July 13, 2015 Health & Beauty

Home-made beauty products

“Make your own beauty products?  Sounds hard, but it’s actually quite simple.  Aside from saving a little money, many commercially produced beauty products are packed with nasty chemicals that can do damage to your body.  As mentioned in our Caring About Personal Care article  (link to article), there are Parabens, Phthalates, Tricolosan, Oxybenzone and Formaldehyde in many of the beauty products we use every day. We are Doing A bit Better here by making a few of our own. We promise these DYI beauty products are as easy as going to your kitchen and pulling a few things together.

Homemade Perfume

An easy way to smell delicious in a snap is to grab a sauce pan, lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Mix the two, heat them up and you’ll have a sweet homemade fragrance just like that.  Pour the rest in a glass jar for continued use.

Use Vegetable Oil to Condition Your Hair
Is there anything vegetable oil can’t do?  In addition to being used for cooking and fueling some cars, it can also work as an amazing conditioner for your hair.  Grab some all-natural oil (organic is the best), pour in your hand, rub at the scalp and then comb through to the ends.  Let sit a few minutes and rinse.  You’ll be left with soft conditioned hair!

Exfoliate with Strawberries
We can all use exfoliation once and a while – after all, it’s a great way to make your skin feel baby-fresh.  So instead of reaching for store bought exfoliant, why not just grab some strawberries?  Strawberries have natural fruit acid that helps in exfoliation of your skin. All you need is 8-10 berries, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of coarse salt (sea, kosher, etc).  Mix all the ingredients together and then massage it on your hands, feet, face or any place that needs a gentle scrub.

Make Your Own All Natural Lip Gloss
Looking for a clean, fresh gloss to sooth those dry lips and make them shine too?  Make your own lip gloss by mixing 1 teaspoon of fresh aloe vera gel with 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil and 1/8 teaspoon of vitamin E oil. Stir until smooth, then use right away, storing the rest for later.

Homemade Deodorant
Homemade deodorant is easy as sprinkling a little baking soda onto a damp wash cloth, and applying it to your underarms. It’ll keep you fresh throughout the day!

 

These are just a few ways to look and feel good naturally and to know that you are Doing A bit Better!”

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Environment

Cloth > Paper

When cleaning, like the counters in the kitchen, the first thing that many people go for is the paper towel.... Read

When cleaning, like the counters in the kitchen, the first thing that many people go for is the paper towel. While effective, this habitat can take a toll on the environment. After all, they come from trees! Instead, why not find some old t-shirts stashed way back in your closet that you never wear anymore and use them like you would a paper towel. They get the job done, you use less paper, and you are able to repurpose an item that would have most likely been thrown away.

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UpCycle

Green Gift Wrapping? Try Furoshiki!

The holidays mean something a little different to everyone, but one thing is almost universal: wrapping paper piles as far... Read

The holidays mean something a little different to everyone, but one thing is almost universal: wrapping paper piles as far as the eye can see. This year, instead of wrapping gifts in paper that will end up in the trash, consider the Japanese technique of Furoshiki. Using a single piece of fabric with no extra tape or materials, you can wrap gifts of any shape or size. It’s a fun project and the result is a beautifully wrapped gift that your friend or family member won’t soon forget.

 

Watch the YouTube tutorial here!

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Housewares

Green Rim Recycled Tumbler Glass

$7.00

A tale of transformation from trash to sparkling treasure—reclaiming what was once thrown away and giving it stunning new purpose.... Read

A tale of transformation from trash to sparkling treasure—reclaiming what was once thrown away and giving it stunning new purpose. Sparkling with bright, leafy green, evoking summer days and cool drinks with friends. These incomparable pieces are handcrafted by skilled artisans using traditional techniques passed down from generation to generation.

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Apparel

DO Leave Me Hanging

Get a clothesline and dry your clothes al fresco.  The benefits are clean clothes that smell great, and last longer.... Read

Get a clothesline and dry your clothes al fresco.  The benefits are clean clothes that smell great, and last longer. Did you know that the lint you pull out of the dryer is a sign that your clothes and sheets are wearing down? You save energy, preserve the environment, and reduce pollution by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  You also save some money: an average savings of $80 a year on electricity costs.

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Men

Schick® Announces Recycled Razor

“Alright men (and ladies), Schick® has created another new razor: the handle is made from 100% recycled plastic, and the... Read

“Alright men (and ladies), Schick® has created another new razor: the handle is made from 100% recycled plastic, and the packaging is made from 100% post-consumer paper. The Schick® Xtreme3® Eco™ is a disposable razor manufactured and shipped out of the company’s 99.9 percent landfill-free facility in Milford, CT. Schick® estimates they’ll be saving over 103,000 pounds of virgin plastic material and 15,500 pounds of virgin paper from going into landfills each year by using recycled materials in the new razor.

“”We know consumers are doing their part to live more sustainably, and we wanted to provide a simple way for them to do so with their shave,”” said Suma Nagaraj, brand manager for Schick Xtreme3®. “”At Schick, we’re taking proactive steps to minimize the impact of our products and manufacturing processes on the environment, and we’re continually looking for ways to improve — creating this product was the next step in our journey.””

“”For many years we wanted to launch a more sustainable razor,”” said Mike O’Malley, director of program management and sustainability for Schick®. “”We overcame many challenges along the way, like making sure the packaging gave us the quality look, perforation resistance and sealing capacity to hold up to the rigors of shipping. The result was the same exceptional quality and exceptional value razor that our customers know and love, now better for the environment.””

Schick® Xtreme3® Eco™ is currently available for both men and women at selected stores with wider, national distribution in April. To coincide with Earth month, Schick® Xtreme3® is partnering with eco-conscious celebrity-couple, actress Amy Smart and HGTV’s Carter Oosterhouse to launch a contest that challenges consumers to reuse common disposable items and reduce waste by creating a functional item out of recycled materials.

Here’s a big toast to Schick® for Doing A bit Better for all of us!”

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Housewares

Recycled Glass Votive- Green

$5.00

Handcut from reclaimed wine cooler bottles, these charming votive candleholders are ideal for wherever you want to add the sparkle... Read

Handcut from reclaimed wine cooler bottles, these charming votive candleholders are ideal for wherever you want to add the sparkle of candle light, also they’re perfect to hold candies, dips, salad toppings or more.

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Housewares

Quick Home Tip – Let Your Dishwasher do the Work

“And by dishwasher, we don’t mean your husband. Today’s dishwashers aren’t like the avocado green one you grew up with. ... Read

And by dishwasher, we don’t mean your husband.

Today’s dishwashers aren’t like the avocado green one you grew up with.  They are highly powerful, so you can skip rinsing dishes before using your dishwasher.  In doing so, you can save up to 20 gallons of water each load. You save time, money, and avoid dishpan hands!”

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Doing A Bit Better

Groupon Gives Back

We love finding good deals as much as the next person.  So when we found out that Groupon launched a... Read

We love finding good deals as much as the next person.  So when we found out that Groupon launched a group action fundraising program called Groupon Grassroots, you can only imagine our excitement.

 

According to Groupon, the new program (which just launched in April, 2012) is “a new way to discover local causes, rally together, and lend a helping hand”.

We did some digging and found out that Groupon Grassroots isn’t just a good idea on paper – it’s actually working.  On this year’s Earth Day, the donations through Grassroots resulted in some pretty impressive numbers!  Here are some of the highlights:

-$126,000 in cause-related donations were made
-4,400 trees planted across US and Haiti
-443 bike light sets and helmets sent to locals in Austin & Portland
-1,400 attendees to environmentally focused programs
-40 volunteers traveling to Zambia
-18 vacant lots in Cincinnati were filled with over 25 raised garden beds
-5 cities were treated to improve water quality through trash removal and training volunteers  to test water

And that was all in 1 day!

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UpCycle

Monday Tip of the Week: Use a tea can to grow a garden

“There are a lot of great uses for old tea cans–you can use them for storing little things like buttons... Read

“There are a lot of great uses for old tea cans–you can use them for storing little things like buttons or safety pins. Here at Doing a Bit Better we like to use them to make an indoor garden! It’s simple. First step, drill (or punch if the metal is thin) a small hole in the bottom of the tin to give you plant proper drainage. Step two, plant your garden. We like to plant herbs and keep them in our kitchen so we have easy access to fresh seasonings! Check out the picture below.

 

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Mighty Leaf Tea

Tea Drinkers Rave

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Garden

Use Solar Lanterns to Light your Garden

As we are nearing the end of September (yikes!), it’s always nice to do a little sprucing up to the... Read

As we are nearing the end of September (yikes!), it’s always nice to do a little sprucing up to the yard as the weather starts turning. One things that we love about the fall are the early nights, and what better way to take advantage of them than by installing solar lanterns on a walk way or flower bed. They will be powered all day by the sun, and shine brightly as the sun goes down–you never have to worry about batteries or burying miles of extension cords. With solar lanterns you simply put them in your garden and let the sun do the work for you. Plus (and it’s a big plus) you’re doing a bit better for the earth, and your wallet–bye bye higher electric bills.

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Housewares

Monday Tip of the Week – Green light!

“If every household in the United State replaced one regular light bulb with one of the new compact fluorescent bulbs,... Read

“If every household in the United State replaced one regular light bulb with one of the new compact fluorescent bulbs, the pollution reduction would be equivalent to removing one million cars from the road.

Don’t like the color of the light? Use these bulbs for closets, laundry rooms and other obscure places where the light is less likely to bother you.  Or try changing your lampshade and light covers where it makes sense. A clear cover or light colored lampshade increases the amount of light that’s distributed.”

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Doing A Bit Better

5 Tips to make your Fall a little bit better

The heat is still upon us, but not for long! As fall is right around the corner, the days will... Read

The heat is still upon us, but not for long! As fall is right around the corner, the days will start to get shorter and the sidewalks will become littered with leaves. Here are some tips for your home and your family that will help you do a little bit better during the changing of the seasons:

  1. Check the furnace
    • One of the easiest ways to make sure your home is efficient is to test and make sure your furnace/fireplace is clean. Not only does this make winter stress free because you know that your furnace or chimney will work throughout winter, it’s also a money saver.
    • Cleaning around the furnace will allow it to run smoothly thus giving you more heat with less energy during the winter.
  2. Insulate the house
    • Check the windows around your house for proper caulking, make sure your windows are sealed tight and no breeze is coming through. Plastic film can sometimes work as an alternative.
    • Make sure doors are weather stripped and replace strips if necessary. If there’s a draft coming through replace the threshold of the door or use towels, blankets, or old sweaters (we will discuss these items further below) to place under the doors.
    • Hang a thick curtain or blanket in front of your doors to block cold air from entering the house.
  3. Create/purify air flow
    • If you have a ceiling fan, adjust the settings so that the fan is going in reverse. If you’re standing underneath the fan and can feel the breeze from it then make sure to turn it the opposite way. This maneuver allows for air to be pushed up against the ceiling and down the walls, allowing the air flow to re-circulate the warm air without causing a chilling effect.
    • Clean vents to ensure debris and dust aren’t getting into the air flow of your house. You’re going to essentially button up your house during the winter and you don’t want to have to open windows because your house is too stuffy.
    • Move objects away from vents, baseboard heaters, registers on the floor, or radiators so that air moves freely around your house. Also, as said above, make sure to clean around these areas.
  4. For the kids (Going back to school)
    • Buy clothes and materials from second hand stores/thrift shops. There’s chic thrift stores for all ages now!
    • Bring your own reusable bags to go shopping.
    • Avoid single use packaging food when preparing lunches. Also, try and reuse Ziploc bags for however long you can.
    • Make sure to not buy school materials in bulk.
    • Have a “Swap” party: invite families to exchange clothing and usable school supplies.
    • If you drive your kids to the bus stop, bundle them up and walk them to the bus stop as an alternative.
  5. Everyday Stuff
    • Clean the gutters and make sure that your downspouts are pointed away from your house will provide piece of mind when the weather is unfavorable. And while you’re up there, why not check out the roof’s condition to make sure it’ll last through the upcoming seasons?
    • Open blinds in the morning/during the day to attract heat and then close them at night to retain the heat. Honeycomb blinds are especially efficient.
    • Go through the family’s wardrobe and re-purpose items. For example, use old t-shirts as new kitchen rags for cleaning, or old sweaters and towels as a way to ventilate your house.
    • Organize the kitchen, the refrigerator should be checked to ensure it is sealed tight as to not let cold air into the house. And food that is old or not needed should be composted or thrown out. Room in the refrigerator is needed for ample air flow.
    • Get rid of cleaning products that contain harmful chemicals, especially triclosan. DIY cleaning products using baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice are highly accepted. If not able to make cleaning products yourself, Method and Seven Generations cleaning products are great alternatives to conventional cleaning products.
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Hansen Wholesale

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Solar

Retailers – The Quest to go Solar

“Many retailers today – large and small – are looking for ways to be sustainable, and also do things that... Read

“Many retailers today – large and small – are looking for ways to be sustainable, and also do things that make sense for the business.  Going Solar has been one of those things that make sense for both goals.  With growing frequency, companies from Apple to Walmart have been making this a reality.  Below are a few examples of companies who are utilizing renewable energy and paving the road to an energy-efficient world.

IKEA
IKEA, the largest home furnishing store in the world, is up to 30 solar installations in its stores across the US including Tampa, Florida (July 2012) with the one of the latest in Frisco, Texas (August 2012). The company has made a serious commitment to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic technology.

IKEA owns and operates each of its solar power systems atop its buildings.  Drawing from its Swedish heritage, the company believes that Solar can be a good business while aiming for its operations to minimize impacts on the environment.

WALMART
Walmart has installed more than 150 solar projects across the US.  The company currently has 62 megawatts of solar panels installed, while operating fuel cells and wind turbines at other locations.  Walmart has plans to have 1,000 solar-powered locations by 2020.

APPLE INC.
By the end of 2012, Apple will meet the energy needs of their Maiden, North Carolina datacenter by generating onsite renewable energy.  They are building two solar array installations which use high-efficiency solar cells and an advanced solar tracking system.

Apple plans to buy solar panels from SunPower for the huge solar farm, and the projects should be completed by the end of the 2012.

MACY’S
In 2010, the Macy’s solar installation in Goodyear, AZ claimed the title for the largest single-rooftop system in the US.  Most of Macy’s efforts have been focused in California, installing solar panels on 26 stores.”

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Solar

Vermont’s PUP program is helping people Do A Bit Better!

Recently, the local clean energy advocacy group, Energize Vermont,  announced the “Power Up Program” which is an unique partnership with... Read

Recently, the local clean energy advocacy group, Energize Vermont,  announced the “Power Up Program” which is an unique partnership with American Clean Energy Supply, LLC. Together, they are bringing affordable, high quality solar installations to Vermonters all over the state!

Way to go Energize Vermont! Thanks to your PUP program, you truly are Doing A Bit Better.

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Food

If Your Carrot has Traveled More Than You…That is a Problem

Did you know the average piece of produce we Americans eat each night has traveled nearly 1,500 miles before ending... Read

Did you know the average piece of produce we Americans eat each night has traveled nearly 1,500 miles before ending up on a plate?  This means the amount of fossil fuels consumed and the amount of carbon emissions is doing more harm to the environment than the broccoli is doing good for your liver.   Buying locally farmed produce does not mean you have to go to a Farmers Market (although it clearly is a great way!).  Simply log on to localharvest.org, sustainabletable.org or even the U.S. Department of Agriculture at ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/map to find out where local produce is sold in your area.  Not only will you be doing better for you and your family, but supporting your local farms and community as well.

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Family

Throw an Eco-friendly Party

“With warm, sunny summer weather quickly approaching, we here at DAbB are really looking forward to some great summer parties.... Read

“With warm, sunny summer weather quickly approaching, we here at DAbB are really looking forward to some great summer parties. Friends, music, drinks, & BBQ – what could be better?  But all the fun and festivities of a classic summer party can produce a lot of waste (and who wants that?).  So here are 5 tips to reduce the waste without reducing the fun:

–              Plastic drink cups can result in a huge amount of garbage, especially in larger groups where guests are apt to set a cup down and forget about it.  To solve this dilemma, rent glassware from a local party supply rental company.  This will eliminate all waste created by plastic cups and give your party a truly classy touch!  If you don’t have a party rental store in the area, use compostable, corn-based plastic cups.

–              When it comes to the food, stay local!  Some of the best produce, meat, and dairy products can be found at your local farmers market.  They’re fresher, tastier, and often cheaper!

–              When it comes to the brew, pop for a keg or pony-keg if the group is large enough.  It’s less likely that you’ll run out mid-party and you won’t have to worry about all those bottles & cans to be recycled.

–              If you are serving wine, aim for organic.  Some of our favorite organic vinos are Grgich Hills, Frog’s Leap, Frey Vineyards, and Benziger.

–              Be creative when it comes to decorations!  Smooth river rocks or large leaves from your yard are a great alternative to traditional place cards.  Large jars or hurricane vases can be filled with household items to make for fun custom centerpieces.

–              When it comes to invites, Evites are definitely the greenest method, but may lack the personal touch you seek for your party.  One solution is to scan in and email out a handmade invitation.  This allows you to add a personal touch that your guests are sure to remember.  Alternatively, you can also send out traditional invitations made of recycled paper & materials.  The result is both memorable and eco-friendly!

Party on!”

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Housewares

Hard Rock Cloth Diaper Detergent Remix

$19.95

Free of phosphates, dyes, enzymes, whiteners and brighteners, Rockin’ Green Detergent is natural and safe for your family’s clothing and... Read

Free of phosphates, dyes, enzymes, whiteners and brighteners, Rockin’ Green Detergent is natural and safe for your family’s clothing and perfect for baby’s cloth diapers!

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Family

Eat, Grill and be Green

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No, no, the OTHER most wonderful time of the year.  That’s right... Read

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No, no, the OTHER most wonderful time of the year.  That’s right – it’s almost Summer, which means barbecue season! Unfortunately, barbecues can mean a lot of waste.  Here are some ways to green up your barbecue for those festive occasions:

-Go Local! Buying local ingredients supports your local farmers, but it also has benefits to you. It usually means fresher veggies and fruits – which means it hasn’t been on the truck as long.  If you shop at your local farmers market, you can usually talk to the farmers or their family directly about how their food is grown and which of their produce is organic.

-Consider Solar Lights. They’ve come down in price quite drastically in the last few years, and come in many forms.  Consider some solar light stakes, or these lovely Pagoda Solar Lanterns from Bambeco.  Just think how nice they would look strung all across your back yard!

-Get a Keg. Okay, if you’re going to serve beer, it makes way more sense to get a keg!  Your beer cost goes way down, while the sustainability factor goes way up. Drinking out of mason jars is also a great idea, as they’re reusable, washable, and it’s not as big of a deal if someone writes their name on one or breaks one.  If you absolutely insist upon the red cup, just wash them afterwards.  They’re not dishwasher safe but will hold up in the sink for 5-10 more uses.

-Use Those Disposables Up. We’re not a fan of using disposable anything.  Even if it’s recycled, it’s still so wasteful!  But you’ve undoubtedly gotten plenty of disposable napkins and cutlery from your favorite takeout place. Now’s a good time to use those up.  You can even wash those afterwards and use them a few more times.

-Consider Cloth. Cloth napkins will really class up your party, and won’t end up in the landfill.  They’re not expensive, and you can even make your own out of fabric scraps, old jeans, etc.
Now get out there and show your green gang just how well you grill!”

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