at the supermarket

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                       You can be good to the
                       earth—without giving up
                       things you love. Plus,
                       what those “eco” labels
                       really mean. By Leslie Billera

           at the supermarket
           Be picky about produce
           Download the “Shoppers’ Guide to Pesticides in
           Produce” at The wallet-size list sorts out
           the fruits and veggies that tend to be higher in
           pesticides (like apples and spinach) from produce
           with a lower count (like bananas and peas).

           Choose “certified” coffee
           Yuban coffee, right, is Rainforest
           Alliance Certified (that means it’s grown
           in a way that preserves the ecosystem).
           A Fair Trade Certified brand is Green
           Mountain Coffee Roasters. (Both
           brands are available at many markets.)
           For more on these certification labels,
           see the chart on page 86.

           Support local farms
           At, you can plug in your zip
           code and find suppliers of organic and sustainably
           produced meat, poultry, eggs, and more. If you
           buy locally, you won’t have to rely on farms that
           ship food nationwide, which helps to decrease our
           dependence on oil and to cut back on gas emissions.
                                                                                                                                              easy ways to
                                                                                                                                              go green
                                                                                                                                                                                                 around the house
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Save money in the bathroom
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Buy water-efficient showerheads. With low-flow
                                                                                                                                                                                                 models, a family of four can cut water usage by as
                                                                                                                                                                                                 much as 280 gallons a month—and yet not feel
                                                                                                                                                                                                 much difference in water pressure. Two we like:
Wardrobe styling by Anne Wlaysewski for R. J. Bennett Represents. STILLS BY GREGOR HALENDA, styling by Marissa Gimeno for Halley Resources.

                                                                                                                                                                                                 Kohler’s Master Shower Eco ( and
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Niagara Conservation’s Earth Massage
LEF T PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER L AMASTRO. Hair and makeup by Renee Majour for R. J. Bennett Represents. Prop styling by Leslie Siegel.


                                                                                                                                                                                                 Bring home superhero plants
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Certain greens can help remove indoor air pollutants
                                                                                                                                                                                                 like formaldehyde and benzene. Don’t have the
                                                                                                                                                                                                 gardening gene? Golden pothos, English ivy, and
                                                                                                                                                                                                 peace lilies are all easy-to-grow toxin fighters.
                                                                                                                                              Tote your own grocery bag                          Recycle rechargeables
                                                                                                                                              Paper or plastic? Neither! If you’re shopping      Cell phones, digital cameras, and camcorders have
                                                                                                                                              for a small load, bring along a cute sack like     made these batteries more popular than ever, but in
                                                                                                                                              the polka-dot tote, above, from Cath Kidston       certain states—Florida, Iowa, Maine, Maryland,
                                                                                                                                              ( Another practical option:       Minnesota, New Jersey, and Vermont—it’s illegal to
                                                                                                                                              the ACME Workhorse Style 1500 (reusablebags        throw them away. Wherever you live, you can find a
                                                                                                                                              .com), which crunches into a tiny pouch that       nearby store that will recycle them for you; just go to
                                                                                                                                              fits in your purse.                        and type in your zip code.

                                                                                                                                              Pay attention to packaging                         Adjust fridge and freezer temps
                                                                                                                                              Every American produces about four and a half      Refrigerators eat up the most electricity in the
                                                                                                                                                                                                 household. Maximize efficiency by keeping the fridge
                                                                                                                                              pounds of garbage a day. So before you buy
                                                                                                                                                                                                 at 37°F. and the freezer at 0°F.
                                                                                                                                              something, eyeball the amount of cardboard,
                                                                                                                                              plastic, and/or other materials used for the box   Lighten up with energy savings
                                                                                                                                              or wrapping. Wal-Mart is one big retailer that     Consider using compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs).
                                                                                                                                              is waking up to the problem: The chain is          They cost a bit more than regular bulbs, but you’ll
                                                                                                                                              replacing petroleum-based plastic containers       lower your electric bill and pay less in the long run—
                                                                                                                                              with corn-based packaging for precut fruit,        CFLs last up to ten times longer than traditional
                                                                                                                                              herbs, strawberries, and Brussels sprouts.         ones. (Worried that fluorescents will fill your house

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        GOOD HOUSEKEEPING   JULY 2006   81
with a greenish glow? That’s no longer a problem. When
we compared a regular bulb with a GE Energy Star
Qualified CFL, testers couldn’t tell the difference.) You
can buy CFLs at most hardware and home stores. To
save more on lighting, install dimmer switches and use
                                                                    the earth
timers, indoors and out.
                                                                    while you
Recycle smart                                                       At your next
From furniture to electronics, one person’s trash is                outdoor party,
another’s treasure—so when you want to dispose of an                ask people to
old item, don’t make the dump your first stop. Two sites             write their
with alternatives: and The
                                                                    names on disposable cups so they’ll use only
Freecycle Network describes itself as “a place to give or
                                                                    one (to make it easy, put out markers). If you
receive what you have and don’t need or what you need
                                                                    use disposable dinnerware, buy the kind
and don’t have—[to keep] stuff out of landfills.” The
Earth 911 Web site offers community-specific resources,              that won’t clog landfills or kill trees. To try:
with a focus on recycling. Check out the home page to               EarthShell plates and bowls (www.earthshell
find out where you can recycle your computer, your cell              .com). They’re made from corn, potatoes, and
phone—even used motor oil.                                          limestone—and cost less than 6 cents per plate.

Take paint precautions
Most paint emits VOCs (volatile
organic compounds), the same
kind of chemicals found
in gasoline and nail
polish. But
manufacturers like
have developed water-based products that         ( It’s made
perform well but give off virtually no           from recycled aluminum
VOCs. Krylon’s H20 paint is the first low-        cans but resembles
VOC latex spray paint that can be cleaned        traditional shakes or tiles.
up with soap and water. Made from                Thanks to the Energy Policy
99 percent food-grade ingredients, Anna          Act of 2005, installing this
Sova’s Healthy Wall Finish (        type of material can qualify
leaves your rooms smelling vaguely like          you for a $500 tax credit.
vanilla. To be at least minimally organic,
use a water-based latex paint, not an oil-       Choose energy-efficient
based alkyd paint—and remember, exterior         appliances
paints should never be used indoors.             Look for the Energy Star label, awarded to
                                                 fridges, washers, and other products that
Raise the roof with                              exceed government efficiency standards
recycled materials                               by using less water or electricity. For
If your old shingles need replacing,             Energy Star appliances that have been tested
consider a Classic Metal Roofing System           by GHI, visit

personal style
Dress in eco-chic clothing                                                      packaging is made from recycled material.
Lara Miller’s Melissa tunic, right, is 100 percent                              A makeup line that’s entirely organic:
bamboo, yet it’s as soft as silk. (For stores, go to                            Nvey Eco ( We Linda Loudermilk, an eco-couture                                 particularly like their eyeshadows.
designer, uses fabric made from sasawashi
(a Japanese leaf), along with bamboo, soya,                                         Get sporty, eco-style
and other exotic self-sustaining plants                                             Patagonia’s PCR fleece vest ($70) is
(                                                              made from recycled soda bottles.

Opt for new undies                                                                  Be clean (and green)
Wearing 100 percent organic-cotton panties                                          Pangea Organics soaps, which are
reduces your exposure to chemical pesticides                                        made with organic and often Fair
in a sensitive area. Try Blue Canoe brand                                           Trade Certified ingredients, are
(                                                                   scented with oils like lavender and
                                                                                    lemongrass. They come in a
Make up with Mother Nature                                                          biodegradable carton that will start
Aveda’s All-Sensitive Body Formula moisturizing body                disintegrating within 48 hours if you plant it in your
oil uses organic jojoba. What’s more, most of Aveda’s               garden. Available at Whole Foods Markets.

cooking & eating                                                                     home office
Become a flexitarian Put it in park                                                  Buy a laptop
Swap out one meat dish a week            Avoid drive-through windows,                It uses considerably less power than a
                                                                                     desktop computer.
for a veggie plate. Why? Because         especially if there are long lines.
raising produce is “cheaper,” in
                                         Compost                                     Get off junk mail lists
terms of energy, than raising                                                        Register with the Direct Marketing
animals. Log on to            Instead of trashing food scraps,            Association’s Mail Preference Service
to find tasty, meatless recipes           toss them into Gardener’s Supply            ( and you’ll see a
(our favorite: the lentil burgers).      Company Kitchen Compost                     significant reduction in mail after
                                         Crock, a ceramic countertop                 three months.
Grill corn in its husk                   composter that’s perfect for first-
Instead of stripping off the green       timers (                     Double up on printing
leaves, soak the ear whole, then                                                     Configure your printer so that it prints
place it right on the barbecue—          Break out the                               on both sides of the page. You know
no aluminum foil required.               bamboo                                      those extra pages you get when
                                         This plant is a far more                    printing out one simple e-mail? Turn
Go for the gold—                         sustainable natural resource than           them over and put them back in the
coffee filters, that is                   wood because it grows very                  printer for reuse.
                                         quickly. Try the stylish bamboo
Spare trees by replacing paper
                                         bowls and cutting boards from
                                                                                     Invest the green way
filters in your coffeemaker with                                                      Environmentally conscious mutual
reusables (usually gold colored).        TimberGrass (              funds are increasingly available
                                                                                     through 401(k) plans, especially if
Get the organic habit                                                                employees express interest. To learn
Switch to organic for at least one                                                   more, log on to; then
product that you buy every week.                                                     talk to your benefits administrator.

                            for kids                                        in your yard
                            Buy organic for baby
                              Hanna Andersson makes her
                                                                            Today’s non-gasoline–powered reel lawn
                                children’s clothing—including               mowers are easier to push than the old models.
                                  the romper at left—with                   Their eco-benefit: zero emissions (plus, you’re
                                  100 percent organic cotton                getting great exercise). If you prefer a power
                                  grown without harmful                     mower, consider a quiet, battery-operated
                               chemicals (hannaandersson                    model from Black & Decker.
                           .com). This garment is also
                            certified to meet the Oeko-Tex                   Warm up to solar energy
                            Standard 100 requirements,                      You may not be ready for a totally sun-powered
                        meaning every fabric, button,                       home, but you can get a taste of the technology
                                                                            by using solar-powered lighting in your yard or
thread, and zipper is tested for over 100 potentially harmful
                                                                            on your patio. We like Malibu’s Solar Floodlight
substances. Another source for organic-cotton baby clothes is
Wal-Mart’s new George Baby line for sizes up to nine months.

Teach kids to be green                                                      Go native
                                                                            Plant flowers and shrubs that are well suited
Give your little ones responsibility for your family’s recycling            to your climate (the staff at your local nursery
and match whatever they make in deposits at the store.                      can help). The benefit: You’ll use less
They’ll learn about money and recycling at the same time.                   fertilizer and pesticides.

five eco labels that you can really trust
 THE LOGO                        SEEN ON                    WHAT IT MEANS
             USDA                Food                       Food is produced without antibiotics, genetic
             Organic             products                   engineering, or most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

             Rainforest          Coffee,                    Companies harvesting the food practice soil and water
             Alliance            chocolate,                 conservation; they also reduce the use of pesticides.
             Certified            bananas

             Fair Trade          Coffee, tea,               Food is grown on small farms; farmers receive a
             Certified            chocolate, fruit,          fair price.
                                 rice, sugar

             Certified            Eggs,                      Animals raised for dairy, meat, and poultry products
             Humane              meat                       are treated humanely. Growth hormones are prohibited,
                                                            and animals are raised on a diet without antibiotics.

             Green               Napkins,                   Products are evaluated for environmental impact;
             Seal                toilet paper,              they must meet recycling and bleaching standards.                   ■

                                 paper towels

86                                        Visit to learn how one couple is creating a “green” house from scratch.