Monday, May 30, 2011

Green Your Pet Care

For those who are working toward *getting green*, solutions often boil down to "moderation".  One pet per person in your household is ideal.  That way the person doesn't become overwhelmed by having to care for too many animals, and the pet is living in a healthier, more caring environment.

As pet-owners, we love everything about our pets. Well, *almost* everything.

There is the issue of what to do with their poop!

There are now several biodegradable kitty litters available made from corn/wheat/pine flakes or recycled paper. The clumping varieties clump just as well as clay and are better for the environment. For dogs, whether you're walking him in public areas, or just letting him "do his business" in your yard, it is highly recommended to pick up the poop and dispose of it properly.

There are several environment-friendly ways of disposing of your pet's waste
products:

1. Put it in the Garbage

    This is the *preferred* method in most areas, as landfills are designed to deal with the waste, however the use of biodegradable bags will help by not adding plastic to the landfill. Garbage collection sometimes has restrictions, such as "only 10% of your garbage can contain pet waste". *

Other* locations will NOT accept pet waste in the garbage. Be sure to research the regulations in your area, so you are aware of the rules. They are there for a reason.

2. Bury or Compost

    This is the next-best preferred method but keep in mind the following:

only use this method on ornamental gardens (not food/veggie gardens or lawns). Pet waste contains pathogens or worms/pests that may end up living in your lawn/soil for years, contaminating the groundwater, or worse, infecting humans or other pets who may come into contact with it. If you use this method, a) bury it *deep*, b) mix or chop it in with the soil, and c) ensure it isn't too close to a waterway. If done improperly, burying or composting can be the equivalent of having a broken sewer system.



3.  Flush It!

    If you're on a *septic system*, this is NOT a good idea. Pet waste contains things like hair and ash that can clog your drain field or fill your septic tank prematurely. However, if you are on a *city sewer system*, flushing is usually acceptable because it ultimately goes to a sewage treatment plant. If you are flushing cat poop from the litter box, be sure to use a flushable/biodegradable litter!

4.  Pet Waste Digesters

    The same problems can occur with a digester system as with composting and burying. There are still diseases and worms that can be harmful to humans and animals. Exposure can cause ringworm, cramps, diarrhea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders.



5.  Don't Dispose At All

    You've probably noticed that if you leave dog poop on the lawn, it causes burn spots and discoloring. Imagine what happens when it leeches into the water supply! Dog and cat poop are NOT good fertilizer due to their concentration of toxins. All pet waste should be disposed of by one of the above four methods.
There are many rewards to pet-ownership, but it is our responsibility as a *green

family* to make sure their waste is disposed of in the healthiest way possible in order to ensure we are creating a *healthy family *environment.

Each region may have different regulations specific to the unique needs of that area, so if you're looking for *green solutions*, the best place to start is by researching the websites or publications of your local government.

For more ways to green your pet care, go to Going Green Today to take the Quiz.


Sources:

http://www1.co.snohomish.wa.us/Departments/Public_Works/Divisions/SWM/Services/Water_Pollution/Pet_Waste_Disposal_Methods.htm

http://www.islandcounty.net/planning/documents/PetWasteBrochureFINAL2007.pdf


http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/naturalyardcare/petwaste.asp



http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/wtd/Education/ThingsYouCanDo/HowtoGetRid.aspx#7979CEBB364F4028827297708AE50149

Biodegradable flushable bags

http://www.pethabitats.com/

http://www.composters.com/pet-waste-products.php


Dog-Waste Composter (in an area where it's not allowed in the garbage bin).

http://www.cityfarmer.org/petwaste.html

Harrying Statistics (with sources cited):

http://www.doodycalls.com/resources_toxic_dog_waste.asp

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Guide to a Green Nursery

When it comes to your infant, greener is safer. With so many chemicals in baby products, the best defense is a good offense. That means buying the right green choices from the start. To reduce exposure to potential toxins, remember that your baby is exposed to two environments that need protection: the immediate indoor environment and the world at large.

To get this done there are 2 strategies to follow

1.    reduce indoor toxins by choosing non-toxic products

2.    reduce global toxins and waste by buying less and buying used

KEEP IN MIND : Adult immune systems are able to fight off and eliminate certain toxins, but infants are still developing and especially sensitive. This is why it is important to check for hidden toxins. Follow this check list to have a safer, greener nursery!

1. Greener Paint

    Choose a natural pain that is milk, soy, or plant based. These paints are labeled “Zero VOC” which means they have no volatile organic compounds.

    No Lead Based Paint.

2. Greener Flooring

    Wood and bamboo are natural choices for your green nursery floor. Make sure glues and sealants are zero or low VOC and non-toxic. Carpeting should be avoided as it often contains dangerous chemicals such as flame retardants and petrochecmial stain repellents.

3. Greener Furniture

    Avoid plywood and pressed board furniture which may contain toxic resins. Synthetic materials also may off gas and disrupt air quality. Well built natural wood furniture is the best choice. It is long-lasting and will withstand toddlerhood.

    Consider buying real wood furniture second hand. It is easily updated with a coat of non-toxic milk paint.

4. Greener Bedding

    Your infant will spent most of the day sleeping. Safe bedding is essential. Organic fabrics are now widely available in a variety of styles and colors to match any nursery theme.

5. Greener Hygiene

    Soaps, diapers, powders, lotions, and wipes all come in direct contact with your infant’s skin. Read the label! If there is a warning, don’t risk it. Consider cloth diapering or making your own wipes. The cost savings is undeniable.

6. Greener Toys

    Plastics leach BPA, phthalates, and more. Skip plastic toys or search for corn-based plastics. Organic cloth and wood toys are widely available as well as toys made from recycled materials.

7. Greener Feeding

    Making your own baby food is easy and cost effective. Search for baby dishes and spoons that are made from safe materials such as natural rubber or silicone. Store baby food in glass jar or other non-leaching container.

Have questions about other baby items on your registry? Look for organic labels and read the product safety information.

For more ways to green your nursery and keep your infant and the planet protected, take the EcoQuiz at Going Green Today! You’ll get plenty of helpful tips to save you money and save CO2. You can even get a personalized eco-plan that is taylored to your green family’s needs.

Eco

organic apparel