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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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

A Better Way to Refresh Your Bedroom

“If you’re looking to do a refresh of your master bedroom this spring, may we suggest a few green tips?... Read

“If you’re looking to do a refresh of your master bedroom this spring, may we suggest a few green tips? Having a green bedroom has never been easier, and it doesn’t have to be difficult or break the bank. Using sustainable materials, upcycled DIY projects and a little bit of elbow grease will help you Do A bit Better.

We spend 8-10 hours (if we’re lucky) in this room daily. That’s why it should be a place that inspires relaxation and serenity. This means different things to different people, so experiment!

A fresh coat of paint is a great place to start and will be the defining characteristic of the room. If you want to go the full green route, there are brands of entirely-natural paint which are made of things like milk, minerals, clay, and marble. If not, then at least go for a VOC-free (Volatile Organic Compound) paint, which is better for the ozone and better for your health.  Light, airy colors promote calmness and rest – and wallpapers are making a huge comeback with patterns and textures.

Chances are that with the new color of your walls, you will also need new coordinating bed linens. Go with 100% organic cotton, which are generally sewn in U.S.A.

Natural elements brought in from outside will accompany your new style, such as sticks, rocks, and freshly picked flowers. A variety of matching vases & bowls can be sourced online from sustainable materials, such as jute, bamboo, or mango wood.

Give these tips a try, and you’ll be instantly amazed with how clean and green your “new” bedroom looks.”

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Health & Beauty

Gentlemen: Green thy Faces

“Shaving is a regular task that not many of us guys like doing, but need to do anyway.  So, the... Read

“Shaving is a regular task that not many of us guys like doing, but need to do anyway.  So, the least we at DAbB can do is help you feel like you are reducing your footprint while you shave.  Here are three quick tips to help make your shaving routine a bit more green:

Turn off the water – this may seem obvious, but shut off the water while you shave.  The average Joe can save up 3,000 gallons a year!

Go Au Naturale – Next time you go to the drugstore, look for all-natural shaving creams and aftershaves.  Just look for plant based products that are certified organic and/or not tested on animals.  Or, you can enlist a bar of organic soap to make a thick lather suitable for shaving.

Ditch the disposable – Between plastic handles, metal blades, rubber grips and god-knows-what’s-in-those-lubricating-strips, disposable razors create a huge amount of waste.  So look for a more earth friendly solution.  The absolute best choice is a good, old fashioned straight razor – it can be sharpened for great results & used over and over.  But we realize that the thought of putting straight razor to your neck can be a bit intimidating – let’s face it, we’re not all John Wayne.  So why not pop for an electric razor to cut down on your waste?  Many new electric razors on the market are gentle on your skin and offer a close shave.  If you must use disposable, try one of the new eco-friendly razors from Schick!

Go forth and shave!”

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Housewares

DAbB’s Review of “Cuppow”

“Okay, confession time: we’re suckers for rustic green design. And there’s fewer things more rustic than drinking out of a... Read

“Okay, confession time: we’re suckers for rustic green design. And there’s fewer things more rustic than drinking out of a mason jar, right?  So what happens when you need to go somewhere, and suddenly you’re walking or driving and, *splat* you’ve got coffee or iced tea all over your shirt? (Cue Detergent Pen Commercial)

That’s why Cuppow was invented, which made us hyperventilate with glee when we saw it.  It essentially turns your wide-mouth mason jar into an adult sippy cup.  It’s BPA free, too, so it’s safe.

Suffice to say, we ordered one.  It was like Christmas morning when we were opening the package, and here is a shot of the Cuppow in action with coffee at the DAbB office:

So what’s the verdict? It works great, frankly. The ordering process was a little archaic, and it’s a little loud from the air intake hole, but other than that we really have no complaints!  Well done, guys.”

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Solar

First Solar Powered Airport

India has achieved a goal that is in the right direction. This past week Cochin International Airport, based out of... Read

India has achieved a goal that is in the right direction. This past week Cochin International Airport, based out of the southern Indian state, Kerala, has garnered praise for being the first airport solely ran off of solar power. The airport, which had installed a few solar panels in 2013, has claimed its right to be the first airport to run exclusively off of solar power. This immense project has led the airport to claim 45 acres of land, and includes 46,000 solar panels spread across the 45 acres. Projections show that if the airport runs functionally for 25 years, than it will be saving roughly 300,000 tons of emissions, which is equivalent to planting three million trees, or not driving 750 million miles. A milestone to say the least, and yet there is still so much we can do. But, it shows that gains are being made, and we’re striving to make our world healthier.

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Food

Huntington Beach Students Do A Bit Better

We want to give a great big “way to go” to the students of Greg Goran’s sustainability class at Huntington... Read

We want to give a great big “way to go” to the students of Greg Goran’s sustainability class at Huntington Beach High School in California. Over the past three years, these students have planted, nourished, and picked their own fruits and vegetables at their school. It has become such a successful garden that they now sell their produce to Slapfish, a local seafood restaurant. These students truly are, doing a bit better. If you want to read more about their efforts, click here.

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Housewares

Recycled Glass Votive- 5 Pk Green

$20.00

5 Pack Green is an exercise in simplicity and sustainability. Handcut from reclaimed wine cooler bottles, these charming votive candleholders... Read

5 Pack Green is an exercise in simplicity and sustainability. Handcut from reclaimed wine cooler bottles, these charming votive candleholders are ideal for wherever you want to add the sparkle of candle light.

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Solar

Massachusetts is Doing a Bit Better!

Did you know that Massachusetts has the nations eighth-highest electricity rates? It’s no wonder the residents are installing solar left... Read

Did you know that Massachusetts has the nations eighth-highest electricity rates? It’s no wonder the residents are installing solar left and right! In 2012, Massachusetts ranked the sixth highest in solar installation–generating $500 million dollars spent on solar energy!

2013 is going to be a great year for Massachusetts solar. Great job Doing a Bit Better!

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Housewares

Monday Tip of the Week – Paper, Plastic, or Neither?

“We all know that using reusable shopping bags makes a difference. We’ve also all been in line at the grocery... Read

“We all know that using reusable shopping bags makes a difference. We’ve also all been in line at the grocery store, ready to check out and – shoot!  Forgot the bags. Oh well – it won’t hurt just this one time, right?  Well those “one times” really add up. Here’s a few tips on remembering to grab those bags before you check out.

Keep them in your car
For those of us who drive, keep your reusable bags in your back seat, seat pocket, or trunk. Even more importantly, put them back into your car after unloading groceries. Procrastinating will make you forget to put them in, and then the cycle begins again. If you’ve got a good memory, keeping your keys in the bag will make sure you can’t leave without them.

Hang them next to your door
If you hang your bags next to your coat and keys, you’re more likely to grab one than if you keep them in the kitchen or in a closet. Keep the smaller ones inside of the larger ones so that you can take multiple with you.  If you don’t have a coat rack next to the door, and you know you’re going shopping soon, just leave the bags in front of the door so that you can’t miss them!

Keep one in your purse / bag
Several brands of reusable bags have been made recently to be compact and easily stored, and can fit almost anywhere.  Keep one in that spare pocket in your backpack, or next to your wallet in your purse. Just like with your car, make sure that you put it back as soon as you’re done putting groceries away so that you don’t forget.

Make your own
Are you crafty? Reusable shopping bags can be made out of almost any old clothes. T-shirts are a bit too thin and stretchy, but the following fabrics work well and are easy to sew:
Denim
Dress Shirts
Pleather
Even old tarps work really well and are easy to sew. Just glue the edges down.

It’s bound to happen – we’ll forget eventually
We’re all human, right? We’re bound to forget at one point. If you do forget, reusable bags are inexpensive and most stores have them. If not, just make sure you ask for paper bags, and either recycle or compost them once you’re done with them.”

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Housewares

E&E (Easy & Eco-friendly) Ways to DAbB Your Child’s Birthday Party

“You bring your own bags to the grocery store, wash your clothes on cold and have switched to high efficiency... Read

“You bring your own bags to the grocery store, wash your clothes on cold and have switched to high efficiency light bulbs.  Why is it, when it comes to a kid’s birthday party (and yes we are guilty of it, too) we are far from being “green”.  Here is a “use this” “not that” check list for your next party.  These ideas will make your next party both green and easy to clean up afterwards.

Plates
-Use 100% post-consumer paper plates, bagasse plates, or bamboo plates.  You can throw the recycled plates in your compost and the bamboo plates can be wiped clean with soap and water.
-Don’t use non-recycled plates.  Why would you?  The kids don’t know the difference.  If the kids insist upon plates with Spiderman on them, why not let them decorate their own with non-toxic crayons?

Napkins
-Again, use 100% post-consumer napkins or cloth napkins made from old shirts (kids love these)
-Don’t use your good napkins (for obvious reasons) or non-post-consumer napkins.

Cups
-You can ask the parents to bring their own cup for their child.  Or if that is not possible, many paper cups are made from post-consumer paper.  They are stronger than in years past, and again, can go right into your compost bin when the party is over.

-Clearly do not go out and buy cups.  Four year olds have no idea nor care if the cups they are drinking out of match a color theme.  (Of course, we have had kids color on white cups using eco-friendly crayons.  The kids love it and again the cups can go into the compost).

Companies like Acme Party Box offer great party favors and reusable cups that the kids can take with them.

Wrapping Paper
-Use the Sunday Comics.  We have yet to meet a child that did not love their present being wrapped in the Sunday Comics.  I know this is a bit of a throwback to the 70’s, but honestly, it’s true.  They will just love it.
-Don’t use actual wrapping paper.  Have you ever seen a six year old give great attention to the quality of the wrapping job you’ve done?  In our experience, wrapping paper is ripped from around the present in under a second.”

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UpCycle

Save the Landfill – AND Your Sanity

“We all hate it. We’ve all complained about it.  After a vacation away, we dread it – Junk Mail.  In... Read

“We all hate it. We’ve all complained about it.  After a vacation away, we dread it – Junk Mail.  In fact, we spend about 8 months of our lives opening junk mail.

So what do you do about all of those credit card offers and catalogs? Sure, we can recycle them – but there’s got to be a way to get to the source, right?

There are several services out there whose main goal is to reduce junk mail, including DMAchoice.org, who can help you opt out of catalogs, donation requests and magazine offers.  There’s also OptOutPrescreen.com, who can help you opt out of all of those annoying credit card offers.

Not comfortable giving out even more personal information? Then consider this neat upcycling idea from CraftingAGreenWorld.com, which demonstrates how to make a notebook out of junk mail!”

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Environment

From Wood Scraps to DIY Door Mat

We saw a great article on Shelterness recently that talked about a DIY doormat made from 9″ long blocks of... Read

We saw a great article on Shelterness recently that talked about a DIY doormat made from 9″ long blocks of wood, and painted a plethora  of rainbow colors.  This got us to thinking about how we could make this project a little more eco-friendly, and we were pleasantly surprised with what we came up with!

 – Use reclaimed wood or wood scraps from your work bench, rather than buying wood.  Reclaimed wood will already have a nice vintage look that will still feel warm and welcoming.

– Instead of paint, use beeswax or mineral oil. Both of these will give your new doormat a nice almost butcher-block-esque look, and also protect the wood without the use of harmful lacquers.

– Don’t buy the threaded rod.  Instead, use natural hemp or jute string. This will help the mat stay flexible enough to roll up, and will give it that nice naturalistic look.

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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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UpCycle

Monday Tip of the Week – Clip of the Day (literally)

You know those annoying little bread clips that come on most loaves of bread today? Like this one: Well stop... Read

You know those annoying little bread clips that come on most loaves of bread today? Like this one:

Well stop throwing those out!  Instead, we have a clever way to upcycle them which will take 30 seconds of your time, and make all of your friends say “why didn’t I think of that?!”. Write the name of one of your Audio/Video devices on it (such as DVR, Cable box, Wii, Apple TV, etc.).  That way, next time you’re trying to figure out which cord is which, all you have to do it read.

Easy, right? Check back here for more clever ideas on how to upcycle your household junk!

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Family

Summer is here….here are some easy and DAbB ideas for kid friendly activities

“Wondering how you can keep your kids from spending the summer planted on the couch watching TV and playing video... Read

“Wondering how you can keep your kids from spending the summer planted on the couch watching TV and playing video games? Get your children outside while also creating great family times and memories.

Here is some of our favorite ides for you and your kids this Summer:

1. Grow a Garden

Kids love this.  We have found if we ask our children what veggie or herb they would like best for dinners they really connect and are more invested in building and caring for a garden.

When building the garden, let your kids get right in there in the dirt when planting, tending and picking. Even toddlers can use a small plastic shovel, put seeds in the soil, and pull a carrot out of the ground.  Clearly you will want to make sure your camera is at the ready because this will be too cute.

No room for growing veggies? Grow a few in pots on a balcony or even inside by a sunny and ventilated area.

2. Get Crafty

Rainy day? Turn cereal boxes into magazine organizers (or a fun way to corral kids books) by covering them in used wrapping paper, or paper grocery bags you decorate together. Explain the importance of reusing materials that still have a useful life, rather than throwing them in the landfill.

Or make a quick model of the solar system with clay and straws — and talk about how Earth is the only planet we know we can live on, and why we all need to take care of our planet.

3. Take a Hike

Regardless if it is a short walk or a longer hike, you will have the opportunity to teach your children about the nature, how to care for the planet, and get in a bit of exercise.  We sometimes take a kids “specimen” kit to aid in our exploring and understanding.

4. Bike to the Store

Between 1990 and 2001, miles driven for shopping grew more than 40 percent — three times as fast as all other types of driving — according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Ride bikes to the store together — get a cruiser bike with a big basket (or take a backpack). It’s great exercise — and a great opportunity to talk with kids about how using fossil fuels impacts the Earth. Take a stash of reusable shopping bags with you.

5. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint Together

From recycling to composting to using less water, eco-friendly activities can start before you leave the house. Calculate your environmental footprint together using The Conservation Fund’s Carbon Zero Calculator. Let kids type in the numbers, and talk with them about what your footprint means. Then involve your kids in steps you can take to make it smaller — such as switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent.

Have a great summer!”

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Garden

Letting the Lawn Lay is the Best Way

“We all want the best looking lawn on the block- but it may be surprising that spending less time on... Read

“We all want the best looking lawn on the block- but it may be surprising that spending less time on your lawn will actually make it greener.  Most grass species are best kept at least 2.5 inches tall.  At this length, the lawn is able to absorb more sunlight into it’s overall surface than that with a shorter length.  With more sunlight absorption, you will get a thicker turf and deeper roots which also means you don’t have to water as often.

Another little lawn tip is let the lawn clippings lay.  Lawn clippings actually add nitrogen to the soil, and discourages weeds from germinating.  You will therefore use less fertilizer and herbicide.

So the next time you see “”Cut the Lawn”” on your honey-do list, you can tell your significant other that you’re Doing A bit Better by not cutting it.  You’re welcome!”

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Family

Very easy ways to DAbB for your home. Seriously, these are very easy.

We asked our staff what quick, easy ways our readers can make a change in their home right away.  This... Read

We asked our staff what quick, easy ways our readers can make a change in their home right away.  This is what came back:

For your kids, buy crayons made of soybean oil, not paraffin

Switch to a manual can opener.  Yes, a manual…you can do it.

Invest in a roasting pan instead of using disposable ones.  You will save money in the long run, and honestly, it is so much easier to pull out food in something sturdy.  (We don’t need to tell you the amount of time we have dropped food on the floor from a flimsy aluminum one).

Buy a bigger jug of milk. If you only use half a gallon at a time, you can pour half the milk into a carafe and freeze the rest. Then about a day or two before you need it simply put in the fridge.  And yes, it tastes the same.

Stop throwing away your dryer lint! Put it in the backyard for the birds — they use it to feather their nests.  Crazy-but true.

Clean your refrigerator coils — vacuum out the dust and wipe with a damp cloth. You’ll be surprised at how much nasty stuff accumulates down there!

Put a cover on your pool when you’re not using it. Not only will it keep the water cleaner, but it will keep it from evaporating, resulting in saving water.

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Solar

Solar 101

“We are often asked the following questions:  What is solar energy?  How do the sun’s rays become electricity?  And can... Read

“We are often asked the following questions:  What is solar energy?  How do the sun’s rays become electricity?  And can you please explain both in common English?

That being said.  Welcome to Solar 101.

Solar terms defined
The solar cells that you see on calculators are called photovoltaic (PV) cells.  Photovoltaic combines two words: “photo” meaning “”light”” and “voltaic” meaning electricity. A solar panel is simply an array of many joined photovoltaic cells. Photovoltaic cells are most often made from silicon semiconductors.

So how does sunlight become electricity?
Now, remember back in 8th grade science when we learned that light is a form of energy?  When sunlight strikes the cell, a certain portion of light is absorbed within the semiconductor.  When the sunlight is absorbed the semiconductor knocks a portion of the lights electrons loose.  (Again, remember that all matter basically has protons and electrons).

PV cells all have an electric field that forces the free electrons to move in one direction. This flow of electrons creates an electrical current.  To light up your living room, your solar wiring simply taps into this current.

And now you can wow your neighbors at the next block party.  Kudos.”

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Environment

Monday Tip of the Week: Get yourself an old fashioned rain barrel

“This weekend, we saw our first rain of the season–and it was a big reminder of all the great uses... Read

“This weekend, we saw our first rain of the season–and it was a big reminder of all the great uses for rain water. Rain water is great to use to keep your garden growing and healthy, why? Because rain water does not have any of the additives found in tap water. It’s also great for your wallet–last we checked, rain water was free!

Learn how to install your rain barrel with this handy step by step, here.

 “

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