Monthly Archives: March 2013

Eco Friendly Pet Litter

Green Your Pet Litter

Recently, with environmental awareness on the rise, there have been some concerns about the environmental impact of animal waste and pet litter. Pet owners are faced with determining how they should dispose of their pet’s waste most responsibly, what type of pet litter they should use, whether they in fact need pet litter and what the best way to dispose of pet litter is.

Commercial Pet Litters

There are a variety of pet litters available to buy in grocery and pet supply stores. The magnitude of choices can make it difficult to know which to choose. Two of the main types of commercial litter are are Clay-Based Pet Litters and “Green’ Pet Litters.

Clay-based pet litter is usually made from an absorbent clay called sodium bentonite. It’s clumping abilities mean that soiled clumps can easily be lifted out by pet owners, without them having to change all the litter in the tray. The only way to dispose of this type of cat litter is to send it to landfill. It can’t be flushed away. Plus, the sodium bentonite that acts as the clumping agent can poison your cat through chronic ingestion through their fastidious need to groom. Because sodium bentonite acts like expanding cement-it’s also used as a grouting, sealing, and plugging material-it can swell up to 15 to18 times their dry size and clog up your cat’s insides.

There are several other issues with the clay-based cat litters. The clay-mining processes used can be quite damaging to the environment.  Clay sediment is also permeated with carcinogenic silica dust that can coat lungs.

There are now a wide range of green pet litters available on the market. They are made of natural or recycled materials such as corn kernels, recycled paper and sawdust. Most green pet litter choices are either biodegradable or can be safely flushed down the toilet. This is a preferable choice for many pet owners who don’t want to contribute to landfill waste.

diy pET LITTER

Many environmentally conscious pet owners prefer to re-use some of their own household waste as litter for pets such as cats, rather than paying for ‘green’ pet litter or, worse, paying for commercial pet litter which is made from harmful chemicals and can only be sent to landfill.

Useful household waste and natural pet litters include:

  • Sawdust
  • Sand
  • Soil
  • Shredded newspaper; and
  • Pine leaves

Some pet owners limit their use of pet litter as much as possible. For instance, many cat owners have ‘trained’ their cats to mainly go outside when they need to go! Cats will usually bury their own waste, so do not need to be monitored or cleaned up after in the same way as dogs.

Composting Pet Litter

There is much argument over whether it is safe to compost biodegradable cat and pet litters. The arguments centre around the fact that some pet feces, such as cat and dog droppings, can contain organisms which are dangerous to humans.

However, some experts say that it is safe to compost cat and dog litter ONLY if you compost it separately from the main compost heap and well away from any vegetables. They also suggest burying the actual feces and composting the litter only.

As cat feces can cause potentially fatal toxoplasmosis, a lot of pet owners would prefer to err on the side of caution and do not compost their litter.

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Filed under Composting, Healthy Living

Conservation Tip: Limit HVAC Leaks

Your central heating, venting and air conditioning  (HVAC) unit may be sending conditioned air to unwanted areas, such as attic and crawl spaces. Check your ductwork for leaks or have it inspected by an HVAC professional. Sealing leaks will keep you from wasting home energy and save you money.

Projected SavingsEstimated Annual Savings = $75 – $140

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Filed under Energy Conservation, Home Winterization

Top Eco-Lifestyle Changes

1. Compost, Compost, Compost.  Start a compost pile or the use of a compost bin and make the most of your food scraps and lawn trimmings. 

2. Give Up Bottled Water. The production of plastic water bottles and the impact on landfills is significant. The long-term hazards of drinking from plastic bottles is still not fully known.

3. Walk Or Ride Your Bike. – walk your kids to school, walk or ride your bike to work and short errands. Reduce your carbon footprint and tone up by ditching the car keys.

4. Commit to Conservation. Wasting resources costs the planet and your wallet. Don’t overheat or overcool your home–a few degrees make a huge difference. Use a clothesline or manual spin dryer to dry your clothes instead using the dryer.

5. Turn it off – turn off those appliances. Turn off the lights you aren’t using. Switch the TV off at the plug each night and don’t leave your laptops and mobiles plugged in all day everyday. Not only will you be helping the environment but you will notice a difference in your energy bill.

6. Plant a tree or small plant. -  If you have a yard, plant a tree in your yard. If you do not have a yard, make a windowsill planter with a small plant. If every house in America planted one tree in their yard, it would improve air quality by 40 percent.

 7. Insulate your home. - By insulating your home you can cut your energy use dramatically. It follows that you’ll save yourself lots of money too.

 8. Start Recycling. – Get everyone involved. You can recycle not only consumer waste, but old clothes can be given new life by donating to a worthy cause.

9. Be an Green Advocate. – Teach those around you – Make sure your family, your children and your friends know the importance of making small changes in their lives that can considerably reduce their carbon footprint.

10. Ditch the Aerosol. - Stop using aerosol cans when possible. Aerosol cans deplete the ozone layer. Use spray bottles instead.

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Filed under Energy Conservation, Healthy Living, Recycling, Sustainable Goods, Water Conservation

Product Review: Vermont Soap Certified Organic Baby Wash Shampoo

In carrying for babies, one of the most important items is the shampoo and wash used in baby care. Parents should avoid exposing babies to many of the conventional shampoos. Many common shampoos are made with chemicals and corrosives that should concern many parents.

Thankfully there are organic shampoos available that do not contain harsh chemicals and irritants. Vermont Soap Certified Organic Baby Wash is one such product.  This product is is great because it’s two products in one. It serves as a body wash as well as shampoo. The easy to use bottle pump generates great bubbles and the wash is easily worked into lather.  Parents get the peace of mind of using a 2-in-1 product that is made of natural ingredients and is USDA certified, which is important when considering products that will be used on sensitive skin.

Vermont Soap Baby Wash

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Filed under Healthy Living, Product Review

Product Review: Greenworks 12″ Snow Thrower

The Greenworks 12-inch 7 Amp electric snow thrower is a simple to use alternative to gas powered snow throwers. Using a 7 amp motor and a two-blade plastic rotor, it clears a 12-inch path in the snow up to 4 inches deep, and discharges snow up to 20 yards away. An adjustable handle, extra help handle and cord lock make this tool easy to use.

There are no wheels on this unit, so you will need to do the pushing. This is still a labor-saving device because it eliminates the lifting and throwing of the snow that goes along with using a traditional snow shovel. By only weighing just 14.5 pounds, this electric unit will not wear out your arm.

The Greenworks 12″ snow shovel is ideal for clearing porches, steps and walkways up to your front door, as well as decks and patios. The clearing of short sidewalks and small driveways is the perfect tasks for this snow thrower.

This tool will save you money and is easy on the environment. The Greenworks 12″ Snow Thrower releases no carbon emissions, while providing a versatile eco friendly snow tool.

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Filed under Product Review, Technology