Green Your Life: Rise and Shine

| 3/30/2009 3:45:39 PM

A green life starts with a green morning. Without a routine to set the eco-friendly vibe, it’s difficult for me to stay in a green state of mind. To that end, my next logical step toward a greener existence is reforming my morning routine, from my bedding to my breakfast. These are some ways in which I hope to improve, or have already.

Morning routines are important for setting the tone for your whole day, and starting your day with these green tips in mind can help you stay on the right path. Photo by ewanr/Courtesy Flickr.

-Buying organic bedding is an investment in your health. Organic bedding and mattresses offer many advantages over conventional options, including reduced allergies and chemical sensitivities, as well as the joy of knowing that you’re supporting businesses that care about the earth as much as you do. After graduation I’ll be moving into a new home, which provides the perfect situation for buying all new bedding (which I will be taking full advantage of). Organic bedding companies abound, but I’ve been looking into Gaiam and CozyPure products. Ralph Lauren’s new “Spa” collection also offers a variety of bedding and home décor made with organic cotton.

-If you take your showers in the morning (which I rarely do because I never get up early enough), limit your water waste by closely monitoring your time. A quick 5- to 10-minute shower provides plenty of time to wash the sleep away without unnecessarily draining resources. Another way to conserve water in the shower is to install a showerhead shutoff button so you can shave or lather without wasting a ton of water. You can also opt to take a bath if you prefer to bathe longer. This way, the amount of water you use is not contingent upon how long you’re in the tub.

-When you’re washing up at the sink, turn off the water when you aren’t using it. This may seem a small task, but about two to four gallons of water go down the drain every minute. So if you’re brushing your teeth for the recommended two minutes, you’re wasting between four and eight gallons every time you leave the water on while you brush. This rule is also applicable to shaving and washing your hands and face. If you must warm up the water before you get into the shower, collect the wasted water for watering your plants.

-To avoid harmful chemicals and unnatural ingredients in your morning routine, try homemade recipes for toothpaste and mouthwash. I’ve heard that natural toothpaste tastes a little funny at first (it’s not as sweet because it doesn’t contain as many sweeteners), but after a month or so of consistent use, conventional toothpaste tastes unnaturally sweet. As far as products go, I’ve heard of a company called Preserve that makes a variety of products, such as razors and toothbrushes, out of 100 percent recycled plastic, including Stonyfield Farm yogurt cups. When you’re ready to replace your razor or toothbrush, you can send them back with a postage-paid label from Preserve to be recycled yet again into plastic lumber for decks, park benches and more. These can also be recycled anywhere #5 plastic is accepted.

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