Tag Archives: green living

Seventh Generation: A Safer Way to Parent

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seventh-generationAs parents I think we are all finding new way to parent, especially when it comes to what we use on our kids.  Seventh Generation has a wide variety of green products to help protect your kids from harsh chemicals.  Check out this little wake up call video.

Just the Facts:

  • There are more than 80,000 chemicals registered for use in the U.S. Comprehensive pre-market safety testing of these chemicals is not required under any federal law.
  • The primary U.S. law that regulates chemicals in every day products hasn’t been updated in more than 35 years.
  • In the European Union (EU), 1,328 chemicals have been banned for use in personal care products. In the U.S., only 11 chemicals have been banned or restricted by the FDA.
  • Scientific evidence continues to point to the chemicals we are exposed to in our daily lives as causing or contributing to the rise in childhood behavioral disorders and diseases.
  • Cancer is now the leading cause of child-related death in the U.S., exceeded only by injury.

All those chemicals make you think. If Europe is banning those why aren’t we?

Easy Steps to Take

Healthy Child Healthy World offers plenty of simple, affordable actions families can take daily at home to decrease chemical exposure. These small steps add up!

  1. Take off your shoes at the door: 85 percent of the dirt in our homes is tracked inside on the bottom of our shoes. It’s not just dirt, but toxins like lead, pesticides, gasoline residue and more. Keep your home safer by taking off your shoes. It’s the public health equivalent of washing your hands.
  2. Buy safer body care: Children are exposed to an average of 27 care product ingredients on a daily  basis that have not been found safe for developing bodies. Protect your family’s health by avoiding products that ingredients like parabens, synthetic fragrances, triclosan and more. For a list of the most toxic offenders, download our free eBook, “Easy Steps to a Healthy & Safe Nursery” at Healthychild.org/resource-center.
  3. Open a window: People spend about 90 percent of their time inside, but indoor air is typically far more polluted than outside. So, open those windows!  Even a few minutes a day can improve indoor air quality.
  4. Eat more whole foods: Processed foods may be convenient, but they’re also loaded with sweeteners, artificial flavors and colorings, and synthetic preservatives. These lack nutrients and many are also linked to health issues like ADHD and even cancer. Reduce by eating more whole foods.
  5. Ban the can: Bisphenol-A (BPA), a hormone disruptor that has been linked to everything from obesity to cancer, is in the plastic resin that lines most canned goods—from soups to sodas. Avoiding canned food for significantly lowers exposure. Look for foods packaged in glass or eat fresh, dried, and frozen options.

Want to get involved?

Alert them to the new NATIONAL availability of Seventh Generation diapers, wipes and cleaning products at all Target stores.  Now it’s easier than ever to makeover the nursery and cleaning cabinet!

  1. Host a 2014 Healthy Baby Home Party of their own: http://7gen.us/14O5fbN
  2. Urge Senators to strengthen and pass the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA).

I was sent some Seventh Generation samples to try out and I love them. Just knowing they are good for my kiddo makes they easier to just grab and use. I have been spreading the love about them to my co-workers (one who is pregnant) so that gives me a great feeling of accomplishment.  I have also used their household products in the past and love them as well.  I prefer to use green chemicals in my kitchen and bathroom because I know there are little hands that will touch those surfaces.  It’s a good to have a bit of piece about that in my mind. These make a great gift too!

At the briefing there was a short Q&A session with our presenters. Here are a couple questions I found very interesting.Seventh Generation, Maureen

Presenters:

  • Wolpert, Cara Bondi
  • Healthy Child Healthy World, Alexandra Zissu

I find it difficult to purchase green products because I’m on a budget. Do you have tips for taking small steps or areas I should prioritize? 

(Alexandra) Prioritize what you are comfortable giving up and/or changing. Make sure whatever change you are making is something you can actually do. Cleaning products are great thing to switch out first because you can drastically reduce your indoor air pollution without much of a change and the price point quite similar.

You can give up fabric softener or drier sheets that you don’t really need to clean anything, and you can take that money and put it towards a more expensive product. You can also make your own cleaners with vinegar and water; then you can adjust your budget and shift that money to something else.

Do you have a suggestion about how to safely and effectively clean my children’s high chair and toys?

(Alexandra) A lot of people tend to clean high chairs and toys with really harsh chemicals that leave a residue on the toys and high chairs, which the babies eat off of. The residue has a direct root of ingestion to their mouth! I’m a fan of regular, plant-based soap and hot water. If you’re looking for something to disinfect or kill germs, hydrogen peroxide and hydrogen peroxide-based cleaners will do the job.  You can also use something stronger with Thymol in it. But you don’t need bleach!

Are there areas of the house you should pay particular attention to when creating a healthy, safe environment for children?

(Cara) Floors are an important area and any other surfaces that they come in contact with—countertops, high chairs or trays. They are licking and eating everything! So whatever they are putting in their mouth you want to have an idea of what it’s been cleaned with. There are a lot of residues from conventional spray cleaners that can be injected and aren’t necessarily good. With floors, keep it clean by sweeping, mopping and using products that have low toxins and are environmentally friendly.

In accordance with the FTC guidelines, your post should include an appropriate disclosure statement, such as: “I participated in this program on behalf of Seventh Generation and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.”

How to Clean With Green: Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tips

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eco-friendly cleaning tipsWhen an advertisement for a new cleaning product announces something like, “Now with boosted cleaning power,” I have to wonder, what did they put in that product to add such amazing power? Likely, it wasn’t something good for the environment. Take the common drain cleaner, for example. Many drain cleaners are caustics, which not only affect the pH balance of water running in an eco-system, but can also corrode iron piping if released into the sewers. If you’ve been looking for a more eco-friendly  cleaning tips as a way to clean your home, consider the following home remedies.

Glass

You may notice that several household glass cleaners feature vinegar as their primary active ingredient. Its acidic nature allows it to break down deposits found on hard surfaces without affecting the surface itself. When cleaning windows with vinegar, combine ¼ cup distilled vinegar for every gallon of water. Load your mixture into a spray bottle and buff clean with a microfiber cleaning cloth.

Kitchen

During the Manhattan Project (1942-1946), scientists were testing the toxic properties of uranium. During the testing, they found that uranium deposits stuck very well to cotton cloth, and that simply washing the cloth with soap and water was ineffectual. But when they applied baking soda the cloth was uranium free (is it any wonder that baking soda is found in laundry detergent and toothpaste?).

Along with distilled vinegar, baking soda is another go-to tool in your green cleaning arsenal. Creating a paste of baking soda and water provides a good scrubbing agent for residue left on your counter-tops or stove-top. If your dishes have tough stains leftover from food, let them soak in a mixture of boiling water and baking soda.

When it comes to flooring, a combination of ¼ cup vinegar to every gallon of water will usually do the trick. If you’d rather not have your kitchen smelling of vinegar, add a freshly-squeezed lemon to your mop bucket.

Drains

Do you remember those old science fair volcanoes where the “lava” was actually nothing more than baking soda, vinegar, and food dye? Well, minus the food dye, a combination of baking soda and vinegar provides an eco-friendly cleaning tip alternative to those petroleum-based drain cleaners on the market today. It can also prevent a costly drain inspection in the future.

For drains that have a rotten, mildew smell, first apply ¼ cup of baking soda, followed by 1 cup of vinegar. Let it sit for a few minutes before flushing it out with hot water.

If you’re experiencing a clog, and plunging doesn’t work, start with a pot of boiling water, followed by ½ cup of baking soda. Next, add 1 cup each of vinegar and hot water to loosen up any grime that may be causing the clog. A final pot of boiling water should finish the job.

Fixtures

Rust, tarnish, and hard water deposits can usually be removed with baking soda paste, but if you find a particularly persistent blemish, adding some salt to your paste can help speed up the breakdown process. Not only will this combination get rid of stains on your plumbing fixtures, but it will also keep them looking polished and new.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the latest and greatest in cleaning technology has no consequences for the environment. Most commercial cleaning products release irritants into the atmosphere, pollute natural water systems with chemicals, and contribute to the ever-brimming landfills. Employing these eco-friendly cleaning tips will not only help to save the environment, but the low cost of baking soda and vinegar will also save you a few dollars.

Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch. He also has a passion for the environment.

Green Living: How to Get Started

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recycleWith the recent unveiling of the Tesla Model S, a luxury car that runs purely on electricity, living a green lifestyle has never been more popular. However, owning a Tesla S is a steep price to pay to reduce greenhouse gases, as it costs nearly twice as much as the average car. While most of us don’t live on such a generous budget, there are some simple things we can do to start living green! Let’s take a page from the US Environmental Protection Agency:

Reduce—Reuse—Recycle

Reduce

In other words, a good way to start living green is to limit the number of natural resources you use each day, or use them more efficiently. This doesn’t mean you need to move into a grass hut and live solely on nuts and berries. A few common resources you can easily cut back on include gas, electricity and water.

            Gas

If owning an electric car is not in your foreseeable future, consider the following questions you can ask yourself before turning on the ignition:

  •  Is it close enough for me to walk or bike there?
  •  Do I know exactly how to get where I’m going?
  •  Do I need to go anywhere else before returning home?

Ditching the car (if the weather permits) is a great way to save gas, money and the ozone layer. Not to mention the several health benefits of walking or cycling a little bit every day. If you need to take your car somewhere unfamiliar, be sure to plot out your course. Getting lost will not only waste time and increase your stress level, but the constant rerouting and u-turning will burn a hole in more than just your wallet. Try to avoid taking unnecessary trips to and from home. If you have no other incentive for this, remember, less driving means less time spent in traffic.

            Electricity

Energy-efficient bulbs are a useful and easy investment when going green, but saving electricity involves more than just changing your bulbs and turning the lights off. As our world fills up with more and more electronic gadgets, it’s important that we take charge of how often we use them. Repeatedly using a device such as a tablet or smartphone until the battery dies is one of the fastest ways to shorten the life of the device. Using a device while it’s charging will end up costing you more money in energy bills and is another way to limit your device’s lifetime usefulness. Cutting down on how much you use your gadgets will keep them lasting—and out of landfills—longer.

            Water

Purchasing low-flow toilets, and other water-efficient appliances is a great way to reduce your everyday use of the earth’s most important resource. You can just as easily save water by reducing the number of showers or times you flush the toilet throughout the day. That may seem a little gross at first, but when you consider how much water is required for each flush (American standard toilets use 6 gallons of water per flush), and the volume of water used for each shower (25 to 50 gallons), you might just think twice before twisting that nozzle.

Reuse

Think about how many things you throw in the trash each day. This could range from plastic packaging to cigarette butts. Finding reusable alternatives to your everyday disposables will help cut down on landfill costs, as well as damage to the environment. Here are a few items to consider that will help you live green today:

            Water Bottle

Not to be confused with bottled water, purchasing a reusable water bottle will help you use—and eventually throw away—less plastic. Buying bottled water might be convenient, but why would you want to pay for something you can get free from any drinking fountain or faucet?

            Tote Bag

In an effort to reduce the level of plastic that shows up in landfills, a few states including California have issued a ban on plastic grocery bags. One eco-friendly alternative is to buy a reusable tote bag for all your shopping needs. Many of these totes are large and strong enough to hold most loads. If you’re worried about finding an attractive bag to carry around, several department stores (including Nordstrom and Banana Republic) offer totes at a modest and fashionable price.

            Electronic Cigarettes

For those of you who smoke, but would still like to live a greener lifestyle, electronic cigarettes are a more environmentally-friendly alternative to paper cigarettes. The cartridge is reusable, and rather than emitting smoke—which contains toxins harmful to the environment—ecigs release only water vapor.

Recycle

Since elementary school, we’ve been told to recycle. However, recycling may not always be convenient or accessible. If you don’t have a developed recycling program where you live, here are a few places that will fulfill all your recycling needs:

           Grocery Stores

Many grocery stores provide receptacles to recycle old plastic grocery bags.

           Best Buy

Best Buy is perhaps the best place you can go to recycle anything electronic: used-up batteries, old cell phones, chargers and cables, and even empty ink cartridges for printers.

Green living doesn’t have to be complicated. Just remember these three Rs and you’ll be on your way to a healthier, more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch. He also has a passion for the environment.

Go Green with ecoStore USA

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all natural productsGoing green doesn’t have to be difficult. There are several simple and easy ways that you can change today.  One quick and easy way is to change the cleaning products in your home. ecoStore USA has household products that can allow you to do one stop shopping.

I was thrilled to be chosen as a Brand Ambassador for ecoStore USA and was allowed to try many of their products.

About ecoStore

ecoStore was founded in 1993 by Malcolm and Melanie Rands from their home in New Zealand.  Their dream to create a healthier, more sustainable world was indeed ambitious. ecoSTORE USA was attracted to the message that our personal wellness should not be ignored. ecoSTORE USA Products are 100% Plant-Based their packaging carries the No nasty chemicals™ message.

Laundry Room

One change I am so thrilled I made was laundry detergent. I have found that it helps my sensitive son and husband. They have both done less itching which is great. Plus knowing that all natural good stuff is going into my clothes makes me feel better in them.

Kitchen

Having a little one the products I use in the kitchen are important to me. He is always grabbing at the counter and then putting his fingers in his mouth. Same with the dining table, food is always dropped and then eaten. So knowing that the cleaning products I am using won’t harm him is great. ecoStore USA has a great all purpose cleaner with a orange scent that works wonders.

Bathroom

I just used the toilet bowl cleaner for the first time the other day. This does a really great job. It does get an extra thumbs up for no nasty chemicals in it and does the same great job as those with chemicals. I also got to try their hand soap which I do love.  The little one now has chemical free hands.

Glass

My son loves to help me clean, I know weird right? Well now it’s nice to know that I can have him help and the chemicals he is spraying won’t harm him. While he might clean the same spot on the glass door over and over, this glass cleaner cleans mirrors and glass cabinets beautifully.

All of these products I was blessed to try are just one simple and easy way you can make the switch to green today. Check out ecoStore USA and reduce your carbon footprint for the future.

How To Make Your Backyard Eco-Friendly: Quick and Easy Ideas

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solar power water fountainReducing your impact on the environment is easily started in your own backyard. You can follow a few simple tips to make eco-friendly changes to your yard to reduce your home’s carbon footprint. Being environmentally responsible does not mean you have to sacrifice beauty or function in your backyard.

Lawn Care Ideas:

Use a manual mower instead of a gas or battery operated lawn mower. A gas operated lawn mower uses the equivalent amount of energy that driving 100 miles in a vehicle produces. A manual lawn mower results in no added emissions to the air and offers the additional incentive of exercise.

Eliminate the use of pesticides in your yard. Use compost or pest resistant plants in your yard to keep your yard beautiful and safe for children and pets.

Buy low maintenance plants that are able to flourish and survive with minimal water and care.

Lower your water usage by only watering your grass in the early morning or late evening hours. Watering grass during the heat of the day results in the use of more water and is less effective.

Invest in artificial turf. Your backyard will look green and lush all year long with artificial grass. Artificial grass is comprised of 100 percent recycled materials and requires no maintenance. The addition of turf to your backyard eliminates the need for mowing, watering and pesticides.

Barbecue Grill:

Increase your backyards eco-friendly factor with a solar powered barbecue grill. Using charcoal grills adds contaminants to the air that will harm animals and people. The use of a solar grill is an easy choice to make, and requires no needed charcoal or gas to use the grill. Solar is a naturally renewable resource that will not disappear.

While you’re  busy grilling, make sure you say “no” to paper. Paper plates — or worse, non-recyclable Styrofoam — are wasteful and damaging to the environment. Instead, invest in a set of non-breakable but casual dinnerware made of melamine or Vitrelle®.

Backyard Lighting:

Replacing outdoor lights with solar powered lights offers an easy and attractive way to reduce your carbon footprint. The sun charges your lighting charges all day. Solar power lights will automatically turn on at sunset providing you with beautiful and environmentally friendly outdoor lighting.

Water Fountain:

The addition of a gorgeous water fountain in your yard adds ambiance and a focal point. Invest in a beautiful solar powered fountain. The investment of a solar powered water fountain will allow you to add charm to your yard without the worry of huge water bills or environmental impact. A water fountain will attract birds. This offers you a tranquil sight as you sit, and enjoy your eco-friendly yard.

Lawn Furniture:

Lower your carbon footprint by purchasing eco-friendly lawn furniture. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) seal on any lawn furniture you are considering. This seal offers the guarantee that the furniture is eco-friendly and durable. There is an array of beautiful options in FSC furniture to suit any taste and budget.

The preceding five tips will help you upgrade your backyard into an eco-friendly haven that you can enjoy for many years to come.

About the Author:

Jon Engle writes regularly on green and home living tips. For those looking for green-friendly home living choices check out the Lyon Communities. Click here to learn more.

Laundry Tips: How to Deal with Hard Water Laundry Woes

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Between keeping on top of work, running a household and taking care of the kids, the last thing you have time for is dingy, gray laundry. Laundry tips and tricks are always good to know. You may be counting on your washer to get clothes squeaky-clean, but if you have hard water, even the best washer may have difficulty accomplishing that task.

Hard water can stain clothes, cause colors to fade and turn whites yellow. It can also cause your laundry detergent to leave a white, soapy film on your wash, making your clothes and linens stiff instead of soft to the touch. If hard water is wreaking havoc on your laundry, these laundry tips may help you get your clothing clean and pristine without a lot of rubbing and scrubbing.

Dealing with hard water stains in laundry

  • Getting the stains out. It’s frustrating when you grab an outfit for yourself or a little one at the last minute, only to discover that it’s full of ugly, dingy stains. A white shirt that’s slowly morphed to gray just isn’t as attractive as it was in its original condition. Place the garment in a bucket and cover it with equal parts of water and lemon juice. Let the item soak for 30 minutes to remove the mineral stains. Then wash as described below.
  • Wash cycle solutions. If you must continue using hard water to wash your clothing, add one cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle to keep those stain-causing minerals away.
  • Rinse cycle solutions. To keep your whites white and your colors fresh, you can add another cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle for stain-free laundry that’s super-soft to the touch. Don’t worry about your clothes smelling like vinegar; the pungent smell goes away as the clothing dries. Not only does vinegar get rid of the hard water stains, it’s also a chemical-free fabric softener.
  • Removing hard water stains from the washing machine. Part of the problem with hard water stains is that the minerals in the hard water also stain the inside of your washing machine, causing those stains to be transferred to your laundry. No amount of dealing with laundry stains will be effective if you don’t also clean your washing machine. At least once a month, run your wash machine on a full cycle without laundry in it, adding two cups of white vinegar to the wash cycle.
  • Avoid setting the stains Laundry that comes out of the washing machine stained should be tackled before it’s placed in the dryer. The heat from the dryer is likely to set the stain, making it impossible to remove.
  • A permanent solution. As helpful as these tips are, there is a permanent solution that will allow you to avoid dingy clothing and spending time on stain-removal. Having a water softener installed will help get rid of the presence of minerals in your water and relieve you of stain-removal duty.

Make life a little easier

While these tips can help you get rid of and avoid stained, dingy clothing from hard water, you can make your laundry nightmares disappear completely by having a water softener installed. Say “goodbye” to gray, yellowed clothing, rust stains and the need to clean out your washing machine. You’ve got better things to do anyway, like spend time with your family.

SodaStream Genesis Review

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genesis_soda_starter_blackMy husband goes through more pop than anyone I know. I love pop but I like the flavored kinds instead of the really heavy and dark type. I was thrilled to get this opportunity to try the SodaStream. My husband had already tried one when he was living in England.  He was iffy about it but I think now they have more flavors out that I am swaying him to the light.

About SodaStream

SodaStream was founded in 1903 (wow) by W & A Gilby Ltd, London Gin Distillers. SodaStream seeks to revolutionize the beverage industry by providing a better alternative and environmentally friendly way for consumers to prepare their own refreshing carbonated beverages. They are all about consumer, partnerships, environment, and innovation.

My Review

Oh my word. Where has this product been all my life? At this point I am not sure how I functioned without it. There are several things I love about SodaStream. I received the Genesis model for review. First, I am living green. With the reusable bottles I am not harming the environment or having to worry about recycling pop cans. I love the variety of flavors they have. I have 3 favorites right now. I love the Crystal Light Strawberry, I would compare this to a strawberry crush pop. The Diet Pink Grapefruit is another favorite. While is says it’s compared to Fresca I would have to say it’s really not. Fresca is peach not grapefruit but regardless this flavor is light and not over powering, love it. Then my third favorite is the Diet Orange. My son really loves this one as well. I am hoping for a Diet Grape of some kind to come out.

I have not bought a pack of pop for myself in weeks. So I love that I am saving money. One container of flavoring is roughly $5-6 in my area (of course your area may be higher or lower in price). Generally one container can do about 25 litters of pop. Compared to pop prices I figure I am saving at least $3-4.

The SodaSteam is so simple to use. Simply fill the bottle with water, screw into the SodaStream, and press down three times. Add your flavor and your good to go. I generally make 3-4 litters per week. It’s saves on juice boxes for the kiddo as well and he simply loves it. Go get a SodaSteam today and I tell you, you will not be disappointed.

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From War to Peace from Buy Green Review and #Giveaway

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You know I am always looking for earth friendly products. While I am no where close to being a 100% green living person I love finding new but simple ways to stay green.  Buygreen.com is the one stop shop for your green living products. They really have anything you could possibly need.  I was thrilled to get the chance to review with them again especially this From War to Peach necklace.

From War to Peace

This is such an awesome concept. From War to Peace recycles copper from disarmed nuclear missile systems to create Peace Bronze, the most precious metal in our world. They offer a wide variety of products. From their jewelry to religious art it's good to know that something wonderful was made from something that destroys.

My Review

Wow is all I can say. I am wearing this stunning piece around my neck and I wonder where is came from. Was this metal from something from the Iraq war or maybe the Vietnam War or possibly just scrap in some military junk yard. It would be great to know but the simple thought that peace has now come to these items that were meant to destroy us is somewhat comforting.

It truly is a great piece of jewelry.  My picture didn't turn out as great as I had hoped but the necklace is delicate yet you know the metals are of high quality. They do have matching earnings if you are looking for a set. The 7 point star in the middle represents unity of all nations and faith. I tell you I wear this necklace in pride and when I tell them how it's made, they are shocked.

This item would be high on my gift shopping list for anyone. Don't forget to get those matching earings too.

Giveaway

BuyGreen.com is giving one lucky reader a gift certificate for $25. Ends 12/11. US Residents only. Good Luck

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What You Should Know About Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

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When buying an electric or hybrid car, it is easy to get caught up in the environmentally friendly zero-emissions claim and advertised mile ranges. Underneath those arguments, though, lies an assortment of truths and half truths.

Here's the fine print:

Two Types of Electric Cars

There are two types of electric cars: all-electric and plug-in hybrids. All-electric cars are exclusively powered by large battery packs charged from the grid. If the batteries run out of life, there is no other power option but to charge it. The Nissan LEAF is an example of an all-electric vehicle. It typically offers an 80-mile range per charge, with rumors circulating that the 2013 model will offer 25 percent more range and better winter performance.

Plug-in hybrids utilize both electric and gasoline as power. After a plug-in hybrid's smaller battery pack is drained, it can revert to being a normal fuel-fed hybrid or it can recharge its batteries while driving. The Chevy Volt is an example of a plug-in hybrid. It has a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery, equaling about a 40-mile range on electric power. With a full battery and gas tank, the Volt's range increases to about 300 miles.

Three Ways to Charge

There are essentially three levels of charging support for electric vehicles. The amount of time it takes to charge your car's battery is significantly greater than gassing up a conventional car, and it's an important factor to consider when shopping in Phoenix for used cars because of the size of the city.

Level one charging uses a standard three-prong household outlet. Every electric car comes with and supports this type of cable charging — but it is slow. Level one charging adds about five miles of driving range for every hour of charging, according to Nick Chambers of The Daily Green.

Level two charging uses a higher-level charge, utilizing pedestal-mounted equipment unique to electric cars. According to Chambers, it's like using a household dryer outlet to charge your car. This type of charge is faster than level one, adding about 15 to 30 miles of range per charge hour.

Level three charging is the fastest of the three, adding about 80 miles of driving range in a half hour of charging. DC fast charging uses industrially-rated, gas pump-sized stations to load your car's battery with electrons. Not all cars support this type of charging, and it is usually a pricey option, Chambers said in the article.

Cost and Incentives

Although the sticker prices for electric cars may be higher than their gasoline powered counterparts, federal and state government incentives bring prices down by the thousands. U.S. tax payers with a one-year tax liability exceeding $7,500 are eligible for a federal tax credit of that amount when buying an electric car. For those who don't, there is the option of leasing the car from the manufacturer and using the entire $7,500 to pay down the lease in the beginning.

Now that you know the basics about EVs and hybrids, it's time to graduate to the next level. Research which car is best for your situation and seek help online or otherwise to help you make an informed decision.

Lance Moncada does freelance writing and consulting; his specialty is the auto industry. He's pretty sure he's the only person who loves both Formula 1 and NASCAR.

Three Ways Towards a More Eco-Friendly Garage

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At the beginning of spring and towards the end of summer just before Labor Day one of the things I put on the to-do-list is cleaning up the garage. The changing of seasons just seems like the perfect time to sweep it out and get it ready for the coming six months. Unfortunately it’s usually during this overhaul process that I’m reminded just how unfriendly a place the garage can actually be for both people and the environment.

This isn’t always the case but many garages end up being collection centers for substances not fit for the home yet which need a secure place that isn’t completely outdoors. How can this situation be rectified? One way is to be a little more green-minded, which helps inspire what can and cannot come through the garage. It’s something I’ve been working on and have had success with, especially in the following three areas.

Poisons:

Nobody wants poisonous products in the home so the next best place to put them is on a shelf or ledge in the garage. What poison am I referring too? Mainly pesticides for killing bugs and herbicides against unwanted vegetation. Years ago I used to use them both until I discovered some serious issues:

  • Pesticides don’t discriminate between beneficial bugs and pests so the former will be just as vulnerable.
  • Herbicides often act similarly killing desirable plants too.
  • Applying either poison usually results in part of the chemicals dripping down and being absorbed into the earth. They pollute top soil and get washed away with rain water into fresh water resources. 

For these reasons I’ve given them up for more eco-friendly methods.

  • For pests I companion plant which basically means planting two species that tolerate each other next to one another like marigolds and tomatoes. The hope is that one (the marigolds) will ward off pests on the other (the tomatoes). Otherwise household products can be used to make special solutions. For example to kill aphids mix water and ordinary but eco-friendly dish soap in a spray bottle and spray the mist on infested plants.
  • For herbicides there are many similar solutions that can be mixed together with household staples like vinegar and salt. Pouring boiling water on weeds also does the trick. 

Cleaners:

Things that kill are one thing; things that clean are another. Household cleaners of all kinds are often kept in the home garage yet like poisons they contain harsh chemicals with adverse affects.

  • As with pesticides and herbicides their residues can taint ground water.
  • Indoors they produce fumes which can cause sickness without good ventilation.

Solutions: Regular household items such as baking soda and vinegar make good alternative cleansers but it takes a little testing to see what works best for you. 

Even for really tough stains like grease on the garage floor there are options. For instance ask any concrete contractor and they will tell you spreading cat litter on an oil blotch and rubbing it in can aide with its removal.Still, I keep one or two heavy duty products available for that occasion when the green cleaner I’m using isn’t doing the trick.

Trash:

Trash is something we all end up with everyday but it’s what we do with it that counts. That’s because whereas some of it biodegrades over a short period of time much of it will take years, decades, and even millennia before it breaks down which means problems for the environment.

That being the case one of the most important ways to make the garage a more eco-friendly place is setting up several bins as a recycling station for paper, plastic, glass, and tin.

When I started recycling I definitely made a lot mistakes but at the end of the day organizing all my trash in the garage gave me a chance to evaluate what I was buying and all the waste that came with it. Also, having it there made the house cleaner and the garage a greener pasture.

Jakob Barry is a home improvement journalist for Networx.com. He blogs about green topics for pros across the U.S. like Tempe, AZ, concrete contractors.