Going Greener In Your Home

There are great ways to make your home greener that go way beyond just changing the light-bulbs.

On The Early Show Monday, Amanda Walker, a senior editor of Consumer Reports' ShopSmart magazine, showed how going green can extend to decorating (and no, we don't mean green-colored schemes!) -- with decorating products made from recycled materials.

She also looked at how to be more green in the kitchen and bathroom, including a razor made of recycled plastic, as well as 100 percent-recycled aluminum foil.

Walker also discussed everyday products that are green -- and some decidedly un-green ones.

Green décor: seat belt pillow, recycled glass bowls, recycled coasters, cork bowl.

Green cleaners: recycled razor, recycled aluminum foil, multi-purpose cleaners/concentrated cleaners, big companies going green in their products, such as Greenworks by Clorox.

Un-Green: products that are harmful, including ammonia, oven cleaners, chlorine bleach, and drain cleaners.

  • Seat Belt Pillow: There are new and cool ways to go incorporate green and recycled materials into your house. These pillows are made of end-of-the line seat belt webbing otherwise destined for the landfill. A little expensive at $114, but very innovative.
  • Recycled glass bowls and vase from Pier 1: You can take the green theme to other parts of your home. And one great way to do this is to decorate green. Pier 1 has a new line of hand-painted glass bowls and vases that are made from 100 percent recyled glass. They are beautiful and eco-conscious.
  • Cork Bowls: This bowl is made 100 percent recycled cork (reclaimed waste material from the bottle-stopper industry). Cork is also a great choice for flooring, and made of tree bark, which is an eco-responsible alternative to petroleum-based vinyl flooring and slow-growing hardwoods such as oak.
  • Coasters: An example of how so many different products can be made of recycled material. These are made from 100 percent industrial wool felt, which is made from approximately 85 percent factory excess wool and 15 percent mixed fibers. The designer actually made these with leftover scraps from other works. So, this is doubly recycled: a waste product (cutouts) from a waste product (industrial wool felt is itself made from factory excess wool).
  • Preserve Toothbrush and Razor: One hundred percent recycled plastic razor and tooth brush. A good example of how a product you would never think of being green can be good for the environment. This is the Preserve Razor and Toothbrush, made from 100 percent recycled plastic, including 65 percent of recycled Stonyfield Farm yogurt cups. You can also send them back to the company and for recycling; a pre-paid enevelope is included. The razor is $7.49 and the toothbrush is $2.79
  • Recycled Aluminum Foil: Environmentally-friendly foil. From the maker of If You Care. One hundred percent recycled aluminum foil uses five percent of the energy needed to make regular foil.
  • Multipurpose cleaner: The more jobs a cleaner does, the fewer products you need to buy, which cuts waste.
  • Concentrated cleaner: Concentrated formulas are great because they require less packaging and less fuel to ship. And they don't have to be from a small, eco-company. Some mainstream makers are offering concentrated products, such as laundry detergents, that wash the same amount of clothes with less detergent.
  • Biodegradable sponge cloths: Cut down on paper towel use with sponge cloths. They're 100 percent biodegradable.
  • GreeWorks cleaners by Clorox: More companies are developing green products. These are Clorox's items. The comany says they're 99 percent natural and made from ingredients derived from coconuts and lemon oil. The products are formulated to be biodegradable and non-allergenic, and they're packaged in bottles that can be recycled and not tested on animals.

    What to avoid: Ammonia, oven cleaner, chlorine bleach, drain cleaner:

  • Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite): sold on its own and in a variety of household cleaners; can be irritating to the eyes, skin, and lungs.
  • Ammonia: used in cleaners of floors, bathrooms, tiles, and glass; its fumes can cause respiratory irritation, and ammonia can burn skin on contact. Also, is poisonous when swallowed.
  • Oven cleaners: Chemicals in these products can be corrosive and irritating to eyes, skin, and lungs. Instead, use a nonabrasive nylon scrubbing pad and baking soda. For tough stains, add salt.
  • Drain cleaners: contain lye (sodium hydroxide) or sulfuric acid, substances that can severely damage eyes, lungs, and skin.