by Jamie Siebrase
You would be horrified –
horrified! – if you knew how much waste my small
ANY FEARS YOU MAY HAVE about using cloth diapers instead of disposables can be easily assuaged with a little practice ...
Each added child makes “sustainable” and “ecological” sound
more like pretentious verbiage than surmountable goals. So, here it is, my
judgment-free call to all: let’s really support our local
community this year by resolving to make 2013 less toxic.
Buying cleaning supplies? Skip the
chemicals. “Environmental cleaning doesn’t have to be complicated,” explains
local entrepreneur and mom, Kerrie Slocum. To learn more about Slocum’s
low-impact housecleaning, dial 303-475-4334.
conscientious cleaning, Slocum uses three products: white vinegar, baking soda,
and borax. “People think green
products won’t get the dirt off,” says Slocum. “But, they do!” On mirrors,
countertops, floors, and surfaces traditionally requiring blue liquid spray,
use vinegar and water. On sinks, where softer scrubbing suffices, vinegar and
baking soda does the trick. Borax takes off more material – perfect for
Noah Stephens, mastermind behind Vert Kitchen, 704 S. Pearl St., uses lemon and salt to
scrub pans and shine copper. When I asked Stephens to share the top three
secrets to a greener kitchen, he replied: Go vegan one day a week, join a CSA, compost and
Stephens makes Tempeh Tuesday easy as, well,
vegan pie. Drop by Vert; order Vegan de la Saison.
Delectably slow-cooked food made with fresh, local ingredients means
barely notice your sandwich doesn’t cluck. Fear not, carnivores –
Stephens serves up plenty of meat. It all comes from locally-owned and
operated, ethical vendors.
Modern farming may feed masses, but the
prevalent use of chemicals associated with large-scale production is no friend
of the environment. Community
Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, direct partnerships between farmer and
consumer, make it easy to financially bolster smaller, responsible farms. Adds Stephens: “You’ll eat seasonally, trying
foods you might not buy at the store.”
There are a variety of CSA arrangements.
Generally, a shareholder pays for her seasonal farm share up front, receiving
regular installments of organic produce in return, the amounts of which vary
based on the harvest. For a list of local CSAs, visit ecovian.com, choose “Denver” and browse “Food” listings.
snacks, glass jars of baby food, and uneaten ... (fill-in-the-blank), waste
quickly compounds. Traci Carpenter, MNT, Healthy Eating Specialist at Tamarac
Whole Foods, shares tips that are as economical as they are ecological –
and – logical.
the bulk bin,” advises Carpenter. Bulk shipping reduces packaging waste. “Customers who want to cut out plastic entirely
can bring in reusable containers.” Skip individually-packaged
foods. “The 365 line has many staples,” says Carpenter. “Buy a
jar of applesauce, then put individual servings in reusable containers.”
ReSnackIt bags are a green, machine-washable alternative to
plastic bags. Available at Whole Foods or online (resnackit.com).
Interested in greener cooking? Schedule a
free private session with Carpenter via phone or email, 303-488-2000 ext. 298
If you can’t
reduce, recycle and compost. To find out if your address is eligible for Denver
Recycles services, visit denvergov.org/trashrecycling; then click “Sign up for Recycling Services” under “Recycling” or
“Compost Collection Pilot Program” under “Composting.” Recycling is free; at
$29.25 per three months, composting is feasible for most people.
Interested in a DIY pile? Denver Recycles
partners with Denver Urban Gardens to host free compost classes. Classes held
April-October at Gove Community Garden, E. 13th Ave. and Colorado Blvd. For
details: dug.org/compost or 303-292-9900.
disposable diapers stink. As my
fearless editor noted, “Disposables are great for being out-and-about, etc.,
but sure are resource-intensive.” The Giggling Green Bean, 3929 Tennyson St.
& 437 S. Wadsworth Blvd., is Denver’s one-stop shop for cloth diapering.
Store manager Jenna Hoskinson
eases fears: “These aren’t your grandmother’s cloth diapers.” Hoskinson used cloth because she didn’t want to contribute
unnecessary waste to landfills. The EPA propounds disposable diapers make up
3.4 million tons of waste in landfills. While cloth may require frequent
washing, Hoskinson dispels one common myth, explaining
manufacturing disposables guzzles water too.
cloth saves money. I spend
roughly $80/month on disposables for two. Hoskinson
estimates an up-front investment of $250 is all you’ll need the first year.
Cloth diapers hold up well, allowing for reuse with subsequent children.
Ready to ditch disposables? GGB’s shelves
are lined with a colorful array of cloth. Thirsties
and Rumparooz – both local – are two
premium brands. First, attend Cloth
Diapering 101. Free; offered at both GGB locations. For schedule: the-giggling-green-bean.com/education/classes.
Then, give GGB’s risk-free trial a whirl.
Put $50 down, and GGB provides everything you need to get started (roughly $100
worth of booty). If you’re dissatisfied, return the gear for a refund. If
you’re a cloth convert, pay the difference. Expecting mommas can register at
GGB. For assistance, visit the-giggling-green-bean.com
or dial 720-988-3725.
Change isn’t easy. Start small, be patient.
Greener cleaning, cooking, and diapering help the environment and save
moolah while promoting health and wellness throughout your
Happy New Year!