Sunday, October 13, 2013

The UNpaper Towel Challenge

How many paper towels does your family use in a day, in a month, in a year?  The hard truth is, that there are tons {literally about 7300 tons according to the American Forest and Paper Association} of paper towels used and then thrown into our landfills each year!

There is a simple solution, and it takes little effort to make the change!  UNpaper towels are a great alternative to paper towels because they are about the same size and consistency.  They make it easy for even the steadfast paper towel user to go a little more green! 

There are a lot of different options when it comes to UNpaper towels, including the ones that we offer on our website: These ones are 100% cotton birdseye with colorful serging all around.  They are 2ply, which makes them more durable and ‘thirsty’. 

I am always asked “can you really use UNpaper towels for everything that you normally use paper towels?”  And I have done the tests!  I use our UNpaper towels to clean mirrors and windows, and I think they do a better job than paper towels because they don’t leave any paper lint and they are streak free {even when just using water for a quick cleanup!}.  We of course use them to wipe counters, as napkins, to clean messy faces and for washing dishes.  I keep a stash of them in the glove compartment so that we have easy access to them on the go!  They really are the easiest green product with almost unlimited uses! 
So, take the challenge!!  Count how many paper towels you use this week – as a matter of fact, instead of throwing them into the garbage, throw them into their own bag and watch them pile up!!  We would LOVE to see pictures when you take the challenge!!  And then make the switch to reusable, and cute UNpaper towels!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Ahh-Mazing Powers of Natural Dryer Balls!

Natural Dryer Balls
I have to admit it, I love dryer balls!  There are so many reasons that I love them, but the #1 reason is that they leave my laundry smelling Ahhh-Mazing!!  Oh, and there are a lot of ‘green’ reasons to love them too: they minimize drying time, they don’t emit harmful toxins like dryer sheets, and they are reusable. 

Like my laundry wash, I love to try out new scents with our dryer balls, this month I am using our new scent: Sandalwood Rose.  It is such a clean, fresh and light scent and it is so yummy on our sheets!  We have just finished testing on our new dryer ball rescenting kits, and you can now scent your dryer balls at home each month to keep them smelling yummy too!

I am often asked, “How long do dryer balls last?” We have 6 that we use each time we use our dryer.  I have had them all for over two years, and there are still no signs of them ‘wearing out’.  I do rescent them often, but that is mostly because I love to have yummy scents on our laundry! 

Dryer balls work by breaking up the clumps of wet clothes, which allows them to dry more quickly.  This is especially great when you are drying heavy loads like towels, work pants or bedding!  I have found that when I am drying our bedding I have to go in and shake them out of the blankets about half way through the drying cycle to make sure that they don’t get stuck in there!  I have noticed that we are able to dry even a big heavy load in about 45 minutes instead of the hour it was taking before.  And less time in the dryer equals more money in your pocket!! 

I am also asked, “are dryer sheets really TOXIC?” and the answer is YES!!  They really are!!  There are a lot of resources out there that can give you more information on the subject – but for a quick overview…there are at least SEVEN toxic substances in dryer sheets that can affect the central nervous system.  They include: Alpha-Terpineol, Benzyl Alcohol, Camphor, Chloroform, Ethyl Acetate, Linalool and Pentane!  For more information on what these can do to your body we recommend reading The Brain Wash by Michelle Schoffro Cook {it can be found on Amazon}. 

There is no magical number for how many dryer balls to have, but I suggest at least 4 per load to really start to see an impact on the time the load takes to dry.  But if you want them just for the scenting joy, you can start with just one! 

Ready to add some dryer balls to your laundry routine?  Check out the beautiful ones we have to offer from Shelly Rose Designs!

Have A Happy Green Day!
Kristin Ward
Owner, A Happy Green Life

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Hazards of non natural laundry detergent

In honor of "Washing Wednesday" we though we would revist why it is important to use natural laundry wash in your home. Check out the blog post written a few months back...

Have you ever wondered what ingredients are used in your laundry detergents? If you haven’t you should, just think at least 95% of your day your body and the bodies of your family members are in contact with clothing and linens that have been soaked in detergent. So what is in laundry detergents? If you are using non-natural laundry detergents the ingredients contain carcinogenic, hormone disruptors, and other hazardous air pollutants.
In a recent study by the University of Washington, researchers found that 25 organic compounds including seven hazardous air pollutants were released from laundry that was washed in non-natural detergent. Two of the chemicals are listed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of cancer causing chemicals. If you are like me who runs at least 7 loads of laundry a week you are freaking out! How does this happen? Well, laundry companies are not required by law to list their ingredients. They also aren’t regulated like other products because they are not applied directly to human skin-even though we all know they are directly touching human skin constantly.
“Optical Brighteners” are used in non-natural laundry detergents. These are synthetic chemicals that are used to make your clothes “glow” under ultraviolet light. Your clothes look bright, but they are really deteriorating. These brighteners are built to stay on your clothes; they build up and prevent your cloth diapers from absorbing and your military uniforms glow like the sun when looked at with night vision. They also rub off onto your skin causing a rash that looks like a sun burn, and seep into waterways and build up inside fish.
Phosphates are often found in non-natural detergents. These phosphates work as a super-charged fertilizer for algae in your washing machine-ever have stinky towels? Chances are it is due to algae growing in your washer. If you use these products they can build up in your washer in your tubes, in the pump, in the door seal! Just about everywhere! If it isn’t cleaned up your stinking clothing will have to be tossed and so will your washer.
All of these chemicals find their way into the environment and end up in the water that we drink, the soil where our veggies are growing and into the animals that we eat. They are also constantly being released into the air from your dryer vents and finding their way into our atmosphere.
So now that we know how bad laundry products can be what do we do? First, check your detergents ingredients. If it contains benzene and acetaldehyde dispose of it with your other hazardous materials, these two chemicals are cancer causing. If it contains optical brighteners or phosphates give it the old heave-ho! If you can’t find a list of ingredients for your laundry detergent that should be a red flag, they have a reason for not showing you what it is made of. The easiest solution is to find yourself a natural laundry detergent, specifically one that isn’t afraid to tell you what it is made of. The University of Washington recommends that you don’t use more detergent than you need. Most of the time you are just washing sweat and fragrance out of your clothes, this shouldn’t require a ton of detergent. They also say to, “Wash only full loads of laundry and with cold water. Making the switch to the cold cycle will save about $60 a year on your power bill because you'll be giving the hot water heater a break."

If you are interested in making the change to natural laundry detergent (and I think you should) check out and our new laundry wash line that is safe for your clothes and skin!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Earlier this week a customer asked us if A Happy Green Life laundry wash was safe to use with graywater. Kristin and I were very proud to be able to say yes! The more we thought about the concept of graywater the more we wanted to share it with you guys.
Graywater system
Graywater is any washwater that has been used in the home, except water from toilets. Dish, shower, sink, and laundry water comprise 50-80% of residential "waste" water. This may be reused for other purposes, especially landscape irrigation (Some states do not include kitchen sink water or diaper wash water-these are called dark gray water and are not used).
Some of you know that I study environmental studies in school, and that my area of expertise is in sustainable living and urban development. Graywater plays a huge role in the development of sustainable communities, it is a way for the average household to reuse their wastewater or capture their rainwater and make it work for them. It is an amazing way to conserve one of our most precious resources.
example of gutter barrel to catch rain
There are systems available today to be installed in your home if you are willing to put up the money, for those of us who don’t necessarily have the cash on hand to install such a cool system you can do it the old fashion way. Use a bucket or cup to transfer your water to your plants, we have friends who keep a bucket nice and handy by the shower to capture all the water and use it to feed their garden. If you have a trash can you can attach it to your gutters and create a gutter barrel to catch your rain water! Check out the link below for a tutorial on how to build this!!
And remember that all A Happy Green Life products are safe for you and the planet and are great for graywater use!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Happy Green Life Book Club

Our August book for A Happy Green Life Book Club is...
How to Grow Your Own Food: A guide for beginers
If you havent noticed yet, we here at A Happy Green Life like food, and we love it to be fresh from the garden. We have had fans in the past ask us where the best place is to start when you plan on making a garden. I asked myself this same question when we started our mini urban farm, and I turned to this months book How to Grow Your Own Food: A Guide for Beginers  by John Clift and Amanda Cuthbert.
This great book will give you all the information you need to start your own garden, reagrdless of your location.
"Taking into account the limited space available to the urban gardener, Clift and Cuthbert have produced a tome that's perfect for the inner city horticulturalist. Growing fruit and vegetables is a big subject, and squeezing even a small selection of plants into such a small volume is no easy task. Happily the authors have done a good job of deciding what should go in, and what really had to be left out. For complete novices, this book is a helpful, unthreatening guide to their first few seasons as a gardener, whether they have a balcony, bare concrete, a patio or a larger patch of ground. It's not for committed gardeners but if you're looking for some measure of self-sustainability and aren't quite sure how to go about it, How to Grow Your Food: A Guide for Complete Beginners is an invaluable resource."
I am very excited to share this book with you, so excited in fact, A Happy Green Life has gotten an extra copy to share with one of our lucky readers! Enter today to win a copy of this amazing book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway -Amanda