Sunday, September 28, 2008

Greenin' the Kitties....

Cat litter. It either works great or is crap. So many things about cat litter are important... the clump factor, the odor many cats it is good for... I don't think many people think about if it's "healthy" for your cat. I'll first touch on that.

Sodium bentonite is often added as a clumping agent to traditional cat litters to create the “scoopable” clay litters on the market. That ingredient actually can swell to 15-18x it's original size. They use it in grouting work! Also, the dust/sand (Quartz silica) in litter can be inhaled, leading to respiratory problems and is also a known carcinogen to both humans AND animals. Sodium bentonite can poison a human, just think of what it could do to your cat... as well as if it swells that much - what if they ate a little? It would literally expand inside your cats digestive tract!

So what are the options? Look for naturally made litters that are not make of toxic materials. There are many on the market that are made of compacted pine shavings, cedar, newspaper, or corn cobs that make healthier alternatives. I have tried three of these: Feline Pine, Yesterdays News, and Swheat Scoop.

Personally I found Feline Pine to be awful. I believe we did try it when we had 5 cats... so maybe it would be better with just one... and maybe it just takes a daily or twice a day maintanence to keep it clean. Yesterdays news... it just was a great idea that I think is a poor product, made of little pellets of recycled newspaper - I found this all over my house from being stuck between the paw pads... and I don't think the cats liked it either. But to top it all off... I have found not only a GREAT natural product, but one that WORKS... and is eco-friendly. Swheat Scoop is certified flushable... so I am not even producing landfill waste by putting it in plastic bags or back into an empty litter container. This litter is made of wheat... it clumps great, it wards off litter box smell. It seems to be able to handle my 2 cats - and I can scoop right into the toilet and flush it away! I am at peace knowing that I am not poisoning my cat, that practically if desired... this litter could be eaten... and it's eco-friendly and I'm not putting 1 part of the process into a landfill because I am recycling the bag it came in... which might I add you can buy in a 40 lb. bag at your local Petsmart... so need to travel to a specialty or natural foods store is needed! Please visit their website at

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Nurturing Green "Sprout"

A couple of weeks ago...back to school shopping came around. Lil Sprout and I went shopping and she found a great backpack she loved made from all recycled materials included recycled plastic bottles. I did give her a choice and she made the choice of this bag over any of the cartoon-y or popularly themed bags. She was so excited that when she ran in the door she said, "Dad it's RECYCLE!"... I am so proud of my lil sprout. Here is a picture of her bag! Photobucket

Where Wanna-Be Green Girl REALLY Began

Back at the beginning of September (2007), I posted this blog with goals for lifestyle changes.... I was supposed to go back over it on Nov. 30th (2007), and forgot. So better late than never right??? I will change to BOLD all of the things I have accomplished and make notes in italics - and make a new goal to add more BOLD to my list! Next revaluation date April 1st, 2008.... so okay - it's way past April 1st... it's mid-September 08, but here I am. Starting a blog to further my commitment to a greener lifestyle.


Here is the original blog I posted on myspace back almost 1 exact year ago:Link to Orinal Blog

Over the next few months I have a list of things I would like to try to change in our home. Let me know if you have any other ideas to add!!! November 30th I will go back through my list and see how many I have been able to accomplish!!

Goals to Achieve a higher level of "green-ness":

1. unplug certain appliances when not in use (especially those with unnecessary clocks) *I do this every night, most conciously with my computer, I have a powerstrip to turn it ALL off, and we always unplug our microwave after use.
2. use compact fluorescent light bulbs *We have 100% changed all of our bulbs!
3. have nightlights with photovoltaic sensors scattered throughout the home (reduces need for turning on lights) *we did get 1, but we need more
4. had ridge vents installed ( a way for an attic to ventilate itself)
5. clean fridge coils
6. clean dryer lint trap * I do this everytime
installed dimmer switches in all locations where CFLs would not work

7. use organic seeds and fertilizers
8. use organic and locally grown pet food *I have switched to an all natural cat foot
9. use some organic and locally grown foods * I now buy as much as possible organic including: milk, fresh fruits and veggies, rice, babyfood, and cereal.
10. buy and sell used clothing and other items *almost all clothing I have bought for my kids has been from friends, the consignment shop or Goodwill, or EBAY
11. use motorcycle often
12. use fuel efficient vehicles
13. exhaust fans are on timers (no forgetting to turn them off)
14. make baby food * I did do this 1x, and made a huge supply. I found it very time consuming for the amount of food my son eats...I mean, each icecube was 1 oz, and 1 jar of food is 4. So... he eats 2 jars at lunch and dinner now and 1 at breakfast.... so that's 9 icecubes a day... and like 14 in a tray I think? .... it wasn't worth it for me. shut off water while brushing teeth * I have gotten good at this!!
15. take short showers *unfortunatley it's all I have time for lol
16. wash in cold water on delicate cycle *(all but diapers)
17. hang certain loads of laundry outside to dry (sun is great for bleaching)
18. use cloth diapers, and cloth wipes *Diapers all the way - but wipes... not so much
19. let hair air dry
20. grill in the summer (no heating the kitchen by using the stove)
21. recycle as much as possible
22. reuse plastic grocery bags for garbage bags and lunch sacks *and I've done better, we've purchased reusable bags!
23. run A/C warmer and heater cooler
24. use bamboo sheets
25. natural gas water heater and furnace
26. try to consolidate errands as much as possible
27. take very few unnecessary trips (no aimless driving)
28. run climate prediction simulations on all PCs
29. carpool *my friends and I do this as much as possible - which is more fun anyways
30. have solar screens on all windows
31. try to avoid heating and cooling areas that don't need to be comfortable
32. wash full loads of laundry
33. wear clothing more than once before putting it in the wash *as much as possible use little to no boxed convenience foods (TV dinners, boxed meals, etc)
34. rarely go out to eat
35. fireplace is gas (studies have shown these are more efficient overall)
36. have houseplants
37. breastfeed * 100% baby!
38. maintain proper pressure in tires on vehicles for maximum fuel efficiency
39. open windows when it's nice outside instead of running the A/C
40. Try to remember that less is better when using lotions, soaps, detergents, etc.
41. clean a/c ductwork
42. hang all loads of laundry outside to dry (install more clothes line)
43. compost *I wish we had some place to do this and the next one...
44. grow a vegetable garden (with organic seeds, fertilizer, plant food, etc.)
45. stop using plastic bags and switch to paper or even canvas
46. switch to laptop and stop using PC and big monitor
47. put in bamboo flooring when carpeting is replaced
48. use microfiber cloth on Swiffer instead of Swiffer disposables
49. use cloth cleaning rags * I cannot remember the last time I bought a paper towel!
50. use eco-friendly cleaners
51. install cellular honeycomb blinds
52. use cloth napkins
53. plant to attract birds and butterflies
54. purchase items with less packaging (try to be more conscious of packaging)
55. replace weather stripping around doors
56. have house tested for efficiency
57. upgrade to more efficient appliances as needed
58. install dual flush toilets *I dont know what this is, but we do reuse the shower water to flush the toilet. My husband is so smart!
59. recycle cell phones
60. plant more trees