continue reading "Essential Oils for Headaches, Migraines, Tension, and Pain"

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...

Continue reading "7 Tips for Tiny House Design, Decorating, and Organization"

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

Continue reading "Plarn Octopus and Coral Reef"

10 Eco-Friendly Gifts for 2013

10 Eco-Friendly Gifts for 2013, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Every year the holidays come and every year we scratch our heads wondering what gifts we can buy that are not only well-loved and well-used but don't add waste to an already overburdened season.

Whether it's someone new to sustainability, or someone who was crunchy before crunchy was cool, we've put together a list of eco-friendly products that are creative, fun, useful, and appreciated.

(As an added bonus, anything you purchase from these links - the item shown or otherwise - supports the growth of this website and enables us to continue to share this message of sustainability with millions fo readers each year. Thank you!)

Check out the top 10 eco-friendly gift ideas for 2013.

Continue reading "10 Eco-Friendly Gifts for 2013"

Announcing: Autumn Meal Plan and a BOGO Sale!

Meal planning is my diving grace. Without it I'd be a mad woman, trying to scrounge together enough ideas, figure out the list, and make it out the door before we starve. But thankfully I learned from a summer of doing just that and got on creating an Autumn Meal Plan this season.

(Yes, I had hoped to share this with you a lot sooner than December, but better late than never right?)

Introducing: Sustainable Autumn Meal Planning

Our newest menu plan is similar to the last in many ways:

  • 7 days of easy recipes (not to be confused with "boring")
  • Only 2 recipes a day (because who has time for 3?)
  • A bonus: 21 simple snack or meal ideas for in between
  • Simple, sustainable, mostly local ingredients
  • Totally grain- and dairy-free (but customizable to your needs)
  • A grab-and-go grocery list to make your week easier

What's different?

This menu is filled with seasonal recipes and ingredients, perfect for fall!

And To Make Up For Its Late Arrival....

If you purchase the Sustainable Autumn Meal Plan by December 9th (ahem, my birthday) you're gonna get the Winter Meal Plan for nothing!

My belated Thanksgiving gratitude to you. :)

You don't need to do anything special....just click here to grab the Autumn Meal Plan and it will already include Winter's menu too. (Don't add both to your cart or you'll pay too much!)

Again, this is only until December 9th!

Click here to learn more and get your two meal plans for the price of one!

With so much yummy gratitude,
Tara and Justin Wagner

P.S. Extra gratitude to all of you readers and affiliates who have helped our site grow so much....over 1.2 million readers in the last year thanks to your support! xoxo

Continue reading "Announcing: Autumn Meal Plan and a BOGO Sale!"

Your Comprehensive List of Seasonal Foods

A Comprehensive List of Seasonal Foods (for most of Northern America)

Eating seasonal foods is almost impossible these days. Everything is available year-round in the grocery stores, since it's now being shipped around the world. This isn't always bad, especially when you use food for healing and need specific options. But the amount to which it's done along with the amount that generally gets wasted is appalling.

Having a fruit list and lists of vegetables like this can help you when choosing seasonal recipes.

Find out what's in season for autumn right here...

Continue reading "Your Comprehensive List of Seasonal Foods"

24+ Uses and Benefits of Melissa Essential Oil (Lemon Balm)

24+ Uses and Benefits of Melissa Essential Oil (Lemon Balm), via SustainableBabySteps.com
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Melissa essential oil (or its common name, lemon balm) is actually from the mint family and steam distilled from the leaves and flowers of the plant. It's one of the pricier oils and has a gentle citrus aroma and some amazing properties.

According to Modern Essentials, the typical properties of this melissa oil include:

  • Antibacterial
  • Antidepressant
  • Antihistamine
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antispasmodic
  • Antiviral
  • Hypertensive
  • Nervine
  • Sedative
  • Tonic
  • Uterine

Although it's most widely known for its antiviral properties (especially for things like cold sores), melissa is also said to support a person through spiritual awakening. Like most citrus oils, it's uplifting to the mind and energy, but it's especially uplifting to the soul...

Read more about melissa essential oil here...

Continue reading "24+ Uses and Benefits of Melissa Essential Oil (Lemon Balm)"

12 Steps to A Sustainable, "Green" Thanksgiving

12 steps to crate a greener Thanksgiving, via SustainableBabySteps.com

A Green Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, by far. With exceptions only in edibles (and Black Friday sneaking in early), it's a holiday virtually void of commercialism and consumerism. It's a day based on generosity, thankfulness, connection and loving what is. There is nothing more superb than sitting around a table with those you love, taking turns describing what you're thankful for and sharing the good in our lives.

Even though it's a rather simple holiday, there are still some things you can do to make it greener. Check out the article below for some sustainable tips and ideas...

Read last minute tips to green your Thanksgiving here...

Continue reading "12 Steps to A Sustainable, "Green" Thanksgiving"

Eco-Friendly Gifts: Your Green Gift Giving Guide

Green your gift giving #eco, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Choosing eco-friendly gifts is not only possible, it's affordable. You don't have to buy trendy (i.e. expensive) gifts to stay sustainable. These green gift giving ideas will help guide you through your shopping whether you're shopping for a Christmas, wedding or birthday present.

But remember: While being gentle on the Earth is crucial, it's equally important to give a gift your recipient will love and use. Giving from a place of generosity and care will accomplish both.

Learn 9 tips to green your Black Friday shopping here....

Continue reading "Eco-Friendly Gifts: Your Green Gift Giving Guide"



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