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I confirmed from a few sources that Bon Ami is chlorine-, dye- and perfume-free. Looks like you can also use Borax for a myriad of stuff, including as a scrubber in the bathroom. Here's a PDF brochure listing it's many uses.
Baking soda is fine for cleaning the bathroom, as long as the stain isn't too stubborn. I use it and aside from having to scrub a little harder in certain spots, it works fine. Usually I don't mix it with water, I just sprinkle it on the surface and scrub.

I might have to try borax, though. There are some marks on my sink that refuse to budge.
bon ami is good, also maybe try vinegar? letting it soak a bit first?
i mix baking soda with dr bronner's castile soap (i use the tea tree oil but peppermint is a disinfectant too) and that cleans amazingly well. i like that i am cleaning with things that i can put in my mouth 'cause with kids in the house you just Know they're getting it into theirs!

lemon and salt together make a pretty good scrub, 'specially for pots and pans.

that orange peel based cleaner is amazing too. orange glo or tko are the natural brands i think. it's pretty pricey but it's super concentrated so it lasts forever.
here is a link for a catelog I get, called Gaiam Living.
it's all organic & natural stuff, ranging in price from affordable to not so much, but they offer a ton of cleaning products.

pepper, I have used lemon & salt for my coffee pot but never thought to use it for anything else -- really?
cool! I'll have to try that!

I use dr. bronner's as a body wash, since I'm allergic to just about everything else. I keep meaning to use it for household cleaning, too.

Lemon and salt can also be used to clean wood cutting boards, too.
I use Dr. Bronner's too, both for myself and the house. Usually I mix it with some vinegar for washing the floor and the walls, and it works great. Only problem I have is that the store I used to go to refill my bottle went out of business and I can't find another place in my area where they sell it in bulk. sad.gif
Alotta Errata
lilac, have you looked on they offer lots of stuff in bulk (including seventh generation et al) so they might have Dr. Bronners, and they might even have free shipping on it.
Alotta, I checked Amazon and they didn't have the size I was looking for, but I checked Dr. Bronner's website and they have what I was looking for, plus free shipping. Good suggestion, though, usually Amazon doesn't let me down.
Alotta Errata
Sweet! Good to know. I'm a recent Dr. Bronner's convert and so i haven't had to refill yet... my grocer doesn't have the big jugs (heh... big jugs) so I'll have to check the Dr. Bronner's site when it comes time.
Kitten, there is a soy based cleaner by Biokleen similar to "SoftScrub" that is pretty good. The trick for me is finding it locally. I actually ordered it at

I love the way Method's cucumber all purpose spray cleaner leaves my kitchen smelling.
I just read this article about how New York City is the single-biggest U.S. destroyer of Amazon rainforests. That's where they get their wood for all the boardwalks, park benches, etc!

"If deforestation continues at its present rate, within four years it will be the single-greatest contributor to climate change, pumping a staggering amount of CO2 into the atmosphere -- more than all the flights in the history of aviation."

Yikes! This is awful.
great video about the direct relation between animal protein consumption and tumor growth. this guy has been personally involved in several long term dietary studies, he grew up on a dairy farm and became a scientist, through his studies he found irrefutable proof that animal protein causes cancer. all but 2-3% of cancer is related to diet, only 2-3% is heriditary (!!!!!!!).
Hey, I heard this article summarized on local NPR today. Really interesting.

A low-fat vegetarian diet is very efficient in terms of how much land is needed to support it. But adding some dairy products and a limited amount of meat may actually increase this efficiency, Cornell researchers suggest.


"The key to conserving land and other resources with our diets is to limit the amount of meat we eat and for farmers to rely more on grazing and forages to feed their livestock," said Jennifer Wilkins, senior extension associate in nutritional sciences who specializes in the connection between local food systems and health and co-authored the study with Gary Fick, Cornell professor of crop and soil sciences. "Consumers need to be aware that foods differ not only in their nutrient content but in the amount of resources required to produce, process, package and transport them."

Probably not a lot that farmers haven't known for a while, but interesting nonetheless. I try hard to buy local produce, which is easy since the local supermarket chain (Wegman's) makes a really big effort to support logal agriculture. And Upstate cheese is yummy. There's this lady at the local Farmer's Market who does whole-milk, unpasteurized, grass-fed, old-world style cheeses (I think there's a loophole regarding how you distribute your product so she can sell the unpasteurized stuff, but I dunno) that freaking ROCK. She's got pamphelets showing her cows all hanging out in the fields looking chill.

Oh also, this creepy guy in a white kidnapper van totally accosted me in my (still fairly brand-new) Prius the other day to ask about my gas mileage. CREEPY!!!
Hi everybody,
I have two green questions.
1. Any suggestions for oven cleaner?
2. So, in your opinions what is the best diapering route for a new baby in a state with a water crisis? I had planned to cloth diaper but am worried about the drought. Diaper service is out. Any ideas?
hey ya go, flushable diapers.

the oven cleaner thing was just too easy, i googled it and got tons of hits.
all but 2-3% of cancer is related to diet, only 2-3% is hereditary

Pepper, where does that put skin cancers from UV radiation? Or are you just talking about tumours?

Hey does anyone know anything about affordable energy alternatives (eg solar power)?
that's a great question, i'll have to do some research.

what kind of energy info are you looking for?
I'm just beginning to think about it really. I'd like to build a small shack in the bush ("woods") in the next 5 years, and thought it would be better to stay off the national grid, given that I don't actually plan to live in it much. But I really don't like diesel generators. So then I was thinking about water turbines, solar panels, even those things where you use a bicycle!
oh my goodness, are you actually ME?
"I'd like to build a small shack in the bush ("woods") in the next 5 years, and thought it would be better to stay off the national grid, given that I don't actually plan to live in it much."
this is how i ended up in the mountains in bc, searching for my "off the grid".
i missed my family too much though.

there are fantastic courses you can take in haybale and cob house building, check that out if you haven't already. as for the power, you could have a water wheel if you were close to water and so inclined, though it would be costly initially to set it up. solar panels are advancing by leaps and bounds and personal windmills are everywhere these days. it really depends on your budget and what you can do yourself.
Luckily out there is where my family IS; they'd all be within shouting distance (well, loud shouting anyway). Part of my motivation is that I miss them. There's drinking water there, but I don't think it runs fast or plentiful enough to generate power.

The mountains in BC sounds intriguing. Thanks for the building tip, I actually hadn't heard of those. Some people here are into adobe etc but that's about it.
QUOTE(venetia @ Oct 20 2007, 11:16 PM) *
Luckily out there is where my family IS; they'd all be within shouting distance (well, loud shouting anyway). Part of my motivation is that I miss them. There's drinking water there, but I don't think it runs fast or plentiful enough to generate power.

The mountains in BC sounds intriguing. Thanks for the building tip, I actually hadn't heard of those. Some people here are into adobe etc but that's about it.

There are actually quite a few options you can go with. There are small, propeller hydro units that don't require much velocity/flow to produce electricity. More info on those here.

Depending on the sun/wind available, pv cells & windmills could prove cost effective as well. There are relatively new vertical axis wind turbines, that don't have the enormous propellers to create an unsightly view or chop up birds. Also, they are much quieter than traditional wind turbines.

One other thing. I know you mentioned it wouldn't be for full-time living, but if you would like a more permanent type of building, insulated concrete forms (ICF) & structural insulated panels (SIP) provide tremendous strength, along with very high insulating values. If procured from green minded vendors, the materials are almost as renewable (and not nearly as susecptable to mold & rot) as the straw bale & cob constructions.

If natural gas is available, you can always opt for a fuel cell. THey are about 99% efficient, and their only emissions are heat & water.

I think you will find that any of these will be relatively expensive, but then again, if it is that remote, getting hooked up to the grid can also be quite costly. I don't know your budget or your electrical needs, but in my experience, a combination of 2 or more power sources, combined with battery storage provide electrical power that is all but identical to being hooked up to the grid.
Thanks for those tips, Hoosierman.

You are right, getting on the grid would be costly, plus having it disconnected and reconnected all the time adds up too. They are selling those wind turbines here - we don't get much wind where I have in mind but it would be worth a try, and they look great. The area is pretty darn temperate - it will never freeze or get very hot - but it rains a lot and is wet and humid. So for the actual construction I'll probably be looking at what else is going on in the region. It doesn't make sense to ship things if I can avoid it.

Hmm well you two have given me a lot to start investigating! Thanks!
so at first i thought the flushable diper thing was an awsome solution, but in a water drought wouldnt flushing the toilet be using just as much water as soing cloth diper laundry? just wondering.
you can trash them too, they're biodegradable. poop should get flushed either way, even with disposables. throwing human feces in the trash is totally illegal, fancy that eh? millions of parents a day breaking the law unbeknownst to them.
I don't have kids and therefore no diapers, but I have to ask -- if they're flushable, are they compostable?

PS -- I've discovered that diluted vinegar is really good for cleaning painted walls, and also anything chrome. Makes it all shiny-like!
well yah, you can throw them out too, and they are biodegratable sure, but throwing them out in plastic bags wont make them any more biodegratable would it? you would have to compost them or something? im not trying to be argumentative, im just wondering. im planning on having kids in the next few years and i try to be as green as possible (while still living in a city) and ive been wondering about things like this. thats so funny that throwing away human poop is illegal!

and yah vinegar is good for so many things around the house, its amazing.
I have a question here -

which is worse/better for environment :

using paper plates to conserve water in this time of terrible drought here in the US, or using regular plates that have to be water washed, to save tree's that are used to make paper plates? ( & yes I know there are p. plates made of recycled paper.. maybe I just answered my own question?)
QUOTE(tankgirl @ Oct 23 2007, 06:54 PM) *
so at first i thought the flushable diper thing was an awsome solution, but in a water drought wouldnt flushing the toilet be using just as much water as soing cloth diper laundry? just wondering.

Well, it depends. First question, is how old is your toilet? If you have a newer model, they only use about 1.3 - 1.5 gal/flush, whereas an older model will use 2.5 or even more, depending on age. It also depends on how you wash them. If you use a front-loading washing machine to wash 30 or so at a time, then that probably conserves more water. If you hand wash them one or two at a time, given most sink faucets are rated at 1.5 - 3 gal/minute, if you take more than a minute per diaper, you're probably better off flushing disposables.

Since I also assume (possibly incorrectly) that you'll already be flushing any poo deposited in the cloth diaper, you may as well just get the flushables, as you'll be using the flush water anyway.
QUOTE(freckleface7 @ Oct 24 2007, 09:06 PM) *
I have a question here -

which is worse/better for environment :

using paper plates to conserve water in this time of terrible drought here in the US, or using regular plates that have to be water washed, to save tree's that are used to make paper plates? ( & yes I know there are p. plates made of recycled paper.. maybe I just answered my own question?)

Considering you already have your plates at home, and all you need is maybe a few litres of water per day for the washing up, compared to:

growing trees (land & time needed), fuel for machines to cut down trees, transporting people who'll plant new trees, transporting trees to wood industry (and power & water used there), water & power (and chemicals) needed for the factory that makes paper plates, people commuting to factory, transportation for paper plates from factory to store, power & water needed for store, transportation for you from your home to the store to buy paper plates, and then energy needed to pick up garbage & recycle paper plates, I'd say you can wash your regular plates instead of buying new ones.
With as little water as you can (i.e not the dish washer).

I feel very bad for you with this horrible drought you have, it really seems like a nightmare.

Can anyone reccommend an earth friendly dish soap? I but this one at the store that said all natural, biogradible, and all. But it also said keep away from pets, and didn't clean very well.

I have been trying to live a greener life.
I am currently using 7th Generation's dish soap, but also really really liked the Sun & Earth brand as well.

I think you are exactly right about all the waste-labor materials to manufacture the paper plates; on some level I think I probably already knew that, but had been too lazi to thought-process it all the way through like that, so thank you.
I admit I am terrible about using my dishwasher, but only when it's a full load and on the most energy efficient cycle and still hand wash a fair amount of our dishes conservatively too.

cross posted w/ another thread: Gaiam Living (.com) has a new Zero-Out program with the Conservation Fund that let's you buy a tree to be planted in your name for just $2** that says it will negate (in time) the carbon made to ship your order to you.
I ordered my frecklette some stuff from there ( a 100% organic cotton shirt that donates to the aspca but they have lots of other non-profit choices too, such as dr's w/out border etc etc) and am "getting her a tree." (comes w/ a certificate too.)
Gaiam is the very first company to be doing something like this and I think it's really exciting; I would Love to see the idea spread, esp as I am doing most of my holiday shopping online this year and in fact, think I will order additional tree's for each order I place anywhere regardless.
Thanks freckle, I'll check those out. smile.gif

Another click site:
Clickety-click for climate balance!

Yeah, so it's in Swedish, but you can still see the button. ;-)
You can also mail 10 people about it (the "TIPSA"-button) and neutralize
100 kilos of carbon dioxide. Neutralization is made mainly through planting of
trees, but also research in energy-effective engineering and projects in
developing countries. The trees are planted in e.g Senegal.

I think it's so great that the going green trend is picking up so much! I have gotten a lot better about carrying extra bags with me so I cut back on plastic bags. I came across this video that given some fun ideas on how to make your own bags...I'm going to give it a try when I have some extra time over Thanksgiving!
More Green wins and impressive percentages in November 6 local elections


For Immediate Release:
Monday, November 12, 2007

Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624,
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,
Brent McMillan, National Political Director, 202-319-7191,

Green candidate database for 2007 and other campaign information:

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Green Party has released its final tally of Green victories on Election Day, November 6, 2007.

16 Green candidates, out of 94 who ran on November 6, won their races for local office (pending confirmation of David Lussier's county legislature victory in New York). A total of 142 Greens ran for public office in the 2007 off-year elections.

"We're very proud of all our 2007 candidates. Along with our winners, we also note that Green candidates who didn't win received impressive percentages in cities and towns where Greens are still a new party, or where local politics have been dominated by a single party, as in Baltimore and Tucson. These percentages prove that more and more Americans are willing to vote Green, and that the party made a leap forward in 2007," said TE Smith, a member of the DC Statehood Green Party.



Larry Bragman and Lew Tremain were re-elected to the Fairfax City Council. Mr. Bragman finished first with 1,322 votes or 40.74%, and Mr. Tremain finished second with 969 votes or 29.66 %. Three candidates competed for two seats.


Alan Brison scored an upset victory in his race for Ward 10 Alderman in New Haven. Mr. Brison beat his competition by 100 votes in the East Rock and Cedar Hill neighborhoods.

Jean deSmet was elected First Selectman of the town of Windham. (At 9:30 pm on Tuesday, Ms. deSmet was 120 votes ahead of the Democrat and far ahead of the Republican.) Ms. deSmet is also co-chair of the Green Party of Connecticut.

Hector Lopez (incumbent) and Erik Eisenberg were elected to Constable positions in New Canaan, among six candidates running for six positions. Mr. Lopez finished fifth with 748 votes and Erik finished sixth with 645 votes.

Write-in candidate Lief Smith won his race for Redding Constable.


The Illinois Green Party met the early filing deadline on November 6 for placing presidential, congressional, and other candidates on the ballot for the state's February 5 primary. In 2006, Illinois Greens who their ballot line, overcoming difficult ballot access rules and obstruction efforts by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who used $800,000 in taxpayers' money trying to block the Green Party. Green gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney drew over 10% in 2006, more than twice Illinois' 5% requirement to maintain ballot access. According to Phil Huckelberry, chair of the Illinois Green Party's government and elections committee, the party has set a goal of having 100 to 110 state and local candidates on ballots in 2008. For more information on Illinois Green races, contact Mr. Huckelberry at 309-268-9974 or <>.


John Anton won his race for Portland City Council. Mr. Anton finished first among four candidates for two at-large seats, drawing 6,320 votes or 29.04%.


Dan Robinson won his race for Tacoma Park Town Council Ward 3. He finished first of two candidates for one seat with 234 votes or 67.6%.


Chuck Turner easily won reelection to Boston City Council (District 7) with 81% of the vote.

Luc Schuster won reelection to the Cambridge School Committee, finishing fourth out of nine candidates for six seats. Mr. Schuster received 1,658 first place votes.


David Lussier, running in a partisan race for County Legislature (District 7) in Albany, has a five vote lead with all machine votes in on Election Night. 90 affidavit and absentee ballots remain to be counted on November 14. Mr. Lussier's 531 votes places him ahead of Democrat Brian Scavo (526 votes). Mr. Lussier campaigned vigorously among absentee ballot voters, and Greens are optimistic that his victory will be confirmed.


Sam Ettaro won as a write-in candidate for Curwensville Borough in Clearfield County.


Three Virginia Green were elected to local Soil and Water Conservation Boards: Chris Simmons in Loudon County; Kathleen Harrigan (write-in) for the Tri-County Soil and Water commission in Fredericksburg; and Daniel Metraux in Staunton.

Races where Green numbers show major increases over previous elections or Green candidates achieved significant percentages in cities dominated by a single party.

Beryl Baker received 27% for Tucson City Council (Ward 1); Dave Croteau received 28% for Mayor of Tucson.

Kathleen Petitjean captured 23% of the vote in the 1st District City Council race in South Bend, the largest percentage of votes ever garnered by a Green candidate in the state.

Bill Barry received 27% in his race for Baltimore City Council. Maria Allwine drew 17% for Baltimore City Council President. Both ran against incumbents in a city long dominated by Democrats.

Joe Szwaja finished second out of two candidates with 21,471 votes or 29.47%. Sally Soriano lost her reelection to the Seattle School Board with 25,966 votes or 38.22%; her opponent raised $130,000 with the help of corporate contributors for a $5,000 a year job.


Green Party of the United States
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193

Green Party News Center

Green Party Speakers Bureau

2007 national Green Party meeting in Reading, Pa.: video footage, blog and media coverage

"2007 Green candidates to watch on Election Day, November 6" Green Party press release, November 1, 2007

~ END ~
Take part in the Global Day of Action on Climate Change, December 8!
I just read this article, and I'm horrified.

I'm going to be anal about my plastics usage from now on. blink.gif
Me too girl! I just read the article.

re: article - Horrible!

The largest supermarket chain where I live recently swapped their grocery bags
for 100% mulchable bags. Small step, but it made me a wee bit happy. I bring my own
bag to the store as often as I possibly can, but sometimes I forget.

Although I love carbonated water, I've given it up since it's so bad for the environment.
I'm thinking about getting a siphon instead, so I can use regular tap water. Seems like
a real luxury problem, and it is, but I love love love sparkling water!

horrible but easy to deal with

get crafty with one of these...
singlet style shopping bag, like a plastic shopping bag.
wallet size fold up reusable shopping bag.
sewable fabric from plastic bags.

you can purchase stainless steel travel mugs, thermos, klean kanteen sport water bottle, a tiffin lunch pail.
you can avoid prepackaged food items like snack packs of apple sauce, cheese and crackers, etc.
stitch up some produce bags out of that sewable plastic in the links above and put your veggies into them at the grocery store instead of those produce bags that you have to throw out after one use.
i have been using baking soda, salt, vinegar, dr bronners castile soap and lemon to clean everything in the house, i can get it all in bulk and refillable containers too. it totally disinfects and leaves everything sparkling clean. using a microfiber cloth polishes stuff like crazy amazing too.
you can also make your own bath products and cosmetics in a lot of cases, you can even bring preweighed glass jars for the raw ingredients to the store if you are buying in bulk so you don't have to take any bags for that.
i've been composting lately and it makes a really big difference, my neighbour puts out FOUR full garbage cans every week, i put out half a can. i'm hoping to reduce that to even less, all the items that don't get recycled in this area i'm saving up and shipping off to my mom's where they do recycle them. it's just a portion of her trunk every few weeks, no biggie. that's really making a difference too.

now if only my little boy's school would stop sending home SO MUCH PAPER! gah, they send so much. nothing important either, just stupid crap that isn't worth the tree they cut down to print it on. grr.
oh NO, coela, why is carbonated water bad for the environment?! i've weaned myself off soft drinks (for the most part) by sticking to cans of seltzer. i'm just addicted to carbonation, i've decided. *sigh*

pepper, that sewable fabric is wicked awesome!

i've always tried to recycle as much as possible, but when i think about the reality of how much plastic people go through, i'm just blown away. on the bright side, in my initial plastic freakout i came across these bars of shampoo. i'm excited to try them out once i have a little extra cash on me.
omg, that's incredible looking soap! there's no sodium laurel sulfate in it at all! wow. *bookmarked*

QUOTE(faerietails2 @ Feb 8 2008, 05:07 PM) *
oh NO, coela, why is carbonated water bad for the environment?!

I don't know how the tap water is where you live, if it's very chlorinated,
but where I live the tap water is clean and very good, and it makes no sense at all
to buy water that has been bottled in plastic and transported all over the country
or even from abroad just because I like fizzy water.

I allow myself a small bottle of soda OR carbonated water once a week, and that's it.
But since I really am a sucker for bubbles, the siphon seems more and more attractive
every day. We'll see.

Shampoo bars seems like a very good idea too. My ex was very happy with Lush bars
and used them all the time, but I use juniper tar shampoo for my crap scalp, and I doubt
there are many tar bars out there... sell shampoo bars without SLS too.

that lush crap really steams me up! they are so unnatural, grr! the garbage they put into their stuff, and it's all totally avoidable too. why any company would choose to use anti freeze in a product meant to be used on the body is beyond me but they All Do it! the body shop is horrible too. there's nothing at all natural about their products. crap.

i read somewhere that carbonation causes cellulite anyhow, i avoid it just in case!
The Body Shop can't be all that unnatural, their stuff goes rancid. Bleh.
i used to work for them. read the ingredients sometime. awful. hydrogenated oil in ALL the lip care products too, WTF?
i thought the body shop was a really good company. am i wrong????
anyone else read the article on being more green in the most recent BUST? I mean, it's nice that she's trying, but it's going to take a hell of a lot more than turning off a few appliances and buying some fancy bamboo t-shirts to make up for driving 30 miles in city traffic every day! reducing our impact on the environment is not just another shopping opportunity.

i guess the layout and infrastructure of some US cities makes it difficult to live without cars?

oh, the body shop is a horrible company. the only thing good about them is their P.R., they manage to come off looking natural and nice when they couldn't be farther from it.

and beck US cities? dude, same here in this part of canada. i've never lived anywhere without some kind of bus service before. there is Nothing here, and no bus, i have to hitch rides with friends and family for literally everything. i'm going to move to someplace else that doesn't require having a car, i can't hack it. i never learned to drive and i hope i never have to, having a car is a luxury item that i am have zero attraction to.

on another note, my little sister is working in hongkong and she's super sad about missing out on her nephew and baby niece. she invited us all to come out and visit because she and her boyfriend and "renting a place on a secluded beach with a separate apartment" and they'll pay for us to come. how do i gently decline this offer, i've already given her a few excuses but she's pretty into it and frankly the idea of flying and being responsible for all that air pollution for a pleasure trip is abhorrent to me. i could drive every day for my entire life and not produce as much pollution as my One seat is responsible for on a single air flight. gah, i can't do it!
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