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Why Creating Your Own Compost Might Be Easier Than You Think

We've got step-by-step instructions, tips and tricks to get you the best looking soil around (seriously!)

You made it! Now that you're here, don't run yet! Gone are the days when composting meant throwing a heap of your leftovers in the dirt and banking on magic to make some soil (not that you still can't). BUT, we've got everything you need to know to jump on the composting train, reduce your carbon footprint and start saving money on fertilizer without all the headache and mess.


Why make your own compost, you ask?

Creating your own compost is a sure proof way to help fight climate change. Don't believe us? We'll explain. As you know, producing food takes a lot of energy. You've probably heard that some foods (like meat, dairy and eggs) take more energy than others (like plant-based foods) to produce (3). What you eat, how often you drive, and your other daily activities associated with energy use determine what is known as your carbon footprint (a.k.a. how much you are contributing to climate change) (3). Now, carpooling and eating less meat is a great way to start lowering your carbon footprint, but another awesome way is to consider how you deal with trash (4). Here's where composting comes into play. Think about all the scraps of food and yard waste that you toss into the trash that then ends up in landfills. Because of the way landfills are covered, the food and yard waste we throw in can't decompose the normal way and end up producing lots of methane, which is one of the most dangerous greenhouse gases (we're talking 30x stronger than carbon dioxide) (5). Yikes! Right now, food scraps and yard waste make up about 30 percent of what we throw away (2). Instead of throwing those away into a landfill, you can use those to create compost. Voila! You can save money on buying fertilizer, feel good knowing what is inside your soil, and reduce your carbon footprint all in one. An added bonus is that compost is a much safer alternative for your soil than commercially purchased fertilizers. Most fertilizers you purchase in the store contain a lot of chemicals that are harsh on the soil and mess up the nature balance of microbes that make for healthy soil (1).

Here's how to compost – it's as easy as ABG, 123

First things first, get yourself a compost bin or choose a cool and shaded area if you have a large yard. There are endless options for the types of compost bins you might be interested in. They vary in size, shape and whether or not you can keep them inside the house. Not sure how to choose a bin or good spot in your yard? We've got you covered.

Now that you're ready, what's next? Like we said, it's as easy as ABG, 123. Remember those letters and numbers and you'll be good to go. You'll want to stick to these rules even if you've heard otherwise about municipal and industrial composting facilities - they have more high tech equipment that allows them to compost a larger variety of organic matter. Here's what our little rhyme stands for.

  • A – avoid adding in animal products. This includes fat, meat trimmings, and bones, as well as any diseased or toxic plants (2).
  • B – bring in the browns. You want a good amount of dead leaves, branches, and twigs to provide carbon for your compost (2).
  • G – don't forget the greens. This is basically yard trimmings, coffee grounds, vegetable scraps and egg shells. An extensive list of everything that you can add into your compost pile can be found here. The greens provide nitrogen for your compost (2).

You'll want to alternate layers of brown and green materials and make sure that large pieces are broken down (otherwise it'll take a really, reallllllly long time to decompose). Finally, you'll need some water to provide moisture to help break down the organic matter. While we can't give you exact measurements of how much water to include, because it'll depend on the size of your compost pile, you are looking for just damp soil. Any more and your pile will start to rot, not decompose. Here are three easy steps for you to follow.

  1. Monitor the moisture level – like we said, we're looking for slightly wet soil, but not soggy (2).
  2. Make sure to add in new scraps to your compost pile regularly – this will make sure the microbes decomposing your soil are happily fed (2)!
  3. Give the whole pile a good mix once every two weeks to ensure even mixing (2).

Depending on how big your compost pile is, it'll take anywhere from 2-6 months for your to get usable compost.

What do I do with my compost?

We'll keep it sweet and simple. Use it!

  • Plant flowers or add it to your potted plants
  • Plant a home garden
  • Give it to friends and family
  • Start community garden with it, or donate to an existing one

Honestly, the options are endless. Happy composting!

References

  1. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/compost-vs-fertilizer-39096.html
  2. https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home
  3. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-014-1169-1%EF%BB%BF
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0141391011000206
  5. https://www.epa.gov/lmop/basic-information-about-landfill-gas

Tired of changing and throwing away tampons or pads every month? Want a zero-waste alternative for your period? Heard of menstrual cups and period underwear, but not sure which one to pick? Well, look no further! We rounded up the 10 best-reviewed non-toxic menstrual cups and organic period underwear options for you to try out. All of the menstrual cups are made of a flexible medical-grade silicone that collect fluid instead of absorbing it. The period underwear options we found are made with organic cotton, and can be washed.

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Family

Environmental Factors May Have a Bigger Impact on Fertility than You Think

Breaking Down the Science and Ways to Limit Harmful Exposures

Trying to get pregnant should be an exciting time of planning for the next stage of your life, not one full of doctors visits, constant testing, and worrying about body temperatures. But, if you and your partner are struggling with infertility, you are not alone. According to the CDC about 12% of women have impaired fecundity, which is another way of saying that they are having difficulty getting or staying pregnant (1) [there are no statistics on infertility in men, but there is science showing that overall sperm count is decreasing(14)]. And, the science is clear, environmental factors definitely impact reproductive health - for both men and women. Some of the biggest impacts come from air pollution, pesticides, and endocrine disrupting chemicals (2), which are in all sorts of products and affect the way hormones interact with your body.

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Roundups

9 Stainless Steel & Glass Tumblers

For iced coffee, iced tea, and smoothies on the go

Getting iced coffee in a plastic cup with a plastic straw is a lot harder to do after watching that video of a plastic straw being removed from a turtle's nose. Plus there is also that pesky condensation that creates a pool of water at the bottle of your cupholder or on your desk. So we found the 9 best reviewed stainless steel and glass tumblers, so that you can have your iced beverages in style this summer. Many of the brands have different sizes ranging from 20oz to 30oz and variety of colors. We prefer stainless steel or glass because many of the acrylic or plastic tumblers may have chemicals similar to BPA. We also link to some stainless steel straws because not all of these tumblers come with straws. And if you're like us, drinking iced coffee through a straw is just synonymous with summer.

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Life

Easy Ways To Keep Your Car Smelling Fresh Without the Synthetic Scents

Cause Traditional Car Air Fresheners Are No Good For Your Health

Those little tree-shaped air fresheners dangling from a rear-view mirror or air vent clip-ons may feel festive, but most car air fresheners can be bad for your health. They seem so innocent, so how is that possible you might ask?

One of the biggest issues with these products is the mystery behind what goes into them. Believe it or not, It's actually hard to be 100% certain about what chemicals are in air fresheners. There's a ton of secrecy into what actually goes into a fragrance product because companies can claim their ingredients are trade secrets. We definitely can't say a product is safe if we don't even know what is used to make it.

However, we do know that most air fresheners are made up of a ton of synthetic fragrances. There are literally thousands of chemicals manufacturers can choose from when making a product with synthetic fragrance. And a lot of these chemicals are known to have negative impacts on our health. (1)

On top of that, fragrance in air fresheners usually contain both phthalates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) (2). Although these chemicals can make scents powerful, they can also be allergens that cause coughing, headaches, and runny noses (2). Phthalates are also hormone disruptors and VOCs can be carcinogens. We definitely don't want to be constantly breathing in those chemicals, no matter how good they might smell!

The amount of space inside your car is also a reason we don't like traditional car air fresheners. A smaller space = more concentrated exposure, and since you probably have your windows closed 90% of the time, a car is one of the worst places to keep a strongly-scented product.

Luckily, there are easy, nontoxic ways to make your car smell fresh! You can keep a container filled with baking soda or a baking soda freezer pack hidden somewhere. Baking soda is a completely natural way to eliminate odors and a box is only a couple of dollars! Using scents from natural sources are also a great way to add a little freshness to your car. You can put a few drops of an essential oil onto a clothespin or another wooden item and leave it somewhere in your car (3). When the smell goes away, just replenish with a few more drops of oil! If you prefer something a little more contained, we also love putting satchels of lavender or rose petals around our car.

But perhaps the easiest way to get rid of a bad smell is to simply roll your windows down! Maybe rolling down the windows will help make your commute a little more relaxing too.

References:

  1. https://www.nrdc.org/media/2007/070919
  2. https://kellybroganmd.com/is-your-uber-air-freshener-making-you-sick/
  3. https://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/how-to-make-3-naturally-scented-air-fresheners-for-cars/
Roundups

12 Best Non-Toxic Diaper Creams

Our top recommendations for your baby's bottom that parents love

Updated for 2019!

We get it- you're busy but you also want the best for your baby. But who has the time to sit down and do hours of research on the best diaper creams for your baby's bottom? That's why we're here! We have nothing butt (get it?) amazing products for our non-toxic diaper cream roundup. These 12 products are free from irritants like fragrances and use soothing ingredients to keep diaper rash at bay. Some options have non-nano zinc oxide to protect the skin, and some work more as an ointment to prevent redness. Looking for an organic diaper balm? We've got those too. As always, we thoroughly researched consumer reviews to ensure you're getting a stellar product that actually works and that parents love.

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Home

10 Places to Buy PVC-free Wall Decals

Why it's worth considering before your next redecorating project

Wall decals are the perfect decorating solution for nurseries, kids rooms, renters, dorm dwellers, or basically anyone who is a commitment-phobe. There are endless designs that can add just the pop you need, and they are easy to remove for when you want to change it up. But most wall decals are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), otherwise known as vinyl. These vinyl stickers have added phthalates which make the plastic stickers super thin and flexible, yet durable enough so they don't rip easily. Phthalates have endocrine disrupting properties that can wreak havoc on your hormones and have been linked to a variety of health issues like cancers, infertility, preterm birth, impaired brain development, and asthma and allergies. Basically, not good stuff. Plus, the manufacturing process of PVC is really bad for the environment and communities where it's manufactured (1) and there's no way to recycle it. Eek. Not good all around.

So next time you're shopping for a wall decal, check the 'details' section on the product page. A decal that says vinyl or doesn't specify anything is probably one you want to avoid. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites that make PVC-free options that still get high marks from designers. We pulled together our top 10 favorites sites down below.

  1. Chocovenyl
  2. Eco Wall Decals
  3. Koko Kids
  4. Love Mae
  5. Oopsy Daisy
  6. Petit Collage
  7. Pop and Lolli
  8. Sunny Decals
  9. Tiny Me
  10. Wall Dressed Up


References:

  1. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/vinyl-chloride.pdf
Family

5 Tips for Healthy Kid-Friendly Meals (cause the struggle is real!)

Dreading dinner time every night? We're here to help.

Let's face it, getting a child to eat, no less a picky eater, might actually be the most daunting task in the world. Whether you've been on the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches only train for the past week or past month and just want your child to add something green or leafy to their palate, we've got you covered. We've put together some overall suggestions to incorporate into meal-prep that are not only more kid-friendly, but will also help you avoid processed foods that might be less healthy or have added toxic chemicals.

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