Colleges are famous for their efforts to make campuses more sustainable and environmentally-friendly, and this wouldn't be the case without pressure from students. If you're one of those college kids that wants to make sure their school is mitigating its environmental impact, we hope you're also doing your part to make sure you're individually producing less pollution, trash and waste!
Here are some green ideas for college students to follow:
- Drink tap water: It's tempting to simply pick up water bottles at an on-campus convenience store, but it's important to note how damaging bottled water can be to the environment. To begin with, the water itself isn't any cleaner than tap water (in fact, it's often worse in terms of contaminants and toxins). Additionally, all those plastic bottles simply end up in dumps. Try using a reusable bottle instead.
- Reuse materials as much as you can: Whether it's converting a plastic container into a pencil holder, or purchasing used textbooks instead of new ones, there are many opportunities for college students to recycle. The more you do, the fewer of these items will end up in landfills, where they can decompose over time and create greenhouse gases.
- Use your school's printing resources: Many students will purchase a printer for their desk when they start college, but this is a waste of resources. Given that many professors are now asking their students to turn papers in electronically, try using your school's printers in the library. Not only will this save you money, it will also keep you from generating waste when you eventually have to throw out your printer.
Check back with LifeIsGreen.com frequently for more tips on environmentally friendly products and practices!
Recently we blogged about how to go about creating your own indoor garden. One of the steps in the process is to select a potting soil that will help nurture your plants and ensure that they grow healthily. But not all potting mixes are created equal. Some can be more caustic to your plants in the long run, while others are manufactured in ways that aren't sustainable or environmentally-friendly.
Probably one of the most popular potting soil mixes is made from peat moss. This mix is terrific for growing plants, particularly if you're just putting together a garden that will only last one season. But peat is harvested from old growth forests and swamps in Canada and the southern United States, and the methods by which the peat is extracted can cause long-term damage to these areas.
Your best bet, if you're looking for the most environmentally friendly products, is to purchase peat-less soil mix. These are typically produced using organic materials and methods that forego the use of synthetic chemicals and fertilizers. They do a great job of retaining moisture, and they're aerated enough that you won't have to worry about your plants not getting enough oxygen. One great brand to check out is Organic Mechanics potting soil, which uses compost and coconut coir. This soil has more nutrients than conventional potting mix, and is manufactured with recycled materials.
By using environmentally-friendly soil, you'll get healthier plants, and you won't be exposing members of your household to harmful chemicals. You'll also be supporting an industry that does its part to make sure natural resources are not exhausted!
For more tips and information on green living, keep checking back with LifeIsGreen.com!
Generally speaking, people really shouldn't use paper towels. Americans use 13 billion pounds of paper towels every year, and it's difficult to overstate how wasteful this is when a cloth alternative is both more cost-effective and easy to obtain. However, it's also virtually impossible to avoid using paper towels entirely. After all, you can't control what the owner of a public building chooses to use in his bathrooms, and sometimes the substance that you're cleaning is something you don't want to get on your cloth towels at home.
Having said that, there are ways to use paper towels so as to minimize your impact on the environment:
- Follow the instructions that Joe Smith, a former District Attorney in Oregon, provided during a Tedx lecture, which you can view on YouTube by clicking here. To summarize, you don't need to pull four or five sheets out of a paper towel dispenser. Instead, shake any excess moisture off your hands (Smith recommends shaking your hands 12 times), then fold your paper towel so that it is thicker and thus more absorbent, and wipe away any remaining moisture.
- Whenever possible, use recycled paper towels rather than new ones. Although recycled paper can't itself be recycled, you're at least ensuring that another tree has not been cut down.
Smith points out that by following his directions and cutting paper towel usage by one sheet a day per person, Americans can save over 571 million pounds of paper every year – and that's by simply reducing your usage by one sheet! Imagine how much paper would be saved if you relied almost exclusively on cloth towels instead!
If you're interested in learning more about the benefits of going green, your best resource for tips and information is LifeIsGreen.com. Keep checking back for more!
We all know that the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy is to brush after every meal and floss daily (although it's safe to say that not everyone sticks with these habits). However, that's not all there is to taking care of your teeth. You can also keep them healthy and strong by including certain foods in your diet.
What should you eat to keep your teeth and gums in good shape?
- Dairy: Dairy products, including cheese, yogurt and milk, are high in calcium and phosphorous, which are essential for remineralizing your teeth. Of course, these foods tend to also be high in cholesterol and fat, so it's important not to go overboard. But including limited amounts in your diet can help replenish tooth enamel that has been damaged by acidic content in other foods.
- Green Tea: According to green living site Care2.com, green tea contains chemicals called "catechins" that are effective at making it more difficult for bacteria to accumulate on your tooth enamel and create plaque.
- Nuts and Seeds: High in minerals that are essential for keeping tooth enamel strong, nuts and seeds are also good for teeth simply because they're crunchy. As you chew them, they can break up and remove plaque.
Make sure that when you purchase these foods for your own diet that you try to find organic versions that were produced sustainably and ethically. Particularly in the dairy industry, there are quite a few companies that use environmentally unsound practices in creating milk and other foods. By choosing organic and local brands, you can ensure that your diet not only promotes oral health, but also mitigates your impact on the environment!
For more tips on eco friendly products and staying healthy, visit LifeIsGreen.com frequently!
It has been a brutal winter for many parts of the country, but that doesn't mean you can't satisfy your green thumb. If your outdoor areas are all snowed in, why not create an indoor garden? Whether you're looking to make your interiors more beautiful with flowers and ferns, or you want an herb garden that you can use for cooking, indoor plants are easy to grow if you follow these tips:
- Avoid inorganic and synthetic fertilizers: These typically contain toxic chemicals that create risks for anyone in your home.
- Don't over water: You may be tempted to constantly replenish your plants' roots with water, but too much can cause them to rot. Generally speaking, a good rule of thumb is to make sure you soak the soil, but stop pouring once you see water come out of the bottom of the pot.
- Keep your plants away from heaters and air conditioners: Drafts from these devices can kill your plants if they're too extreme.
- Make sure you're using the right sized pot: Putting a small plant in a large pot can cause it to either get too much or too little water.
- Read the tag on your plants: Whenever you buy a new plant, you'll typically find a tag stuck in the potting soil that tells you how to take care of it, including how much light it needs. For guidelines on raising specific plants, this tag is your best source of information. Make sure that whichever species you get for your indoor garden doesn't require direct sunlight, unless you position them next to a window that is constantly in the sun.
Check back with LifeIsGreen.com often for more going green ideas and tips!
Earlier this week, we discussed some of the greatest health benefits that come with drinking green tea. Unlike coffee, soda and even juice, green tea contains none of the harmful substances that can rot your teeth or have other adverse effects on your nutrition. Just the opposite, green tea is often touted as one of the healthiest drinks in the world, thanks to its abundance of natural ingredients and antioxidants that boost health and reduce free radicals — those molecules that play a part in aging, disease and more.
If you're trying to think green and live a more sustainable, eco-friendly life, making the switch to green tea is one of the best places to start. Courtesy of Authority Nutrition, here are a few more healthy upsides to drinking green tea:
- Boosts brain health in old age: Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases are the leading neurodegenerative conditions among the elderly, and while no cure for them exists yet, studies have found that the catechin compounds in green tea can lower your risk for developing them in the first place.
- Lowers cancer risk: Antioxidants — which are loaded in every cup of green tea — have proven to have "a protective effect" on combating the growth of cancer cells. According to the source, women who drink green tea are 22 percent less likely to develop breast cancer and male drinkers have a 48 percent lower risk for prostate cancer. Another study in green tea-drinking women also found that the beverage played a part in reducing colorectal cancer risk by 57 percent. Just make sure not to add milk to your tea, as this can dilute the potency of the drink's antioxidants.
For more green tips to incorporate into your lifestyle, be sure to check back with LifeIsGreen.com!
Not too long ago, green living was considered just a trendy fad. Now, it's virtually essential for homeowners and buyers, many of whom have placed energy efficiency at the top of their house-hunting shopping lists. There are two obvious benefits to going green. For one thing, using less energy in your daily life and opting for more eco friendly products is simply better for the environment. The other is that these avenues provide considerable savings on monthly utility bills.
One of the easiest ways to adopt a greener lifestyle is to create a more eco-friendly home. Not sure where to start? The bedroom seems like a good first step, particularly since you spend roughly one-third of your life there as it is.
Greener Ideal has compiled some helpful energy saving tips that can make your bedroom more environmentally sound:
- Place hot water bottles under the duvet before going to bed. No one likes jumping into cold sheets at night, but this an easy and energy-saving way to ensure that your bed is nice and toasty before sleeping.
- Seal up windows. Use weatherstripping or caulk to plug up any cracks or leaks that may be letting cold outdoor air draft into your room. If more extensive work is required, it may be better to simply replace the window outright.
- Use curtains and duvets made from natural, organic material. These covers create a more insulated room, helping to inhibit any heat loss that may occur in the winter and keep you warm for cheaper.
For more energy conservation tips that can ensure a comfortable, eco-friendly and cost-effective home life, be sure to check back with LifeIsGreen.com!
When it comes to healthy green living, there can be an overwhelming number of options to choose from, many of which seem to change on a daily basis. Whether it's recycling discarded food, driving environmentally friendly cars or reducing your carbon footprint, it can sometimes be difficult just to get your bearings and decide on which avenue actually works at all, much less works best for you.
So start small. One of the best ways you live a more eco-friendly life is by focusing on your own wellness first. For that, there are few better options out there than green tea.
"Green tea is the healthiest beverage on the planet," writes Kris Gunnars of Authority Nutrition. "It is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body. This includes improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other incredible benefits."
Gunnars compiled a list of the 10 best health benefits that drinking green tea can yield. Here are just a couple of them:
- Bioactive compounds: This is a complicated way of saying that green tea is loaded with powerful, healthy substances like antioxidants that can reduce the prevalence of free radicals, which play a part in cell damage, disease and aging. In other words, drinking green tea is an easy way to look good and feel good.
- Makes you smarter: While green tea does contain caffeine, it has a far smaller amount than coffee, providing just enough to wake you up without giving you that "jittery" feeling. This caffeine has an added benefit of stimulating brain activity, which not only makes you more productive but a little smarter too.
For more green tips on staying healthy and eco-friendly, check back with LifeIsGreen.com!
Now is about the time that many people begin to deviate from their New Years resolution to eat healthier and lose weight. It's understandable, given how much self-control dieting really requires. Rather than foregoing your resolution completely and reverting to old ways, it may be a good idea to scale down your diet plans and focus on three foods that are particularly unhealthy.
Here are some items that you may want to consider cutting from your meals altogether:
- Alcohol: Drinking provides no nutritional benefit, and wreaks havoc on your heart and liver over time. If you simply can't do without the occasional cocktail, consider cutting back your consumption to once a week or even once a month.
- Dairy: Humans are the only animals that eat dairy after infancy. There's just not much reason to consume significant amounts of milk, cheese, butter and other items (other than the fact that they taste good). If you still want to satisfy that dairy craving, try substituting soy or almond milk products, which have no cholesterol or saturated fat.
- Processed meats: It's difficult to overstate the number of health problems that are caused by eating too much meat. It leads to higher cholesterol levels and has even been shown to contribute to a higher likelihood of developing Alzheimer's Disease, according to MedicalDaily.com. It's also hard to find a food product that is less environmentally friendly, as livestock farms make significant contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.
The important thing to remember is that although you might go through withdrawal for a few days after cutting out these items, eventually your body will adjust. In the end you'll feel much better, and if you stick with the plan you'll start to see the scale go down fairly quickly!
Check back with LifeIsGreen.com soon for more health, wellness and green tips!
Natural beauty products are some of the best eco friendly gifts that you can buy someone. There are tons of companies now that are producing lotions, shampoos, conditioners and makeup that are made from holistic ingredients rather than synthetic chemicals created in a lab.
There are many reasons to purchase natural cosmetic items over those that you would find in a typical department store. Babble.com, a lifestyle website, recently listed some of the biggest reasons:
- Artisanal production: Because the companies that make natural beauty products are typically smaller operations, they put more thought and care into making their small-batch items. This usually means you get something that was produced by hand, not a machine.
- Fewer chemicals: As we said earlier, natural products have no abrasive, toxic chemicals that can cause health problems down the road.
- Less is more: While you may have to replace that bottle of unnatural shampoo every few weeks, natural products can be used more sparingly and provide the same effects.
- No filler: You can generally rely on natural products to provide you with a more pure, unadulterated consistency that provides better value. These products won't have filler that is meant to dilute and lessen the effect of the product so that you'll have to keep buying more.
- Sustainability: If you're concerned about the environmental impact of such items and whether or not they were tested on animals, you can rest assured that natural beauty products are almost always produced and tested responsibly and sustainable. Make sure to check the label!
There are many brands that make natural, organic beauty products. They include Seventh Generation (known more for their cleaning supplies), 100% Pure and Balanced Guru. Pick one of these great brands up at your local organic store or online!
Keep checking back with LifeIsGreen.com for more information about green products!