Sustainable Home, Part II

Source: Laura Klein, - organic food, organic living.

As the first decade of the 21st century reaches its halfway mark, the US population continues to gradually make changes toward everyday sustainable and organic living. Simple decisions, like eating organic food grown by local farmers, or buying organic coffee and tea grown by independent farmers in third world countries, support and promote cultural diversity.

The second installment of our series includes five easy tips with big benefits.

1.) Travel: When you travel, choose hotels that participate in the Good Earthkeeping program. Offer to reuse towels and sheets and turn off lights and electrical appliances when not in use. Hotels that participate in this program will leave post cards on your nightstand and or desk that allows you to chose when you want your sheets and towels washed and changed. Request installation of bulk toiletry dispensers; low flow taps, toilets and showerheads, recycling bins in the rooms and lobbies.

2.) Dining Out: Choose restaurants with organic and natural foods on their menu. You are not only eating healthy and green you are supporting sustainability.

3.) Unused Food Scraps: Compost those unused food scraps from the kitchen and fertilize your organic garden. Composting will save you money on your garden fertilizer bill and it’s good for the Earth! See are article on Organic Gardening – composting for a simple recipe.

4.) Dry Cleaning: If you must dry clean your clothes, choose dry cleaners that are safer for you and the environment. Even environmentally friendly dry cleaners are not chemical free. Fabrics that are conventionally dry cleaned carry traces of carcinogenic solvents and allergens that continue to release fumes from the garment as it hangs in your closet. Conventional dry cleaning contributes to water pollution from benzene, perchloroethylene and other carcinogenic and toxic solvents. Exposure to perchloroethylene can increase your risk of liver cancer. Choose cleaners that meet or exceed clean air and water safety standards. Some environmentally friendly dry cleaners will even recycle the plastic bags and hangers that they send home with your clothes. Tip: if you must dry clean your clothes, hang out your dry cleaning in a well ventilated area once you bring it home.

5.) Painting: When it’s time to "freshen" up the house with a new coat of paint, think low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) and zero-VOC paints. Unlike conventional oil paints that can release low-level toxic emissions into the air sometimes for years, low-VOC and no-VOC latex paints use water as their solvent and carrier which makes them simpler to cleanup and less toxic. Disposal is easier because low-VOC and no-VOC paints are not considered hazardous waste materials. This results in a far friendlier product allowing effortless clean up with latex paints, with water and soap, and minimal or no toxic fumes. These low odor paints are available from paint companies large and small and will not sacrifice your air quality. Generally the prices of low-VOC paints are comparable to conventional paints and with no-VOC paints expect to pay a bit more. These paints are applied exactly the same as conventional paints. We have provided some links below for more information on where you can find no and low-Voc paints.

Safecoat line by AFM (American Formulating and Manufacturing)
Pristine EcoSpec by Benjamin Moore –
Harmony by Sherwin Williams –
BioShield Paint by EcoDesign –
Milk Paint by The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company –

Read Sustainable Home Makeover, Part I
Read Sustainable Home Makeover, Part III 

Laura Lynn Klein is the Publisher and Editor of makes it easy to add a little green to your life, covering everything from organic food, living, gardening, health, beauty and sustainable living.