Category Archives: organic

5 Zero Waste Swaps to Make in Your Bathroom

Going zero waste can feel daunting ? trust me, I remember the feeling! The average American generates 4.5 pounds of trash every single day (that’s 220 million tons total each year).?How in the world does a person shrink down all that?household waste into nothing? Are there really?sustainable alternatives to everything I use in my daily life?

Truth is, going zero waste happens over the course of a lifetime ? baby step by baby step. One day, you decide to stop accepting plastic straws at restaurants; the next you locate a bulk shop in your area and start shopping exclusively package-free. And every day in between you gradually replace disposable, limited-use items with reusable, lasting ones.

Why This is Important

Our world is hooked on disposables. We manufacture and purchase?vast amounts of unrecyclable goods that are?designed to fail on us, then we throw them away without a second thought. Many of these are?single use plastics?that will not?decompose?for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

As such, most of these swaps involve replacing plastic with something better (often stainless steel, natural fibers or bamboo) that will stand the test of time or decompose naturally when it’s time to toss it.

Ready to join the party? Start by using up your old products (recycling, giving them away or selling them online), then gradually introduce these new options into your routine. Take care of them and you’ll be able to prevent all sorts of bathroom garbage from going to the landfill. Yipee!

10 Zero Waste Swaps to Make in Your Bathroom

1) Handkerchiefs vs. Tissues

Whether you’re fighting a cold or just dealing with allergies, it’s likely you go through a lot of tissues in your daily life. Grab a hankie instead! You can rinse?these as you go, then boil and line dry to get rid of any bacteria. Plus, they’re so much softer on the nose.

Related: 6 Potent Healing Herbs for Cold and Flu

2) Safety Razor vs. Disposable Razors

Disposable plastic razors are non-recyclable and extremely expensive. Plus, I’ve found that they tend to deteriorate remarkably quickly. Keep your skin smooth with a durable, stainless steel safety razor like this one instead and stop tossing razors for good.

3) Bulk Shampoo vs. Packaged Shampoo

Did you know you can buy hair and beauty products in bulk at most?bulk health food stores? It’s true! Just pour?what you need into a refillable glass pump bottle and use till it’s time to top off again. I purchased mine from Amazon, but you could likely find these in the bath aisle of any department store.

4) Coconut Oil vs. Makeup Remover

I’ve never found an eye makeup remover I like better than pure, organic coconut oil. It’s multi-purpose and dissolves?whatever tough makeup I have on at the end of the day. Buy your coconut oil in glass, then reuse or recycle the jar when you’re done with it.

Related: 15 Surprising Uses for Coconut Oil

5) Bamboo Toothbrush vs. Plastic Toothbrush

It’s time to be done with plastic like this for good! Standard plastic toothbrushes with plastic bristles are non-recyclable and wasteful. Look for a bamboo option instead. They are 100 percent biodegradable, eco-friendly and sustainably sourced and produced. Cool right? My favorite brands include Brush with Bamboo, WowE?and f.e.t.e. Huge fan!

Which zero waste swaps will you be making in your bathroom this fall? I’d love to know which ones stand out to you!?

Related:
How to Host a Zero Waste Dinner Party
3?Essential Zero Waste Items to Keep in Your Car
10 Ways to Start Living Zero Waste

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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5 Zero Waste Swaps to Make in Your Bathroom

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After burning for months, Montana looks like a fiery apocalypse.

On Thursday, explosions and black plumes of smoke were seen coming from a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, 15 miles east of Houston’s city center.

Arkema, the company that owns the plant, said there was nothing they could do to prevent further explosions. The volatile chemicals stored onsite need to be refrigerated at all times to prevent breakdown, but flooding from Harvey cut the plant’s power. The “only plausible solution” now is to let the eight containers, containing 500,000 pounds of organic peroxides, explode and burn out, Arkema CEO Rich Rowe said at a press conference on Friday.

That’s bad news for Arkema’s neighbors. On Thursday, 15 public safety officers were taken to the hospital after breathing in acrid smoke from the plant. After local officials took a peek at Arkema’s chemical inventories, they ordered everyone within a 1.5-mile radius of the plant to evacuate. We don’t know precisely what’s in the noxious fumes, as Arkema has refused to release details of the facility’s chemical inventories.

In the worst-case scenario documented in the company’s 2014 risk-management plan, the air pollution coming from the plant could put the 1 million people living within 20 miles radius in danger. That seems unlikely — but then again, Harvey has outdone plenty of worst-case scenario predictions so far.

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After burning for months, Montana looks like a fiery apocalypse.

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Yikes, 13 of Houston’s Superfund sites flooded during Harvey.

On Thursday, explosions and black plumes of smoke were seen coming from a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, 15 miles east of Houston’s city center.

Arkema, the company that owns the plant, said there was nothing they could do to prevent further explosions. The volatile chemicals stored onsite need to be refrigerated at all times to prevent breakdown, but flooding from Harvey cut the plant’s power. The “only plausible solution” now is to let the eight containers, containing 500,000 pounds of organic peroxides, explode and burn out, Arkema CEO Rich Rowe said at a press conference on Friday.

That’s bad news for Arkema’s neighbors. On Thursday, 15 public safety officers were taken to the hospital after breathing in acrid smoke from the plant. After local officials took a peek at Arkema’s chemical inventories, they ordered everyone within a 1.5-mile radius of the plant to evacuate. We don’t know precisely what’s in the noxious fumes, as Arkema has refused to release details of the facility’s chemical inventories.

In the worst-case scenario documented in the company’s 2014 risk-management plan, the air pollution coming from the plant could put the 1 million people living within 20 miles radius in danger. That seems unlikely — but then again, Harvey has outdone plenty of worst-case scenario predictions so far.

Original article – 

Yikes, 13 of Houston’s Superfund sites flooded during Harvey.

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12 of the Best Cover Crops for Your Garden

Also known as green manure, cover crops are plants grown for the purpose of adding organic matter to your soil.

Organic matter from broken down plant material is vital for soil health. Not only does it contain essential nutrients for the growth of new plants, organic matter also stores carbon in the soil. This is important for maintaining the earth?s atmosphere and mitigating climate change.

Cover crops are typically planted in the fall or early spring when your garden beds are empty. You can also plant them in open areas during your growing season.

They can either be pulled up or tilled under when finished, or left in place to die over winter. It?s best to wait 3 to 5 weeks after tilling for the cover crop to decompose before planting any food or ornamental plants.

Almost any plant could be used as a cover crop, although the plants given below stand out because they?re fast, easy to grow and have proven benefits for your soil. You can get seeds at most garden centers or online retailers.

1. Alfalfa

Scientific name: Medicago sativa

Benefits: Alfalfa?s long tap roots are good for breaking up hard soils, which improves soil aeration and drainage. The long roots can also bring up trace minerals from deep in the soil. Alfalfa is a legume that fixes nitrogen in the soil.

Hardiness: Perennial in USDA zones 3 and higher.

Best time to sow seeds: Spring

Maintenance: Can be tilled under in summer or fall. Good to shear the plants periodically to prevent flowering and seeding.

2. Barley

Scientific name: Hordeum vulgare

Benefits: Barley has a short growing season, so it is ideal for northern gardens. It produces more biomass in a shorter time than other cereal grasses used for cover crops. Barley is also drought resistant.

Hardiness: Annual, but can live over winter in USDA zones 8 and higher. Barley will die over winter in lower zones.

Best time to sow seeds: Spring in lower zones, or fall for zones 8 or higher.

Maintenance: Barley does not reseed very well, so you can let it grow throughout your regular season, and let it die over winter in lower zones or till in spring for higher zones.

3. Berseem Clover

Scientific name: Trifolium alexandrinum

Benefits: Berseem clover builds the most nitrogen in your soil compared to all other legume crops. It also creates the most biomass of all the clovers.

Hardiness: Annual, but can live over winter in USDA zones 8 and higher.

Best time to sow seeds: Spring or early summer in lower zones, or fall for zones 8 or higher.

Maintenance: If you cut or mow the plants prior to seed set, they can grow back at least 2 to 3 times over your growing season to provide more organic matter.

4. Common Buckwheat

Scientific name: Fagopyrum esculentum

Benefits: Buckwheat can germinate within days of planting if planted in warmer weather. It can tolerate drought and poor soils. It will start to bloom after about 5 weeks and is excellent for supporting bees and other pollinators.

Hardiness: There are a few different varieties of buckwheat. Some are perennial, but common buckwheat is an annual. This is ideal because it dies over winter.

Best time to sow seeds: Spring or early summer

Maintenance: Mow or cut down buckwheat within two weeks of the first flowering if you want to avoid setting seed.

5. Crimson Clover

Scientific name: Trifolium incarnatum

Benefits: The fastest growing annual nitrogen fixer, which makes it great for fall seeding. Grows well in many conditions, including shade.

Hardiness: Annual, but can live over winter in USDA zones 8 and higher.

Best time to sow seeds: Due to its rapid growth, you can seed in spring, summer or fall.

Maintenance: Cutting or mowing when crimson clover starts to set flower buds will kill the plants. If you want it to flower and reseed, it will naturally die back after flowering.

6. Fall Mustards

Scientific names: Sinapsis alba (aka. Brassica hirta), Brassica juncea, or Brassica nigra

Benefits: All plants in the cabbage family have been shown to release biotoxic compounds that act against bacteria, fungi, insects, nematodes and weeds. These compounds are especially high in mustard crops.

Hardiness: Annuals, but may live over winter in USDA zones 8 and higher.

Best time to sow seeds: Spring or summer

Maintenance: The biotoxic compounds of mustards are only released when individual plant cells are ruptured. In order to maximize this, it?s best to till the plants under to break them up and incorporate them into the soil during your growing season.

7. Fall or Winter Rye

Scientific name: Secale cereale

Benefits: Rye is the hardiest cereal crop, so it makes an excellent winter cover crop in most climates. Rye quickly establishes a dense root system, which effectively suppresses weeds and breaks up hard soils.

Hardiness: Annual, but will live over winter in USDA zone 3 and higher.

Best time to sow seeds: Spring or fall

Maintenance: Beneficial to cut the plants periodically to prevent flowering and seeding.

8. Field Peas

Scientific name: Pisum sativum subsp. arvense

Benefits: Field peas grow rapidly in cool, moist weather. Their succulent stems break down easily for a quick source of available nitrogen.

Hardiness: Annual, but will live over winter in USDA zone 6 and higher.

Best time to sow seeds: Early spring

Maintenance: Field peas tend to stop growing in hot weather, so they?re best grown in spring and tilled under in early summer.


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

9. Hairy Vetch

Scientific name: Vicia villosa

Benefits: Hairy vetch is the hardiest legume cover crop, so it overwinters well and provides plenty of soil nitrogen for spring.

Hardiness: Annual, but will live over winter in USDA zone 4 and higher.

Best time to sow seeds: Fall

Maintenance: Hairy vetch grows slowly at first, but will continue establishing roots over winter. In spring, it grows long, vine-like branches up to 12 feet (3.7 meters) long. This provides great biomass as long as you have a tiller strong enough to break them up. Otherwise, cut hairy vetch early to prevent its extensive growth.

10. Marigolds

Scientific name: Tagetes species

Benefits: Marigolds can control a variety of pests, including nematodes, fungi, bacteria, weeds and insects. Research has shown marigolds are most effective when planted in large quantities as a cover crop.

Hardiness: Annual, will die as soon as temperatures reach freezing.

Best time to sow seeds: Spring

Maintenance: Can be tilled under in summer or fall.

Related: Do Marigolds Really Repel Garden Pests?

11. Oats

Scientific name: Avena sativa

Benefits: Oats grow well in cool weather, so they can be planted in the fall. They also can improve the productivity of legumes when planted in a mixture.

Hardiness: Annual, but can live over winter in USDA zones 7 and higher.

Best time to sow seeds: Summer or fall alone, or spring as part of a mixture with legumes.

Maintenance: When planted in spring, oats can be tilled under with your legume crop. If planting in summer or fall alone, try to seed them 40 to 60 days before your first frost. This will give them enough time to mature, but they will be winter killed before they set seed.

12. White Clover

Scientific name: Trifolium repens

Benefits: White clover can make a good living mulch in areas such as footpaths, between shrubs and trees, or on slopes. It only grows 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) high and does well with regular mowing or foot traffic.

Hardiness: Perennial in USDA zones 3 and higher.

Best time to sow seeds: Spring or summer

Maintenance: Can be tilled under in summer or fall, or left as a long-term, nitrogen-fixing groundcover.

Related
How to Share Extra Bounty from Your Garden with the Community
9 Mistakes to Avoid When Planting a New Vegetable Garden
Which Type of Mulch Is Best for Your Garden?

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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12 of the Best Cover Crops for Your Garden

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A flooded chemical plant near Houston is just going to keep exploding.

On Thursday, explosions and black plumes of smoke were seen coming from a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, 15 miles east of Houston’s city center.

Arkema, the company that owns the plant, said there was nothing they could do to prevent further explosions. The volatile chemicals stored onsite need to be refrigerated at all times to prevent breakdown, but flooding from Harvey cut the plant’s power. The “only plausible solution” now is to let the eight containers, containing 500,000 pounds of organic peroxides, explode and burn out, Arkema CEO Rich Rowe said at a press conference on Friday.

That’s bad news for Arkema’s neighbors. On Thursday, 15 public safety officers were taken to the hospital after breathing in acrid smoke from the plant. After local officials took a peek at Arkema’s chemical inventories, they ordered everyone within a 1.5-mile radius of the plant to evacuate. We don’t know precisely what’s in the noxious fumes, as Arkema has refused to release details of the facility’s chemical inventories.

In the worst-case scenario documented in the company’s 2014 risk-management plan, the air pollution coming from the plant could put the 1 million people living within 20 miles radius in danger. That seems unlikely — but then again, Harvey has outdone plenty of worst-case scenario predictions so far.

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A flooded chemical plant near Houston is just going to keep exploding.

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Trump’s Harvey aid donation is a drop in the bucket compared to the storm’s real price tag.

On Thursday, explosions and black plumes of smoke were seen coming from a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, 15 miles east of Houston’s city center.

Arkema, the company that owns the plant, said there was nothing they could do to prevent further explosions. The volatile chemicals stored onsite need to be refrigerated at all times to prevent breakdown, but flooding from Harvey cut the plant’s power. The “only plausible solution” now is to let the eight containers, containing 500,000 pounds of organic peroxides, explode and burn out, Arkema CEO Rich Rowe said at a press conference on Friday.

That’s bad news for Arkema’s neighbors. On Thursday, 15 public safety officers were taken to the hospital after breathing in acrid smoke from the plant. After local officials took a peek at Arkema’s chemical inventories, they ordered everyone within a 1.5-mile radius of the plant to evacuate. We don’t know precisely what’s in the noxious fumes, as Arkema has refused to release details of the facility’s chemical inventories.

In the worst-case scenario documented in the company’s 2014 risk-management plan, the air pollution coming from the plant could put the 1 million people living within 20 miles radius in danger. That seems unlikely — but then again, Harvey has outdone plenty of worst-case scenario predictions so far.

More here: 

Trump’s Harvey aid donation is a drop in the bucket compared to the storm’s real price tag.

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People keep building in flood-prone places like Houston.

Over the past two days, the storm — anticipated to hit Texas later Friday — has rapidly strengthened into a Category 3 major hurricane, packing 120 mph winds and a threatening a multi-day rainfall so heavy you’ll need a yardstick to measure it. The storm’s impact could be among the worst in U.S. weather history, rivaling even Hurricane Katrina.

The implications are hard to put into words, so I asked my meteorologist colleagues to describe them using one or two:

“Epic, unprecedented” — Brian McNoldy, hurricane specialist at University of Miami

“Unprecedented danger” — Marshall Shepherd, meteorology professor at University of Georgia

“In a word: life-changing. The question is where, how expansive, and how many people’s lives it will change. If nothing else this should be a big wake-up call to many.” — Anthony Fracasso, forecaster at the NOAA Weather Prediction Center

“Dangerous, scary” — Adam Sobel, hurricane expert, Columbia University

“Epic deluge” — Ryan Maue, hurricane expert, WeatherBELL analytics

“One word, given the storm’s longevity: torturous” — Jim Cantore, the Weather Channel

“Simply: overwhelming” — Taylor Trogdon, National Hurricane Center

“Prolonged misery” — Rick Smith, NWS meteorologist in Norman, Oklahoma

Two answers, not playing by the rules with both. 1.) Forecast challenge of a career. 2.) Enormously challenging.” — Matt Lanza, energy industry meteorologist based in Houston

Original source – 

People keep building in flood-prone places like Houston.

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Harvey dealt Houston catastrophic flooding, and it’s not over yet.

Over the past two days, the storm — anticipated to hit Texas later Friday — has rapidly strengthened into a Category 3 major hurricane, packing 120 mph winds and a threatening a multi-day rainfall so heavy you’ll need a yardstick to measure it. The storm’s impact could be among the worst in U.S. weather history, rivaling even Hurricane Katrina.

The implications are hard to put into words, so I asked my meteorologist colleagues to describe them using one or two:

“Epic, unprecedented” — Brian McNoldy, hurricane specialist at University of Miami

“Unprecedented danger” — Marshall Shepherd, meteorology professor at University of Georgia

“In a word: life-changing. The question is where, how expansive, and how many people’s lives it will change. If nothing else this should be a big wake-up call to many.” — Anthony Fracasso, forecaster at the NOAA Weather Prediction Center

“Dangerous, scary” — Adam Sobel, hurricane expert, Columbia University

“Epic deluge” — Ryan Maue, hurricane expert, WeatherBELL analytics

“One word, given the storm’s longevity: torturous” — Jim Cantore, the Weather Channel

“Simply: overwhelming” — Taylor Trogdon, National Hurricane Center

“Prolonged misery” — Rick Smith, NWS meteorologist in Norman, Oklahoma

Two answers, not playing by the rules with both. 1.) Forecast challenge of a career. 2.) Enormously challenging.” — Matt Lanza, energy industry meteorologist based in Houston

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Harvey dealt Houston catastrophic flooding, and it’s not over yet.

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A Russian tanker plowed through the Arctic without an icebreaker for the first time.

Over the past two days, the storm — anticipated to hit Texas later Friday — has rapidly strengthened into a Category 3 major hurricane, packing 120 mph winds and a threatening a multi-day rainfall so heavy you’ll need a yardstick to measure it. The storm’s impact could be among the worst in U.S. weather history, rivaling even Hurricane Katrina.

The implications are hard to put into words, so I asked my meteorologist colleagues to describe them using one or two:

“Epic, unprecedented” — Brian McNoldy, hurricane specialist at University of Miami

“Unprecedented danger” — Marshall Shepherd, meteorology professor at University of Georgia

“In a word: life-changing. The question is where, how expansive, and how many people’s lives it will change. If nothing else this should be a big wake-up call to many.” — Anthony Fracasso, forecaster at the NOAA Weather Prediction Center

“Dangerous, scary” — Adam Sobel, hurricane expert, Columbia University

“Epic deluge” — Ryan Maue, hurricane expert, WeatherBELL analytics

“One word, given the storm’s longevity: torturous” — Jim Cantore, the Weather Channel

“Simply: overwhelming” — Taylor Trogdon, National Hurricane Center

“Prolonged misery” — Rick Smith, NWS meteorologist in Norman, Oklahoma

Two answers, not playing by the rules with both. 1.) Forecast challenge of a career. 2.) Enormously challenging.” — Matt Lanza, energy industry meteorologist based in Houston

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A Russian tanker plowed through the Arctic without an icebreaker for the first time.

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It’s National Secondhand Wardrobe Day: How You Can Participate

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Chances are, you have a clothing item (or 10) in your closet that you don’t wear, haven’t worn since the previous solar eclipse and have no plans to wear here or in a parallel universe. But, before you purge your closet and launch your lightly worn items to a landfill to join the 13 million tons of textiles disposed of each year, consider this: National Secondhand Wardrobe Day is today, and you’re invited!

Swap, Don’t Shop

Disposing of clothing that you don’t wear isn’t just wasteful, it’s extremely unsustainable and oh so unfashionable. Even today, with all the convenient ways to sell your clothes for cash, a staggering 85 percent of discarded textiles are sent to landfills annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Yet, the majority of people are not extending the life cycle of their gently worn clothes while cashing in or greening them forward.

Today, global waste in the fashion industry is a real issue. In fact, it takes 2,700 liters of water just to create one cotton T-shirt. National Secondhand Wardrobe Day is breathing new life into old clothes, allowing consumers to offset their carbon footprint by exchanging or recycling their used garments.

What if I told you that you could recycle, donate or upcycle those tatty threads just by visiting a clothing swap pop-up location near you? Element Hotels, an eco-conscious, extended-stay brand, is hosting Element Exchange today across the country for hotel guests and community members. Some events will even offer sustainable sips of organic wine and tasty treats while you “shop.”

With the coveted LEED certification, Element Hotels doesn’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk. All of their hotels are built sustainably using eco-friendly practices from the ground up and supporting local communities. The hotel chain features bright interiors with natural light, eco-friendly fixtures and recycling bins in every guest room, recycled materials in the carpeting, low-VOC interior paints, saltwater swimming pools, bikes to borrow, workout bikes in the fitness center that charge your cell phone while you pedal, and electric vehicle charging stations outdoors.

6 Ways to Participate in National Secondhand Wardrobe Day

While orange may be the new black, vintage is the new rack. Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of buying items that just don’t live up to their impulse-purchase hype. Here’s how else you can swap and save.

  1. Host Your Own Clothing Swap
  2. Sell Your Clothes Online with thredUP or Poshmark.
  3. Donate Your Clothes to Goodwill, Dress for Success, the Salvation Army or the Vietnam Veterans of America. The latter two will even pick up the items from your front door.
  4. Rent the Runway for your next soiree or event.
  5. Sell Your Wedding Garments Online with Preowned Wedding Dresses.
  6. Donate Your Wedding Dress to Brides Against Breast Cancer.

One man’s or woman’s trash truly is another’s treasure. Making sustainable choices in your clothing selections just makes sense. This year, get involved to help those less privileged by giving your time or, literally, the clothes off your back. Remember, on National Secondhand Wardrobe Day, don’t shop — swap till you drop!

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock

Read More:
Rags to Riches: 5 Ways to Earn Cash from Your Closet
Swapping Is Sexy: How to Host a Clothing Swap Party
How to Shop for Clothes with the Earth in Mind

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Lisa Beres

Lisa Beres is a healthy home expert, Baubiologist, published author, professional speaker and Telly award-winning media personality who teaches busy people how to eliminate toxins from their home with simple, step-by-step solutions to improve their health. With her husband, Ron, she is the co-founder of

The Healthy Home Dream Team

and the 30-day online program

Change Your Home. Change Your Health

. She is the author of the children’s book

My Body My House

and co-author of

Just Green It!: Simple Swaps to Save Your Health and the Planet

,

Learn to Create a Healthy Home! Green Nest Creating Healthy Homes

and

The 9 to 5 Greened: 10 Steps to a Healthy Office

. Lisa’s TV appearances include “The Rachael Ray Show,” “Nightly News with Brian Williams,” “TODAY,” “The Doctors,” “Fox & Friends,” “Chelsea Lately” and “The Suzanne Somers Show.”

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Latest posts by Lisa Beres (see all)

It’s National Secondhand Wardrobe Day: How You Can Participate – August 25, 2017
Perk Up Your Workout with a Recycled Coffee Grounds Sports Bra – July 24, 2017
The 4 Things You MUST Test for in Your Home Right Now – July 14, 2017

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It’s National Secondhand Wardrobe Day: How You Can Participate

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