Sunday, April 10, 2011

Save green while going green

Many of you know that one of my primary goals with this blog is to show that it is neither elitist or expensive to go green and vegan.   We are huge proponents of natural cleaners, natural remedies, self sufficiency and slow food.  We are also a large family with small children.  We eat locally, we grow our own food where possible and we do not eat animals.  Many of the blogs out there do not reflect our situation since we are also poor students while we do all of this.

I don't eat animals for many reasons, the environment being my #2 reason (right behind #1 it's icky).  I am aware of all the ethical reasons not to eat animals but I know ethics are a hard sell when you're trying to feed a family so, largely, I don't bother talking about that part.  If you would like to research the industrial food process and it's many, many problems please watch: Earthlings, Frankensteer, King Corn, Food Inc, The Story of Stuff, The Meatrix, or any number of the resources they lead to.  I'd like to talk about the nuts and bolts of how you do some of this on a tight budget now that you want to make some changes and opt out of this diseased system.

My first ally is making almost all of our own cleaners.  We removed most of the poison in our home in one fell swoop and saved a bundle doing it.  Our base is Dr. Bronner's soaps.  On the surface these may seem expensive but they are not when you consider 'use life'.  Simply put, a little goes a long way.  :)

Peppermint Oil base: Peppermint is a natural antibiotic
4 Tbsp added to 32 oz of water - Air purifier, mild degreaser, upholstery/carpet freshener.
2 Tbsp added to a sink of dishes - excellent glass cleaner and dish soap.

Orange Oil base: Orange oil is an excellent degreaser and wood polish.
8 oz added to 24 oz of water - Kitchen all purpose surface cleaner, glass cleaner, pots & pans dish soap.
4 oz added to 28 oz of water - dusting liquid for all our wood (NOT electronics).

Tea Tree Oil base: Tea Tree is a natural antiseptic and amazing cleaner.
8 oz added to 24 oz of water - My goto bathroom cleaner.
4 oz added to 12 oz of water - our favorite body wash.  This cleans really well and keeps zits gone.  It is a bit drying but we are an oily people.  Not an 'eye friendly' soap, it won't damage but it doesn't feel great so not for babies.  You could adjust this ratio or try the Lavender Oil base instead.

These are the three we use around the house. 32 oz sizes of Peppermint (1), Citrus (2), Tea Tree (3) will get us through an entire year. If you buy these directly from Dr. Bronner's site they are cheaper than you will find in the store, however, let me introduce you to my favorite cheap friend:  :)   [I'm not sure about rules for endorsements but I am not paid to say any of this, hopefully we are all legally covered now.]

The site gives you free shipping and cash back (5% of what you spend) on prices that are usually already lower than any store I've found in my area.  For instance - Whole Foods: 19.95 on sale, Good Earth: 19.99, Sunflower (when they have it): 18.99, Dr. Bronner direct: 15.75 and 14.97 (plus free shipping and .75 in cash for the next quarter).  That means we spent $89.82 (plus tax) for a years worth of household cleaner & body wash.  That's $7.49 a month.  Plus we get $4.49 to spend on something else for the house.  It adds up.

Okay, well this is a much longer post than I imagined.  I haven't even talked about the laundry or tp yet.  Maybe I will do a short series on my cheapskates-ness...

I hope this helps you get a lot of the toxins, excess packaging and overspending out of your home.  (btw, go to Bed, Bath & Beyond for cheap spray bottles for cleaners.)